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35 Things Only Big Girls in Nigeria Understand

  1. That Aunt or Uncle that pulls you to the side of every party to give you “weight loss tips” even though their belly is dripping off the waistband of their skirt or trouser.
  1. “You’ve lost so much weight”, they say after you haven’t seen them in two days because everyone sees you as so much fatter in their heads.
  1. Having to jump on and off the scale seven times because Nigerian scales like to take their time to tell you, you’ve lost nothing.
  1. “You’re so fat”, they tell you like you aren’t aware of your own body mass.
  1. The constant stares and silent judgment you get for eating, because you are fat and how you got fat it seems doesn’t translate with them as food.
  1. That one person people always say you look “just like” because you are both over 60 kg.

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  1. That one family friend that is actually no one’s friend that people are always warning you, you’ll end up looking like if you don’t lose weight.
  1. The nervousness of sitting at the hairdressers because you’ll have to stand up to go and wash your hair and you know your bum will leave marks on the seat.
  1. Calling me “big girl”, “orobo”, “fatty bum-bum” will not make me want to date you, random man.
  1. When your skinny friend says she’s getting fat and you just eye her because the world is a sick place.
  1. Having strangers encourage you whenever you decide to jog around your compound or go to the gym “because you need it”. Any other shocking reveals, detective?
  1. Sucking in your stomach when the tailor measures you because even if the dress will not fit, Mama Ola doesn’t need to know the coordinates of your stomach.
  1. Wearing Spanx and seeing little to no difference in your shape because your waist is still non-existent.
  1. Crying when someone buys you a ring for your Christmas because you know you’ll have to waste a good cup of olive oil just to get it past your nail and the struggle is all too real.
  1. Stepping into an elevator and everyone pressing themselves into 2D shapes against the back wall like you can take up ten square feet of space.
  1. On Sunday when everyone is praying for Nigeria you’re still asking God for Chiamaka’s waist because Nigeria is not a country of even distribution of wealth.
  1. Going to the hotel buffet line three times because unlike your friends you have no appearances to keep up.
  1. Waiters, airport security and house girls never questioning your judgment because you are a “big madam.”
  1. “Come out of the car.”
  1. That one morning you wake up and think screw what everyone thinks and wear a crop top and leggings and go downstairs- then come back up because your confidence vanished the minute you saw the shadow of your gateman.
  1. Everyone assuming you are forty years older than you actually are, calling you “ma” making tears come to your eyes because you’re just turning twenty two.
  1. Always being described as “the big one” making you feel like something on the menu at Burger King.
  1. Flipping through twenty five hangers of size six and eight clothes only to find the last dress at the back is two sizes too big.
  1. Everyone looking up at you like Godzilla or the Antichrist because you decided to wear four-inch heels this morning.
  1. People telling you, you are getting fat as if you haven’t already gotten there, bought a house, dug out a pool, repainted the roof and had a welcome party.
  1. That one week you only ate fish or spinach because it will “melt your belly fat” or “has amazing weight loss results.”
  1. That one week after you ate nothing but pizza, ice cream and milk chocolate Digestives because, of course, the diet didn’t work and no one will ever love you.
  1. Looking at plus sized dresses online with models with flat tummies and no breasts in clothes that look like they were stolen from someone’s Grandma’s closet.
  1. When someone calls you “full figured” and you correct them that you’re fat and feel pleasure at their awkward squirming.
  1. Going to the buffet a fourth time because you have no appearances to keep up and she’s too embarrassed to do it herself.
  1. Looking online and realizing that fat has its own figures and shapes: cello, vase and brick, and why didn’t they tell you any of this in secondary school?
  1. That one morning you wake up and think screw what everyone thinks and wear a crop top and leggings and go downstairs- and enjoy the rest of your day.
  1. Being grateful for what you have when you realize size triple A is a real thing.
  1. When the song asks all the big girls in the house with big bum bums to dance and you shake your butt in front of your skinny friend and all your relatives because it’s a song just for you and the rest of them are impostors.
  1. That morning you wake up and look in the mirror and feel bubbles rising in your chest because how come no one’s ever told you how pretty you are? And you wear your favorite dress without looking at the label- and you plan to go to the hairdressers to get that hairstyle you’ve always been to scared to do- and you smile and laugh all day but no one treats you any different than before because your joy fits you. Beauty is just your size.
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Melissa MORDI is an English and Creative Writing student at the University of Kent with revolutionary ideals and no energy to complete them. She lives in Lagos with her family and a dog called Cat.

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