My Body shaming experience in Nigeria – I am a slim lady. A very slim one at that. I’ve been slim all my life. Maybe not all my life but I’ve been like this since I could remember. Though I was a chubby baby and I have proof (a photo from when I was a baby). However, the chubbiness (if that word exists) didn’t last long as it disappeared to only God knows where.
Life as a slim lady, living in a country like Nigeria can be frustrating because the people living therein sure knows how to frustrate one’s life with name calling – you hear names like tirin gbeku, sisi pelebe, sogbe, inu fele, and if you’re the lucky type you hear names like lepa shandy, slim shady, modella lomo, just to mention a few. So, you can imagine that feeling.
My journey of being a slim girl wasn’t smooth as I had my own shares of the name calling and low self-esteem set in. My friends calling me all sorts of names. To even walk with the fat ones was intimidating. I won’t lie about the fact that I felt intimidated whenever I’m walking on the road with fat people.
In my primary school days, the school was preparing for the end of the year party and each class was to present. My class was to present a song and my teacher had to pick some of us to act the characters in the song. For the fact that I was among the chosen one made me sad because I was the shy type and I had this fear of facing the crowd.
So, It was time to give us the characters we were to act and I prayed silently of me – ‘fada lawd, don’t let this aunty give me the thin part oh’ because back then they will not even call it slim, they call it thin and that name alone made the feeling worse. You be like, Am I a skeleton? Anyway, God answered that prayer o, she gave me the wife part, Halleluyah!
Imagine that sort of name calling since Primary School Days. It’s crazy!
This body shaming continued even in my Secondary school days. Everybody will agree with me that secondary school is the craziest however, the most interesting out of all the educational levels we have.
Especially those boys in my class, they will tease you and make jest of your flat bums and the emotional me will cry stylishly because you wouldn’t want them to know that they got you.
Like, I couldn’t just deal!
When I got admission into higher institution, I went with that secondary school mentality despite the fact that I had spent two years at home before I gained admission.
I was shy. I was ashamed of my slim body. I wasn’t free to move about. To stand in front of the class was a problem for me cause I would think people will ask me to sit my flat ass down and being a shy lady and battling with self esteem issues at that point, I knew I would have no choice than to sit.
I would take any drugs that they say would “make me fat”. But as time went by, I noticed that people don’t really care about whether you’re fat, thin or slim. They only come to class, receive lectures and move on. If you don’t see them, they don’t see you too.
My love life was not left out. My Exes too body shamed me. Not verbally though but their actions. And as the adage says, action speaks louder than voice. Before we hit things off, their sugar-coated mouth will not let you rest.
They won’t stop confessing how they prefer slim lady to fat ones. Before you blink they are cheating on you already with a fat lady. There was a day one told me that I should start eating so much so that all the curves could come out. I ate though, sincerely until I told myself to stop because there were no changes. None at all!
At that point I had to tell myself that I would not eat myself to death because of big curves. Funny right?
I mean, how can you body shame someone you claimed you love?
After all, you were not blind and it wasn’t as if you were blindfolded when you started the wooing journey till she agreed. I just don’t get it. Who does that?
How did I deal with this Body Shaming in Nigeria?
I saw how most fat women/ladies are going through on a daily basis, the amount of money they are paying at the gym just to have that slim body that naughty me is ashamed of. Gradually, I started to gain my self-esteem.
I started to learn how to love myself and my body.
Well, that didn’t come into full effect though till during my NYSC year when my platoon member chose me to represent the platoon in the MISS NYSC BEAUTY CONTEST. They told me I had a great body, and I should contest.
Though I didn’t win the crown but I won my self-esteem and self-confidence back. For the rest of the three weeks camping I was walking heads up and flaunting my slim body everywhere and I wouldn’t stop telling people that cared to know that I was the contestant for platoon 9.
Ever since then, I’ve been proud of my body. No matter how small my bum is, you will still see me swaying my waist here and there as if it’s bigger than that. No one is perfect. Isn’t it?
How you can deal with Body Shaming too
Let us learn to love ourselves no matter what. Whether fat, slim or thin. We should love and appreciate ourselves regardless. Love your body. It is your body and nothing else matter. Love who you are.
God is not a man that should make mistakes. He created you in his image. You are God’s masterpiece. Others are fake. You are the original.
To my fellow slim ladies out there, you are awesome. You are pretty. You are beautiful. You are who you are. You are not a woman whose self-worth comes from her body size. So, when next a body shamer comes for you, please give it to them back to back. Say to yourself, I refused to be intimidated.
Shout out to All Body Shamers in Nigeria
To our dear body shamer, how about we respect people’s body boundaries and encourage each other to feel like a babe no matter how they are?