CHASING THE WIND!
I saw a caption on Instagram saying, cheers to all those that think losing weight is all they owe to this world. Well, this is a story I know too well, I have been living it for far too long, so I get it. There´s this YouTube channel called the big fat talk show. It’s all Kenyan and a plus size platform, I stumbled through a comment saying, something like stop this stupid talk that led my friend to die. So, disclaimer, yes, being plus size comes with its perks but also with its heavy burdens such as everyone assuming you´re a lazy bum and the constant verbal bullying.
When she was small, everyone always assumed that Mwende was older than her older sister, who was five years older than her. “They” the societal women would always comment “ulikua unakula food ya sister yako,” this became an all too common greeting that she got fed up with. Those who didn´t know would always assume she was the first born when compared to her elder sister. She was only nine, and society had made it damn sure that she was aware of how different she was, bigger than her age, her agemates, she felt ashamed, they would throw in a few suggestions of the things she needed to do to be happy, and when that did not work, they would encourage her with phrases like…..don´t worry its just baby fat it will go away with time. Well, it didn´t!
But she bloomed, adolescence came along and she bloomed like a flower, her hips, ass, and boobs came in. In just two weeks, I told you, she bloomed like a flower, and all of a sudden, she did not look like a stodgy rectangular girl. With the figure came the stretch marks, the really dark stretch marks that were absolutely visible.
“One day while changing into my games kit another girl noticed them and asked me if I had been burnt or what happened to my lower back I was so embarrassed but I calmly explained they were stretch marks and the shock on her face sealed the negative relationship I had with my stretch marks. I would use ridiculous methods to hide them at all costs, including never wearing sleeveless tops despite how pretty it was” she said smiling.
“Has someone ever looked back at you, in a hike and bluntly ask how you can walk that much? Like, you have done such a miracle for being active?” she asked me.
I smiled nodding, knowing too well that name calling comes with the territory. You get verbally abused so many times that you get too used to it and you have to draw the line between what you choose to believe and what you drop and live your life because, at the end of the day, only your opinion of you matters.
” When I was growing up, I had body image issues and self-doubt but I always stood out. I was the girl who would be called to pray at all events give a vote of thanks, take photos with the guest of honor, the perfect, soloist, and leader of all clubs and movements that I joined. However, going through my photos from the late 90s to present time I noticed I was never happy at the time any photo was being taken. I always wanted to be in a different body in each, never content, always waiting for the perfect version of me to be truly happy. It is so sad. I never really knew how to live in the moment. I always look back and carry a few regrets with me,” she said gazing out of the window as if she could go back to her childhood self and tell her to just be happy.
“I could have taken more photos, I should have smiled more, I should have acted differently because I looked amazing but I never felt it. I knew I needed to look for the perfect version to be happy. I believed the perfect version of me would emerge and all of a sudden and save me from all that I had felt. Oh! Chasing the wind!”
Flash forward to the present, she still gets her dark stretch marks, she loves them, they are part of her body. She chose to be happy. She had to search deep within to understand who she was and what she was made of. When she looks back to the girl that she was she finds herself apologizing to the girl that she was. For the times that she allowed herself to judge herself and didn´t accept herself for who she was, the times she let others define her happiness.
As we finish up being the motivational speaker that she is, she gives me sound advise that I can only put in her words.
How to be confident in your own body.
- Stop comparing yourself.
You are an original, not a copy. Comparison with what society deems worthy will not only rob you of your joy, it will also turn you against yourself. Plus, society keeps shifting on what is acceptable and what is not, thus if you limit yourself to gaining your worth from society you will need to constantly adjust and change who you are to fit in the particular mold society finds amazing at that particular point in time.
Instead, spend some extra time to understand each and every inch of you every day. Once you fully understand who you are and what you offer you will not see a need for comparison
2 Think positively.
A negative thought can destroy you completely each time you get negative thought combat it immediately with two positive thoughts otherwise it will grow and attract other negative thoughts. This constant showering of positive thoughts to yourself helps when you are being scrutinized by society. They give you a thick skin and no one can penetrate it and hurt you.
Like Robin Sharma in, “The monk who sold his Ferrari” would say negative thoughts are poisonous in nature and must be dealt with immediately. Also, you are attracted to what you think because you will eventually become what you think. Thus, from now on sit down and come up with positive mantras that you will constantly use and repeat to yourself especially when you are having tough days.
- Accept your mistakes
It is ok to be human and to fall once in a while. Once you accept your mistakes you can learn about them and avoid them in the future.
Accepting involves forgiving yourself and not replaying the scenario over and over again in your head
4.Set personal goals.
Write, sketch, draw, sing, rap and envision your goals every day. Where do you want to be? how will you get where you want to be? What do you need in the process? How long will it take? This makes you have a clear vision of what you want in life and in time it increases your focus and hence confidence levels increase. When goal setting, do not let anyone or society define you. You know who you are and what you wanted to get do not yet assertive fix you into a box and limit what you can do or become. Remember dream big and act with persistence, precision, and perseverance.
- Get a makeover!!!!
Yes! slay for the gawds!!!!
That new hairstyle you have always wanted, try it!! Get the clothes that enhance what you have without overexposing yourself. Get a new wardrobe that is tailored for your body and personality specifically. Clothes should adorn you and not wear you. There are no limits!!!
Mix and match different styles until you get the styles that suit you completely.
Do something you love
When you pursue something you genuinely love and have passion for it to be able to pursue it with such vehemence during the good days the bad days and you’ll be able to defend, expound on it and share the dream with other people with such ease regardless of who they are.
How do you find something you love very simple you need to acquire knowledge of self?
First, ask yourself who am I? what challenges do I face? what do I want in life? What is my purpose in life? what do you want to be my legacy? what do enjoy doing what do I not enjoy doing?
Second, dedicate at least 30 minutes each day to reading books and acquiring knowledge. However, just don’t read anything read things that only add value to your life and especially your mind.
It is not what you get out of the book that is enriching but it is what the books get out of you that will ultimately change your life.
Do you love your body?
Yes, I do.
This is the biggest I have ever been my entire life but this is the point I have the most confidence ever!
Self-love just changes you. You get a new glow, purpose, direction, and confidence that you would never have thought possible.
I started with very small steps, looking in the mirror and appreciating myself. Looking for something I loved about my body and focusing on that until eventually, I started loving all of me.
For the parts of my body I don’t love I usually ask myself 1 question.
1. Can I change it?
If yes, I work to change it immediately.
If no I learn to accept it as it is.
- What advice would you give someone who thinks all they have to give to the world is to lose weight?
I would ask them to find themselves first. This would involve taking a step back and just thinking what do you want to do? Not what is society asking you to do?
a. Do you want to lose weight? If yes you will find a plan and stick to it because you decided to do it and it aligns with your goals.
b. Do you want to remain as you are? You will learn how to love and embrace yourself.
Just know those two questions are not set in stone though.
Do you have bad days when you feel bad about your size?
Yes, I do.
Especially when I find clothes but they are 10 times more expensive. But it doesn’t make me feel bad for long I usually end up making my own clothes with my tailor so no biggie.
Plus, I learned the art of thrifting that gives me a closet I love.
There is something I would like to add, the idea that body positivity can only exist if we practice skinny shaming is absurd my light shining doesn’t stop yours from shining.
Thank you so much mwende for writing this story with me. We clearly need more positive people on this earth.
I’m back from my break. Thank you for all your suport and patience.
Thank you @m.w.e.n.d.e for writing this story with me.
Have a nice day, please do like, share and subscribe if you enjoyed the read.