Hey, beloved, we have heard you time and again swearing that you will catch a body if ever you hear, “girl you need to eat” or “why you goin’ to the gym” or “you need some meat on them bones, your man ain’t gone have nothing to hold onto” one more freaking time! We understand your situation and although we might have never been in your shoes, we kinda have an inkling what it is like to be judged for your size and hear unkind comments about your appearance.
We want you to know that your body does not defy the laws of science at all though you have been called flat-chested, boney, tiny, lil’ bitty, and a plethora of other things since puberty and hell, well into adulthood. You go out in public, and people tell you that you need to eat. They ask why you are in the gym when you’re already skinny. They tell you that your hubby or man needs something to grab onto. We still find it very uncalled for why in the hell do people think that it’s ok for them to come at you or any small woman like that.
We did not like how Ugandan poet Okot p’Bitek represented you as malnourished and western in Song of Lawino and Song of Ocol. We still don’t agree with people who call your body “English“.
We know that you go to the gym because you value your health. Working out is about more than losing weight and you can actually gain when you lift weights. You eat what you want, but they say your metabolism is on steroids and always has been. They ridicule you for buying your bras in the little girls’ section because they don’t make them in your size for adults. And your husband… well, let’s just say there are no complaints on him having enough to hold onto, so everybody should back the hell off!
We too are tired of people talking out of the side of their necks to you because of your size. For real! We just hope that if they want to help you, they should at least tell you something you don’t know, like you have a booger in your nose or your ‘fro is lopsided. They should tell you that there’s lipstick on your teeth or tuck your tag back into your shirt. Or better yet… tell you that you’re beautiful and they like your shoes. They can tell you that you have a pretty smile or a good spirit.
They should raise you up, not judge you, especially on some shit you have no control over.
I bet most people didn’t know that you were force-fed and put on so many supplements you can’t even count because they were trying to “fatten you up”. Or that you had to drink a gallon of that nasty mess every day when you were pregnant because your metabolism was so high your child couldn’t get enough nutrients no matter how much you ate. That people think that your daughter is your sister and that her little sister is her child. I bet nobody knows that you were teased and bullied because you were so tiny, and because you were so smart, that you were the poster child for swirlies and the butt of jokes.
You were told that you should stop trying to be white and embrace your Africanness as no man would marry you because they all want a real African woman, you know, one who is curvaceous and can carry children like skinny women could not carry children. “You’re thin! Will you really get a husband?” they asked you because obviously getting a husband is every woman’s dream.
“Your sisters have the African look, how come you don’t?” you might have heard.
It’s so bad that you were born in a flawed continent where skinniness is associated with three major negatives; poverty, illness, and infertility. If you are slender, the community around you will assume you do not have the means to feed yourself or your family. Your body somehow reflects your financial standing, hence, the bigger you are the richer you are and the slimmer you are the poorer you must be. They may even say that you are ill; that you have a disease that is keeping you from putting on weight and since you are so small it must be something very serious, even lethal like malaria or AIDS. The other one, largely perpetuated by women is that your slenderness equates to your infertility. If that small body of yours looks like it is barely supporting you, how could it possibly carry another life?
Frankly speaking, nobody seems to understand you but they are quick to pass judgement. To them, every skinny girl is that mean model they conceived in their minds. Of course, we know that some are, but not all of you are looking for the opportunity to hurt and humiliate someone, and honestly, we don’t like them mean skinny bitches, either. We just hope that they get to see that there’s more to them than being skinny. They’re just mean, insecure people who want to make someone else feel bad. Kinda like you do when you say something like “here baby, have a sandwich” to a slim girl just because she’s slim.
We just appeal to everybody to not repeat the cycle. Don’t be a part of the problem. Just stop it! If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. Let’s try to make that the new trend.