“Why are you so fat”, “Orobo”, “Fattie go and lose weight“, and so on and so on were the catcalls from the collectively illiterate minds of the beings that populated The Baluba Kingdom as I passed by this afternoon.
Detached I wondered if they had a reason for being in school or if they could even spell the word education. I also wondered if being fat was the worst thing that could happen to a girl. Not being a ho, not having legs that spread like rumours especially at club Rumours, not being daft, not having a CGPA that could only assure one of a certificate of attendance upon completion of the tertiary institution, not being diagnosed with a deadly disease but being fat. With the way its spoken about now, it might as well be a deadly disease.
I won’t deny that what they said hurt, it did. In fact, I was on my way to buy Suya when the foolishness occurred and I did a double take towards the car park as if me not buying that Suya would shed 50lbs off my total body weight. I’m not proud of myself for denying what I wanted because of the words of the ignorant. I should have flipped my middle finger in the air, walked on like the boss that I am to the Suya spot and ordered all the Ishan and Shaki my heart desired. But its easier said than done.
Sometimes, I sit and wonder why people do what they do and the driving factor behind their callousness and myopic thinking. I wonder if they think, day after day, on things to say to a person to drag them down or make them feel bad.
It’s funny how, when you’re fat, and a person who hasn’t seen you in a long time happens upon you, the first comments out of their mouth go like this, ” Aahhhh….Waoh….this guy you’ve added weight…what have you been eating….you just went home to eat all the food sha…“. Then they proceed to give you advice on your weight and why being fat is the worst thing that could ever happen to you. Then you, the fat person, standing there has to smile and laugh about it and pretend it isn’t hurting you deep inside, almost tearing you apart. Or when you meet your parents friends or those elderly church matrons whose weights tip the scale, look at you and say, “Aaahh, Orobo mi, you are just growing fat sha!!! Eating all the food at home, you will not even leave for anybody. Why don’t you go and lose weight so you can be like your mummy and your sisters” and you have to resist the urge to slap the words back into their mouths because they’re old people and society does not condone rudeness to the elderly. Or you’re just randomly by yourself when some kind citizen of the nation who takes his duty as the national informant aka Tatafo, quite seriously and walks up to you in the market where you are just on your own pricing meat with the sweet Baba elerun and decides to tell you how to lose weight and how you’ll die in the prime of your youth because your heart will give out because of the stress your fat is putting on it and all you’re thinking is , ‘I just wanted to buy meat
People talk anyhow not knowing what you’re going through, not knowing how you feel during those moments of self recrimination when you blame yourself for thinking you’ve let it get bad.
They don’t know how it feels when you go to a boutique and the largest trouser size they have can’t go beyond your thighs, Or when those people in the hostel selling some beautiful dresses tell you, ” I don’t have big size” , Or when your friends are talking about their clothe sizes and you can’t talk because yours is theirs raised to the power of three Or when your thoughtless friend asks you in front of your other friends, “what size do you wear“, Or when another thoughtless slim friend makes a snarky “joke” about your weight in front of a group of fine boys you’ve been eyeing, Or when a male friend of yours tells you that you are like a brother to him(mind you, you’re a girl), albeit a fat one. Not to forget those instances when you want to buy something to eat and someone says, “should you be eating that with your size?” Or when you order food and the waitress looks at you with an expression of ‘no wonder you’re fat’ Or when you’re identified as , “the fat one” Or when you try to starve yourself and work out so you can live up to society’s standard of beauty and how you cry when after all your hard work, the digits on the scale don’t decrease, if anything, increase. They also don’t know how you fear the scale because you’re afraid of what it’ll read. They’ll never know how you make sure you don’t fall sick so the nurse at the hospital won’t take your weight and lecture you on how you are living an unhealthy life Or how you had to beg the man at Sea School not to call your weight out so the other students wouldn’t do the math and get three of their weights out of yours. How, they’ll never know the rest that you even refuse to think about for fear that it’ll bring on depression. Instead you bluster your way through life and friend zone every guy you meet by playing the part of the nonchalant, I- don’t- care about your opinion girl so they don’t friend zone you first. Or how you play the part of the jester so that they don’t see beyond that façade to the person hurt on the inside.
They’ll never see that.
Instead, they sit with their metabolisms burning the fat as soon as it enters,throwing comments and helpful advice on how to fit the status quo, while the less bothered ones just come right out with it and think of creative insults, I do say so myself, and tell you to “roll away” or “how you are the size of the wrecking ball used in Miley’s video” or how they can use you instead of the 707 cow to feed the starving children in Kenya and still have some left or how you can’t be a single lady because, well, you’re double the size of one, or if when they need two representatives you can just go out as per two in one. And what do you do? You laugh it out and give it back to them while your soul bleeds on the inside.
People don’t care that you are a great conversationalist, or that you love to write and have an extensive music playlist or how you love to design and have dreams of being a force to be reckoned with in your chosen field. They don’t care that you make a mean pot of Indomie and like matching underwear and think that good shoes are the best investment for your feet. They don’t care that you love being challenged or that you think The Sims is the best game ever invented. They don’t see beyond the fat, in all its glory accompanied by its best friends, stretch marks and cellulite. Sigh.
Dear fat person, I see it as a journey you know, however cliché it might sound, a journey of self discovery and a journey to realization of self worth and so should you. Its not going to be easy especially as we are in a society that has body shaming as its hobby. It’ll be really hard. I know that I’ll cry, sob, curse myself (and you will too) but you have to understand that the road isn’t smooth and easy. Heck no! Its a road filled with more pot holes than tarred surfaces with self righteous bigots as your traffic lights trying to stop you at every point, but you will overcome it. You’ll scale through flying high like Hercules on Pegasus and you’ll be proud of yourself. Trust me.
Written By Oyindasola Onwuchekwa
Published By Great Opara