So last year we had a tombstone unveiling for my grandparents who passed away a few years ago. They lived in Limpopo and I have the fondest memories of going back there to visit as a kid. Most of the people who live there had not seen me since around the period my mom died and my subsequent wedding (probably the heaviest I have ever been in my life!)
So it goes without saying that people were pretty shocked to see me as I was! And honestly speaking I understand it, it can be quite shocking to see someone over 30kgs lighter! However what always gets me is how people feel like they are allowed to tell you ‘it’s enough now’ or ‘you are ok now’ like what about me or my relationship with you ever made you think that me losing weight had anything to do with your comfort or desires for my body? 🤷🏾♀️ Why is this not recognized as a form of body shaming?
I have to be honest though, I’ve been guilty of this too…an old friend lost truck loads of weight after losing her mom and I can almost guarantee I said something about it! Although my concern ran far deeper than her physical appearance, I knew the back story, I knew she was hurting-it was more about how she was dealing with the loss. My thing is if our relationship isn’t deeper than pleasantries, you really have no business involving yourself in my body!
Come to think of it, I’ve experienced body shaming on both ends of the spectrum! When I was gaining weight people felt the appropriate greeting was to comment on my weight. Mind you, those people had no idea what I was going through or how I was dealing with it (and I can almost guarantee that most of the time such comments are made by people who hold not true significance in your life!) They had no insight to what keeps me up at night or what the true mental or emotional state was and to be really honest, I don’t think they cared! So anyone who knows me can tell you that wit has never been in short supply on this side of the world, so you best believe that anyone who even tried it, got the best of me!
Most recently I attended a family wedding with the hubby (his side). The last time they saw me I was a a chubby tsonga bride who didn’t speak a word of shangaan! As I walked in, greeted and proceeded to the food to dish for my man, I heard them say in shagaan ‘it can’t be that same girl he married, she has lost so much weight!’ And another replied ‘maybe she is dying, you know these young kids and these deseases’ I was in pure and utter shock! Surely I didn’t look that skinny, I still had body goals and why must people assume the worst around a black woman’s weight loss? Maybe I just decided to get healthier? On my way out they switched to Zulu (I’m actually Xhosa but you can’t fault these poor tsonga women for trying!) and asked ‘how’s your mother in law’ to which I replied ‘She is doing great! Helping us out with the kids so we can be here’ In my very best shangaan! I literally saw their jaws drop to the ground, they were horrified that I understood everything they had just said about me- I was so amused with myself!☺️😂
My decision to lose the weight and get fit had nothing to do with what other people had to say, in fact people’s opinion was not a consideration at all. It was a very personal decision for me and I believe everyone’s reasons for getting healthy or losing weight are different but I’m honestly yet to meet the person who was told ‘ungaganani’ and based on this statement turned their life around!🤷🏾♀️
If you are ever going to take anything from me, please let it be that you are never going to please everyone! Whether you are gaining weight or losing it, people will always have something to say.
I think there is so much more to a woman than what she weighs at a particular point in time! Surely we all have more to offer than our bodies. Also I’m not a vase, I wasn’t put here to be aesthetically pleasing to you and if you don’t like what you see, that’s also ok- just look away! But I’m not about about to play shy or feel small or uncomfortable in my skin because I don’t fit your notion of a stunner!