How do you feel about your body?
That’s not a rhetorical question.
It’s something I often ask myself.
Its so loaded with meaning though; we dont like to answer it truthfully a lot of the time. I can only speak for myself, the stage I’m at now with my body took years to get here.
I used to look at myself and be repulsed by what I saw and unlike the size 10’s in my life my size wasnt acceptable. The idea of a girl like me being beautiful was so foreign. I still pinch myself when today I know this to be different.
I agree that society and the representation of beauty with the media isn’t the most inclusive. However the effects that has on some people is far more detrimental because of their own standards of beauty. Due to the norms and values they personally hold dear and what the aesthetics of what looking good is to them.
Maybe I’m naive but from a young age I realised that my beauty wasn’t conventional. So when I began to accept my body I started with me. I didnt seek the like sized or faced women to validate me. When it’s all about how you feel perfection is fluid. There’s no particular size that’s the optimum one for me. I used to feel my best at a size 14 but now I’m a 18/20 and have more confidence than ever.
A lot of that has to do with my post baby bod. After I had Sanaa mentally I had some really low times and like I said in MONOLOGUE “I love what my body did (giving birth) and not what it has become”. I was such an insecure teen yet I never thought I could feel worse about myself in adulthood than I did then. But thats exactly what happened.
I spent months in dark clothing that I hoped would hide me and hours mulling over all the pre baby clothes I couldn’t fit.
Instead of losing weight while breasfeeding I gained some. It was soul crushing to be honest it meant that my body still wasnt mine. It felt like I was destined for eternal self loathing. After a conversation with a relative she said to me just buy clothes that fit you. I did, nothing special a pair of mom jeans but I felt so awesome in them. Then I did all the things I was against I sought out women who were in my eyes flawless and plus sized. I looked at what they wore, I shopped in places only if they had a size inclusive range. I started talking about my size instead of acting like it didn’t matter. It mattered so much to me in those times.
Finally, I had a look at the plus sized mums and I decided I wanted to be a MILF (not in the naughty sense of the but the vibe). My size became an accessory not a factor and I could be sexy if I wanted to. I didn’t care anymore about what the status quo was, I plucked up some courage and posted a photo of myself in clothes I liked. Feeling confident.
It wasn’t just for me though, it was for other mums, other women and also my daughter. For them I wanted them to know we can talk about how we feel about our bodies without being ashamed. For my daughter because one day she may grow up to look exactly like me, if she doesn’t love herself it’s because I never taught her how to. You can’t fake it either so I had to be active in my self acceptance. That also means there are still days where I’m not going to love what I look like but most days I do. I just have to be honest about that.
I’m not the most confident woman in the world and I know all the arguments that people have about health and fitness. Also I understand those who feel terms such as plus size and curve are exclusive. I wholeheartedly respect them. But, right now this is what I look like and so I have two options to continue down that very depressive road of woe is me I’m fat and ugly. Or to stay on the path I am now: My fat girl magic is real, I embrace all of my curves and I can be sexy too.
Recently, my life has started to look different.
It’s almost become an out of body experience at times. Particularly because when I left home at 17, I was green to the world. I was also very naive to what independence meant. In the interim of what it could be to grow up, I had done it. The years of 16-18 for me weren’t the spare time to figure life out.
The circumstances under which I left home weren’t great (I’d had a very messy break up and an abortion), but it was my choice. Most of us know that ANY life decisions we made at such a young age probably wouldn’t have been in our best interests. This is possibly the first time I truly understood the class system as well. Now a days, this goes in my favour because I am aware of my freedoms. How funny is that, I’m a black woman speaking on her privilege; slim they may be. I learned a lot about the art of blagging. Not that we all must do this but for me it was instrumental in maintaining the false sense of security I had lulled myself into.
I was poor. My official living status was homeless.
Picture this my room was at a hostel for families, (nothing like the hippy ones I spent wondrous nights in South America partying in 3 years later) it had a rather clinical feel to it. My bedroom was also my kitchen and there was a shared bathroom down the hall. It was about 10 x 13 so the size of a large double room it, wasn’t very much but it was my own space.
I used to turn my oven on so I had heating, mental I know. I also used to buy a box of 40 ramen noodles to last me for a month 1 pack a day was sufficient. They were the tastiest things in life to me, now I eat them and get nostalgic. I had way too much pride to call my parents for help as I knew this was a life I had chosen.
In comparison to my life now I don’t understand how I managed, this is my truth. I just don’t know. What I do know however is that I supressed a lot of my feelings at that time so this whole piece is being written from an objective even logical stance. The level of humiliation I personally put on myself was a catalyst for my dogmatic work ethic (when things started looking up work was a brilliant distraction). I had been 7 months away from teen motherhood of twins, a role I wholeheartedly didn’t want until after my abortion. I didn’t know how to move through my experience and aftermath of the “adult” situation I was in. It’s interesting because the regret that consumed me was silent. My heart was silent, I was silent. Isolated and poor what a combination!
Yes, poverty was upon me in the most private way, I was on benefits and I see no shame in that statement. I did, I did for many years but now I see reality. I mean it wasn’t like the government had set me up so my head was above water but I wasn’t going to drown any further. For this I am eternally grateful.
I was emotionally spent back then not tired, not sad, not feeling much really just spent, my cup had run dry. Tired of being me in this life I didn’t understand. You know as a young person from around 13 years old we are fed a narrative of the big wide world. The narrative of my world was filled with less opportunities and more circumstances. We only allow ourselves a certain amount of pain before we switch off.
During this time I would dream of the days when I could buy a thicker winter jacket and not because I wanted one but because I needed one. I thought about sleeping in a double bed again. I even hoped for the days I could speak of being in an over draft because my credit rating was high enough to even have one. I wished for my emotions to return to me tenfold and for the sorrow of my soul to let me be free. For the self-disconnect to stop. For the regret to flee. For my nightmares to be kinder to me. I thought of better days.
These are those days. While I know that I’m no lady of leisure now I understand how far I’ve come. I’m stable enough that I can go and do what I need to have what I want.
Now out of choice being broke is apart of my brand. For me wealth looks different than it does to others; so I will never try to live above my means in an attempt to mask my actuality. Its a temporary state subject to change, like most things in life what you put in is what you get out. I know now that better days are always coming and the worst were a part of my making. To have achieved the standard of living I have now…. God, I’m so proud of myself.
It took me so long to switch back on. But when I did I made a pact with myself. One that still feels a bit silly but has been very valuable. Remember who you are. Simple, but its a constant for me.
I will forever be the girl of my past, the being of my present and the woman of my future.
I did an interview with the girls over at Motherhood Reconstructed, about what a day in my life is like. They made me sound so cool, thanks girls.
REMI SADE TAKES US THROUGH AN ‘AVERAGE’ DAY AS A YOUNG MOTHER STUDYING AT UNIVERSITY USING CREATIVE MEANS TO OVERCOME THE CHALLENGE OF BEING AFFECTED BY DYSLEXIA AND DYSPRAXIA. REMI STUDIES ALONGSIDE A CUTE SIDE HUSTLE DESIGNING AND SELLING INSPIRATIONAL POSTERS, SHARING FASHION INSPO FOR GIRLS WITH CURVES AND BLOGGING! YES ALL OF THIS WHILST PARENTING, I NEED A LIE DOWN THINKING ABOUT IT!
REMI HAD ME DROOLING WHEN SHE SAID SHE HAS SEASONED BAKED BEANS AND PLANTAIN WITH A COOKED BREAKFAST TWICE A WEEK. PLANTAIN IS LIFE AND SEASONED BEANS ARE A GREAT COMPANION. GUESS WHAT I’LL BE HAVING AT THE END OF THE WEEK? (END BECAUSE I AM WAITING FOR THE PLANTAIN TO BE JUST RIGHT RANDOM Q, DO YOU PREFER YOURS BOILED OR FRIED?). OK BACK TO REMI 👀! REMI HUMOUROUSLY TOUCHES ON THE PUSH AND PULL OF HER 2ND GENERATION CARIBBEAN CULTURE, BRITISHNESS, STUDENT LIFE THROUGH BREKKIE (YES FOR REAL 🙃) AND UNIVERSITY BEING A MEANS TO CHANGE THE SOCI-ECONOMIC STATUS. OVER TO YOU REMI…
You can find the full interview here.
As always happy reading x
Happy Valentines Day!
I’ve written a love letter, it was an interesting one to create. It’s also one of the most moving and personal pieces I may ever share.
I’m sending big thank you to the girls over at Mama Tribe for letting me put this out on your blog.
This is going to be a tough one but long overdue. Do you remember her? Did you find her? Let me ask you this… was she the same? After all the time has passed and words have rested on deaf ears was it all worth it? Can I be honest, you always talk about honesty.
As always happy reading.