My Mum Made Me Love My Body

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“She taught me that people’s cruel comments don’t need to be the centre of your life”

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I recently read an article on Cosmopolitan. This woman tells a story about how her mum’s constant dieting and telling her how to dress etc. made her hate her body. Then, I realised that my mother had done the complete opposite, despite me personally struggling with my own appearance. My single mum made me love my body.

My mum has never been the kind of mother who cares a lot about appearance. She believes in originality, and although her brutal honesty about my (in fact) unflattering hijab styles often got me quite annoyed, I always know at heart that she wants what’s best for me.

Growing up with my mother and her own weight “issues” has taught me that despite her not being of an ‘ideal’ body size according to society’s standards, she is an incredibly outgoing person (Allahhumabarik), teaching me that you can be whoever you choose to be despite your appearance.

I remember an incident once when I was in school – and at that time, my brother also went to the same school. My brother was helping out the younger years in maths and I happened to be one of the people needing help. I can’t really say what happened, but essentially these two girls who were sitting next to me started comparing my brother’s appearance to mine. I remember one of the girls commenting about my nose, saying something like  “look at that hump she has, her brother doesn’t”.

At that point in time, the comment really hurt me because my nose was a major insecurity for me. That single comment confirmed my greatest fear that everyone was in fact looking at my nose. I went home in tears crying.

My mum believes in tough love, which is the best thing for a person like me who can go weeks wallowing in her own pity. She quickly made me realize that by in fact getting upset about the whole situation, I was allowing myself to become a victim to others’ opinions.

It’s interesting because other women often call my mother “fat” (perhaps jokingly), which often made me extremely angry. My mother, on the other hand, never let it get to her. She taught me that people’s cruel comments don’t need to be the centre of your life.

But most importantly, she taught me that your body is a gift from God, and that we need to thank our Lord every single day because you never know what could be taken away from you.

This article was first published here. All images property of Zahra Tea.

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