Tag Archives: self-esteem

An African In Session.

tumblr_inline_ms1gimux2w1qz4rgp

I talked about finding one’s self in the last post (still in the search), but that’s not the only thing I have been up to these last weeks. If you have been following my blog, then you should know that I lost my older sister in the summer of last year. Recently, I have not been able to stop thinking about her and it almost feels as though I am grieving anew. You should also by now that I have been struggling with my weight since before the inception of this blog. So between finding myself, battling with my never-ending weight issues and grieving for my sister, I was becoming depressed.

I remember two days in row last month when I lost interest in everything; even in my studies which I believed was the one thing I would never loose interest in. To the point of not studying enough for an upcoming test that week and sitting for that test knowing full well I wasn’t prepared. Needless to say I flunked in magnanimous proportions on that test; proportions that have never been associated with me before. Yet, I “didn’t give ” a flying fish.

Not caring whether I failed an exam or not really scared me. I had read that loosing interest in the things that one cared a lot for in the past were tell-tale signs of imminent depression. Knowing that it could lead to something dangerous if not addressed sooner, I emboldened myself and made an appointment to see a counselor at school. You might ask why embolden?

For starters, if you missed it on my about page, then you should know I am Cameroonian from Central Africa. As per my culture, talking to ‘shrinks’ is absolutely unacceptable. Africans ‘believe’ that we don’t need to be sharing our problems with random strangers and if there’s anything to talk about, then a family meeting would be just fine to take care of that. I’d be honest that I did ascribe to these ideologies at some point, but living in America these many years later, I have a different perspective. I understand the importance of having that neutral person to open up to, who wouldn’t judge you and who is just listening to you pour your heart out. I think it is a really beautiful thing which is one of the reasons I started writing too and have not revealed my identity yet. Because I believe there’s some power that anonymity provides and allows you to speak from the heart unlike when you are familiar with your audience.

Despite all this knowledge, I had to talk myself into keeping the appointment because a part of me still thought it odd to talk to a complete stranger about my feelings. So I had to convince myself that fulfilling this was very important and so it was that I found myself face to face with a counselor.

After basic introductions, we both sat down across from each other and he asked me why I felt the need to see a counselor. A few minutes passed between us before either one said anything. Then he repeated himself and I blurted out an awkward laugh. Thankfully, he was very gracious to recognize that my nerves were getting the better part me. More time lapsed before I could muster the courage to talk and speak freely.

It was one of the most freeing experiences I have had in a long time and I wondered why I hadn’t done it sooner. It felt good sitting there , pouring my heart out to an unassuming person and for them to encourage me to talk about the feelings that I was even oblivious to these weeks. Things I thought I had forgotten reared their ugly heads again and things I didn’t even know existed where just lying in a corner waiting for the ‘right’ time to surface.  The session lasted for an hour and by the end, I must have cried a river because my face was all puffed up from the constant streaming of tears and my nose was blocked.

He suggested I return for a follow-up session and again I was hesitant. Going back would mean I have a fully manifested problem which needed fixing, which would mean I needed fixing, which would mean I am broken. But I don’t believe I am broken, let alone that I needed fixing. It took a bit of convincing on his part for me to agree on a second session. I understood from him that the ‘stigma’ about therapy isn’t reserved to Africans only but even to some western folks whose issue with it is the ‘fixing’.

I know Christians might say well, you have God to talk to, to which I say God in the scriptures encourages us to confess our sins to one another. The act of confessing things to someone else in itself is a form of counseling. And I know of a lot of Christians who could really use some counseling in their life but are either ashamed to go for it or are being to hard on themselves for their faith not being enough. (this deserves it’s own post in entirety.) It has little do to with your faith and more about your mind-frame. Your mind might be attacking itself and making it hard for you to accept the grace that your faith provides and this is where a counselor is very helpful.

What are your views on attending counseling? If for, have you been and what was your experience like and if against, why? As always, thank you for stopping by and I love you for it.

Have a sunny peachy day.

 

 

My Invisible Body

I have tried to lose wait since I can remember. I am one of those people who never had a petite figure to begin with, but gradually I got bigger and bigger. I am also one of those born into those families with ‘fat’ genes (I totally do not blame my weight on that) but I know I have used it as an excuse sometimes.

I remember too while in high school, one of my friends always teased me or perhaps predict my future when she said if I didn’t watch myself, I would get bigger and I always told her, there was no way that was ever happening. According to me, as I told her, I was either going to lose weight or keep up my stature. I wish that were true.

Sometimes I feel like my weight snuck up on me. I look at myself in the mirror most times and I wonder when I got here and how I got here. Don’t get me wrong, I am foodie I admit it. I have always had a sweet tooth and my cravings seem to control me at other times that it felt like if I didn’t do anything about it in the moment, I will be impregnated by it. At the same time, I have always been an active person, I always made sure to work out. Now my workouts were not by Olympic standards by any stretch ,neither were they that of the most athletic people. But I tried to work out on the treadmill at least 30 minutes for at least three times a week.

My meals were not/ are not the most health conscious meals but I tried/try my very best and it is my snacks that just seem to mess up my whole efforts. I am not trying to justify my weight neither am I making excuses for not losing it. But every single time I think I am making a step in the right direction, something always messes it up.

I have been to places before where I either knowingly or unknowingly eves dropped on people’s conversations and I would hear about their weights and look at them and wonder ‘ wow, you weigh that little and look that big?” That is because for most of those that I have heard and seen, their weights don’t add up because in most cases, I weigh more than them but I look less heavier than them.

I am also very conscious of my body, so I always try to dress “decent” and not wear any thing that is unflattering to my figure, which always gets people to compliment me on how good I look. Not to sound vain, I am a very confident person myself and each time before I leave home, I look in the mirror and tell myself, ‘girl, you look smashing’.

So I was thinking about all these things two days ago and wondering if they have all made me invisible to my body. How is it that sometimes, I feel like the biggest person in the world which does affect my self-esteem and yet everybody keeps telling me how good I look. Is it that my body became a normal to me that it was now invisible to the point that even I didn’t see that I needed fixing?, in this case weight loss.?

Some people find pleasure sometimes in downing other people everyday not realizing the struggles that said people have to go through with everyday. My body is not invisible because I can’t see it. The compliments people give me are simply because I dress for my body type. But I am sure that like me, many overweight, big and obese people have let their bodies become invisible.

It is not that we don’t look in the mirror ,neither is it that we don’t see ourselves when we look in the mirror. It is simply that some of us have given up that hope that we would ever look like what we did in high school, some of us don’t have the courage enough to go on that journey and some, they have just chosen to not see that body.

Some of us like me, have chosen to not see that body not because it is not there, but because somehow it reminds us or tells us that we are failures. I was thinking just last week, how it is that most of the things I had decided I was going to do this year, I focused on them and did them. Unfortunately, my weight has been the one thing that I keep fighting with and for.

I have chosen to see this body now. With every bad meal choice, bad snack decision and failure to exercise I beat myself up because I am hoping that 2014 is the year when my body comes into full circle, when my body makes a 360 turn. This body is no longer invisible, this weight is no longer invisible, one step at the time and gradually, this body will come into full view.

How are you feeling today?. please share.