Captured: Phindy with her latest, refreshing haircut which was the inspiration behind this article

07 February 2021 | 03H44

Well, it certainly has been a long time coming but I’m grateful for the journey it took to get here. Have you ever looked at pictures from your childhood and realised, hey, actually, I didn’t look bad at all? You wish the old you had possessed your present self-awareness – wouldn’t you have appreciated yourself a bit more? Looking back at my high school years where I came to learn a lot more about myself and came into understanding my presence in society, I didn’t do myself any justice. Back then, all I wanted to do was to be a bit more beautiful and I felt I wasn’t pretty enough.

Accepting myself has required that I understand many things that make me who I am such as understanding my genetics, background, gifts, experiences, etc. In terms of my genes, my maternal side has large female bodies and these genes run from the oldest members up to my youngest cousins. Similarly, when my mother birthed us, we inherited the voluptuous genetics as well. Subsequently, when I started growing up, I grew into my curvy body from late in primary school up to my high school years. All my maternal females are hourglass-shaped where they have small waists and pear-shaped hips. It’s only now that I realise that the female bodies are well proportioned and not amoeba-shaped as others made it seem back then. “Others” are people who constantly felt the need to say “you guys in your family are so big”- they made it sound like we weren’t worthy of being human. From this experience, I grew up fighting against my genetically inherited body type. When I learnt I have the power to control my weight by eating right and exercising, especially after a close friend said, “Weight is not a disability, if you’re unhappy about the way you look, change it” – I felt liberated. I started eating right, exercising, and when I lost the extra kilo’s, I felt I could live freely without getting body shamed.

Being called “sdludla” was so traumatic that it made me feel like I wasn’t human: like it was some form of leprosy and that I wasn’t worthy enough of socialising. You see when you’re big, you start to feel bad about eating and you’re more conscious about your food intake but at the same time, food becomes your refuge in your secret place away from the public eye. You’ll eat that meal, feel good while eating it then when you’re full to the brim, you start feeling guilty all over again – it can be a 8depressing cycle. I empathise with people who are battling with their weight and celebrate those who’ve been able to overcome their issues by taking authority over their own lives and doing something about it. If you look back at your schooling years, you’ll find that your classmates who were the heavy unpopular ones have turned out to be beautiful swans while the popular more attractive ones are seemingly not shining as bright as they were back then. A few people come to mind as I think of how true this can be at times.

I’m aware that I’m mostly attributing physical traits that make me who I am and that’s because we dwell much more on the outward appearance than the inner being. After all, the skin is the largest human organ so in achieving mental health, a great deal of physical assessment is needed. I’ve had to deal a lot with my outward appearance to condition my mind. Also, my hair has had a long trajectory too. After wearing my hair at different lengths interchangeably throughout the years, mixed with putting my hair and scalp under intense strain, I’ve finally accepted that I’m a short hair person and having short hair is okay. I naturally have thin hair and a weak hairline so this year I’ve decided to accept this and I refuse to put my hair through further strain – I’ll be keeping it short for a while thank you. My hair grows a lot faster when it’s natural without any relaxers and harsh chemicals therefore that’s how I’m going to keep it. When I turned a year older this year, I found that I had to reflect on who I am, my likes, dislikes, what I can change, what I can’t, what my body is capable of, what it isn’t, and knowing these truths somehow lifted a certain weight off my shoulders. In all, I’m ready to make my own decisions that help me live a more comfortable, peaceful life. In doing this, I’ll be letting my light shine while subconsciously permitting others to do the same.

 

                                             Lot’s of Love, Phindy xxx