Bullying and body shaming in schools happens more often than we would like to admit. I was bullied throughout my school life (which stretched on throughout college and even in professional workplaces) for something as normal and beyond my control, as facial and body hair. The horror began when I hit puberty in class 6th and it didn’t stop for a very long time. I had excess hair on my face, arms and legs which showed when I wore the school uniform. What made it worse was that I was in an all-girls school and it was my kind who was constantly pulling me down. I was constantly subjected to insults, jokes and parody songs, only because I had something very natural growing on my skin. Being an introvert didn’t help because it was never easy for me to talk about what was happening.
I was a kathak dancer. When the bullying got too much to bear, I stopped dancing as some dresses revealed my body hair. Too young to make sense of things, I tried desperately to hide my facial and body hair by indulging in painful and expensive treatments like lasers, waxing, razors etc. My body has a hormonal imbalance which led to excess hair on my body. I tried a lot of medicines, but by this time my body hair had become my identity. I developed severe body image issues and the trauma of bullying shaped up my personality.
Body issues coupled with childhood trauma, toxic relationships, career switches and city switches landed me straight at a therapist’s office. It had been years since the bullying physically stopped but now it was time to take charge and stop it mentally as well. I had hit rock bottom, but therapy helped me realize the power and beauty of acceptance. I am beginning to accept what happened and beginning to accept myself. And at the same time, I have realized that a lot of times people cope by projecting themselves onto others. The best thing I could do is vow to never be one of those. Therapy opened up a whole new perspective for me which not only made me stronger but for the very first time, I saw myself in a different light. I am much more than my body hair.
During this tough time, I remember desperately looking out for others who might be going through the same issues just to create hope for myself. But as they say, if you don’t find the book that you are looking for on a bookshelf, go and write it.
And that is exactly what I did. I started writing in a bid to reach out to even that one person who might be in need of some hope. Without realizing, my writing turned out to be a great outlet for all the pain I had been holding onto. I named my blog ‘Monsters Under My Bed’. Because those are what I have been afraid of all my life.
I have realized it is me who has to go and grow through the pain, and with time these monsters actually stop being so scary. What has happened in the past, does not really leave you. It is you who has to learn to live with it while keeping in mind that it is equally important to be considerate and kind towards others. Now when I look back, I feel I have come a long way. I am still in the process of accepting my body and mind as it is, but I know that I will get there.
About Ms. Bhumika Kaushik
Ms. Bhumika Kaushik is currently employed in the corporate sector. She also runs a private blog by the name: Monster Under my Bed through which she wants to help and support other young girls who might be going through similar experiences such as bullying and body shaming. The podcast ends with a sweet message by Bhumika to listeners.