I am fat! Oops, shocking right? Ok, let me rephrase that, but oh wait, I am, uh....errrrrm....yeah, fat! This declaration sure sounds mean but try this; "You are SO fat!" Even punchier, huh? And please put all the necessary inclines and intonations and accents there for effect, plus that face, yeah, there you have it! My declaration to self and others about how fat I am might have me deal with it objectively, I gather. But it still is rude to tell someone to their face that they are fat though. I have had a doctor tell me I am too heavy for my short frame; light bulb moment, and my recent "trapped under a truck" scary feeling that ended me in an emergency room just confirms for me that I need to take heed of my weight! Like all women, ok, most women, I find myself talking about weight issues a lot more than I care to and like I say I am a bit on the big side, and two children and post 30, and so like Dolly Parton aptly puts it, everything seems to be on a southward trail. As much as it's every woman's favourite topic, it need not be an unsavoury thing to talk about. It shouldn't always leave that awful taste in one's mouth. In fact, it should help one embrace, what they have or don't have. Contrary to popular belief both extremes on the weight spectrum are an issue to all of us. Yes, I have a few friends and relations who want to get bigger than they currently are, with a struggle. There isn't a better place to be than at your side, as your own cheerleader, your own critique and sound board. Okay, I am at risk of being whisked off to Sabrana here (the biggest mental institution in our land) but hear me out first. See if I have made peace with how I look and feel about myself and someone comes along and talks nastily about that. I have the longest rain coat for the long walk in the rain and nothing beats that! You are at peace with yourself. This shouldn’t stop you, like in my case, from worrying about your health. Be sensible in all of this though. I am a size 38 and to want to go eight sizes down is tantamount to blasphemy really, is it even healthy? When it so happens that I am walking with a friend and see a really small bodied person and I show my friend that's where I wannabe, if she explodes in laughter, I am not bothered! Of course also have great people around you, the ones who will see past your double chin and your folds. The ones without judgement when you want seconds at the dining table; the ones who will let you know regardless how smashing an outfit is that you can't pull off the look. The ones who will listen to all of your diet stories and all the 'I'm starting gym on Monday' and still be gentle with you when you haven't six weeks later but still gently remind you how much you need to lose the weight, minus scorn in their looks, voices or texts. Pick your tribe well. If it's a weight-y tribe you're best off losing them than the weight. This is about life in general though, can be applied with the weight issues but it is for each sphere. When one is in a quest to be a better versions of themselves there is need for introspection. There is need for shedding. And there is acute need for a supportive circle of friends and family. We actually always know that, but as life happens around you, you lose yourself in the madness. As an avid reader and mostly self-help books I have come to know that surrounding oneself with positive amazing people is another sure way. None of the people that matter in my life have told me "you are fat!" like it’s a crime. They see more amazing things in me and about me to be bothered with how big I am. The ones who will have a need to mention my being fat, too often are using it to feel better about themselves. If you can't help them off that dingy place they are at, you are better off without them. They will drain you dry, dry of self-love. Imagine having left your house with your mirror concurring with you about how fabulous you look and your first encounter is with miss "Oh you're SO fat"! That's your fabulous mood out the window and a day of peeking at shop windows to see if she might be right after all. Let me tell you what you'll see, stupid big cheeks, instead of your beautiful high cheek bones, a horrendously big fat ass instead of your beautiful African rounded booty, skinny legs when your little frame couldn't have looked any better with another pair! And is it just me or do they have a knack for driving it home? You can't let them. In fact, you should not let them. Shock her; "oh I know, and I am loving it!" Plus they're feeble themselves and rarely know what to make of an assertive person. In all of this, have a graceful poise. Walk like it matters, strut it, and you're well on your way to fabulousity. I have a teenage daughter. We all know at that point in life it’s an everyday battle and worry about looks, weight and stuff. It shouldn't be. As much as I know I cannot stop it and that its inevitable, I also have to equipher, with knowledge, and an attitude and a confidence that should see her through this phase and life in general.
Read up on issues, all the time. Read on self-help. I found an invite in my mail one day to a "Stilleto Night" session as Wiona & Co, an image consultancy, had dubbed them, and it said we would be talking about 'Discovering Self'. I was beyond excited. Ah! I thought awesome stuff. It got me thinking, do I know myself, well enough, as much as I should? But in all of this, one thing I am certain of is that there is always something new you learn about yourself. A real understanding of who you are, outside of perceptions and extensions. "Hi, I am Tumie and a fat mother of two"! NO!!! "Hi, I am Tumie, a phenomenal woman." See this in itself is an affirmation to self-first and a cue to the recipient of this, where we go from here. If I have told you, in unwavering certainty that this here is me in and that I'm a phenomenal woman, you have no choice but to see me as that and we start off there. The bigger trick, believe it yourself before serving it. It is indeed an on-going journey, this discovery of self and unending too. Needless to say, it was a great evening. We all deal with different issues at different times in our lives. We see amazing women everyday around us who seem to have it together, by looking. But no, not in the least, but that isn't the point. The struggles in the everyday are compounded also by external expectation and judgement and the pressures can be insane. Can we all get to this point, where my weight, or hair loss or love handles, or bad skin are not the deciding factor of how you receive me over what an awesome person, or not, I am? In the week before the Stilletto session I had had a low moment, in the middle of a gift shopping afternoon. I went and sat at a coffee shop in the mall and texted my friend who lived in Johannesburg at the time. It hit me like a heat wave, caught me unaware. I was fine one minute and the next I felt fat and super unattractive. I boohooed to her on the phone. When I say surround yourself with positive people I know what I am talking about. Before I'd even creamed my coffee I felt like a million bucks again, thanks to a text from this here friend. It read;
"Your fashion savvy kids tell you that you are hot, then you let stupid thoughts spoil that feeling? No!! I read some guy's status, classifying people and us the big girls as 'ba Herbex'. It bothered me for five minutes, then l said 'l can't define myself according to someone else's opinion of me. I know that l am awesome in my own unique way, so l won’t let this define me'. Think about this; when you think about any of your friends do you think of their acne, cellulite, love handles, crooked teeth, big ears, or is it something bigger than that? Well, when l think of you l think 'sometimes irritatingly soft voice, nice legs that you don’t show off enough, fascinatingly calm demeanour' (ke raya ha ke go senya leina) but most of all l think 'what did l do to deserve such an awesome friend, who is nothing like me, but fits perfectly in my life?" That's all it took! I didn't shrink six sizes, no magic wand. I just realised I'd lost footing. This is the bigger picture. My worth over my weight! I have seen this do the rounds; "There will always be a prettier person, a slimmer one, a fatter one (did it say that) a seemingly more awesome one, and a more intelligent one". But I know this, there will only be me, and this is what I have here to work with, and as thus let me get on with it and have this one here fabulous, awesome, gorgeous and all things beautiful!! I don't know who says this but I like it, a lot. "I would rather be me, because everyone is taken anyway"! To self love;)