I have known Wura since our undergraduate days in Uni. We both studied English in Ife and though our class was a very large one (I think we were about 400), Wura was one of those people who everybody knew. This was due to a number of reasons. One, Wura was very involved in class activities. Two, she was very charismatic & so, a lot of people who knew her, loved her. And three, Wura was big! Her stature, back then, earned her the nickname, WURABAMZY, and from the way it was pronounced, with special emphasis on the ‘bam-zy’, you could tell that whoever went by that name was somebody whose presence commanded a lot of attention and respect.
Besides how charismatic, beautiful and respected Wura was however, one other thing I noticed about her was her confidence. Wura was extremely confident. It told in the way she walked, talked and even now that we’ve left school, it shows still, in the results she’s been getting for herself. Personally, I find this really admirable, considering the fact that there is this thing in the society we live in, where plus-sized people tend to get stereotyped. It’s not surprising therefore, that when I decided to start the ‘Beyond the Surface’ series, Wura was the first person I thought of to represent everyone out there, who is big.
I really enjoyed her story and even though she had been busy preparing for her service year at the time I asked, I’m super grateful she was able to create time to share this with us.
I have always been a big person. As a child, I was really chubby and through primary school, I remember being at least one size bigger than the rest of my classmates. The disadvantage of it back then was that I looked older than my age and guys came disturbing really early.
In high school, it was the same thing. I was just a few sizes bigger than my mates but I had begun mastering how to use the size to my advantage. For instance, if I wanted to board a vehicle with a group of people, because of my size, it was very easy for me to pave the way and enter sharp, sharp. I loved that I had that advantage, among other things and everything was pretty cool until I got to junior secondary school 3 (JSS 3).
In JSS 3, during a particular holiday, I made sleeping a hobby because I was always home doing nothing. Since sleeping became my hobby, I started growing bigger and bigger and I wasn’t even aware of it. Somewhere at the back of my head, I still saw myself as an average sized person, so I didn’t bother watching the weight gain. I’ve retained that size since then to date.
Personally, I’m okay with my stature. It makes me feel really bold. However, I’ve realized that irrespective of how much I could claim to love myself the way I am, if my weight is left uncontrolled, it might start to get unhealthy. Also, there is always that stereotype and fear of being discriminated against, when around people. As a plus-sized person, you tend to get a lot of heads turned your way when you are in a gathering or simply walking down the road, and sometimes, you can tell that these stares are not because you are being admired. Sometimes, you can even hear people say foul things about you. As a result, a lot of plus-sized people struggle with low self-esteem and face on a daily basis, the pressure to lose the weight and look a certain way the society has tagged ‘acceptable’.
Truth is, the struggle is real. I remember crushing on a male friend named Dayo for years but he kept referring to me as a second choice, just because of the way I looked. I have also had to deal with never finding the right size of clothes and often hearing people say things like ‘nigbati o ti sanraju nko?’. When translated, that would mean, ‘when you are too big nko?‘, like that’s an excuse for not selling clothes for all sizes. There is also the issue of trying to board a public bus and hearing people tell you, ‘ooh, you are going to pay for two spaces o’. Comments like that are very derogatory and insensitive, but I have since learned not to let them affect me.
Besides all that, for me personally, there was also that fear of loving the wrong person. I mean, being curvy meant guys would naturally come on to you, whether they genuinely like you or not. So, there was always that fear of ‘oh God, I hope I’m able to recognize a guy with genuine interests when he comes along’. I’ve fallen prey of the wrong guys in the past, particularly in Uni, when I found out that most of the guys that were my ‘friends’, were actually only there for their selfish interests in my body. That hurt back then, but I know it would hurt way worse if the guy in question is someone that I really like or may have let myself fallen in love with. So, there is that.
Beyond my looks though, I’m learning that there is so much more to me that needs to be explored. I’ve always had dreams for myself that I know I have to nurture, so I can become great in life and right now, I’m focused on those dreams.
Yes, I am big, but I don’t let my size come in between who I am and who I want to be. When I have to hustle, I do, bearing in mind that I can push through anything I set myself to. When I want to make friends, I do. I’m a very social person and I don’t allow others to intimidate me simply because of how they look. I prioritized my education above a lot of things, and now, I’ve bagged a degree from one of the most prestigious universities in Nigeria.
Do I want to reduce my weight? Yes. Like I said, if left unchecked, it becomes unhealthy, so right now, I’m more conscious of how big I’m growing and I’m checking it, but if I do reduce at all, I think I would still like to retain a smaller version of my plus size. Till then, I’m focusing on the things that I should be focused on, and maximizing the opportunities that my size is bringing me. For instance, back at the orientation camp for my National Youth Service, I contested for Miss Big, Bold and Beautiful, Edo State, and I won.
Also, on the things I cannot control, like recognizing the right guy when he comes along, I’ve learned to hand everything over to God, trusting that He knows what’s best for me and knows how to make it work.
So to everyone who is feeling less important simply because of your size, height, beauty and so on, what I’d like you to know is that there is only one of you, and you can be the best version of yourself if you set your mind to it. In fact, that’s what you should set your mind to being. Irrespective of whatever anybody says or does to you, never stop being who you really are. There is so much more to you than how you look. Be confident in that; focus on that and you will move mountains.
I honestly can’t thank Wura enough for this. I loved her story – how it reveals everything, from what she loves about her size to how she is intentionally checking it, while ensuring that she lives her life maximally in the process. I’m inspired by the little Wura shared here and even though she is only just starting, I know that there is still so much more she is going to achieve as she lives.
Over to you now, did you take anything out of Wura’s story? If you did, please share with us in the comments. Also, if this story reminds you of your self-esteem experiences and you’d like to share yours too, please reach out to me. By the way, you can also find other ways to join or support our ongoing campaign here.
Till later, with love.
pS: You can check Wura’s profile and follow her on Instagram here.