Get up, Dress up and Be Human.

Have you ever had one of those days when your body fuel gauge is on E? Of course you have. You’re human. Most people use the term “I’m only human” to excuse a horrible thing they did or about to do. In my case last week, I had to keep repeating it to myself to avoid feeling like I had let myself down.  I’m this self-love journey you see. And I’m all about accepting your body and all its quirks. But this day, I just wasn’t feeling the love. I was having one of those days when nothing on my body felt like it belonged to me.

I looked in the mirror and my arms felt floppy and my tummy wouldn’t flatten no matter what I did. I found myself wishing I was pregnant because then I would have a justification for my growing midriff. The worst part of all this was that I was scheduled to appear in front of a camera that evening. Great timing!

Two things caused my trepidation. First being my current argument with my body. Second my usual unease whenever my dress choice is put under scrutiny. I feign nonchalance about my dress code of choice but when I’m at a formal event or one that requires me to dress like an adult; I’m like a non-swimmer thrown into the deep end.

I was nervous about what I should wear but Sekayi from Mafashio guided me through it. She was gracious enough to give me a t-shirt and jeans alternative after I confessed that I was not a beholder of dresses. I was so uncomfortable with my body that I walked over to the mall near home and bought myself one of those spanx contraptions hoping it would help but all it did was restrict my breathing.

When I arrived at the Tikambe* set, I was a bit overwhelmed. There was more than one camera in the room and everyone knows cameras are insecurity’s worst enemy. The team was extremely nice and they eventually put me at ease. It was whole different experience. Who knew looking into a camera and expressing your thoughts is harder than it seems. TV people make it look easy.

After that was over, the first thing I did when I got home was strip off all my clothes and stand in front of the mirror. For some reason I was arguing with my body and I didn’t know why. I looked at myself and told myself that I was beautiful over and over again. I didn’t believe it in that moment but the more I said it, the more it sounded like the only option. I wish I could say I felt better immediately but I didn’t. I went to bed that way but the next morning, I was better.

So many times we feel under the weather, overwhelmed or we’re just in the valley of self-doubt. But life must go on and we can’t allow those feelings to consume us. Sometimes it’s best just to step back and have a healing conversation with yourself. There are also times when you will have to get up, dress up and fulfill your obligations like every other adult because no one else will do it for you. I’m learning to forgive myself. Because even though I have good intentions sometimes I will fail. Because even though I’m on this journey to self-love, I will sometimes fall. And that’s alright because I’m only human. The trick is to get up and continue the journey.

*I’m currently not at liberty to detail what the Tikambe project is about until it airs on TV but I will say this; it is great stuff.  It’s awesome being a tiny part of the creation of a program that adds to the Zambian story. I am so excited whenever I see new Zambian content being made because we don’t have enough of it.

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26 going on 30

How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?

If you had no idea how old you are now, how old would you think you are? In short, how old do you feel you are right now?

The Hub turned 30 last week. In the months leading up to his birthday, he was in quite a state. It had hit him that he was reaching a major milestone in his life. Another point to evaluate just how close or far he was from his goals. I was so certain he would hyperventilate on the actual day so I made sure I had a few emergency numbers in my phone. I had a plan laid out in my mind; if he did panic or faint, I would call the guy next door to carry him to the hospital. So I encouraged The Hub to stay fully dressed at all times because there was no way I was going to try and get his dead weight dressed before anyone saw him. Surprisingly, he was really calm on the day. I don’t know what conversations he had with himself but it seems he has come to terms with it.

For some reason, everyone around me is turning 30. I swear I know more than 6 people who are 30 this year. 1985 was quite a productive year for our parents. The thing about marriage (and any other relationship if you seriously think about it) is that you get to experience certain things multiple times.  The life you share makes it necessary to go through their joys, pains, insecurities and moments of confidence with them whether you want to or not. And so when The Hub was fretting about his life goals and ambitions, I was analyzing mine too.

It was during one of these moments that I realized that somewhere deep in my heart, I am looking forward to turning 30. I’ve been practicing how to be 30 all year long and I didn’t even know it. There are certain things I have adopted or taught myself that normally would have come from living with me for 3 decades.

Self-Love: There have been times I wanted to be anyone but myself, lots of times. But I have been on journey to learn how to love myself. I have been learning acceptance and gratitude. One of the things that prompted this was the realization that the time I spent looking into the mirror criticizing myself was huge compared to the time The Hub spent and he weighed more than me.

Knowledge of Self: In the past I have relied on people to tell me where my strengths lie. I found myself always mining for the negatives in me but not the positives. And I would act surprised when someone pointed out a good thing about me. But now I’m finding out my strengths and any compliment from friends is a confirmation and not a discovery.

I’m not guilty about my dress choice anymore: I have never been the chic girl or the best dressed girl. For the longest time I felt the need to apologize for not being the type to dress up. And now as time goes on I am learning that I value how clothes make me feel way above how they make me look. So I will dress up when I want to but I am dressed down most times because I want to. I’m not apologizing anymore for my dress choices.

I do what I want: So many times we do things because someone in our class or position is expected to. We buy things that we don’t even like just because someone said it is fashionable or classy. We get married or have children because that’s what everyone our age is doing. Coming from a background that expected me to act a certain way because “that’s the way we’ve always done them”, I question my intentions for almost everything now. I am learning to do things because I want to or decided to and not because society expects me to.

I pay my own bills: It’s needless to say a major part of being an adult is paying bills. I swear bills hold meetings to plan on how to haunt our lives. But it’s safe to say no one is out for my head for any outstanding debt.

How old would I be if I didn’t know how old I was? I would probably be 30…for the next 5 years.

How old do you think you would be?

This Girl Loves her body ….Finally

I was out of breath, trying to keep myself upright. Rihanna’s “Where have you been” had just started playing in my earphones and I kept telling myself just to keep running until the end of the song. The gym instructor walked up to me and told me he was impressed with my determination then he asked which part of my body was bothering me and what I wanted to get rid off. I could see he was ready to dish out some advice about which exercise was the best. I slowed down the treadmill to think about it and I came up with nothing. I couldn’t think of a single part of me that I hated. I told him all I wanted was to be stronger and healthier and for the first time I meant it.

A friend of mine sent me a picture of us in college. When I looked at it I gasped with surprise. I was so small back then. And the worst part is that the size of my head was exactly what it is now. Seriously, I looked malnourished. This was the past I kept looking back to. This was the 60 kilos I kept on aiming at. This was what I had been craving ever since I gained weight. I had been glorifying the past, wanting to go back not knowing that my present was better. The crazy thing is that when I weighed 62 kilos all I wanted was to lose a bit of weight. When I went up to 65 kilos, I stopped eating just so that I could go back to 62. And now on the upside of 70 kilos I found myself just yearning for the 65 I once had. I noticed a trend here, I was living in the past, forever looking back. This nostalgia could easily be triggered by anything, like someone commenting how much weight I had gained or just an old pair of jeans not fitting. I stopped taking pictures of myself because I wanted to lose some weight first.

That picture made me realize that if I didn’t love myself now, I wouldn’t love myself when I lost weight. So I stopped taking the diet pills and I sat myself down (I seem to be doing that a lot). I had to stop mistreating myself. I had to stop punishing myself for who I was. I had to forgive myself for all the neglect I had suffered by my own hands. I had to accept myself. I had to, I had no choice because no one else would do it for me. I knew it would be a long process but at least I had to begin. So I started researching and educating myself on health and fitness. I started learning how to cook so that I could prepare the best food my body deserved. I finally joined a gym. I told myself each time I was changing into my workout clothes that I was doing this because I love myself. In the back of my mind, I was secretly hoping I would lose weight. I started lifting weights and discovered just how much I loved it. I started learning things about myself that I never knew, like how I have the endurance of a horse. I was realizing I felt my happiest after a hard, tiring workout session. In the two months that I’ve been religiously working out I have had zero depression episodes. That is such a great improvement considering that I had them on an average of once a week.

I fell in love with myself with each day that passed. And so when the guy asked me what part of my body bothered me, I learnt something about myself. I finally work out not because I despise myself but because I want to be strongest version of me. Let every action you take be driven by love and not hate. Every time I see some new muscles showing, I get excited even though I know I’m the only one who can see them. And it must be life trying to teach me a lesson because I haven’t lost a single kilo since I started working out but I’m definitely feeling healthier and more content. I have a spring in my walk now. I’m not apologizing for the space I occupy anymore. It’s my space and I love it.

Is there something keeping you in the past? Something that keeps you turning back, comparing and living in constant discontentment? Maybe an old relationship that looks better than your current one, or an old job that is better paying than your current gig? There’s a chance you might be looking at things the wrong way. Love where you are now then strive for better things. It’s the only way to be happy, well there’s chocolate too but you know what I mean.

This Girl Can

This Girl Lifts

Here is a video that perfectly describes where I’m at now. It’s called “This Girl Can”