“Ughh.. What happened Mercy! You’re so skinny.. Haven’t you been eating”?
“Oh my God!…Girl!, are you sick or something because I don’t understand why you look like this”.
“Ughhh.. You look like you’re going to disappear any minute. What is wrong with you! You need to take more vegetables, beans, fish, a lot of red oil and less red meats .Drink Malt and peakmilk every evening for 2 weeks and watch how fat you’d get” .
These and more were some of the things I heard growing up. From distant family members, friends, even from total strangers. For a while, I dared not undress in front of others for fear of what they might say or suggest.I wore my clothes at all times and had my bath only when less people were awake (people that went to a boarding school will know more about sharing a bathroom)
In fact, The first HIV test I went for(which was negative by the way) was courtesy of their talks.We had just returned for a new semester in the University and as expected, people were well rounded in several places except for me of course (apparently, the fat allocated to me had travelled to Beijing and wasn’t coming back anytime soon).After getting a lot of side eyes from the “now size 8 but will still come back to size 6 in the middle of the semester people ,I felt I needed answers, so off I went in search of answers.
At this point, I need to remind everyone that bodyshaming can happen to just about anybody. You can be body shamed because of your height, size, complexion and even facial or body structures. It could be for ridiculous reasons like the size of your teeth, eyes, nose, eyes or any other body parts, it can be as a result of the way you walk, talk, eat or even laugh and it’s not restricted to a certain age (a 2years old baby can be bodyshamed same way as a 50something years old person).
Oftentimes than not, the “Bodyshamed person ” is left with a low self esteem.Take my case for instance.Not only did I feel different from the others, I also figured there was something wrong with me. This means I had to spend my teenhood measuring up and trying to live up to the society’s standard. I tried so hard blending in instead of standing out. I figured that if I acted or looked a certain way ,my size won’t be too obvious.
It took me a lot of years,reading and learning to finally accept and love my body the way I do now. In fact, I couldn’t have possibly asked for a better body. My size is cute and cuddly and I love every inch of it. I can say I’m finally at peace with myself and I’d like to share some tips that’d help any and everyone find peace with themselves.
- PRACTICE THE SIEVE METHOD
What we hear constantly helps shapen our thoughts and habits. Stay away from people who have nothing good to say to you. Especially on social media where we have a lot of trolls. Feel free to use the block or delete button. No one’s going to question you for that.
- BE YOUR OWN CRITIC
In a good way of course. Try to be sincere with yourself no matter what. Are you living a healthy lifestyle? Are you the way you are because of something you’re doing or not doing (for instance, a slim person might want to eat more healthy foods and a fat person might want to cut down on some things)If it’s something you can change, change it but if you can’t, accept you the way you are and move on. Note—-you’re not doing it for anyone other than yourself. Your health and total well-being is important.
- KNOW YOUR BODY,LOVE AND ACCEPT YOURSELF
When you do, you place yourself high above trolls and negativity (imagine someone coming to tell me I’m so tiny, of course I know I am and I love it like that. Nope, I’m not going to run to somewhere crying.. I already know what you’re saying, can we move on now?)
Loving yourself also entails speaking up for your self. Don’t let anyone bully you and never try to hide for fear of what people might say.
it also means not comparing yourself with anyone or wishing you were someone else. Nope, Jacinta’s butt is not better than yours neither is Joseph’s arms better than yours. You are amazing the way you are. Never forget this.
At the end, we need to understand that people’s opinions don’t validate your existence. It’s their opinion afterall and you have the right to either accept it or reject it.
I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it. That said, have you ever been bodyshamed? How did you deal with it?