I am sure most of us have had an experience with a relative or a friend who feels the need to remind us about our weight or the need to gain more pounds. Personally, I have gone through this. Ever since I was young I have struggled with eating and to date, my eating habits and patterns have not changed at all. I am that kid who would literally get sick whenever they’d see food, being beaten to eat was my way chosen of life [for the love of reggae]. As a slay queen would say “I am not a foodie.”
Not too long ago I had a running with some of my relatives, and as usual there is always that one auntie back in the village who is usually the “self-appointed spokesperson” of everyone who took upon herself to remind me that I looked malnourished, and went on to say I looked like I came from the hospital. As if that was wasn’t enough, sarcasm was the desert ‘’ama ni hii diet ya wasichana wa Nairobi wamejiwekelea. Hamtaweza kulisha mabwana zenu.”
Ladies, I included, we are people of greatness and beauty.
Yet, somewhere between life’s storm of cultural and familial conditioning, subconscious self-sabotage and a numbed connection with yourself, this truth is so often forgotten. As a woman, I have become an expert at diminishing my confidence in my daily life. I am sure most of us ladies out here have encountered competition amongst ourselves even when there is no need to compete. I ask myself, why do we have a scarce mindset? Is it by default setting because we have been conditioned that way by the society? As a result of this, nothing can flourish in a place of lack.
Another way we diminish our confidence is through harsh judgement.
A friend, who begs to remain anonymous, agrees. “I can take any criticism from a man, but female attacks fell on me. I don’t just dress for female approval, I live my life by it. I hate having a female boss because her criticisms stay with me. They’re sharper, delivered as a put-down rather than a steer.” I wonder what happened to sisterhood? Are we the mean girls? Is a girl-on-girl viciousness a thing now?
Cultures stigmatize women who seem not to meet the “traditional standards of beauty” and, too often we use this harsh reality to take it out on one another to gain leverage as a result of being treated as if something essential is really missing, hence we take it out on one another. To really hurt you, a person needs to know you well enough to learn where your vulnerable spots are. In the same way, other women have an unerring knack of finding just that tender bit of flesh in which to plant the knife, deploying feminine fellow-feeling as a means to seek and destroy.
I beg to understand, is the string of men in our lives who are emotionally unavailable, non-committal, selfish, unappreciative, poor communicators have a play role in this?
But guess what mama, you are way so much more than this cruel, diminished way of life. Who says we can’t have it all?
Rise and transform for radical self-confidence is our natural, rightful inheritance. It’s time to we defined ourselves by a new, fresh set of dynamic standards. We don’t have to choose between career and romantic relationship.
Be bold, explore creativity, like Arif (my friend) would challenge me and let your yardstick for gratification instead be inner kindness, self-adoration and state of harmony.