Raise your hand if you have what it takes to pull off a cropped top without having washboard abs. Raise your hand if you can pose in a bikini despite having thighs which are far from conventional, modelesque ones. Raise your hand if you can walk around with full confidence and a full head of multi-coloured hair and bold tattoos, garnering all the attention in the world. Raise your hand if you’re not scared to address your insecurities openly and put out your journey of self-improvement for everyone to see.
Now, I’m not sure about how many of you raised your hand. But if there’s one lady, who we’re pretty sure agreed with all the points mentioned, it has to be Tina Das.
Assamese blogger Tina is the Instagram perfect example of what self love looks like
Unicorn hair and no care, thicker thighs yet all’s nice, rebel with a cause getting a fair share of applause—that’s Tina Das for you.
Scroll through her Instagram handle and you’d know how perfectly this description fits the 29-year old fashion and lifestyle blogger, who not only inspires thousands of followers to love and embrace themselves the way they are–but also doesn’t refrain from expressing her strong political views and fearlessly putting the trolls in their right place time and again.
If you happen to follow her, you’d also know how she unabashedly posts the “non-glamorous” side of her transformation and fitness journey, calls people out for their patriarchal views and body-shaming, and poses like a diva–despite not being anything like a conventional fashion and lifestyle blogger.
“I just want to express what I feel about my body, my journey of losing weight, becoming healthier–more in the head than the body–and maybe, even breaking a few stereotypes that we have about the idea of looking good versus being healthy inside out,” she says.
“Instead of ‘how to look slimmer’, I’ve always focussed on ‘how to look your best personal self,’” she further adds.
Surely, that kind of confidence takes a lot of courage, don’t you think?
Perhaps, her recent post, wherein she looks fierce in a swimsuit, makes her mantra rather clear.
“Women are often told, they are only their body parts–boobs, things, ass, waist, back, and they are all supposed to adhere to some random measurements popular media came up with. In fact, we internalise it so much that we want to be only our body parts. It takes a lot of time to love ourselves as wholes, and I don’t mean to say I have reached this, but every single day, I am inching towards that, despite many setbacks, “ she expresses in the heartfelt caption.
What setbacks, you wonder?
A woman’s own insecurity and self-criticism are surely her worst enemies.
Tina’s sound background in English literature and journalism, and the fact that she’s a literature lecturer surely contributes to her deep understanding of women, their psyche, and of those, who do not hesitate to pass judgements and body shame women at every step of the way.
Thus, citing the reason behind the lack of self-love in women, she explains, “Be it in a metro or a rickshaw or an auto, or clothes, for that matter, women are supposed to occupy as little space as possible. And when you defy the prescribed space with your size, it invites both judgement and ridicule.”
“This, immediately makes a woman want to cram herself into tiniest of spaces, almost becoming invisible in every single way possible. Be it by choosing to stand instead of sitting in a crowded metro, or wearing uncomfortable shapewears while becoming almost sure that there is something wrong with her,” she adds.
The woman is a living lesson on how to fight off self-doubt like a boss
Contrary to what her dripping confidence on social media might have made you think, Tina too has her moments of insecurity and self-doubt—thanks to the trolls and certain DMs prodding her to look at fellow bloggers as competitors and not individuals. But here’s how she fights ‘em off:
Constant reminders: Unlike most of us, she makes the right choice of reminding herself time and again that it’s her life and her journey, that she is giving it her best shot, and that her biggest competitor is she, herself.
Understanding where the criticism came from: “This came after a lot of hurt and upset. I finally realised that the nastiness of people has more to do with them and nothing to do with me,” she points out.
Dealing with body-shaming from family strongly: Be it comments about our skin colour or the size of our thighs, body shaming begins at home for most of us. And Tina is no different.
“It hurts the most when it’s family. But once the tide of anger subsides, you realise you have to choose yourself, over and over again. It isn’t easy, and every little effort on your part counts. Be it by choosing to wear the outfit your mom didn’t approve of, or learning to eat in a healthier way, despite their taunts,” she says.
Making ‘health and fitness’ your motto: According to Tina, being unhealthy and obese is something you should obviously be wary of. But, it also needs to be separated from the idea of ‘looking good.’
After all, being slim is not the definition of being healthy and being bigger doesn’t mean one is unhealthy. The idea is to feel good, active, and energetic—regardless of your body type and shape, you see.