by Ibukun Busari
Everyone loves to look and feel good and to receive compliment. Rather unfortunately, quite a number of people do not feel beautiful because they believe they do not fall under the societal definition of ‘Beautiful’, and instead of compliments, they get insults thereby leaving them with self-esteem issues.
I spoke with some amazing women, who shared their struggles with their body and looks. Due to the sensitivity of the subject, the names had to be changed to keep them anonymous.
Mine has always been a case of being ‘too tall’. A range of people I’ve met said the standard height of a girl should not exceed 5-6ft, but here I am waiting to be crowned 6ft soon. It wasn’t really easy growing up, for I have been tall since I was a child. In school, I happen to be the tallest in my class. I get openly scorned for my height, whether or not I love to sit at the front of the class is nobody’s business. I was always segregated to sit at the back with big and bad boys; on one occasion in primary school, my seat partner has desired to sexually assault me, I had scooted so much on the seat, I eventually came in contact with a nail which tore my lap and left a large scar till date. Having this body was and in fact is still somewhat a burden sometimes, people just accrue responsibility and power to me, they believe with height comes with sense, little wonder when I had foolishly declared my love to my teenage crush, he retorted sharply that I was nothing but a tall nonsense. It got better as I grew and encountered God.
I didn’t have a problem with my body and looks until I got to the age of 16. I got bothered that I didn’t look like other girls who had aft in appropriate places i.e., their hips and butts. I always felt uncomfortable in the way I looked in all the clothes I wore because I always thought, if only I had some flesh, this dress or skirt would fit me perfectly. It got to a point I had to cover my backside with bags and sweaters cos I felt I was not beautiful enough with a body like mine. I couldn’t even walk confidently because of fear of being judged, with judgment like ‘you are beautiful but you will be more beautiful if you had a little more flesh. Up till now, I’m still bothered by my body, I have never been confident about it. I want to wake up one morning and feel so confident and beautiful about myself, but I can’t…. something holds me back each and every time.
Growing up, I’ve always had a big stomach. I didn’t take it seriously till I got to senior secondary school. Then, I became more conscious of my body shape and size, so I started taking Lipton and lime every morning until my aunt stopped me, saying it would cause infertility. I sha stopped, but I was still obsessed. My mum kept reassuring me that my size was okay for my age and all that. I choose to believe my mum, and in the first two years of university, I embraced my size fully. I learned to love my body. However, I’m still fully self conscious about my stomach; you would never catch me in a bodycon dress, or any dress that will make my stomach look huge.
I remember one time in 200l, I was trying to dress for chapel, and prior to that I was ill and lost some weight. The dress I tried on didn’t fit me as it use to. Mind you, I use to be way slimmer than I am now, I was quite small. Then my roommate goes, ‘if you had the body now I would have said this cloth was fine, change what you’re wearing’. Back in 100l, my roommate use to call me figure 1, she said I had no shape, though she said it has a joke, it fucking hurt. Before university, my self esteem use to be really high, at the end of my 2nd year, what use to be a 100 dropped to a 20. I had to build it again to be stronger than ever. I have a friend who will say ‘this dress you’re wearing would look better on me, better come and dash me’. At this point, I don’t care if I gain or lose weight; I’m indifferent towards people’s comment.
I liked this guy yeah; so we started dating and all, but he’s always saying I should add weight that I was too skinny for him. Like didn’t he see me before we stared the relationship (sigh). He wants me to grow to the woman he desires. I took it in and decided to add weight cause of him. There was a time sef he said he’d be tempted to check other girls out sef.