Photographs by Kriti Mamgain.

It was a dark night, slightly misty. You couldn’t see people, just silhouettes…it wasn’t scary, it was magical. I kept walking down the dingy lane with a strange feeling…like I knew something. It was strange and familiar. This happened to me last year and the year before that too, it always happened around the same time. This feeling. I walked and walked and reached a quaint cottage. As soon as I entered, I saw a tiny flame…a flame that was calling me towards it. I couldn’t resist the urge to blow it and I did and as soon as I did, there was light everywhere. I realised I had blown off the candle on my birthday cake. I recognised that familiar feeling, it was of me getting a year older and so much more wiser than the previous year.

And then I woke up.

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The truth is that all this is a piece of shit. This doesn’t happen. You don’t gain knowledge from one birthday to the other. I feel the same. Exactly the same. I don’t remember feeling any different mentally. Not at all, not even a little. I just don’t. As far as I can remember, I feel like I felt when I turned 18 or 16, I don’t remember much of before that. I still cannot get up in the morning, I still cannot sleep on time. I still burp inappropriately, still like eating junk food and I still get scolded for the same things.

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Of course there is a difference in me, I know myself better and I’m more confident about myself but I don’t think I have changed. I’m 24 by the way, in case you were wondering. What I’m trying to say is that I’ve grown but not changed.

But my body did.

In my life, I have spent more time being a girl than I have spent being a woman. So I was used to a certain kind of a body because that body has been with me more than the other one. When my mental state was the same but my physical state began to change, I got confused. I mistook it as getting fat. There is nothing wrong in being fat but I wasn’t used to it.

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I started working out and I kept working out and nothing happened. And I thought to myself – how will I ever look cute in my booty shorts again? A lot of my clothes, especially bottoms, didn’t fit me anymore. It made me sad and upset and I was determined to fit into them again.

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Nothing happened.

And then suddenly something happened – I realised that booty shorts are available in a bigger size and being cute is subjective. I realised that my old clothes were keeping me from accepting the changes happening to me. Good changes, great changes. So what if my old clothes don’t fit me, they are replaceable, my happiness isn’t.

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No matter how much I work out or diet or lose weight, I will never have the body I had in college. My weight keeps fluctuating but even in my thinnest form, I will never be as thin as I was back then. And to be honest, I’m glad because I’m loving myself this way immensely. There is more to love.

So I didn’t change but my body did and I love it.

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