Muddying The Waters
Let’s just get straight to the point: here’s why being British Indian, growing up with and amongst those who aren’t like me made me into the person I am today.
Okay so let’s se the scene. I am a second generation immigrant from India raised in Royal County Berkshire, England. Me and my sisters went to a school that was high achieving, old and traditional, Christian and predominantly white. Amongst my friends at school, 95% were white and most of whom were naturally intelligent and way above average, I was brown, Sikh and slightly below that average. I was different. And when I was younger, I didn’t like it, in fact I think I sorta resented being different because naturally, you want to fit in with everyone.
And as I grew up it only really increased, whether it was hand-me-downs because I was the youngest of 3 sisters or gaining more weight than everyone else when I grew up. I just felt odd. And that’s not a surprise when you can’t run as fast as everyone else in PE and your skirt and shirts are a lot bigger than your friends. And whilst part of that was down to not being as healthy, part of it is genetics. I was and am an Indian Punjabi girl which means I am broader and bigger boned than the very British structure of my friends, naturally I am different and I can’t change that.
But I don’t want to change that.
Sure, when I was younger I wanted to be slimmer and I wanted to be like everyone else. How many times have you heard that? In real life or in films or books? It is such a common feeling no matter how old you are and some people never stop feeling it. And it’s because the trend and what we’ve be inclined to believe is that ‘normal’ is good, because everything should be in perfect harmony. But what if you naturally aren’t ‘normal’ and you don’t fit into this harmony? What do you do?
You fucking own it. And I can’t tell you how much I mean that. Owning the fact that you’re different is difficult because to keep harmony people take the easy route. And they’ll pressure you to do so. But I promise you, when you come into your own and embrace the collection of things that make you the way you are, you’ll find so much comfort and confidence. Believe me it’s far from easy and it took me until uni when I was finally out of the bubble of school where I didn’t feel confident to own it, that I could finally LOVE who I was in every way I wanted and needed to. The person I am now compared to this time last year is completely different. And I love it.
What I mean by this is for example my relationship with my body. Last year I hated it, I felt it wasn’t ‘normal’ and I was uncomfortable in the one thing I had to wear all the time. And it was because I was in an environment where I was exposed to anything other than the norm and extreme forms of it. And then I became exposed to a whole new city of different people and to be honest the development in the past year of body positivity and integration of diversity has been overwhelming. My mindset on body types, in fact splitting bodies into types is bullshit, my mindset on BODIES has changed completely.
And what’s more, what’s ridiculous to think is that I’m actually owning the colour of my skin and my culture and I love it. I’m 18 and it’s taken me that long to appreciate it. But I’m gonna save that for another post.
So, as I’ve said before it’s okay not to completely own who you are at the moment but I promise it will come for you. And when it happens, you will be the happiest you can be.
Conclusion: I am in no way claiming that I am the example of overcoming adversity, at all.