Who Was Her?

I remember when lip gloss was all she needed. A cool brown line on her lips. A defining moment when lips could be bare & mute at the same time seductive. These were the days before nude colored lips became the crowned trend.

There was a time when thin was the reigning monarchy. Curves were seditious luxury. I lived extravagantly flaunting my inheritance, this silhouette was not carved with new money. Passed down from ancestors dating back to time as deep as the ocean. This wasn’t a case of entitlement but simple pride in this figure I’ve kept. Wearing my genes and jeans as a badge of exclusivity. Size 00 was my number, laughing with friends about the absurdity of clothing size that tiny. But inside it only feuled my desire to remain thin.

An unspoken white flag was raised to signal the that curves have taken over. Seemingly thigh gaps were a thing of the past. Those dying to be thin were overshadowed by those dying to be thin waisted. The numbers 44, 32, 42 were the mafia on hips, waist & bust sizes. Their brutality surfaced on Tick Toc, & Instagram of women out posting each other in corsets. You truly have to watch out for the big girls. Don’t get me wrong the big girls had to be let into high fashion. However, now social media features photoshopped derriere and cropped waist. Bulimia started losing the monopoly on money generating gossip columns as the narrative changed to which celebrity was the first captivate the world with the return of the hour glass figure. Fashion powerhouses close the door on thigh gaps & welcome haute couture suffocated waistlines.

Even so she hasn’t found her place among exclusivity, every shape & size welcome. She felt the invitation wasn’t extended because her realm is neither thin nor waisted. Not when her bloating puts her in the 2nd trimester of pregnancy without the reward of an offspring. What has been born is a combination of side effects of steroids, immunosuppresants and dysmorphism from a quick tempered mast cell. All this felt in a miscarriage of what she once was: her beauty lies upon her no more. In the face of survival her beauty stood up as a martyr.

As she looks in the mirror she records an echo of a mantra, “Beauty is skin deep”. She hardly convinced herself…Her scars are also deep. Settling for practicality she shaves her hair. Her arms can no longer keep up with the demands of plaited long thin braids, a signature style she’s worn since high school.

Now the it thing are waist decorated with African beads. These exposed waist beads would have been called Ashawo during my time. Honestly, this is pure autonomic jealous on my part. I secretly dream of a figure, although it does not equate to sensibility on my part. I’m jealous of their unravaged body. My parts are held together like an sewed garments kept in place with pins begging it’s creative master to finish putting it together. I wear this body gingerly because it’s been pummeled by inflammation. My knees, hips, elbows can dislocate at a moments notice. Three pronged holes in my right bicep from my PICC line. Adhesives leave an after burn on my skin like ravages of a summer fire. Is it considered arson because I keep setting my skin ablaze every time I reapply the clear dressing to my central line site? I don’t know, the discoloration from the adhesives is a plotted decision by my body to offer me the lesser of 2 evils. Risk sepsis or accept being burned & discolored by this dressing. At least, I’m surviving…

How could I be upset at myself for looking like a Survivor. My scars are battles lost however this civil war between my body & my immune system will be won. The battlefield needs clean up. I leave the perfect notion of beauty behind and erect a monument in remembrance of the beauty I used to be. Consider this her Gettysburg Address.

I thought it be good to write a tribute to who she was. There was a careless depth about her which betrayed her sensitivity to what she looked like to others. After all her high needs would never reveal how shallow or deep she really was. Because knowledge of her true feelings was inconsequential to the veneer of carelessness she display towards her thinness.

Who was her? I have to find a new she. Who will she be? She will be Kemi, cared for & loved. Her scars will be unsanctioned testimony of the fight of her life. Her weight though unevenly distributed will be her presence against adversity, she is a power plant. The energy that flows from her will be unharmed & untarnished because she has gained the admiration of her biggest critic…herself.

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