Tag Archives: weight issues

Love your perfect imperfections: Part 2

I was elated; my friend had just complimented me; I looked amazing. Even though he was just a friend, his words seemed to impact my life greatly. And now that I had his validation I felt great. I was doing things right. That got me all psyched up; I maintained my low carbs diet and intense work outs. When I looked at myself in the mirror I loved what I saw. My curves were just how I wanted them. I was thrilled.

A few weeks after that night, mom sized me up as I set the table for dinner. “You’re slimming,” she remarked. I had noticed it but somehow I didn’t want to admit it to myself.

“No, it’s because I’m in baggy pants.”

“I know the pants don’t particularly fit but I’m telling you, you’ve lost weight,” she insisted. “It must be the intense work outs you’ve been doing lately.”

I didn’t want to argue with her. I just went to my bedroom and stood in front of the closet mirror. I tried outfit after outfit, to see if what mom had said was right. My clothes fit, but I could see there were some unfilled spaces that were once filled. But even as I looked into the mirror I didn’t want to admit what was right in front of me; I was slimming. Given that I was still petite, it meant that if I lost any extra weight I would appear unhealthy. I had just come out of a phase where I’d lost so much weight because I had been straining too much at a job I had, which had led me to quit after realizing I’d started feeling weak.

I couldn’t imagine dragging myself back to that phase consciously. Whenever I bumped into friends on the streets they would look at me like I was sick. I was too skinny. At the time I hadn’t met my skating buddies. We only met later after I had quit my job and had put on some pounds.

That night when I looked at myself in the mirror and realized mom was indeed right, I made a choice. I could opt to slim to please my friends, or I could just be my real curvy self. I opted for the latter. I would be myself. Whoever wanted to be in my life would have to accept me for me; with all my perfect imperfections.

Beauty is more than just the outside appearance. I learnt that ages ago when I was still a kid. I wasn’t about to let people I considered my friends dictate the life I lived. If they wanted to be my friends they would have to let me be the person I wanted to be, and slim wasn’t it.

Around that same time I found myself too busy with school work; I didn’t have much time for hanging out with my friends. When I was free they weren’t and when they were I was tied up with something. Sometimes though, I felt like I was deliberately avoiding them. Months later, last year, one of my skating buddies and his family moved. I was devastated, because somehow I liked him more. He appeared to be the head of the team, even though no one had officially appointed him. He was just cool like that. In my opinion he was the skater with the coolest moves.

That same day I found out they had moved, I called my other friend to check if he knew as he’d been out of town for the past few months. He didn’t seem to know. While we were talking I asked him if he’d be signing up for a skating competition that was being held in a few weeks’ time. He hadn’t heard about it so I sent him the link. Before we hang up he asked how I was doing and I told him I was great even though I was still feeling bereft after learning our friend had moved.

“I know you’ve put on weight,” he teased. I just gave him a mirthless laugh. I didn’t confirm or deny it. He said he would let me know when he was back home. When I hang up, my thoughts lingered on his words. ‘I know you’ve put on weight.’  I realized he was just a vain guy, fixated on my weight. I wasn’t going to live a miserable life trying to please someone who couldn’t see past my flesh. That day something inside of me died; the desire I had to be validated by my friends.

I decided I wouldn’t let them call the shots. It was my life, my rules. If they thought I wasn’t good enough to be their friend just because I wasn’t slim, then I had no business trying to force myself on them. I wouldn’t live a dejected life trying to live up to the expectations of men who had a twisted notion of the essence of true beauty; flawed men who thought they knew what true beauty was.

John Legend’s song stirred something deep inside of me.

Cause all of me

Loves all of you

Loves your curves and all of your edges

All your perfect imperfections

If someone loves you for real, they will love you for you; with your perfect imperfections; without trying to change you into what/who they want you to be.

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Love your perfect imperfections

Have you listened to John Legend’s song, All of me?

Cause all of me

Loves all of you

Loves your curves and all of your edges

All your perfect imperfections

Give your all to me

I’ll give my all to you

You’re my end and my beginning

Even when I’m losing I’m winning

Cause I give you all of me

And you give me all of you.

The lyrics above are the chorus to his beautiful song. I’ve listened to the song a couple of times before, but last night as I listened to it, it took me back in time; to the year 2012.

It was a warm, sunny afternoon. I had called one of my skating buddies to come help me fix my skates. The wheels had worn off and I needed to get them replaced. It was a few weeks after the Christmas holiday. He had travelled; ergo we hadn’t been seeing much of each other for a while. As he unscrewed the old wheels off, replacing them with the new ones I just watched, listening to him give a detailed account of how he’d spent the holidays.

When all the eight wheels were in place he gave me the skates back so I could try them out. Gladly, I put them on and rolled on the spacious car pack outside my house. He hadn’t brought his skates so he just watched as I did my rounds. A short while later I went back and sat next to him, pulling them off. I asked if he wanted to ‘test’ them and he was only too glad.

“You’ve gained some weight,” he noted.

“Yeah,” I grinned.

“If you get bigger than that we’re ditching you,” he teased, referring to the other guys we skated with. I only laughed in response.  That day we didn’t skate much; we just talked, catching up on the days we’d spent apart.

After that day I became so cautious how I ate. I’d make sure the servings weren’t too large, just so I wouldn’t gain weight. Then I started working out more to ensure I burned any excess calories. One Saturday mom saw the food in my plate while having dinner and she commented on how little it was.

“My friends said they’d ditch me if I put on more weight,” I laughed. She laughed too because it sounded funny.

Days later, on a Sunday evening I bumped into that same guy while I was going to buy groceries and seeming awestruck he told me how great I looked. “But your stomach’s a bit big. Or you’ve just eaten?” He asked lightheartedly. The worst part is he always made his comments blithely, so I always took them as that, jokes; only that later, when I was alone the same words would come back to haunt me, making me feel like I needed to try harder to get their approval.

Everytime I ate, my friend’s words would ring in my head and that made me avoid large servings; I didn’t want to lose my friends because of something I could avoid. It all turned out fine. For a while at least.

One Saturday while out skating at night, we went to some nearby bar to get some beer. The guys were having a house party. We waited while two guys went in to purchase the drinks. As we waited outside at the parking, my friend rolled in his skates up to where I was standing and he went on and on about how good I looked. “Skating should be made mandatory for girls,” he said, “It’s the quickest way to slim.”

His compliments made me feel good and bad at the same time. Good because he acknowledged I looked amazing and bad because he made such a big deal out of my body size. It’s like my size would affect his life. Later, he escorted me back to my house. We sat on the front porch, talking, and since I was getting into the house I took the skates off. Normally, he’s not that taller than me but because he was in skates and I wasn’t, he appeared much taller that night.

When he stood to leave he grabbed my waist, pulling me to him. “You look amazing,” he told me. “Don’t change.” I flung my arms around his neck, in a goodbye embrace. His house was in the next court, which was just a few minutes away. He wasn’t my boyfriend really, it’s just that he was closer to me than the others; earlier, before we went to the bar we had sat down on a curb to catch our breath after speed skating for miles non-stop. He had asked why I refused to be his girlfriend when he proposed some months before but I didn’t tell him why. I didn’t think we were compatible as a couple. My female instincts told me we were better suited as friends.

I watched him roll away in his rollerblades and I carried mine to the house, my lips curved in a smile. It had been a lovely night.

Weight Issues

weight issues

The last time I met up with some of my relatives from my paternal side a few weeks ago at my uncle’s birthday, I had a hard time bonding with some of them because whatever came out of their mouths was infelicitous as usual. One of my cousins approached me asking, “Where’s the baby?”

I was in the kitchen when she came up to me. With an eyebrow arched I was like, “Seriously? What the F…?” Only I was courteous enough not to say it out loud. Lifting my head up I smiled at her, “Why do you ask?” I already knew why she was asking that-another one of my cousins had asked that same question earlier-but I just wanted to hear it straight from the horse’s mouth.

“Well, you’ve put on so much weight,” she explained, “the last time I saw you, you looked like a stick.” Such polite words you have there cousin, I thought. I would be lying if I said those words didn’t irritate me, but knowing she was just being herself- failing to be courteous and all-I calmly reminded her the last time we’d met was about three years ago. My sisters and I had deliberately skipped all family functions; it takes so much energy pretending one’s happy when they’re not, putting up with crap when one feels like they would explode. We didn’t have the grace to turn the other cheek, so we avoided attending the functions entirely.

Like I’ve mentioned in some previous posts, this ‘funny’ relationship we have with them dates back to when my parents were dating; dad’s family was rich, mom’s was poor, so we automatically earned the ‘poor cousins tag’. Even when God bridged that gap the tag still remained. Initially I used to feel bugged by it, but as I grew up I realized judging people based on what they have/don’t have, or where they stand socially is just tacky.

“There’s no baby, it’s all food,” I added, straight-faced. I let it pass without making a fuss.

I wouldn’t take any offence if I thought she only asked that in jest, because honestly some people have a ‘painful’ sense of humour, but I could tell, it was actually sarky.

That’s one of the reasons I hate attending any family get-togethers; from my paternal side especially, because it’s like every one of the members has been gifted in offending others, and we (my sisters and I) always have to play it cool; taking it all stoically. With my cousin for instance, I was so tempted to give her a piece of my mind, but I didn’t see the point. I didn’t want to be the better villain. It’s something I’m trying to overcome, given the circumstances-my ‘violent’ childhood. I chose to take the high road.

The last time I saw my cousin and the rest of the family, I really had lost too much weight; the job I had at the time was too strenuous; it was actually one of the reasons that made me opt to quit. I remember one of my uncles asking me why I looked that scrawny. “If it’s the job that’s taking such a toll on you, just quit,” he’d told me. I understood his concern.

Now three years later, a few of them found it an issue that I looked bigger than the previous time. One thing I’ve learnt in life is that it’s practically impossible to please everyone. If I decided to dance to their tunes, I’d lose myself, suffering from eating disorders because I’m either too big or too small for their liking; just not the right size. Good thing is, I couldn’t be happier with how I look, and to me, that’s all that matters; how I feel.