My dear Jil,
There’s no gainsaying the fact that you are a full figured woman! That’s what you are! Now you may choose to go on a diet and lose weight but as at this day, you’re a full figured woman. This guy met you full figured not skinny. He saw a full figured woman, toasted a full figured woman, got a “Yes!” from a full figured woman, he’s dating a full-figured-woman, now, that’s a full figured reality if e’er was one! Anyone can figure that out, not so?
However, it’s one thing for him to struggle with your reality, it’s another thing for you to struggle with your person. If YOU can’t accept your bigness, YOU have a BIG problem!
If this guy wanted to date a slim lady, there are “ready-made” skinny ladies. Why didn’t he just go for one? Some men have messiah complex. Perhaps he’s dating you out of missionary pity. But surely, the idea of someone dating you out of pity must be repugnant to you however well intentioned. Unless you see yourself as needful of pity. In that case, that’s a self-esteem issue. Pity-dating is!
My problem is not whether you choose to go on a diet or want to become slim. That’s a personal decision. If your weight is a social and psychological issue for you, by all means do something about it. Diet. Exercise.
My problem is that your boyfriend seems embarrassed to be seen with you in public. Your boyfriend is ashamed of you! I concede that men always imagine themselves image consultants to their women. They are lapidarian in approach to relationship. (A lapidary is a cutter, polisher and engraver of precious gems). But such image consulting must not proceed along the lines of creative destruction of your self esteem.
It must proceed from nurturing love and affection. Otherwise the relationship ain’t worth half the price of movie popcorn. No relationship is worth the destruction and obliteration of self esteem. Ask Tina Turner!
Beauty begins on the inside. It’s why Solomon describes physical beauty without character as misplaced ornamentation. Quote and unquote: A beautiful woman without discretion is like a fine gold ring on a pig’s snout! YOU have to appreciate YOU! You must acknowledge every good thing that is in you! It’s the computational basis of worth and value, not physicality. (Physicality is an intensely physical orientation at the expense of the mental, social and spiritual).
If you don’t know your worth you’ll throw yourself at any man that pays you a token of attention – emotional tokenism. Men will sleep with you gratuitously and treat you like a convenience. Your inferiority complex will spill over into your relationship with other women. You’ll be ashamed of yourself in group photographs, assigned demeaning status by the wafer thin dictator.
I recognise some people ate their way to size but even if, you can’t carry that burden like an undeposited load of Golgotha. The truth is, some people will never be slim in life!
Some are born big, some attain bigness and some have bigness thrust upon them.
The idea that beauty is based on anorexic Barbie doll proportions is a lie peddled by fashion magazines. Have you seen some of the writers and editors of these magazines?!
Are they compensating by pushing unrealistic biomorphic visions? Even the most beautiful stars still get photoshopped!
Now, there’s nothing wrong with being slim or skinny, or being a model. But there is a need for contextualization here. The physical properties of the African woman are manifestly different from that of the Caucasian woman. Caucasians can be posteriorly flat! It’s why the jeans don’t fit you! The term “bootylicious” can only be African-American! (Even the pronunciation requires linguistical aboriginality). The idea of a universal standard of beauty is a phantasmagorical absurdity with no foundation in realism. I mean, look at Michelle Obama and Omotola Ekeinde). Look at your mum! If you want to lose weight go about it with self confidence, self esteem and self assurance.
Indeed this letter is not so much about weight as it is about a woman’s self confidence and self esteem. It’s about coming to terms with yourself, accepting who you are, loving yourself, appreciating yourself, knowing your worth. If you lose weight without self esteem, you’ll gain it back; or swing to the other end, or become a yo-yo dieter. If you lack self esteem, you won’t get the man you deserve. For health reasons, I’ll say watch your weight. Exercise. A loving boyfriend will encourage you along, supporting you, because he loves you. What is a relationship without love and support, or peace and happiness?
Well here’s an acknowledgement of some of the good things about you:
(*Make your own list*)
You have such a wonderful and vivacious spirit. You have a nurturing instinct. You can cook. You’re hardworking, intelligent. People feel comfortable around you. You are there for your friends. People trust you. Secrets are safe with you. You are loyal, even to a fault. You are a patient person and you listen to others. You’re a good woman! Surely there’s a man out there who’s looking for a REAL woman! You’re a plus size woman. You deserve plus size love. But it starts with you. To paraphrase Jesus, you can’t love any man unless you first love yourself.
I want you to celebrate yourself this weekend. Dress like you matter! (Don’t force yourself into clothes that were not designed for your figure. That is visual grief!) Dress as who you are – a big, bold, beautiful and strong African woman! Add some colour. Strut in front of the mirror and practice your poses. Then go out and show ’em!
Your life has just begun!
Your mentor, LA.
©Leke Alder 2013