By Some Standard, I am Perfect

by Zamile Hlongwana

I am a size 40+ young woman in her late 20s. I have countable eyebrows, a terrible hairline and hair that never grows. I have legs as big as my 17 year old sister thighs and my tummy is suspiciously bigger than my butt. My gums are bigger than my teeth and confusingly my voice at times sounds broader than my dad’s. My feet are so wide that the space between my big toe and the other toes can honestly fit an entire bar of soap. I frequent with the size 8 shoes size. I have stretch marks on my tummy, my back, boobs and even on my shoulders. I do have nice eyes by the way.

Please don’t stop reading, this is a piece about self-love. I know for now it’s hard to tell, especially considering that I have just highlighted tons of things that society never deems beautiful. Well, the good part is coming, in fact, the good part is the one above. The first paragraph is the good and the best part of this piece. Few days ago I shared a video on my WhatsApp and I called it “Self-Love Improvement” Exercise. Basically what I did was I asked people to identify those physical, external body parts that they did not like in themselves, after that I said that they must ask themselves a few questions:

  1. Is the reason why they do not like that body part because someone once mentioned it, mocked them about it and from then they became conscious about it?
  2. Is it because in the society that we live in such features aren’t as accepted as should?
  3. Is it because they have seen someone with a better, more ‘acceptable’ part? Or it’s just something that stems from the inside and they haven’t quite figured where that negativity came from.  

After asking those questions and hopefully coming with an answer, the next stage was to ask themselves this question;

“Now that I have identified the part (s) I don’t like about my body, and I have answered the reason behind it, now the question is can I change it? Can I change the shape of my nose, the length of my toes, the size of ears etc?”

If the answer is No, they cannot be changed, then that’s the first step to loving and accepting oneself. If it can be changed then, start now to work at it, with no self-endangering or life threatening option of course.

The thing about self –love and self-acceptance, it is that you and only you are responsible for it. Yes people may compliment you now and again, they may or may not sing your praises and call you the best specimen to ever walk the earth, but if all that love and acceptance does not come from the inside you, well my friend all is for nothing. When I wrote the first paragraph I wasn’t all smiles and glory, it took some courage for me to even pen down all the black swans of my body. I did not just write such about myself because I want to be funny. It takes courage. It takes time. It takes honesty. Of course I am not the most courageous but hey I am doing my best, especially when it comes to things concerning my space and my vibe.

My theory is this; when you sit down and accept yourself for who you actually are, it leaves such a little space for anyone to use your ‘flaws/imperfections’ to put you down. You don’t even have to question yourself whether people like you, love you or leave you because of how you look, you just know that you are beyond all that. So, next time when someone makes fun of your feet, show them the weird shape of your ears too and then leave them in their ignorance.

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