You’ve put on weight! You are too heavy! You don’t like what you see in the mirror? Cellulite! Try out this diet! Avoid carbs! Avoid meat! Portions! Paleo! Do some exercises!
Many women do struggle with weight issues, and as a result, most do not esteem themselves highly. The pressures and the noises of this world have placed standards on what true beauty is, as we continue ‘keeping up with the beauticians’. You know the works; light-skin, backside, height, bust, flat tummy. You could go on.
Picture me. A better chunk of my life has been spent outside the ideal bracket of ‘perfect beauty’. I remember when growing up, I did struggle. My slimmer friends seemed to have it all and would get attention from men and women alike. Shopping to get the right clothes for me was a serious issue due to my pear-shaped body.
My parents thought I would grow pretty tall. I had the potential. But behold, my height reached its plateau in 1992. And then, my hips started broadening. And broadening they did! In high school, I acquired a nickname, ‘Hip Mama’, borrowed from the old Farmers Choice advert called ‘Quick Mama Slam in the Ham’. It wasn’t easy. I felt so embarrassed. My high schoolmates had no idea how I would feel when they kept shouting ‘Hip mama, slam in the ham’. And all this in the corridors of learning.
But I shouldn’t have felt so embarrassed. I was fit, I was active and despite my height of 5’3″ and hip size, I played basketball! Yes, I did! And I can see the smiles on your faces, all ye naysayers. Despite being hippy, I played football. I shouldn’t have felt so embarrassed, I was quite active while dancing as part of a dance group at the University of Nairobi. We usually danced intensely three times a week. I shouldn’t have felt so embarrassed, for I had even climbed Mt. Kenya! I should have just appreciated the fact that my body was different.
And different it was, as I received accolades in the streets of Nairobi owing to the ‘hip mama’ factor. However, that seemed not enough, it never was enough, even though I could now bask in that titular little glory. To me, I seldom felt beautiful. I lacked confidence and one could tell in my dressing.
Even at 39 years old, I still find myself struggling with my looks, especially after the birth of my son. I am still hippy. Actually I’m hippier. I’ve put on quite some weight and sometimes it really does become sort of a bother. My body has transformed. It’s not what it was in the yesteryears. That old album. Always bringing back those sweet memories.
You see, lack of esteem affects how we walk, how we dress and how we interact with others. We see ourselves through their eyes and think that they are noticing just how big or old we’ve become. But what is true beauty? What is it that we can do to think of ourselves better?
We are created in God’s image (Genesis 1:26). We can only be beautiful!
We were delicately knit together by God with much thought. We are fearfully and wonderfully made! (Psalms 139:13-14)
God uses beautiful women to achieve His purposes (Esther 2:7).
Physical beauty doesn’t last! Our concern should be to fear the Lord (Proverbs 31:30).
Beauty fades, only God’s Word lasts! (1 Peter 1:24)
I should take care of my body, it is the temple of God (1 Cor 6:19). That also means not giving in to sinful desires e.g. lust for food, sexual sin, et cetera.
We shouldn’t concern ourselves with outward beauty (hairstyles, expensive jewelry or clothes) but instead with the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit that pleases the Lord.
You see, I know what my Maker thinks of me now, and no one, not one soul, can take that away. The least I can do is regard myself better in this God entrusted body. I will live a healthy lifestyle, I will eat right. I will do exercises. Because, even as I look forward to losing weight in the process, I will be working hard at loving myself more.
I must say I have come a long way in accepting myself and I have learnt the joy of being comfortable in my skin. I still have my moments but I have learnt to laugh harder when I see my flesh shaking as I walk or dance (it helps to burn more calories, no? Okay). I am taking care of myself more, because I am beautiful. And I am working more on that inner beauty, that quiet and gentle spirit. That beauty that is unfading.
That beauty that you can have too. Ask yourself what your reference point is when determining true beauty. For as you pursue ‘perfection’ externally, you should keep working on your inner beauty.
As for me, I am now one happy Hip Mama. And I won’t be drowned by those weighty issues.