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A letter to a 12-year-old girl

From acne to menstruation, here is all a 12-year-old girl can expect to change.

Dear Almost-A-Teen

One fine day, you wake up looking and feeling different. You’ve got a glint in your eye and a stride in your walk. You start noticing older women, and imagine how you will look when you mature. Once you start discussing your bodies with your girlfriends, you learn about menstruation. And on another fine day, your mother discusses the concept of periods with you. You just listen and go on with your life. Until you get your period.

Your period is going to come when you least expect it. It will strike when you’re in the middle of sports class or on stage giving a talk. Ask for a sanitary napkin from a teacher, friend or parent and learn how to place it. Congratulations! You’ve or rather, your body has taken a step towards becoming a woman. You’ve attained puberty, young girl.

In the months to come, you will experience a tidal wave of change; emotionally and physically. As part of the natural development of your body, get ready for some changes in appearance; developing breasts, growth of pubic hair, defined hips, buttocks and thighs, along with your ovaries producing eggs that give you the ability to conceive and deliver a baby. On the other hand, you have episodes of slamming doors and emotional outbursts. You might get teary-eyed for no reason, you might also respond sarcastically to your mother for no reason, remember, darling, it is alright.

You may wonder why though? Answer: levels of hormones; estrogen, testosterone and progesterone are increasing. They are creating havoc inside your body. Remember that the changes occurring in your body and brain are dramatic and influential. It is safe to say that all-hell-has-broken-loose. You might take some time to adjust to these changes. Though it is safe to say that all of these changes down there and up above will affect how you feel about yourself. And that brings me to your need for sexual desire. But that can wait for some time. For now, focus on taking one day at a time and embrace all the changes happening inside and out.

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Fat to Fab

Read the story of Mimiksha Roy who struggles to cope with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOD).
Nishtha JunejaTeentalkindia Content Writer

Teenage the phase of your life where you are not an adult nor you are a child, your body keeps changing but not your mind. Hormones are on a rush to control your emotions and everything feels like a mess. When I was a teenage girl was trying to cope up with all the changes happening to my body especially my menstrual cycles I kept cribbing, girl why me? Why do we have to go through this why do girls have to wear a bra and all such things. 

And when I was 15 a very peak year of teenage brought along with it the stress of board exams there was when my never ending classes, school, extra lectures changed my lifestyle completely. Along with the burden of this change a wave of a lot of family issues came into life which increased my stress levels majorly. I could not cope up with everything because I was neither too old that I could change the things around me and nor too young to not let anything affect me. And towards the end of 10th grade just before the boards I did not menstruate for 2 months and I had put on some weight, my family doctor said it was normal. But when I saw I gained 10 kilos in two months I got it checked by a gynecologist and she detected it to be PCOD a ovarian disorder, she suggested me to get a sonography.

That day is still fresh in my mind, how I was holding the hands of my mother as I sat with 10 pregnant women in the sonography line and as the reports came it was detected to be Hyper PCOD a hormonal disorder that creates cysts in your ovaries and disrupts the menstrual cycle, which gives a rise to insulin levels creating a weak metabolism and rapid increase of weight. In around 4 to 5 months I increased 40 kilos and which kept increasing even though I was following a diet and was under medication it felt a big rock has been tied to my legs while I walked or climbed stairs, I could not even breathe properly I felt disgusted of myself. With popping 15 pills a day and my board exams in few days my weight kept increasing and my self esteem kept decreasing as I could not do much because of my time constraints.

I was always very extroverted but this was not just a disease this brought about a change in my personality. I became more quiet and reserved. My friends kept asking what was the reason behind all this weight gain and difference in behavior and those who did not care called me with various names like moti, sand, hippopotamus, hathi ka bacha n what not. These words sound really stupid and funny but when someone talks to you like this a pin pricks your heart and the pain of helplessness kills you. When outsiders speak like this its ok, but also my relatives and even my dad made fun of my weight and the way I look and how fat I was, this broke me even more. I did know what was my sin I did not even eat in large quantities nor followed a unhealthy diet to be this fat I did not feel beautiful anymore, people coming and pulling your cheeks did not feel cute I did not meet any standards.

My self confidence was growing weaker and weaker as even after changing 6 doctors each one did not promise for recovery, they said it's not curable, some even threatened me of ovarian cancer and kept giving new things to follow and new medicines to have. Through all this bad times I just had one pillar of support my mother with me who kept me going, who kept me motivated all this while. As my board exams were done I chose not to go for a vacation and started working out rigorously, I did lose some weight but slowly, I could now walk and breathe properly climb stairs and felt I had a neck.

With the vacation came the stress of college, on how will college be will they make fun of me , my self image was low  and the representation of a fat girl and the threat of ragging and representation of college life in media especially movies made me even more scared. College for a fat girl is not one of the best experiences people told me. But when I went to college things were not the same as movies or as bad as it seemed, people around me were warm welcoming and did not body shame there were a few but such people are there everywhere. I made a couple of friends with time I felt accepted I liked going to college every day. I made some real friends who made me feel normal like anyone else, I felt like a normal girl and not a fat girl not worth to fit in anywhere.

My best friend was the one who supported me emotionally and kept me motivated even during my work out. One of the summers I went to Kolkata for my vacation and visited a famous gynecologist there who told me that all the medicines I was consuming has only worsened my state and I will not be able to survive till 40 if I continue to do so as they were strong steroids.  I was so shocked and she prescribed me just one tablet for insulin control and told me I had to change my lifestyle with time and maintain my diet and gave me hope for improvement.

So with time I cured not just physically but mentally too I met some amazing people along my journey that made me believe in myself. I had a choice between a regular course or BMM which was my passion I chose my passion and continued with Degree College and with the stressful schedule of work and college I still manage to remove some time for workout, I now workout out of my will not because I have to lose weight or it would help me look better. My friends have accepted me the way they are, no one in this world makes friends with someone on the way they look it's the inner beauty of yours that matters.

In this photo shopped world there are still people who fall for your heart, your soulful smile your warmth and not the perfect waistline or beautiful skin. It’s the people in my life today because of whom I have come so far. We all are much more than our bodies its part of us not the definition of a person. Beauty comes from the spark within us. My body is mine and no one has the right to insult it and even if they do you have no right to believe in it. I don't pay attention on what others say I believe in myself I know my worth I am priceless  as I know no one can replace me in this world. Today I am a confident girl living her life on her own terms and embracing each curve on my body, as they are the tattoos of journey as strength comes from deep within you just need the right people to act as a catalyst and help you shine.

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