Of inner, silent psychological struggles that manifest physically

I was reminded of the silent struggles we often face that take on physical manifestations recently as I read a post by one woman I love dearly- Tino. (why I love her is a post for another day) The summary of her post is this- (my words)

She met a school met and exclaimed about how this school mate had gained weight. This friend then burst out that she had a thyroid problem which was the cause.

I can only imagine and relate how Tino felt because I’m guilty of such outbursts about people`s weight- gain or loss. It is very invasive to make such comments to people we’re not intimately acquainted with as Tino went on to admit and apologise for. I don’t know how many of us ever get to know what really is going on with people`s weight for us to even dare broach such an intimate subject.

I’ve been one of those guilty of blurting out these often hurtful comments without knowing or understanding and appreciating people`s struggles. I’ve also been hurt when I’ve been on the receiving end of the same comments yet have not known how to respond without breaking down or lashing out at someone who evidently has no idea what I’m going thru.

I am tiny and ‘blessed’ with ‘great’ genes that make me look way younger than my age. During my twenties, it was awesome being thought of as being a teenager but it’s not so awesome being thought of being a teen when I’m thirty!

It seems to me that many a woman envy my body size yet I have serious issues with it! Believe me. (I did say that I would be more honest and nothin is sacred to me this year.) My weight struggles date way back when I was still a child- I recall my mum, Diana, administering vitamin C to me just so I could gain some weight. That stuff tasted horrible and it made me really hungry but the weight just wouldn’t come! I was still tiny!

For some reason when I was thirteen or fourteen years of age I just ballooned out. One school term I was tiny and the next holiday I had gained so much weight apparently I looked like a grown woman! (Yep! We visited my grandmother one day and one of my cousins- whom I was meeting for the very first time- admitted that ‘the woman’ to whom she had been referring to was me! What the! It dint help that my dad, whom I adored very much, then said to me ”
Ah, Tapiwa, wafuta! Wa’akuita kunge mukadzi kudaro?”{Ah Tapiwa, you’re fat! Lookin like a big woman?} Need I add that my younger sisters, my uncle and everyone in that kitchen hut laughed really hard? It hurt really badly.)

My extra weight was the reason I wasn’t in the athletics team anymore, I would not try out for the hockey team either because of it and now my close family and those I’d just met were laughing at me! It cut so deeply that I somehow began to hate ‘fat’ people- especially women. Somehow, they reminded me of that time in my life when I couldn’t do that which I loved- sport! (I only got to understand this ‘reason’ about two years back)

Anyway, as life would have it, I lost all that weight, somehow. I did not diet or exercise or do any sport but the weight just shed off all by itself and I was back to ‘tiny’ me- which I ‘loved’….for a while. Until it started coming back again. Somethin weird began to happen- I noticed that I actually LOVED being bigger and that the only reason I’d been ‘happy’ being tiny was because a lot of women and young girls would express envy at my body size most especially when they found out that I had a child (and it was even worse when I had my second:

“Would you believe that she has TWO children with THIS body?

“Iwe, she’s not a girl, how old do you think she is? Before the sharer went on share the ‘juicy’ info.

You have a child? A daughter, oh my! Son you two will be like sisters! (She’s my daughter! And always will be. I don’t want to look like her sister all my life!- I want to lash out each time I hear this.)

On and on went the comments and I realised that I began to loathe them. I wanted to look like the ‘normal’ mother (whichever way she looked which wasn’t how I looked.) My struggle got worse when I wanted to donate blood one year. I was under weight!! They encouraged me to eat but the sad truth is that I’m one of those ‘blessed’ enough to eat what they want without having to watch it and I ate I did. But it dint show!! I remember going on a binge eating period lasting over one year six months wherein I junked out on all sorts of ‘unhealthy’ food in a

bid to gain weight. I would wake up in the middle of the night just so I could snack. I would go to bed on a full stomach but it all dint help.

This struggle is still constant. I still can’t donate blood because I’m under weight. Whenever I get the right weight- it just sheds off! It’s so frustrating and I’m seriously frustrated. In addition to my being this weight, I have low blood pressure. Apparently my blood pressure is ‘ok’ being below the average but I tend to get cold easily such that I can’t take cold drinks- only room temperature ones and warmer or else I’m breaking out in goose bumps or seeking a sweater, some hot beverage or to sun bask! (I think that this is linked to my weight) And I still can’t donate blood! I struggle to accept that I might never donate blood in my life.

It’s not fair to make judgements about people based on their weight. It’s not even fair to love people because they are a certain weight. The world would be boring if we all came a ‘standard’ weight, height, skin colour, race, hair typo, eye colour, language etc etc. I still struggle with wanting to maintain my ‘sexy’ weight and body despite being miserable being that size. I’m not ‘lucky’ to be this small especially not when I get hit on by this generation of neon coloured shoes laced shoes, who wear colours so bright there’s no need to put up Christmas trees anymore. Aaaargh!! Much I love my bigger self, I always think about what sprinting records I would have set had I continued with athletics and I get miserable again. Much as other women envy my small body that doesn’t show that I have kids, I am nearly punching those young lads who think my idea of Mr Right comes wrapped in shoe lace bows that are in neon green and orange!

I promise to just love myself- whatever size I am. Not because others envy me or because I am ‘sexy’ but simply because if I looked like the next person and they looked like the next person- the world would be boring. Go out there and love yourself!

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