Hello lovely people who read my blog! Wow, it feels like it’s been a while. Sorry about not posting anything in a week, I had exams almost every day last week, and this girl was mentally exhausted. But now I’m back to my “regular” school life, and I’m in the space to write again. This week I want to share a part of my life story with you, and I hope it helps you in some way.
I remember the first time I became conscious of how or what I looked like to people around me. I was in JSS1, staying in boarding school. I got into an argument in the evening with a female classmate over something (I can’t remember what) and we were exchanging words in the room that we shared. One or two of her friends were with her at the time and I was on the opposing team by myself. I remember her saying, “at least I don’t walk like this”, and proceeded to make jest of the way I walked, leaning to the side. Then one of her friends joined in on it as well, laughing as she did it. I remember feeling so hurt and not being able to say anything, I just watched them as they went away while sitting on my bottom bunk bed. My self-esteem began to take a dive. At that moment I came to the realization that I had a limp, it become so apparent to me that my legs weren’t shaped like most people at my school. Then, as if on cue, I began picking myself apart as the days went by. One day I thought that my nose was too big (actually thought this all through secondary school), next day I thought that I wasn’t “slim enough”, next week it was that I felt my face was “too round”.
When I came back from school that term I started going to orthopaedic hospitals with my mum to see what could medically be done about my limp. (At this point I’m going to digress a little and give a shout out to my mum, who took me on those repeated long and straining doctors’ appointments, because I know it was tough on her too. You’re the best Mummy!). I won’t bore you with my medical history. However my issue was bigger than my legs, my issue was my mind-set. I began to see myself as less than other people in some way.
Puberty hit. Girls left and right were getting breasts and all ‘womanly’ curves, and I began to wonder if the puberty breeze really blew in my direction at all. I used to look at magazines and somehow formulate the idea in my mind that because I didn’t look like the girls in it, because I didn’t tick all the boxes in what was popularly deemed beautiful, that I probably wasn’t beautiful. No matter what anyone else said to me, no matter the complement I received, I thought of myself as ‘not pretty’. I gradually decided to resign to my fate to be only known as “the smart girl that was always on the star list” since appearance wasn’t my strong forte. This was the way I felt for about 4 or 5 years of my life. It’s sad, but it was the lie I believed.
I wish I could say sequentially how or where there shift in my mind-set began, but I know it was a factor of a couple of things. It took a lot of sermons and staying around certain right people, but slowly the idea I had which I thought was set in stone began to slowly break away. I realized that how I saw myself was lesser than how God saw me. It was like I was looking at myself through this distorted mirror, so I could never see the truth. I had to let God show me who I was, I’m still in this process daily, but from what I’ve seen, He didn’t have ‘mediocre’ in mind when He was creating me.
I cannot deny the positive influence my friends had/have on me. Permit me to remix the Bible to say that “good communication straightens out bad manners”. I’m blessed to have friends who encourage me to avoid comparison and also speak positive things to me, because death and life are in the power of the tongue. I cannot overemphasize the power of association; it can build up or destroy, depending on the quality of individuals you associate with. The thing is though, even if they said the sweetest things in all the earth, if I didn’t believe it first there would be no point. It takes you believing these things about yourself first, then other people’s words will be a confirmation of your conviction.
I’m not going to come now and act like I’ve got it all together, I don’t. Some days are just harder than others on this journey, it’s the truth. It’s not all 365 days of the year that you’ll wake up feeling like a million bucks. It might suck, but sometimes you and I just need to tell ourselves to calm down. I honestly believe that the bar humans have set for themselves in the name of beauty standards are just too damn high and unrealistic sometimes. People put so much pressure on themselves to meet up to standards that other people have set, crazy isn’t it? If you’re not careful, you can start comparing yourselves to people on social media who are probably comparing themselves to other people who are maybe comparing themselves to another set of people. This is why the cosmetic surgery business is booming, because people wake up and think what is on their body is inferior to someone else’s. The standard of what beauty is in our world today is constantly changing, basically proof that we are all confused. However God’s standard hasn’t changed, and it can never change. God calls you and me His masterpiece, meaning that He didn’t create us to be clones of one another. Each person is created uniquely, and in His mind there is no bar we have to jump, because He looks at each one of His creation and certifies it(us) good. So don’t kill yourself over some girl or guy on Instagram who you think has the “perfect body”. Who gave you your definition of perfect? The world or the Word? I know God’s definition of a perfect body though, it’s the one you were created in.
Now I’m not saying that working out to lose some weight or taking care of your skin is not good, however I’m saying that your goal to do those things is not so you can look like someone else. The goal should be for improving your own health, not so you can finally post ‘#FlatAbs’ on Instagram or finally feel ‘among’. Right now my body goal is not even weight loss primarily. I just strive to be a healthier version of myself. I want to live a good life, not just a long life. You can’t do that if you’re sick or hardly do any physical activity. Seeing people who are living healthy lives inspire me to do the same, but I pray to never get to the point where I place my life alongside theirs or covet what they have.
Fast forward my life story to about two weeks ago. I had just taken a bath and I had my grey bandana on, over my cornrows. I looked at myself in the mirror, and I just smiled. Yes, I smile at myself in the mirror these days because I like what I see okay? If you think I’m weird that one is your own wahala, I know I’ve come a long way since that day in JSS1. On the easier days I’m like, “who is this beauty that I see in the mirror?” On the days when I don’t feel so on point, I still have to remind myself, and God uses things to remind me, that a change in my feelings doesn’t equate to a change in God’s perception of me.
I’m excited to say that I see myself differently now compared to seven years ago. I’m can’t say that I’m perfect yet, but it’s a journey of progress. Some people could look at me and point out my flaws. That’s alright, I don’t get my self-worth from them anyways so it’s all good. What truly matters is that I always believe that I’m what God says I am: beautiful. I hope you always believe so about yourself too.
Thank you for reading.
COVER PHOTO EDITED BY: Sope Sogunle
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