The latest post shared by the Humans of Bombay Facebook page describes the life of a woman, who says she went into a shell after being bullied about her looks and skin colour. As she grew up, she says she chose ill-fitting clothes and hated herself for not fitting beauty standards that were the norm.
“Growing up, I was bullied because of my dark complexion and ‘foreigner’ looks. My classmates asked me why I wasn’t applying ‘fair and lovely.”
However, things changed when she agreed to do a photoshoot in college.
Read the full post here:
“Growing up, I was bullied because of my dark complexion and ‘foreigner’ looks. My classmates asked me why I wasn’t applying ‘fair and lovely.’ It got worse when a girl threw her shoe at me, in a playground, saying ‘go away, you don’t belong here’… I internalised all the anger. I wore baggy clothes and withdrew in my shell… I hated myself because I could never match the beauty standards of those around me.
It was only when I went to college that things started to change. When my seniors told me to participate in a fun photoshoot — I naively agreed. They asked me to wear a towel, pose and smile. I knew they were ‘ragging’ me, but I can’t thank them enough because when I saw those photos, my perspective changed. I realised that there was nothing wrong with me. I was beautiful. These photos captured the real me — and for the first time, I liked what I saw.
When I went on to a different university, I took up photography as a hobby. My confidence came through my camera… and it defeated my insecurities. I began to photograph myself more — I took care of myself better, lost the baggy clothes and set out to lose weight. In 6 months I lost 20 kgs and I knew that anything I set my heart on, I could achieve. I was a confident new person.
In fact, when the guy I was seeing threatened to leave me saying ‘it’s the way you look, my parents won’t accept you,’ I left him. But I wasn’t done facing challenges… During college, one night, my professor locked me in his room and raped me. I was traumatized. I started feeling ‘dirty’ again. But, I kept reminding myself that the fault wasn’t mine — I yanked myself out of it. So, I worked twice as hard to keep my spirit intact and focus on my photography…I dreamt of being the best photographer in India. I took on every project that came my way, researched all kinds of photography and immersed myself in the process.
Three years later, when I came to Mumbai, I started my own company — a feeling I can’t express. It wasn’t easy — I faced rejections and was looked down by my previous bosses, but I stuck it out… and that’s been my biggest lesson.
Today, I have a great business, my own home and a boyfriend who makes me feel beautiful. But that’s only because I FEEL beautiful in my skin — I am the masterpiece I was searching for my entire life and I love every shade, every scar, every color it displays.”
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