This one is for my skinny sisters.
“You’re this thin, yet you’re not beautiful? You’d better not add weight.”
That unsolicited advice from my former classmate never left my head. Her words messed me up badly. That was 2017, my first year as a high school Senior.
“You’d better not add weight.”
Her words followed me everywhere. I started to have this intense fear of gaining weight. I thought I could control my weight and shape. And to some extent, I did.
I resumed at my boarding school, a healthy young girl. I left with an eating disorder no one knew about.
I hid it well from my friends and classmates so that no one noticed my frequent skipping of meals, refusal to eat, and denial of hunger.
After all, I was that girl who was always seen consuming junk or talking about food. But was I really eating?
Yup, you guessed right: I wasn’t.
Every school break and holiday had my mum complaining about my extreme weight loss, but she attributed it to the school meals.
Little did she know…
Looking back now, I can’t help but cringe at the idea of me inducing vomiting and frequently measuring my weight.
I wanted no fat. I wanted no weight. I wanted thin me, with no addition nor loss.
I couldn’t bear being described as ugly. If starving myself would make me beautiful, then fine, I’m gonna starve myself.
But that definitely wasn’t the end or beginning of it all.
Spending the whole of 2021 at home was a big nightmare for me and when the comments like “You’re adding weight already”,”Your cheeks are getting bigger”, started coming in, I knew I was already slacking off.
My fear kicked in, and the cycle started all over again.
I would make excuses for not eating, deny hunger, skip meals and even lie about how much food I’d eaten.
This eating disorder turned me into a compulsive liar. I just couldn’t help it. All I was concerned about was not adding weight and hiding it from my family.
And boy! did I do a perfect job at hiding it.
My big brother was the first to notice my extreme weight loss. He would comment on my fatigue, large intake of water, and insomnia,
But trust me to go all- defensive. The very first day he mentioned the chance of me having an eating disorder, I refused to agree.
“I do not have an eating disorder. I’m just watching my weight, right? I definitely don’t have an eating disorder.”
I refused to accept my obsession with my weight.
My sister-in-law also joined in on the campaign.
“Are you starving yourself?” She would ask over and over again. My response was always “No.”
Funnily enough, despite all their mentions of extreme weight loss, all I kept seeing, every time I checked myself in the mirror for flaws, was fat.
Lots of fat.
Then the effects start showing.
I couldn’t tolerate cold, I was always tired –even without doing anything, stopped seeing my period, was always anxious, and oh! the mood swings and disorders.
I became so thin that I hated that same frame I was obsessed with maintaining.
My family had to step in. The recovery process is another story entirely ’cause I’m still recovering.
Now, I’ve gained a better sense of who I am and I’m slowly returning to healthier eating habits. I love my shape now. I love me – the beautiful me.
Whether thin or fat, who cares?
I’m so glad my self-esteem finally left the basement. And I really wished I never let the words of an insecure 14 year old girl get to me.
But it’s all in the past.
All I breathe now is fresh air.
Our society will never stop body-shaming, but I can choose to respond positively to it, yeah?
While people often associate body shaming with people on the big side, skinny shaming can be equally harmful to a person’s well-being.
This is not to equate thin-shaming with fat-shaming. Body shaming in any form is unwarranted, but it is important to acknowledge that thin people still hold an advantage as our society glorifies thinness.
I’ve been a skinny girl all my life but I’ve still had to battle with insecurities since forever. I’ve stored a lot of anger inside me against my family, relatives, friends, and strangers who contributed to my insecurities and low self-confidence.
I’m tired of your many insensitive questions.
You don’t need to ask if I’m dieting. I’m not! My body type should not make you make silly conclusions.
You don’t need to tell me to eat something. My Mama’s meals are delicious and I eat them three times a day.
Thank you for caring so much about my health!
You don’t need to tell me what to wear and what not to. I can’t pull off all outfits and nobody else can, for goodness’s sake!
Sometimes I hate how dresses hang on my thin frame. Sometimes I hate how shortchanged I was in the chest department. So I don’t need your advice to fuel my insecurities ok?
You don’t need to tell me why I need more curves on my body. I don’t need them! You only want them on me because I do not fit your standards or measurements of beauty.
And if you’re not comfortable with what you see, then you may need to take your eyes off me and fix them on someone else, got that?
You don’t need to call me names. I already have one – a real name, and you know it so use it!
I do not need your unsolicited advice; Keep ’em for no one else.
In fact, scratch that…chew and swallow your advice!
I’m still learning to love myself in my thin frame.
My best friend is still taking my unaware pictures to show me how beautiful I am.
I’m still learning how to wear my collarbone with pride. I’m still learning to view my beauty from God’s view.
I’m still learning confidence from the words of Psalm 139:14. But till I completely learn, do not make me feel insecure by passing rude comments about what I can’t control.
I fit curse pesin.
Okay, I won’t.
But, don’t provoke me to!
This post is dedicated to MB Banks. I shared this with him some months back and he helped pull my words together. Thank you for listening. Thank you for letting me know that my weight is not a burden. Thank you for making me realize that I am a beautiful ball of magic and fire. Thank you. Really.❤
Edited by Daniela Obike.
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I’ll see you whenever.
Till then, stay beautiful!
I am Oluwaferanmi,
And you are loved by God.