Part One : All the other first chances.
Nysc was 2016 and I had the time of my life. I was young, living alone in big room with minimal human interaction and an unhindered supply of electricity which meant my favorite TV series could not be stopped. I even had a cute boyfriend that would visit once in a while . During one of my visits back home that year, my dad had seen me walk by and he gleefully exclaimed “oh , for a minute there I thought you were your mother! You are getting really big these days o”. So I decided I was too fat and I wanted to go on a diet. I would stand in front of the mirror and examine my belly for hours; longing for a slimmer waistline , a more pronounced collar-bone and wishing all those folds would just disappear! After days of searching the internet, I came across eating once a day for weight loss and it seemed like the easiest for me. I began my weight loss journey on the 15th of August 2016 and it has been a ride!
Part Two : The End justifies the “Mean”. 2016-2018
Barely two years after I started eating once a day, I had lost about 10kg and contrary to what I had thought, it brought me very little satisfaction. I kept pushing myself and constantly felt the need to skip meals and feel good about myself. I would go two whole days without eating a meal and bask in the joy that I was losing the weight which, at this point, wasn’t even there anymore. Food had become an enemy that I had to fight strategically, physically, emotionally and spiritually. Meanwhile, food was everywhere. It would begin in the morning; I Would watch my tiny little niece gulp down her 75cl bottle of milk…about this time, my sister would have gotten herself a delicious looking plate of rice and quickly thrown it down her throat without a care in the world. Everyone would just eat and eat and I’d think “I am the modern hero, Food don’t get to me”. Even though I was being very mean to myself, the end did justify the “mean”; I got the slimmer waistline, a more pronounced collar bone and folds gone . Now I realize those were a bit ridiculous to want in the first place.
I visited my then boyfriend and spent ten days. Ten Heavenly days of eating and eating and watching Series and sleeping. I ate everything. Healthy, unhealthy? Who cares?!. I ate rice, chocolate, chocolate cookies, ice cream, chips, popcorn, pizza, biscuits, sweet, bread, I even went against the Holy rule and drank a bottle of coke…to mention a few. I ate in those ten days more than I normally would in a month. I went all out, rules were broken ,barriers destroyed! After each meal, my mind would stray to my diet and I would imagine how strict my Fast would be when I eventually left back home. After each meal, my arms would appear bigger in the mirror and I would smile and shake my head “ you are so going down after I leave this place, literally”. I went about with so much emptiness and trying so hard to be perfect that I was so self-conscious and failed to enjoy the moment. Little did I know that would be our last visit together and end of the relationship.
Part Three : The Second Chance. Today.
As I deleted photos of my ex-boyfriend and I from my phone, it dawned on me that I was indeed saying goodbye. And that area of my life that had brought me so much joy, satisfaction and completeness would no longer be there. I kept on deleting; our first pictures together, our holiday visits, our dates, the random moments and our last pictures. I thought back to all those promises, plans and prayers and instead of shedding a tear, I felt a new wave of emotions. It was love. A new-found kind of love that sweeps over me each time I’m tempted to regret, to worry or to over-analyze what I could have or shouldn’t have done. Perfect love indeed, casts out fear!
Days of crying, worrying and yelling at God to fix my relationship finally led to me seeking God’s perfect love and acceptance. Grace found me and I got a second chance at true love. I remember being home alone one afternoon and completely drenched in tears, feeling so betrayed and alone and wondering if God even loved me at all. I mean I was in a relationship for three years with this really good person and I messed it up with my constant complaining, verbal abuse and anger. As I thought of how good he was to me and how I had failed, I would hit myself again and again and wonder why??? For about a month, I went about with guilt, fear of the future and condemnation in my heart, feeling betrayed by myself and God. Finally, a voice said in my sleep “let God complete you!”. It’s been 3 months of depending solely on God, experiencing the constant companionship of Jesus and I feel complete! Once I started to learn and experience the grace of God I no longer felt the compelling need to starve myself or condemn myself. Jesus is so cool. What manner of man takes away your anger, your failures, your frustration and your low self-esteem and gives you His joy, confidence, beauty and assurance of everlasting love? I’ve gotten to my last bus stop in searching for love.
I got a second chance to experience true love and I’ll never go back. God’s overwhelming love completely changed me and while I look forward to sharing this love with my future spouse , I now do not feel the need to be made “complete” or” satisfied” by anyone but God. It’s funny how the lowest times in your life, when turned into a weapon for growth, can utterly transform you and make you the best version of yourself. I went through a really bad time and came out really good, through Christ who strengthens me! This new season of my life has made me realize how many things I take for granted and has made me focus more on God and my self. I spent three years idolizing my relationship and his “grace” wasn’t sufficient for my weaknesses but God’s grace is! The break up was a wake-up call and I love it!