Its not like me to obsess over the way I look. I’m okay with being average-looking. With the zits. The oily skin. The weird frizzy konkani hair. The overrated South-Indian Upadhya body structure. The slightly-too-wide-pachyderm behind. The erratic body type that gains flab almost as fast as it loses it. I’ve made peace with almost all of it.
I’ve never been the kind to go to great lengths to pay too much attention to preening myself beyond the basic. Ask my sister who never stops to try and drop a comment on my happy, brightly (apparently, overly so) colored attire, or my in laws who are always under the impression that I’m under-dressed and never wearing enough impressive jewelry. I’ve had friends tell me I should pay more attention to the way I dress and make my face up and the accessories I choose. I’ve had ex’s tell me I should de-hair more often than I chose to. I’ve even had relatives tell me I should try and look more womanly. Most of it never had really had a life-altering effect on me.
The only thing I do care about is staying fit. That too, more from a health and fitness point of view. Im a compulsive foodie and rarely ever hold back when I have a specific food craving. I’ve let myself eat my gut out, gain weight and taken myself back to some fitness regime or the other so I can go back to feeling healthy and un-lethargic. I lived without waxing my arms till I was 18, didn’t do my eyebrows till I was in college, have never owned a LBD, didnt buy myself a pair of really-high-heeled pretty shoes until I did my wedding shopping. My idea of make up is kajal and lip-balm, and the only time I ever bought make up, I felt I had squandered a whole bunch of money and force myself to use it once in a while as a way to justify the buy. So yeah, you get the drift.
Anyhoo, I digress. Coming back to the way I look, something about getting out of bed after being down with the flu, and bothering to look in the mirror a while ago just got to me. There, in the mirror staring back at me was death herself. And she had a fresh batch of zits thanks to the anti-biotics, disheveled overgrown 4-week old eyebrows, and a head full of hair with enough oil to give a Middle Eastern oil well an inferiority complex. There she was, staring at me. Death herself. Gross.
I distracted myself by reaching for something that usually feels familiar, snug and warm. My trusty track pants. The kind one resorts to because they fit just right and snuggling up in them is usually a sure-shot way to feel better. And then I yanked them up, only to realise I had to wriggle my way into them. Leaving me feeling anything but warm, familiar, snug or better about the way I look.
It’s probably time to start obsessing a little. To put it mildly, I have had yet another reality check. Possibly the only good thing that’s come out of this flu is the wake up call to do something about going back to exercise. Giving in to an immunity attack is clearly no fun. Even if that lesson is disguised beneath superficial layers of zit-issues sticky, oily hair, extra wide hips and unkempt eyebrows.
As soon as I’m back to being 100% again, I’m going back to the exercise routine. Because the truth is, zits, oily hair and bushy eyebrows, I can live with. The unhealthy self, not so much.