The countdown to the end of lockdown 2.0 has begun. With the doubling rate of coronavirus having slowed down from three days to 10 days, I have a tiny hum of hope in my heart, that soon we all will be able to venture back into the outside world. Perhaps the lockdown will be lifted in phases. Perhaps we will be asked to step out for only a little time every day, initially. Perhaps some cities will have to endure a longer lockdown. But sooner (hopefully) or later, we will all be out and about. Though when you’ll look into the mirror right before stepping outside, will you feel anxious? We have all gone easy in certain ways on our bodies; the rolls of fat don’t bother us that much, nor do the body hair that has seized the moment of our ignorance to reclaim its natural spaces. Was it easier to do so because no one was watching? Will we go back to being cruelly critical of ourselves once the lockdown is over?
- As the end of the lockdown hopefully is drawing near, we cannot wait to step out.
- But we have grown a tad comfortable in our skin under lockdown, haven’t we?
- Is this because we know that no one is watching?
- Will we go back to our self-critical old self once this lockdown is over?
We have all gone easy in certain ways on our bodies; the rolls of fat don’t bother us that much, nor do the body hair that has seized the moment of our ignorance to reclaim their natural spaces. Was it easier to do so because no one was watching?
Let me be the first one to confess, I haven’t been eating healthy or exercising regularly under the lockdown. I am doing as much workout as I want to and eating what is available. Not all of us are privileged enough to have many choices right now. And as a result, some edges seem to be a lot squishier than they were before lockdown went into effect. I was arranging my cupboard yesterday and I came across my pair of denim. Will it be a struggle to get inside them now, I wondered? Will the neat black dress that made me look one size smaller than I actually am, even make it past my breasts now? It is a depressing thought because vanity is a part of our system. How we do look, or rather how do we fair on the beauty standards that we have been adhering to for centuries; this assessment is coded into our genes. It comes naturally to us to scrutinise our faces, our waist, our bodies.
The one silver lining, at least for privileged people like me, who have a roof above their head, food to put in their bellies, is that it has made us kinder to ourselves. When I look into the mirror, I just see me, from my gaze. And not from that of the others. And I have realised that health concerns apart, my cellulite, my unibrow, the hair on my forearm, they don’t bother me much. It is liberating to not have to fuss over my curls. I can work them into a functional bun and we are sorted for the day. I can wear my favourite t-shirt, that is speckled with tiny holes; a result of wear out, because I know no one is coming over to the house, and thus I am not required to be “presentable”. This lazy, rugged, unpresentable me is quite relaxed and cosy (all that body hair does make you feel like you are perennially wrapped in a thin blanket.) and I think that is what matters.
Be kind to yourself. Love that body in all its glory, even if others don’t approve. It is sticking by you through a pandemic, so it has earned itself some love from you.
Yes, there a million worries and stress levels are at the maximum setting, but there is one less thing to worry about and for that I am grateful. But when it is time to step out, I am sure the peer pressure will come back. The one place on the top of my go-to list is my salon, to pluck/condition/chop the body hair into submission. The panic about expanding waistline that is on pause might come and hit me like a bulldozer. But this is what I am telling myself, and I think all of us should, don’t stop being kind to your body when the lockdown is over. Yes, exercise and go to a spa, pampering yourself will help you feel better and will bring back a sense of normalcy. But body shaming yourself doesn’t need to be a part of that.
We are going through a very tough phase, and no one knows when this ordeal will be over. We all need positivity and empathy in our lives. And while we expect it from others around us, why not start with ourselves? Be kind, love that body in all its glory, even if others don’t approve. It is sticking by you through a pandemic, so it has earned itself some love from you.
The views expressed are the author’s own.