I’m a young woman who aspires to maximize her life and has learned the importance of cherishing every single moment. When I was younger, I often received compliments on how lovely I was. While I never had someone say that they thought I was ugly, I overheard some ask if I was sick. Naturally, there was no way to hold them accountable. I was quite thin (many put that down to illness) and it was to be expected since, as far as I can remember, I didn’t usually eat much.
The concept of good nutrition was alien to me. Ice cream and candy were my favourites. Those treats gave me the nickname “Pokipoki,” which was later refined to “Sister Poks” (I wonder where my family coined those words from). I simply could not tolerate beans! I’m not sure what it was that irritated me so, but the flying and crawling weevils didn’t help. I meticulously and laboriously picked my food. It was usual for me to be the last to leave the table.
My mother would get upset if she didn’t get to watch me eat my spoonfuls of beans because she believed they might mysteriously vanish if she didn’t. On several occasions, I had to gulp them like I was taking bitter pills. She typically went through a lot of trouble as she displayed the “ceremonial cane” that was kept for circumstances like that, to make me eat (I seriously pray now that no child of mine puts me through this).
People would gush about how amazing beans and maize were together, which baffled me because, for me, the meal required separating the cooked maize from the beans, eating the corn one by one, and leaving the beans looking disgusting. Trouble was sure to follow if there was any foreign object in my food. I would stop eating right away and go tell everyone who would listen. Trust me when I say that I rapidly ran out of people to talk to. Fortunately, I discovered that eating rice was generally bearable. Though fish stew and rice didn’t go over as well because I would frequently find black particles in it. Initially, I thought the black particles in my dinner were insects, but they turned out to be the fish skin in the stew.
I used to think that when people said I was lovely, it was to make me feel better about my apparent malnutrition. When I looked in the mirror, all I used to see was a girl with skinny legs who was neither physically attractive nor repulsively terrible. The famous verse from the Bible that reads, “I will worship you because I am wonderfully and beautifully made,” was one I always chose to ignore. I only believed my face to be passable. I felt that my legs were too thin. I could see that there were pigmentation problems with my skin. My stomach wasn’t as flat as I would have liked.
My sentiments and insecurities initially seemed to be just a phase of adolescence, but it quickly became clear that this was not the case because there was no improvement as I subtly transitioned into maturity.
I went on a discovery-filled adventure through life. My perception changed when I realized that the ideal bodies of my models weren’t actually flawless. Many of those idols had to undergo extensive plastic surgery, heavy makeup, cover-ups, and act flawless for individuals like me who always saw the best in other people’s appearances but the worst in our own. Others made a variety of sacrifices and worked very hard. They were busy eating nutritious meals that undoubtedly work wonders on the complexion and entire body makeup, while I was content to indulge in my sweets and sugars. They spent money on workouts, which I was either unwilling to undertake or was simply too lazy to complete.
I came to realize that because people own their tongues, I can never completely prohibit them from talking negatively about me. Nevertheless, I can always choose how words affect me. I came to see the value of my own words above all others. I made a commitment to myself that I would never compromise on the principle of sorting words to see which ones resonate with me and my circumstance. This acts as a powerful barrier between other people and me.
I discovered how common it is for people to see the speck in their brother’s eye while leaving the beam on their own. In other words, everyone has issues to work on. People frequently focus on the vulnerabilities of others in order to mask their own. Then, those who are in a worse place reduce the victim to nothing.
Another realization I had was that I was focusing exclusively on the portions of my body that I did not like, which rendered the rest of my body irrelevant. I had spent some time scowling at them, complaining, and immersing myself in sorrow. I never experienced any beauty, and I let my excellent comparison abilities kill my thankfulness and delight. I just didn’t understand that I was unique and that I couldn’t have looked like anyone else.
I learned that even when I didn’t see any good in myself, God, who created me, still saw perfection in me, and that I can always rely on Him to be my biggest fan.
My discovery was to deal with myself as I was.