Beautiful at any size.

I’ve almost always been “big”. According to my mother, I was very tiny when I was born but by the time I was three months old I was very “hefty” as you can see…

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I was that child that reflected the love and care that my parents showered on me

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  Here’s where you say Awwww your mum is sooo pretty 😉

Fatty bombom and orobo were words I grew up with, no one had to tell me what they meant.  One of my teachers used to call me “Agric”, I even told my parents to call me Agric instead

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When I turned five (the picture above was taken on my fifth birthday), something happened that made me realise that fatty bombom was not some kind of pet name. We had a certain neighbour, Chinyere was her name. She was thirteen years old, I remember her age even now because at the time I fiercely wished to be thirteen years old like her, to go to school by myself and to basically do things without supervision. One evening I was outside with my aunty Ogechi when Chinyere called me fatty bombom, my aunt was angry and told me to call her skinny bones when next she called me fatty. She was very skinny back then and  amazingly- to me, she never called me fatty bombom after I called her skinny bones.

  I got into boarding school and got into a circle- I’d be fat at the beginning of the term and a pile of bones when school closed. I came to Lagos after Junior secondary and went back to my orobo status, I lost weight in the university but regained and even exceeded it towards the end of my stay. Since I left uni, I have embarked on weight loss journeys with interesting results. 

Why am I sharing this? Something happened at work recently that made me mildly angry. One of my colleagues likes to call me beautiful Ada, before you think he’s crushing on me… he calls everyone beautiful. Last week a certain man wanted to buy a certain drug when my colleague walked in and called me beautiful Ada.

“Not now, she has to lose 20kg before she becomes beautiful”  the man piped in.

I looked at him and saw a man in his late fifties who would definitely not win Mr Nigeria pageant- its not like it would be alright if he was MY Denzel Washington or something. It was fat shaming at its most subtle and blatant- yes I know what I did there. I was suddenly glad that I have never had body image issues as regards my size and I don’t think physical beauty as something solid,  I’ve always thought of it as fluid and transient. Seeing how illness destroyed my grandmother’s beauty further enforced my disdain for people who rate beauty as all important.

How do you decide to take jabs at a person for no reason? What makes you the arbiter of what is beautiful or not? Finally who the hell do you think you are? These questions ran past my head, rushing headlong to my mouth but I gritted my teeth and kept my face expressionless.

Again I’m glad that I grew up with my armour intact, you can tell me how I’d get beautiful if only I lose weight and I’d smile at you while mentally ignoring you. I got plenty comments from people who made it a point to tell me how disturbed they were by my fatness, I’d sometimes ask them “is it your body or is it your fatness kwa?”. I wonder how many fragile egos and self esteems have been damaged by our careless fat shaming, the saddest part is that this is usually done with the best of intentions but isn’t the road to hell paved with them?

Incidentally I wanted and still want to lose 20kg (the same 20kg!), my BMI is scary. Having PCOS is a catch-22 situation, if you lose weight the symptoms should get easier to bear but PCOS makes it difficult to lose weight. Sadly the drugs for some of the episodes also have weight gain as a side effect and I didn’t even realise that I’d sorta given up on trying to get my BMI in check until I saw Eziaha’s post on her weight loss so far- she started recently and I thought- I can do this…. And I will.

PS: BMI is Body Mass Index and it’s a measure of the fatness or thinness of a person.

Wanna know your BMI? Divide your weight in kg by the square of your height in metres and use the guide below to evaluate your ‘weight status’

Category                                                                BMI range (kg/m 2)      
Very severely underweight                             less than 15
Severely underweight                                      from 15.0 to 16.0
Underweight                                                       from 16.0 to 18.5 from
Normal (healthy weight)                                from 18.5 to 25
Overweight                                                          from 25 to 30
Obese Class I (Moderately obese)               from 30 to 35
Obese Class II (Severely obese)                   from 35 to 40
Obese Class III (Very severely obese)        over 40

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21 Comments

  1. “the saddest part is that this is usually done with the best of intentions, but isn’t the road to hell paved with them?”

    Oya eFFery boRRy Holl uP! Please! can SomeboRRy tell me how great a writer 1 child can be?! i mean how can 1 geh! I mean oFu Obirin.. have a writing style so Witty and professional! You na Literature Nobel Laureate material oh! hehehe Otunne.. the line above had me stop! Think! and go HmnmmnN!! Oshey! Ada for President..

    Wo nne.. Life eezz too short to be listening to the crowd.. Some want BIG some want small.. I mean Ijagila would give a Million to see me add a little weight and haf a Beach boRRY back then. Thing is ehnn Ada.. Most People say without thinking most times.. and thats a problem.. cause the person hearing must listen and then think to understand.. So its an imbalanced world of conversation we live in in Africa Nne.. Wo! **In Toin’s voice.. Dont let AnyboRRy rain on ya parade Biko! Do you and be you! Plus.. Clear me eh! You are not FAT?! Cause I haF neFEr eFFRer seen you as such oh! No nah! ya just big!

    Wait oh! So aYaf to come and goan do all that plenRRy PlenRRy Further maths and Differential calculation just to know my BMI that will still show aYam Thin. ah! No nah!! Since 2013, abi October 2012 sef.. the only thing ayaf calculated is Money oh! Aint noboRRy got time for BMI calculation heheheh **Covers fcace.. Pluuusss i am sure my BMI will be like – 8 or something.. Considering the lekpaness of my Generation.. **Cries in Binary codes.. Cheers Otunne toh Bae.. and just keep dancing Like no one is watching… and the crowd goes.. Oooooossshheeeey Turn uP!

    Reply

  2. “the saddest part is that this is usually done with the best of intentions, but isn’t the road to hell paved with them?”

    Oya eFFery boRRy Holl uP! Please! can SomeboRRy tell me how great a writer 1 child can be?! i mean how can 1 geh! I mean oFu Obirin.. have a writing style so Witty and professional! You na Literature Nobel Laureate material oh! hehehe Otunne.. the line above had me stop! Think! and go HmnmmnN!! Oshey! Ada for President..

    Wo nne.. Life eezz too short to be listening to the crowd.. Some want BIG some want small.. I mean Ijagila would give a Million to see me add a little weight and haf a Beach boRRY back then. Thing is ehnn Ada.. Most People say without thinking most times.. and thats a problem.. cause the person hearing must listen and then think to understand.. So its an imbalanced world of conversation we live in in Africa Nne.. Wo! **In Toin’s voice.. Dont let AnyboRRy rain on ya parade Biko! Do you and be you! Plus.. Clear me eh! You are not FAT?! Cause I haF neFEr eFFRer seen you as such oh! No nah! ya just big!

    Wait oh! So aYaf to come and goan do all that plenRRy PlenRRy Further maths and Differential calculation just to know my BMI that will still show aYam Thin. ah! No nah!! Since 2013, abi October 2012 sef.. the only thing ayaf calculated is Money oh! Aint noboRRy got time for BMI calculation heheheh **Covers fcace.. Pluuusss i am sure my BMI will be like – 8 or something.. Considering the lekpaness of my Generation.. **Cries in Binary codes.. Cheers Otunne toh Bae.. and just keep dancing Like no one is watching… and the crowd goes.. Oooooossshheeeey Turn uP!

    Reply

  3. Hello Adaeze,

    People sometimes have the false belief that are entitled to validate other people, it’s laughable really especially when the least qualified are the ones passing judgement.

    I sincerely appreciate your courage to , I am aware of the PCOS

    Reply

  4. Hello Adaeze,

    As usual, this was well written.

    People sometimes have the false belief that they are entitled to validate other people, it’s laughable really, especially when the least qualified are the ones passing judgement. 😀

    I am aware of the challenges that come with PCOS. I sincerely admire your courage to lose weight, your determination is inspiring.

    Reply

    1. Thanks Nedu for your kind words!
      I like the point you made on validating others, it’s sad too because most times these people don’t know the back story. It’s a lesson for me too, to be less hasty in my judgements and analyses.
      My weight loss journey(s) hasn’t been easy but I hope it will be worth it, thanks for being in my corner 🙂

      Reply

  5. Awwww….your mom is really pretty!
    I think that at every time in life, new standards of beauty are set. When I was little, I knew that my mom wanted to be fatter because that was the trend. Now, it’s the opposite as everyone wants to be skinny or lepa. I feel that we are beautiful the way that we are because we are made in God’s image and likeness.
    And I hate it when people feel they can throw words anyhow without chewing it properly.
    That said, you are very beautiful dear regardless of size, weight or warefa!
    (****your baby pic reminds me of my baby sis, Buu**** :D)

    Reply

  6. I was with a friend this evening when a slim girl passed us. My friend said to me, “Ada, achorokwa m ita odi aru this girl”. I laughed and said “na so life be. She wants fat we want to lose some fat.
    Life is not always fair. Isn’t it time we learnt to judge beauty by “what is inside than what is outside”. That man wouldn’t know that you have held me spellbound with your writings. Something the most beautiful girl in Nigeria might not be able to do. Good thing you don’t have body image issues, else he would have crushed your spirit and you wouldn’t have written this brilliant piece. I wish you the best.
    Meanwhile, ……your ma is beautiful

    Reply

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