“Love yourself, Speak Yourself!”

I was around 7 years old when one of my friends mockingly said to me “tu toh hamesha dark chocolate hi khati hogi na?” because I was dark. And that is the first taste of racism I had. The 7 year old me couldn’t understand this analogy and decided to move on. I love to dance and I was one of the good dancers in my school. I remember there was this dance competition for which my teacher was selecting students and I was not the one to be selected instead a girl who was not as good as me was. When she came back I naturally had to ask her why was I not selected to which she replied “ Ma’am said that she wanted pretty girls.” I still brushed it under the carpet and probably somewhere even agreed with her. You know in school I had a lot of friends and a lot of crushes but I was never able to approach anyone as I believed that I wasn’t good enough.

One day one of my friends asked my crush if he will marry me and the straight up answer was “I want to marry an Indian not an African” and that day I was fully convinced that I was not pretty. But I wanted to be good enough so I chocked myself with fairness creams and besan and multani mitti and what not. I stopped eating as I thought if I became skinny maybe then I would be a little attractive. I scratched myself till I bled thinking that maybe under this skin I also have a ‘Fair N Lovely’ skin. I was helpless, I used to cry in my bathroom for hours. I surrendered to this life because none of these tricks were helping. The worst part was that I never showed this on the surface and kept fighting it within until I just couldn’t. I started conforming to these norms and I started comparing myself with other girls. She is fat, at least I am not her. She is darker, at least I am not that dark. These thoughts started becoming my coping mechanism and my individuality was murdered with these bullshit beauty norms.

I got admission in Pune and as much as I wanted to get out of Nagpur I was also very scared thinking what if I don’t make friends there? What if nobody likes me? Will people accept me there? With all these questions I entered the hostel of ILS Law College and that is where I found my C Wing. My girl squad. These 15 women changed my life upside down. I used to wake up and they used to serve me with a compliment. I used to get ready and they used to look at me in a way nobody ever did. Well my mom warned me that girls do this, they try to butter you up and then will take advantage of you, so I thought that maybe that’s why they are doing it. But the compliments kept on increasing as we got closer. Slowly I started believing them. For the first time the 7 year old in me could tell herself that she was pretty nay she was incredible.

I was not afraid to wear anything because I knew I had my girls. And today without an ounce of doubt I can say that I’m gorgeous and so are you and so is everyone. Today I can go up to my crush and talk to him without any fear. Today I can walk up straight to that damn stage and start dancing knowing that I deserve it. This lockdown has made me love myself more and that is pretty good I guess. I have started putting up dance videos on Instagram and people are loving them and I am glad. I don’t think young girls and boys deserve this battle. I don’t want another 7 year old Poorva to scratch herself in the bathroom thinking she is ugly. I just want that people should start speaking up to their parents to their siblings and to their friends because not everyone gets a C wing and not everyone is able to get through this and trust me there are a lot of them out there.


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