What did my body do to you?

I remember growing up having an enormous appetite that my parents used to commend and me being a mommy’s and daddy’s girl, eat I did. After class 8 I had this, should I call it cute? No, I won’t brand it anything as that never crossed my mind. I had this belly and I recall vividly that after meals I’d be so full that the only thing I did afterwards was sleep. I’ve always been useless after meals, especially supper. This perhaps explains why I stopped taking a heavy supper since I have to stay up and function as an adult. So many things to be done.

I had this cute long sleeved white, warm, night dress that had cute little pink flowers all over it and whenever I would wear it to bed, my tummy would stretch it out and no, it never even crossed my mind one bit. Imagine my shock when I grew up(after high school) and started hearing phrases like:

no, tuck you tummy in honey.

With that tummy you shouldn’t buy a body con dress.

Oh no, I’m planning to start hitting the gym, nimenona aki! (I’ve grown fat). Says the lean bodied lady.

Where did we lose it? Is it the magazines? Social media?

The thing with cameras is you can always position them at a certain angle to bring out your best features. So you tuck that tummy in a little, you pop the butt backwards, smile and voilâ, your end product is a goddess (which you already are without all the posing by the way). When you scroll your social media and see your friends all poised and sharp, you start hating on yourself.

Why do my things rub against each other? I want a thigh gap like her.

Why do I have to sweat so much after walking a short distance? She doesn’t.

She’s doing well. I’m not.

Stop. Stop. Stop.

Stop comparing yourself with others. We all grow at different paces and no, there’s no perfect women. By virtue that you’re female, you have the estrogen hormone in your body that is responsible for your feminine features. Trevor Noah, in one of his stand-up comedies said that black is about size and shape. That with a black woman, you can gently slap the right butt cheek and wait for the wave to hit your hand on the left butt cheek hehe. So why are you trying so hard to strip yourself of what makes you you? Your femininity. It’s your biggest strength. Joan Thatiah in her book, Things I will tell my daughter, elucidates that we live in a society where everyone else, who has no experience whatsoever in being a woman, takes it upon themselves to tell you how you should live your life.

Be yourself. No, not like that.

You shouldn’t speak like that, ladies don’t do that.

You should smile more often, it’s unladylike to frown a lot.

I say, tell them to buy a journal and write their opinions in it!

Be you. The world will adjust.

Love your body. If you want to be better a version of yourself, hit that gym, start the morning runs but do not do it because someone body shamed you.

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Do you fight in your relationship?

Do you think some people only feel truly alive in the presence of conflict? Both internal and external. Do some people thrive on it? I have these, what you would call a power couple, neighbors who at first glance resemble any ordinary couple you’d see going around and about their business. They’re cohabiting and the lady is a stay-at-home girlfriend or wife. Didn’t the court rule the other day that come-we-stay is proof of marriage?

Not to digress, it’s a war zone in my area of residence. Every morning and evening. As soon as the guy gets home in the evening, not more than 5minutes later and its shouting and yelling and utensils being thrown around and physical abuse. It’s a pity these walls are not soundproof because they sure are not bashed to air their dirty linen in public. What baffles me is, what is it that two people could fight about yesterday, today, tomorrow and the day after tomorrow that is incapable of being resolved that they have to reiterate the argument daily? Its disturbing to hear people verbally fighting and even physically and you’re not in a position to interfere also its toxic to the children around. How does this affect children exposed to violence in their own homes or in their areas of residence growing up? I read an article by Troy Onyango a while and the protagonist had grown up watching the father physically abuse his mother and in his adult life, after marrying, he made a habit of beating the daylight out of his wife every dusk. He would come home, drunk or not, and start hurling insults and throwing blows at the wife. In his mind, he only knew to express love with violence. To him, love did not exist where violence didn’t. Sad, right? Disturbing too.

What baffles me is why would two adults consent to live together disharmoniously? This is how people die! It starts with verbal abuse, then a slap here and here, next it’s punches being thrown and next thing you now, someone slips into unconsciousness never to come to again.

Domestic violence is a real issue amongst us and we need to find ways to address this issue to reduce the mortality rate in both parties involved. This mortality rate is increased by both physical and psychological factors. You should see the guy walking around, he’s usually agitated for no apparent reason and rude. Stress is one of the risk factors for several conditions. High blood pressure being one of them.

Some of the peaceful ways to resolve conflict are:

  1. Calmly talk about it and in case you cannot calmly talk about it at that moment, excuse yourself and resume the conversation when your temper is out of control.
  2. It’s not a competition. Going into an argument with the mentality that you want to win will destroy the relationship. Its about meeting halfway, not winning the argument.
  3. Know your trigger points and avoid them. If you know that your partner is the type to use your words against you especially out of context in an argument, avoid exchanging words with them as this might escalate your temper and end in a disastrous way. Also, try to tell them beforehand that you do not like it so they can curb it or even better stop entirely.
  4. Don’t be afraid to involve a third party when things sprawl out of control.

Lastly, a caveat for those women who ignore the tell-tale signs of a violent lover, better to be safe than sorry. Below are some of the warning signs also, suggestions of how to tackle this issue will be highly appreciated and acted upon.

If you’d like to share you story please text me 0727946060 or email me at ybritty@gmail.com. It can be done anonymously. Don’t be ashamed of your story, it will inspire others.

Of feminism and bitter women

Lately, feminism has become synonymous with man-hating. When people think about feminism, they think about bitter women. Nevertheless, can you blame this notion? Most women out here claiming to be feminists have no clue as to what feminism is all about and what it means to be a feminism. Basically, any woman feeling hurt or stepped on will lash out and claim feminism to her aid. It has become a against every man movement. Which is a complete distortion of the original meaning of the word. I like Chimamanda Ngozi’s we should all be feminists book where she addresses the unequality issue in Nigeria giving examples of daily happenings in Nigeria. Merriam webster’s definition of feminism is the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities. Its all about equality. Some careers that used to be deemed male jobs can now be done by women too unopposed. Feminism is not about shaming men for basically being men. If a man cheats on his woman then he is not validating the feminism movement so women will come together to breathe fire and brimstones on that man. God help such a man for hell hath no fury like a scathed woman. They will cry, mock, joke and do everything to make this man hate himself. But again, not to defend this man but a man’s philandering ways do not make him misogynistic. It only makes him human. It saddens me that somewhere along the way we lost the bigger picture of why feminism is here. Its not here to give fuel our victim mentality. No. Its here to empower us and enable us do things that only men could before there came about the feminism movement. To create awareness that your sex should not be an hindrance to the heights you can scale. This goes to the men and women alike. Feminism is not here to separate and create wars led by bitter women to whom life has been difficult. Lets face it, everyone of us has problems. Yours are not the only problems. I understand, women can have it rough but sometimes its not because you’re a woman. It could be because you created these problems for yourself or they are consequences to your actions and you’re quick to blame them on your male counterparts. They are as human as you are. Remember that. And never forget that feminism is about equality and we are not looking to wipe out and trample on men to make it. We can make it together. Be careful not to fight oppression with oppression. We will be fighting a losing war if we cannot reclaim feminism to the former glory it held and stop hiding behind the word.