I went swimming today, for the first time in a long time. The last time I went swimming, I was seven months pregnant, feeling really heavy, my nose occupied half my face and when I tried to swim, I could literally feel the bottom of the pool trying to suck me in. I couldn’t float you guys. For real. So after a few minutes of trying and failing I just walked to the edge of the infinity pool and stared at the ocean.
I thought things would be a little different today because a) I’m no longer pregnant, b) I lost a little weight since April 2017 and the swimsuit wouldn’t be cutting my ass into quarters, and c) I wasn’t even trying to float, I just needed to keep Gong afloat and my hair mostly dry. It was supposed to be a beautiful experience, taking Gong swimming for the first time.
I’m not going to lie that I didn’t enjoy it, because I did. All 20 minutes of being in the pool with her after paying 1,000 bob each for me and My Lover, and 300 bob for her. Like any normal couple, we took turns taking pictures of each other with the baby. I tried to go for candids and keep my head mostly down because I find myself looking really weird without my glasses these days. And my eyes to nose ratio needs to be discussed with My Lord and Saviour when I meet Him. I tried to lift my arms slightly away from my torso because I read it helps slim them down in photos. I was grateful that most of my body was under water so I wouldn’t need to suck in my belly. I was also really grateful for my black one piece with the long fringes that both hid the tummy and provided entertainment for Gong.
So I thought I’d really like the pictures when I saw them. I liked some of them. But for the most part, instead of seeing the moment that had been captured, I saw the flaws. Instead of seeing the photos for what they were, memories of Gong’s first day at the pool, the flashes of her smile and her three teeth, the fun she was having in the water, I saw the three hairs that masquerade as eyebrows. Then I saw the tiny eyes and flat, wide nose. Then I saw the mark left on my non-existent bridge after many years of wearing glasses. Then I saw the double chin. Then I saw my arms. It would have been impossible to miss them even if I wanted to. They were just lying there like hunks of unsliced ham, all fat and dimply and annoyingly comfortable just being out there like that. I’d have seen even more if the water hadn’t been so kind as to distort everything from my elbows down. God bless refraction.
I’ve tried a lot to accept this new body; to celebrate what it’s done in the last couple of months. I look at my new stretch marks every day and instead of really hating them, I picture how awesome they’d look in glitter. I try to suck in my belly, which has lost the little tone it had, give up after 30 seconds and grab a body shaper. They’re not the most comfortable thing to wear in this Nairobi heat, but I will not let my pooch just roam free around this town, so suffer for the illusion of a flat-ish tummy we must. I wear my engagement ring around my neck because it still doesn’t fit me and I refuse to have it sized up. I’ve sold and given away many of my beloved shoes and accepted that my feet have gone up half a size, and eased that pain by buying new shoes. I’ve even (kind of) accepted that my hips are now a size 16UK and I’m wearing a 14UK up top.
But I cannot accept my arms. I’ve never had well defined arms and have very little upper body strength, probably because I’m as active as a sloth on a full stomach, but they were never this big. I’m having a hard time getting past that. They just lie there. Fat. Like the ones in the meme about ladies with fat arms throwing down a mean stack of chapatis at every family function.
The other day I was at a work event, and I wore this sleeveless white chiffon shirt that I think is really cute. I’d thrown on some lipstick and my beaded necklaces and I thought I looked kind of nice and proudly African. I took pictures with Rick Braun from BWB (he’s really sweet for a famous guy, they all are). I was going to post one on Twitter but as I sifted through them I was horrified. My arms were there, just chilling like they do all the time these days, looking like they belonged to someone from My 600LB Life. And my boobs! I’m not exaggerating when I say they looked like they were telling the time. 3.40am/pm to be exact. It’s like they were speaking to people in code. Those pictures knocked all the WTFs out of me. I was mad. Not only could I not post them and let people know I’d met someone famous that day, I spent the rest of the day wondering why the hell anyone would want big boobs.
People are trolling Miss Mandi because she wore a bralette to a corporate event. They’re mad because her boobs were out. First of all, even though I don’t think the outfit was appropriate in that context, let me just say that she shouldn’t give a flying f**k what people say about her dressing. She’s worked hard to get her body to where it is and so what if she doesn’t have perky, fake-ass-looking tits? I’d gladly take her boobs over mine any day. At least hers are not throwing gang signs or just lying there looking defeated and seeking hugs from her tummy. Lord knows I’d probably walk around this town naked if I had the body I wanted.
I know what I need to do to get the body I want. It’s easy. I just need to stop eating everything I come across, and I need to get some exercise in. Maybe even go to the gym consistently. Not for four days spread over two weeks, which is what I did the last two weeks of January 2018. And in that time I told everyone on IG how hard I was working at the gym, how sore I was, how committed I was. Issa lie! I honestly don’t understand how it is that I could be so uncomfortable in this body yet defy my feelings to still eat all the nonsense I eat.
I need to do better guys. But let me first start with prayer. I pray that Jesus will be the fence between food and me: that he will kill my appetite for rich, processed meals and leave me with the desire to eat only enough traditional food to nourish me and produce milk for my baby without leaving evidence of its presence; that he will give me a spiritual gastric bypass and miraculously cause me to reach my target weight of 69kg without killing myself at the gym; I pray that weight loss and perky boobs will be my portion, and I promise not to parade my naked body on social media or the streets of this world once I become my own body goals. Also please teach me to appreciate moments over optics, and teach My Lover to learn my angles so that he can bring out the best in me in all pictures. And all God’s children say amen.