This is the first of the Beautified series and I am going to start with the story of a lady that is extremely dear to me. Her name is Toluwa, a 300 level student of Hospitality and Tourism at the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta. She is someone I admire greatly. I think she embodies wisdom, strength and a great smile. Despite all of her enviable characteristics though, today, Toluwa shares with us some of her almost ‘day-to-day’ experiences for being skinny.
Here it is:
“First, I can’t deny the fact that I am really skinny but it used to make me insecure and doubt how beautiful people say that I am. Personally, I am okay with my stature, but I always thought it would be nicer if I had curves. This is the only part I have had to wish to be like somebody else. I thought my friends who were as thin as I am were more beautiful because they had curves that I didn’t have. It always seemed their clothes had a better fit. The absence of these curves earned me such nicknames as ‘figure one’, etc.
At first, it wasn’t so intimidating, until I got to my third year in the university and my roommates started calling me ‘Pankere wo gown’. That is a very derogatory statement that if averagely translated would mean ‘a piece of cane in a gown‘. I knew I was being compared to a cane not just because I was slim, but also because I was straight. They also compared me to the Mercy character in Jenifa’s Diary, who we all knew was nobody’s favorite, largely because of her role in the movie. All the same, I found them really derogatory and I felt intimidated.
Recently, I volunteered for a photoshoot to help out with the #IAmBeautiful Campaign and while we were at it, a friend told me that the campaign I actually should be volunteering for is the HIV campaign. She said it so loud, everyone laughed. I felt really bad. Although my friend apologized to me later and she said she had only meant to compliment how good I was doing the photoshoot, with no reference to my stature, we both knew it registered differently in the minds of everybody else present there. I couldn’t stop thinking, ‘why HIV?’
I admit that sometimes, people’s comments still get to me but overall, I’m not really moved by the stature. When I look at my mum and how she used to look, I’m hopeful that I would one day pick up weight, but for now, I’m refusing to subject myself to any form of pressure.
Besides, I do receive admiration and compliments too which makes me see that there is always more than one way to look and if we could just look the other way – away from the insulting jokes and harsh comments – you’d be surprised to see that there are actually people who wish to be like you and admire you.
I’m a lot confident now and I have learnt to appreciate what I have. For instance, when my friends complain about how thin my waist is, I make a joke out of it, asking if they knew how much Nikki Minaj must have spent to get her waist that thin. That naturally shuts people up. If there is one thing that stays with me, it is the fact that I am made in God’s image and everyday, I am convinced that I don’t want to stray away from that image by making myself into something else. This applies to you too.
The next time you feel intimidated, look into the mirror and tell yourself admirably how beautiful you are. Don’t wait for someone to tell you that you are. It goes beyond the compliments we receive, you know? It actually starts from us believing it ourselves. Can we do that? Okay? Okay.”
Hey guys, there we have it. First I must say a big thank you to Toluwa for sharing this. Truth is, she is really just one of many other girls who daily undermine their beauty because they are slim. Back then, when people tell me I’m thin, I would oppose and say such things like “No, I’m not thin, I’m slim”. LOL, like there is a difference anyway. Personally, I hated the pity – Times when I would want to lift something and someone would say “Don’t carry it. You’ll break.” or I’m walking and somebody says “you look like the wind is going to carry you away any minute.”
It’s fine. Some people are just concerned that you may not be eating healthy and if that is it, please start eating and try to get a lot of rest – mental and physical. There are some others, however, who just want to taunt you or make themselves feel better. If that’s the case, don’t subject yourself to that kind of pressure. Like Toluwa said, look in the mirror and call yourself beautiful. Smile at you, kiss you, if you have to – anything just so Love begins to radiate from your heart towards yourself and that’s all there is to being confident.
Can you relate with Toluwa’s story? Tell us in the comment box below. Let’s hear some of your experiences too. Sometimes, saying it out loud is a good way to start. 🙂