Saturday, April 30, 2011

I Used To Be Bulimic

     The funny thing about my bulimia was that no one noticed. I did not lose a huge amount of weight. I was skinny but skinny people do exist so I never raised any eyebrows. As an African woman, I feel that admitting to an eating disorder is big. It took me years to tell anyone because I was so ashamed of such a weakness and I did not want to confront it. I am yet to meet any African individual open enough to discuss any eating disorder they may have had.

     And it all started in the States. As I have mentioned before, I went through an ugly duckling stage of life. And my older sister had her almost six-pack going on at that time so I constantly compared myself to her (little did I know she was going through stuff too). I did not do it to attract men, I did it simply because I wanted to be skinny and feel good about myself.

No one could tell I had an eating disorder. I was skinny but I still looked healthy.

     Anyway, I started to workout for  about two hours everyday. I would eat little all day and stuff my belly at night. I would feel so defeated once that 'full' feeling came about so one day, I put my fingers down my throat. And I kept on doing it. I loved that I could eat so much and enjoy the food but throw it all up and get that empty stomach feel. I was 17 at that time I do believe and in my senior year of high school. I did not overcome this until my last semester freshman year in college.

At my smallest. Prom '07

     I threw up every single day. My eyes would be bloodshot for hours. I had no problem going out to eat as long as I could rush back home and get rid of it all. How did I stop? I wish I could say that I went to therapy, that I prayed, that I had people stand by me through it all but once again, no one knew. 
     I was talking to one of my friends as we browsed through magazines looking at the models and she brought it up. She casually talked about the damage that it does to the body but one stuck with me for some reason; enlarged neck glands underneath the jawline. Later that night, I went to the mirror and looked at myself properly for the first time in years and all I saw were: 

Swollen neck glands underneath the jaw line lol.

     And that was it. It was something simple and almost superficial that made me quit that same night. The small swelling under my jaw was ugly to me so I simply stopped. That was in late 2008. I never got the urge to do it again. The swelling never fully went away or maybe it's just my imagination at this point. As a woman, I still struggle with issues concerning weight. I still have a poor and possibly unhealthy eating diet. But I love myself more. I go to the gym more and when I can't, I don't beat myself up about it. I love ice cream and chocolate, I eat them when I want. I do not deny my body what I desire but everything has to be done in moderation of course. 
     My thighs jiggle and my belly has a fold in it when I sit or bend over.  I am fine with that. I have love-handles that occasionally sneak out over the top of my jeans but that's cool. Not all clothes look good on me or fit me right. But that's no problem, I find clothes that do. I am not alway happy with my body, but I am happier than I ever was. Understand?

Random picture of a friend and I. I am this happy lol.

And I love the little curves I do have.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Yet Another of My Rants

This is a seriously one-sided argument on my part and I have no problem admitting it. If you are offended by this, you are overreacting. 

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

My Scar

     So I have had quite a few curious minds ask about my scar so here is my story. It was in 1995 or 1996 or so.  I remember the coolness of that evening. It had been a long day of not wanting to be in school and I was a struggling student in my early academic years. My older cousin was preparing to cook dinner and we were out of salt. Now bear in mind that this was many years ago for me so it may not have been salt, we may not have actually been walking to the market. My images of this event get more blurred over the years. She invited my sister to accompany her and I begged be taken along. I lied and told her my homework had been completed even though I can still clearly picture my open exercise book, red and blue lines left blank.
     We approached Okigwe Road and I remember insisting that I cross the street alone. I wanted to be a big girl and was tired of people holding my hand. Some say that my cousin agreed to let me cross the busy main street and others say that I shook free from her grasp and ran across. Either way, there was always some tension between us over the years. Long story short, I did not make it to the other side of the street. A car ran me over and was unable to brake, dragging me down the street much to the dismay and cries of by-standers. Now any Nigerian loves a good event so even though my accident was a bit gruesome and tragic, I am fairly sure they were delighted to be given a new story to describe for the next week or so. People were said to have dashed out to the road and manually stop the car with their hands.
     I do not remember any of it. And most of all, I do not remember pain. I woke up on a cold metal table and looked down at my utterly destroyed leg that had two metal braces through it. My father and mother were on my right side. My father was shaking his head and my mother was sobbing quietly. My father said that I had overheard them talking of amputating my leg but I had looked at him and said, "Daddy if you let them cut off my leg, I will kill myself." Not the typical statement a father hears from his six-year old. I still do not remember any pain.
     I missed a great deal of school and back in the day, I wish my parent could have afforded the plastic surgery and the physical therapy. But I am extremely grateful. I have heard from and visited several plastic surgeons around the world and they all said the same thing: Your leg is fine the way it is. Nothing more than be done. Growing up in Nigeria with a scar which took up my entire leg since I was so little was no challenge to me. I had seen all sorts of disfigurements starting at a young age and I quickly learned that although children stare, so do adults. Everyone seemed to have a scar and I would often get exclamations while walking down the street,
"Ewoooo! My daughter! What happened to your leg? Chai! What a pity!"
     You learn not to get offended by bluntness. I know what they meant so I was not hurt. But when I moved to the States, I suddenly became conscious of the mark on my leg. So I wore pants. For the first two years, I wore nothing but pants. But I got to college and I told myself that I could not go through my years hiding. I simply stopped caring. I stopped wondering about the scar and the fact that one leg is slightly smaller than the other. People still notice it. People still stare blatantly at it as I walk around. And yes, sometimes it still hurts. I still get annoyed when people stare at it repeatedly without asking. But I realized that my scar did not stop people from being attracted to me, that if I laughed about it, they would laugh with me and tell me to count my blessings. People ask to touch it when I tell them my story and I let them.
     Simply put, I cannot change my scar. So I accept it. I love myself too much to be uncomfortable over something I have had for literally the majority of my life. Not accepting our scars is the same as not accepting our skin color to me. We would we deny something like that? It is embedded into your flesh. It decorates it and mine comes with color (the white in the scar). As human beings, we will always be self-conscious of ourselves be it our teeth, stretch marks, height, weight and so on. The way I see it, if there is NOTHING and I mean NOTHING, not a chance in hell that ANYTHING can be done to those insecurities, learn to love them because how you love yourself is a huge part of how others love YOU.
     It is a journey my darlings so I know the difficulties. Take your time but still......tick tock.....time no go wait for you.