Claremont shopping mall in Cape Town spent about a month handing out free (and delicious) cupcakes and inspirational messages to women. Women lined up and wrote down what they felt most guilty about and then were able to indulge in something sweet. I love seeing campaigns like this. It reminds me of the dove real beauty campaign which calls out for more women to love the skin they’re in.
Let us eat cake (and fuck the guilt)!
Image not mine but I thought it fit Stevie Smith’s poem “Not waving but drowning”. I’ve been thinking about a lot lately, usually at the worst of times like in the middle of my lecture, and I think this poem is applicable to a lot of people around me. Maybe you might take something different away from it if you read it, but when I read it I think “not smiling but breaking” or “not laughing but crying”. I’m a pretty open person in alot of regards. When I’m upset or sad or stressed out, it’s pretty obvious.
But then you get people that bottle it up inside. I was talking to a friend who told me when bad things happen to her she opens up an imaginary box in her head, folds the bad thing up like an old t-shirt, packs it up and shoves it to the back.
How many people are waving but drowning inside?
Last night I wrote an important test and walked out knowing without a doubt I failed it. This would be easier to swallow if I hadn’t worked hard, but I did. I’m sure this has happened to you before; you study really really hard just to open the paper and think “fuck me, what is this?”
I was feeling really sad so, like I tend to do, I called my mom. I’m quite aware of my borderline OCD tendencies. I hate it when things don’t go the way I thought they would. When I’m feeling like that, all I want to do is bury myself in my blankets and sleep for a month. My mom is the only person I can talk to so that my bubbles of sadness pop pop pop in my head.
I woke up feeling a lot better but still questioning if my degree is for me. Like, am I really smart enough? Can I do it when so many people don’t? Is it only a matter of time before I embarrass my parents?
I walked out my res and it was raining softly. I sat in the bus, looked out my window as we approached campus and, look, a rainbow. I saw the soft colors and started smiling. Then, look, two of them. I probably looked daft looking up at the sky like that but I just couldn’t help it.
I was already late for my first lecture so I thought I might as well get myself a coffee. I got it and was making my way to the lecture theatre when I overheard a women with a giant rainbow umbrella asking for directions. We were going to the same place so I told her she could follow me. Turns out she was doing interviews for a major auditing company. What are the chances that just as I was asking myself if I could it; there she was telling me keep an eye out for her firm?
Life isn’t a novel or a movie. If it was, she probably would have asked me for my résumé right there and offered me vac work. As it is, I’m going to take it as a sign from the fluffy angels above that there is light at the end of the tunnel; a degree at the end of the rainbow.
I like to think God is with me even when I’m not with myself. I like to think that he feels my sadness when I do; that even when I feel alone; there he is creating rainbows to make me smile.
Let me paint a picture for you.
My mom is a very conservative and proper women. She’s all long skirts and Chanel perfume. She is the kind of woman you probably imagine when think of church, wife and lady in the same sentence. She’s never been okay with me wearing makeup or showing cleavage and she didn’t even want me piercing my ears until recently.
So you can imagine my surprise when I came home for break and there she was with a bunch of makeup, new clothes and absolutely no chastening for my new pierced ears. We went shopping together over the weekend and I understood why.
There I was roaming around Edgars and picking up items I’ve seen girls wearing lately and thought she might like. I went to show her and she just stood still and stared for a moment then said, “I will not have my daughter walking around like a man” (except in Shona so it was actually a lot ruder).
Apparently, leaning towards denim and black and away from pastels is a warning bell. My dad seemed to agree and has taken to calling me a tomboy. In my parents’ lingo what they really mean is lesbian. It explains my mom’s sudden interest in my love life, or lack thereof.
Maybe the proper thing to do would be to sit my mom down and explain that wanting to purchase a denim shirt and combat boots is not equivalent to me coming out, and that actually I have a strong appreciation for the male form.
But, nah, I’m sure I could get myself a new wardrobe if I just stay quiet and keep wearing baggy shirts around her.
A very predictable thing about me is that whenever I start a new journal (and really a blog is just that), I tell myself I won’t rant and range about my weight but do it anyway. So I’m not going to pretend like it won’t be a topic of conversation this time round because it will be.
So there I was, minding my own business and milling around the house when my mom broached the topic. Apparently university food has not been kind to my arse. I don’t know, it’s one thing for a total stranger or the advertisements on TV telling you that you need to make friends with the gym but a whole other thing when your mom says it. I’m not pissed or anything because I know it’s true. I just laughed with her and politely (and respectfully) told her she isn’t exactly a stick figure herself.
Thing is, going to university is like stepping into a glass bubble where no one really pays attention to what you have for lunch or even cares. I can’t think of a single moment in the last year and half where someone at res or campus has made me feel bad about my body. It’s why I love it so much. The problem is that the longer I don’t think about it, the bigger my knickers get. And, yeah, I’m all for self-love and acceptance and I think some of the sexiest women alive have “a fullness of features”, as my friend Ruby would say, but it’s all about how you see yourself. Those women are sexy because they believe they are sexy and they don’t want to change. I’m not quite there myself.
I think there comes a point in every journey or battle when you have to ask yourself, what am I fighting for…who am I fighting for? So if I wanted to lose weight because I thought that would make be happier somehow or more worthy of attention or love, that is wrong. But if I want to do it because that’s what I need to feel more fulfilled then, okay, let’s make friends with Virgin Active.
I think this year has to be the do or die (not really, I mean…don’t want to lose weight THAT bad) mment for me. Either I shed a few kgs and get fit or I accept that my wiggley bits are part of me and start loving them as much as I love other things about Me. Or I can do both.
Regardless, no one ever accomplished anything by sitting on the couch watching Suits.
THINGS THAT MAKE ME SMILE
I was sitting with my parents having a late lunch and enjoying the unexpected sun when they started telling me about how they met. My parents have been married for 32 years. My mom met my dad at a soccer game when she was 19. I really can’t imagine meeting my husband right now, let alone being with someone for so long. I look at my parents and feel oddly proud of how they’ve made it work for so long. I mean, come on, matching swimming costumes?
I can only hope to find someone who wants to spend lazy Saturday afternoons napping with me.
So it has occurred to me that my blog is not about anything at all. I was sitting around wondering what to write about when I realized it’s always best to write about what you know. That being said, I thought to make this blog about what I’m going through at the moment. With all the stress of school I’ve found myself engulfed in bubbles of sadness and stressing about everything. I’ve also been trying to reconcile who I am with who I want to be in terms of how I see myself, my sexuality and my body.
So, let this be the start of a journey. Maybe no one will read this. Maybe wearing pink and sprouting random bits of self-love talk won’t make me any different. Who knows, but I’m gonna go with it anyway.
I don’t own the rights to this image. Someone sent it to me and I found it rather inspiring.