Okay, so this is a very sensitive issue that I’m going to get off my chest. It has been said that one can never fully understand a situation unless one has been there before. That is why understanding people are mostly those people who have been through the most trying times and somehow managed to survive.
On this note, I am going to address a rather obvious and also sensitive issue that concerns me a lot. Issues that I let affect me unnecessarily for too long.
I was born normal. Just like the rest of you, I was born with my body having all the features that it took for society to pronounce me normal. Yet, where I come from, society dictates who is normal and who isn’t, regardless of how big your abstract passions are.
So, because I was born normal society expected me to not only grow up and act normal but to also LOOK normal. Yes, you have to look normal so as to not make the other “normal” people feel uncomfortable. Interestingly, the ability to look normal naturally is not within a human being’s power most times.
Unfortunately for society, I was destined to be different in a big way. Of course, I acted normal, but I did not “look” normal therefore that constituted a rather BIG problem (pun intended). You might ask, what was abnormal about me? I will tell you. It’s my weight. Yes, I was not only overweight; society described me as being obese and made it sound like I was dying or something worse. In retrospect, I think it would have been better if it seemed like I was dying because then at least people would have looked upon me with softer eyes and offered comforting words, rather than the uncomfortable stares and gossipy-murmurs I grew accustomed to.
Everywhere I turned from the time I was little, society was telling me how much I have failed in my efforts to be a normal person. Magazines did not stop telling me what I needed to look like to be socially accepted; in fact, all forms of social media never grew tired of reminding me on a daily how much of a big disappointment I let myself become to society.
Speaking of letting myself become a disappointment, it’s interesting to note that I did not choose this nature. I doubt if anybody really has a choice of how they were created. I imagine if we all had a choice on how we wished to be created, what a perfect (or not) world we would have today.
I know at this point some rather insensitive, insisting and annoyingly quick-to-reply-rather-than-understand people will start with all that “With the right effort you can change” campaign but listen guys I don’t want to hear all that poop right now. For years and years I have listened and tried so for once, instead of all that forcefulness how about you just adapt to me instead and let me be.
The amazing part is that people can be so insensitive… like the really don’t have any clue that they are talking to a person with feelings. That is why I respect fat people because in getting such thickness they also had to harden their hearts and sometimes minds to such insensitive “societal normal” people who think that they are better than everybody else and deserve better just because they were lucky enough to be born with good genes and a faster metabolism. But I digress.
For over two decades on this earth, I spent a lot of time accepting the fact that I was and probably always would be the biggest among my peers at every stage in my life. I spent a lot of time enduring the laughter and names people threw at me every time I walked past. It made me feel inferior and even less than a disgraced criminal or a third class citizen. I felt like I did not deserve good things.
Whenever a man decided-yes, DECIDED to ask me out, I was expected to jump at the offer because he was obviously doing me a favour by asking me out instead of all those slimmer girls I thought were better than me. Some men would say, “Unlike many men I prefer chubby girls” and look at you as if you should now give them a national award for even considering “chubby girls”.
I am a Libra, but I hated looking at myself in the mirror because society made me feel sorry for being me. I would gather courage to stand naked in front of the mirror and my reflection would look back at me and say; “You do not deserve to be happy for being this way. You should be sad and depressed. In fact, you should just take your own life and relieve society of having to deal with the discomfort your presence brings”. And I would cry: sometimes within me and other times the tears would overflow from my heart and escape to the surface to come pouring out of my eyes.
Then one day, something changed.
I cannot completely explain it but it is similar to that saying that goes, “When you sink so low to the point that you hit rock-bottom, you suddenly realize that you have no choice and nowhere else to go but up”.
I realized that despite my Stand-out size, I am flexible; I have a good working brain; I have no terminal illness; my limbs are complete; I have a large warm heart.
Therefore, I also deserve some really good love, a happy & fulfilling relationship because I can give back quality love in equal and even higher force; I am strong. I can take a lot and not feel let down. I have a wonderful family that loves me. I have a plan to make my parents proud and so help me God I plan to follow through on that.
This write up is not a cliché. If it was I would be talking about how much of a strong, independent woman I am who doesn’t need a man in her life to make her happy. While I do respect this category of women, I understand that I DO need love in my life because I know the power of love and its wonderful effects. After all, I have seen its impact on my life since I realized my great, big worth and decided to love myself. Don’t get me wrong.
If I could shed some weight, trust me, I would; BUT not for the wrong reason of simply being socially acceptable.
I am not on a big bold and beautiful campaign, neither am I on a bitter rampage, no.
This is simply an amazing fat young lady who is unapologetic about the body she was created with; a lady who has dreams just like the rest of you; a lady who has stopped caring about that standard of society.
Here I stand, unapologetically fat, because my fat does not give you a right to insult me. Therefore, why should you use it to define me or my abilities?
Here I stand, unapologetically fat because my happiness depends on me and the last time I checked, there was never a prize for being socially accepted.
Rather, history only remembers those who stood out and guess what: THEY STOOD OUT WITH NO APOLOGIES TOO.
©Racheal Dangiwa (2017).