This Constant Struggle…

This is a subject that is deeply personal to me and it is my hope that anyone out there going through a similar situation will read this and know that they are not alone. For so many years I have struggled with this, walked in this valley and shed a river of tears but I have come to realize that the only person holding me back is me.

Life as a plus sized person has not been the easiest and like I already mentioned has been a constant struggle for me. From the hurtful comments to the thinly veiled sarcasms to outright insults its been hard to just be. People seem to forget that words hurt. Actual physical pain can come from a few words that come from someone’s mouth. “You really need to watch your weight”. “You are a very beautiful girl but if only you were slimmer”. “Ah! as fat as you are you still eat? pls stop eating.”  “I would have bought you the dress but your size was unavailable”. All these sentences have been said to me and in very recent times too, by friends, and sometimes strangers. They are usually accompanied with laughter and a series of “I am just kidding oh!”  but they have been said nevertheless.

Society has a definition of beautiful and its getting smaller and smaller these days. Its why people, especially women all over the world are bending over backwards, not minding the costs to fit themselves into what society thinks they should be.

How did I get here? I didn’t make any conscious decision to be fat, somehow over the years, the scales kept shifting and it didn’t even occur to me that maybe it was time to make a change until recently. I am not absolving myself of blame. I should have taken some steps to prevent it, and I didn’t so its on me but I don’t need any constant reminders especially from people I barely know.

It took a recent trip to the Doctor to open my eyes to the fact that It was time to make a change and make it fast and I am. I am making those changes. Changing my habits has been a slow and painful process but I am. I am consciously making those changes and I am confident that they will pay off soon,God helping me.

Do I ever want to be skinny? No! I have come to a stage in my life where I don’t care so much anymore of what people think I am or who they think I should be. I want to live a long and healthy life and I am working towards it and with God on my side I will make it.

I am beautiful, inside and out. I am smart, kind, easygoing and happy go lucky. If you cant look beyond my body and see me for me, then that’s not on me.

I am thankful to my mother, my sister and my brothers, my aunts and my friends who have stood by me all these years. Do they tell me I need to loose weight? Yes they do. but do they smirk about it, call me names and be crude about it? No and this is why I am deeply thankful to them. My mother tells me I am a star, her star and she makes me feel like a million bucks and that makes it all better. I have a great support system and I am blessed.

So, to anyone reading this who is big, people will stare, ask you pay extra on buses, make crude comments about you even when you try to jog on the road side, but take a page from my book, lose the weight for all the right reasons, lose the weight for you, for your health not because anyone thinks you should or because that’s the only way you can be beautiful or acceptable.

Above all, love yourself because if you don’t, nobody else will.

Now That We Have Gone Back To “Suya” And Infrequent Hand Washings.

Few Months ago, there was panic and terror in Nigeria, Lagos to be precise. The Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) had struck and no one was safe. Hand sanitizers that were hitherto abandoned on supermarket shelves, sold out faster than anyone could imagine, Suya stands were deserted because we were told to stay away from certain kinds of meat, suya included, and people made conscious efforts to wash and sanitize their hands often. On the other hand, those that believed in bitter kola, salt and water therapy, and ewedu, indulged to their hearts content.

Handshakes and hugs reduced to a minimum, even in churches! Lagosians became civilized, frighteningly so that even at Oshodi and other rowdy bus stops, people formed queues to get into buses, and all the rushing, pushing and shoving became history.

Thanks to God and to the valiant effort of the Lagos state government, the disease was contained and mercifully the death toll wasn’t alarming. Gradually, things have returned to their status quo. The hand sanitizers that were suddenly so scarce and expensive have slowly returned to their places on the shelf. The Mai Suyas are smiling to the bank because their booths have been restored to their former glory and slowly but surely, people have gone back to washing their hands less and less.

Though it took the scourge of Ebola to remind humanity of basic hygiene, we should know that Ebola or not, washing our hands is key. Especially before and after meals, after using the restroom and whenever necessary. Keep your surroundings clean as can be, wash fruits thoroughly before consumption and avoid unnecessary body contact.

Nigeria is free from fresh cases of EVD, but other African countries are not and people are dying by the numbers. Husbands have lost wives, children have lost parents, and families have been decimated.  Let us remember them in our prayers.

Cleanliness is not next to godliness, It is part of it!