It’s not him. It’s you.

Hello world.

It’s me. Again. Seems I only write when I am inherently upset. And well, I am. A little today. Ok. Who am I kidding? I’m extremely upset. You see, I want to now if it’s me or him. Am I projecting my fears and inadequacies to my better half? Or is he the problem? My mind makes a pretty good argument for either case – but that mostly depends on the time and my general mood at that particular moment.

We fight. A lot. He says I am petty and unforgiving. This is true. For the most part. But isn’t he at least a little bit at fault for never making an effort to stop doing…or at the very least, decrease…the things he does that get me all riled up? I mean…isn’t that what relationships are all about? Finding the one person in this world who really genuinely cares about your crazy ass mood swings and weird feelings and is there to…sort of…calm you down and help you feel better? Note that I did not say “make you feel better”. Because we all know that no one can make you happy – happiness, is, as they say – an inside job.

Which brings me to my second point of – maybe I am the crazy one. Maybe – and this is not too extreme a thought – maybe I am the one at fault. Maybe I put too much pressure on him. A side effect of being a perfectionist and expecting…no needing…the best out of everything and everyone EVERY TIME!!! It is such a burden I tell you. And is quite the mood killer. I overthink everything. And lately, I am tired. Just exhausted. I wish  could switch it off. Just quiet the voices. But they are persistent little buggers. They do not fade nor do they quieten with time. And I feel that I may push him away sometimes. Just because of how I would like to escape being me for a day or two. How much more must he need to get away from me?

He is a great guy. Intelligent. Gentleman. Generous to a fault. At least when it comes to me. He gives me money, his house, his car. Anything I ask for. He finds a way of getting it to me. And yet, I am super unhappy. Why is that? Is it something he does, or is it something I do? Something inside of me that simply won’t let me free? I am not the most social of people. And outside of him, I would really rather not spend my time with anyone else. Maybe a friend or two. Which really, is all I have. I resigned myself to that. I’m not winning any popularity contests any time soon.

But he is the polar opposite of who I am. Of what I am. He loooooves company. He loves to be around people. Loves to be the center of attention. Loves to drink and have a good time with his boys. Key word. Drink. Alcohol. Every day. Without fail. The quantity and type varies. But it is a staple in our house (yes…I kinda live with him…even though I am not married to him, which in African culture is a huge no! no! but spare me the lecture. It’s not anything I haven’t already heard from my parents and friends.) So anyway, back to him. He loves his liquor. Mostly Malt Lager. Though a Whisky never steered him astray. He’s also partial to wines – reds mostly. He is usually in control of his faculties when he drinks. But every so often…he goes off the rails. Not in a violent way. Just in the way that makes you scared. Shudder a little. Wonder if this is what you can expect when you’re 28 and married. Carrying his first baby. Or when you’re 35 and already have four children with the man. Is this what you have to look forward to? Coming home to hidden liquor bottles in the kitchen cabinets and emptied wine bottles in the fridge refilled with water so that semi-teetotaler you will have no idea that he downed the entire bottle in one sitting last night when you went to bed early and he decided to “sit up and watch a late night talk show”??? Is this the life you expect to lead?

You see, for me…this is a very pertinent question. I grew up with an alcoholic father and I didn’t realize just how bad that ish affected me – until I shacked up with a potentially alcoholic man. It’s horror land in my mind. Every night he goes out for “business meetings” with the boys that end at midnight or other odd hours…I wake up from his snoring. Snoring that becomes a lot worse when he has a beer or 5 in him. He claims to only drink two beers…but lately, it seems more like twenty. So is it my doing? Is it my constant nitpicking and fight mongering borne from the paranoia that the past is bound to repeat itself that is causing it all? Or is it just an outward manifestation of the inward turmoil I constantly seem to feel?

You see, when I am mad at him…it consumes me. Like a fire – roaring and raging and burning out of control. And I get into this trance like state where I just shut down. I put my walls up and getting to me is very difficult – if not impossible. But its an exterior front for the hurt I feel inside. A hurt so real and raw that I scarce an bear it. I carry it with me. And it weighs a ton. But he just seems so light and weightless. And of course this upsets me more. And I want to hurt him. Make him feel as bad as I am feeling. What gives him the right to be happy when I am so unhappy? How dare he be okay when I am not? Isn’t that what love is? You ought to feel the pain of your loved one? Bear it as though it were your own? Then how dare he not? How dare he defy my feelings? And all these thoughts just keep spinning in my head and I get so mad. So damn angry.

But is it me? Could it be me? Me that has issues to work through, and me that has to find happiness within so that I can find it with him? You see the danger with loving someone like your life depends on it…loving them like they are the center of your universe, is that you are not free to choose how YOU want to feel. You are not capable of being your own first love…and so how could you possibly love another? You will project your feelings, your emotions on to the other person…and you will blame them for your insecurities and your shortcomings. When he looks in the mirror, he is happy with who he sees looking back at him. He is happy with what he says, and does. With who he is becoming. And you begin to resent him for that. To punish him for that. And it’s really not his fault. And the man that used to love you so much. That used to hang on your every word…begins to lose interest in you. Begins to tire of the snide remarks. And the mean retorts. The long silences and the unreplied text messages. The man you love begins to retreat into a shell…and you’re left arguing with your ghosts and fighting your demons. All the while lamenting the absence of your knight in shining armor forgetting that it was you who struck the fatal blow that ended what was sure to be the best romance of your life.

Advertisements

Square pegs in round holes

penguin-op

I have always felt a little out of place in the world. A little odd. A few steps behind everyone else. A little left out on the world’s greatest secret. A little less clued-in on the world’s funniest joke. My laughter has always been a little louder than most. My voice a little deeper and my smile a little wider and perhaps weirder. Physically, a little bigger. A little taller. A little chubbier. So much so that it became my nickname at home…among my aunts and uncles and cousins and grandparents. “Mkubwa”. It’s Swahili for “big”. And that was me. Big.

That is what people saw when they looked at me. A big girl. You see, in my culture, it is tradition for children to be named after their grandparents. The first born son after his paternal grandfather, and the first girl after her paternal grandmother. If you are blessed with a second son, then he would be named after his maternal grandfather, and a second daughter after her maternal grandmother.

And so it happened that I was my father’s first-born daughter. In keeping with tradition, I was named after his mother. My father’s siblings also had daughters, and they too, were named after my grandmother. Which meant we shared a name. I share both my first and middle name with one cousin.

As you can imagine, family gatherings were confusing to say the least. You’d call out our common name and you’d have four girls answer back. So they devised a mechanism to distinguish us. By size. And of course, being the eldest and the biggest, I was very aptly named “Mkubwa”. Boy oh boy did I hate it. It not only made me very conscious of my size, but it also made me feel like the outsider. Like a giant among little Tyrion Lannisters. Or like Shaquille O’Neal next to Kevin Hart.

 

Shaquille+O+Neal+Kevin+Hart+Stars+13th+Annual+tIe0jRa_3tjl.jpg

Now Shaq may find humor in the size difference, but I never did. Every one else was cute and tiny and I was this…large child. Not exactly the perfect set-up for soaring self-esteem.

But I smiled through the many years of being identified by my size, and I pretended to be perfectly okay with it. I suffered through the family gatherings where every one else seemed to fit in effortlessly, but I struggled with something as basic as my “family” name.

I think we underestimate the power of words. Words, no matter how well-intentioned, have the power to build or tear down. They have the power to create and destroy. And years and years of hearing words like “fatty” or “chubby” or “big-boned” take their toll on a person. Looking back, I wasn’t that big. I was just bigger than my brother and bigger than my cousins. Who in all fairness, were all pretty tiny. But all I knew is that I was bigger. I was odd. I was different. Therefore I was less. And I grew up trying to shrink myself in the hope that I would one day fit in.

But I never did. And I never will.

Eventually, when I was in my early twenties, I asked my family to stop referring to me as “Mkubwa”…and explained that I find it very upsetting, and they stopped. But it was too late. The damage was done. I was extremely self-conscious. I had entered the very fearsome world of adolescence with a bruised ego and a very damaged sense of self-worth…and emerged into adulthood as a fully functioning broken woman-child. And perhaps that is the explanation for some of the greatest mistakes of my life. But that is speculative and is definitely a story for another day.

I have always feared attention…thinking that if people looked too closely, they would see just how hard I work at perfecting my calm exterior…how hard I work to keep up the semblance of an orderly life. It’s not easy. Smiling like everything is okay. When nothing is okay…nothing has been okay in years. As if the battles my imagination and sub-conscious waged on my waking mind were not enough, I had to fend off people’s careless and ill-thought out remarks.

A small remark about how “…your arm is three times the size of mine.” A laugh. Or how “…one thigh of yours is like both of mine.” A little more laughter and a high five between two of your closest friends. Or how “…your chin looks like its doing a jig every time you talk.” Or the occasional “…goodness, why does your back have folds?? Are those…love-handles? Ew.” Or “…you really should eat less.” And my all time favorite “What? You’re 25? No way! You look 35. Are you sure you don’t have any kids? You look so much older than you are.”

You know. Classy statements like those. Some are more subtle and it happens in the most innocent of ways (or so it seems). A sideways look. A little snigger here and there. At times their comments even go unnoticed by my overly sensitive mind. But in those quiet moments, I get to thinking, “So and so’s comment about my body…what did that mean? Was there a hidden meaning to it? Were they trying to be back-handed? Or was it a genuine compliment?”

So yeah, life’s not always been easy. And people do not make it any easier. But I have perfected the art of faking happiness. I keep up appearances like a boss. Perhaps better than most. I am the most chipper person you will ever meet. All smiles and laughter. Compliments and good thoughts.

I actively avoid parties and social gatherings. Because I hate looking and feeling bigger than everyone else in the photos. I nit-pick at my arms. My waist. My thighs. My face. Everything is fair game in this mental game of “Point out the fat”. And I have hidden behind the phrase “I’m a loner/introvert” for so many years, I actually began to believe it. Because being alone and sad is easier and less hurtful than trying to fit your square peg into every one else’s round hole of a life.

It’s not like the words are unmerited. I am not small. I make no excuses for that. My eating habits are appalling and I never quite stick to my healthy diet plans or exercise routines (sorry Shaun T). But it doesn’t make the words any less hurtful or easier to hear. Like I said. Tears and destroys.

But that is all about to change. I have been a victim for waaaay too long. And I have been a prisoner to other people’s opinions for far too long. Eleanor Roosevelt said that “…no one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” And I have consented to other people’s ill-treatment of me for far too long. I have let those words imprison me in a big body for far too many years because being big is familiar, it’s all I have ever known after all. But no more.

I started this blog to journal my weight loss journey. And as they say, a journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. So here goes…goodbye self-pity and excuses.

I start this journey at 89 kilograms or roughly 196 pounds. I’m about 5ft 3 inches tall (Yes…I know. Most people around me are appallingly short.) so at that weight and height, I basically look like this ↓↓

maxresdefault

When all I want to do is look like this ↓↓

fad428b84c62d8e701a055b0960d8222

Black. Fierce. Absolutely sexy. And healed. Healthy. Emotionally. Physically. Mentally.

Wish me luck.

 

Hello.

helloworld_1600x1200It’s me. Not Adele. And not a lame attempt at a joke. Okay. Maybe the latter. A little. Or a lot. Who the hell cares. This is a huge moment for me. I have finally started a blog. It’s been number two on my New Year’s resolution EVERY YEAR for the last 5 years…coming in right after my number one resolution…to lose weight. And I’m only just getting round to both. So, yeah, you could say it’s a bit of a big deal for me. Huge. Larger than life. MONUMENTAL.

So hello there. My name is Julie. But you can call me Jewlz. I’m a Twenty-Five year old Kenyan girl caught in between loving the freedom adulthood brings and never wanting to grow up. This blog is all about the struggles I face, the joys I experience and all things in between. It will specifically focus on my weight loss efforts (argh! Not another one of those); finding my purpose in life – career wise and learning to love myself (oh brother!).

Welcome aboard this journey of healthy living, mighty loving and daily learning. Let the healing begin.