Hope you’re feeling your best. By the title of this post you’ve already figured out what this post is going to be about. But this post is not going to be the usual “Look at me! OMG, how time flies!” kinda stuff. I could’ve posted a collage of my before and after pictures on my Insta-stories and called it a day. I’m definitely going to do that (*chuckle and wink*) but this hashtag actually prompted me to talk about the real transformation I’ve gone through over the last 10 years. And by real I mean the actual transformation in my mindset that I have undergone. As they rightly say, it all starts in the mind, honey. So, let’s get digging, shall we?
I got my first job in 2009 in one of the most reputed public sector banks in India but my pay package was a joke. I was also a college student back then. I somehow managed to complete my accountancy major but my scores were far from satisfactory. I also had a boyfriend! So the stress was real.
Switching between the roles resulted in me developing a full-blown lifestyle related eating disorder. I ate a lot of junk and then some more. There wouldn’t be a single day that I’d go without carbonated drinks and fries. Courtesy my blessed genes, I didn’t gain a lot of weight. This actually gave me the courage to hog on some more junk, guilt-free. As a result, I was stressed and irrationally irritable all the time and I was not even aware of all this.
One more thing happened that year- it was the beginning of a decade long struggle with kidney infection.
I also realized that as a teenager I was quite sheltered and protected from the outside world. But isn’t that necessary to keep young girls safe? I guess many of us young Indian girls are raised in a bubble. We’re taught that avoidance is the best way out. I’ve seen and heard moms reminding their daughters to be safe when they’re stepping out of their bubbles. I haven’t quite seen moms reminding their sons to be more sensible and respectful towards the bubble-dwellers. On top of that, I also had to hear that men can get away with their ‘mischievous ways’ but a girl had to protect her dignity. Here, dignity = vagina (or uterus maybe). The conformist that I was, grew up believing every single word. But I wondered why no one was ever concerned with a girl’s mind and soul. Apparently, that was not very important. What mattered more was the classification of women into two major categories – good and bad. And I so wanted to fit into the former.
Another thing we’re made aware of is how we look, I mean the physical or rather just the ‘facial beauty’ aspect of our human experience. We’re made to believe that our looks play a huge role in defining who we are and how we end up in life. We’re also told that whatever we’re “lacking” in the looks department can be made up for by becoming a doctor or an engineer or a chartered accountant! I was neither “beautiful” nor did I choose from one of those viable career cards.
By 2012, my eating disorders coupled with my negative mindset had led to some serious damage internally. I had something called PMDD. In case you’re wondering, it’s a severe form of PMS. It causes anxiety and depression during certain times in the cycle. In short, PMDD is PMS multiplied by 10 (or 100). As a result, my personal and professional relationships were endangered. I also suffered phases of concussions. All this went on for years till the early 2017. Just like the different skin types that exist, there are different personality types as well. I was one of the more sensitive kinds. Conformists, who are rebels deep down inside, generally are.
To sum up, my life was pretty much a glorified mess. But I could figure that it was pretty abnormal to feel the way I was feeling. So, lingered there in the abyss for a while trying to get hold of anything and anyone who I felt had the power to pull me out. It would be unfair to say that nobody helped. But the progress was definitely scarred by some major setbacks.
Now coming to the actual transformation story, I could figure out that something was amiss with my entire input system- almost everything starting with my actual diet to my emotional diet was messed up. I had read a lot of self help books. (People like me always do.) But it was the time to incorporate and implement some serious changes. First of all, I went to see a doctor and took medications for the PMDD. I strongly believe that the most qualified person to help you out of your situation is your general physician and not a bunch of random people you think of as potential mates. Lesson number one is: never rush into relationships of any sort until you have your life sorted out.
Then, I shifted my focus to looking at myself as a perfectly complete human being who can love the way she is. Also it’s perfectly normal for the people at home and your surroundings to say things that are not even one percent true. Clarity comes when you make peace with the fact that people preach and practice what they’ve learnt in their lifetime. So, being a rebel is not a healthy solution for your mental peace. The second important lesson I learned is: everyone is entitled to their opinions and so are you. Very closely related to this lesson is the third and the most vital lesson: define your personal boundaries- make people respect your opinions and never ever make an exception. It’s unfair to the human entity within you to accept and act on what people close to you have to say about you. Value their opinions but act exercise your own discretion.
Loving myself was the best thing I taught myself and I really wanted to pass this message on. Please excuse my rants. I’d love to know your #10yearchallenge transformation story. So I request you to take over the comment box and pour your heart out.
Until next time…
P.S. : Here’s my #10yearchallenge photo.