27. The Lesson

27. The Lesson

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Curvy & Confident

The Lesson

Talk to yourself like you would to someone you love.

~Brené Brown

I tried on the dress and looked at myself. My first thought was, This dress looks amazing. Then I inspected myself closely, looking at all my stretch marks. The dress looked amazing, but on me, it was hideous. I sat down and looked at myself in the mirror, my self-confidence shattered.

“You okay? My elder sister knocked from the other side of the changing room door. “What’s taking so long?”

“Coming, Jiji!” I said.

I dressed back up into my clothes and went outside.

“Didn’t you try on the dress? Why did you change?” she asked.

“Jiji, don’t you think I am a little plump for these dresses.” I stated it more like a fact than asking it.

“Come with me,” Jiji said, tugging me, and she led me to the Pizza Hut.

“We will have a double cheese pizza with two truffle pastries, thanks,” my sister told the waiter. “Those are your favourites, right?” she asked me.

“Yes Jiji, but . . .”

“But?”

“Jiji, I am fat.”

“So?”

“Umm . . .”

Look at that man there,” my sister said. “What are you thinking about him?”

“Nothing.”

“Okay, now look around you. Are you thinking anything about anyone else here?”

“No.”

“But you are thinking about yourself. Right?”

“Yes.”

“And don’t you think you are giving too much importance to what others might think of you?”

I couldn’t say anything. I just looked down.

“I am saying this to make you understand that you must learn to love yourself,” she said. “Your opinion about you matters; nobody else’s opinion matters.”

I needed to accept my curves and more than that—own them, and be proud of myself.

I smiled and said nothing. She was right, I needed to love myself. I needed to accept my curves and more than that — own them, and be proud of myself.

Midway through our lunch, I had a thought: “Jiji, I liked that dress. It looked amazing on me. Can we go and buy it?”

“Sure,” my sister smiled. “I am proud of you.”

I was proud of myself, too. My curves and stretch marks are a part of my identity. Now when I have weak moments, I look at the dress Jiji bought for me and I smile, remembering my sister’s lesson.

~Mudita Raj

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