Disclaimer- This post is sent in by a reader who wishes to remain anonymous. Thank you Fatimah for your willingness to share your life and your struggles with us. Any similarity with any other living or non-living person is coincidental
21st June 2013
My name is Fatimah Yusuf. It is a beautiful Saturday Morning. The birds are chirping. The sun is up. There is electricity, so the air conditioner is cooling. And I am still 123 kg.
This is my story, and as you can already guess, my life centers around my weight. Perhaps I should rewind and start from the beginning
From the time I escaped my mother’s womb, I was marked to be fat. My parents must have seen it coming. Why else would they name me Fatimah. Yeah, I know its meaning is far different but come on! FATimah. I was screwed from the Get Go. My father was an accountant working in Lagos Island. My mother was a full-time house wife raising four kids. His two brother and her sister lived with us in the three bedroom apartment. So it was a really crowded house. The earliest memory I have of my mother is this harried woman, who was always cooking and yelling. I have no memory of my mum just talking. “HASSAN, GET DOWN FROM THAT CHAIR; MOJEED, GO DO YOUR HOMEWORK; Fatimah, LEAVE THAT CAKE ALONE”. Did I mention my dad was an accountant at Leventis? No? Well, my dad was an accountant at Leventis. They made bread and pastries amongst other things and everyday, he brought home this heavenly Sweet Milk Cake. How I loved that cake. I could never get enough of it. Every night, I would get up, light or no light, sneak to the fridge and have my fill of the cake. Initially, my family was puzzled as to how the cake kept disappearing but one day I was caught. My dear father, instead of punishing me, began bringing home two pieces of the cake, one of which was solely mine. Then, I adored him for that. In retrospect, Really Dad? Really?
As you can imagine, I was a chubby kid, but I was active. I didn’t even notice that I was slightly bigger than the other kids. It was a different time. An innocent time. Then, we heard a rumor that a child, who allegedly lived 10 blocks away, was allegedly kidnapped. Now, we never knew if the story was true, but it spread like wild-fire. We were all placed under house arrest. No more playing on the street. With an already over crowded house, playing was increasingly difficult. The boys were able to go upstairs to the Neighbors’ house to play. I instead turned to novels. With my constant sweet milk cake, lack of any physical activity, not to mention the high carbohydrate diet that we had, It was no surprise that I was going heavier every year. Thanks alleged kidnapped girl whom we would never know if you were even kidnapped.
My fat awareness began in secondary school…. Kids are Mean, like really mean. And I was already screwed with my name, so they didn’t really have to dig too far to find creative jabs ‘fat Fatimah’ Fat…………..mah’ Fatty mama’ were a few of the taunts I got in school. It was a miserable time for me. It would have been much better if I was at least super brilliant, but No. As was with my luck, I was just an average student. Yeah, God was not giving me a break. Then there was Ms Stella (Ms Stella, wherever you are today, I hope you have fat giant pimples all over your face and gangrene on your toes. That’s if you are alive. If you are dead, well, I hope you took a hand fan where you are going). Why am I ranting? Ms Stella was my physical Education teacher. Yea, you can imagine just how we got along. She dedicated her time to making sure that my life was hell. For her, I was the prime example of over indulgence with children. During her classes, I was always targeted for first trial. “Fatimah, jump that rope. Fatimah, scale that fence. Fatimah do ten sit ups’. I would more often than not fail and she would always say “This, dear students, is why you don’t spend all your time eating“. Then she would get one of the other skinny girls to show me and the rest of the class how it is done. Yeah, see how appropriate my prayer is now. Gangrene on her thighs too! Now, in this modern era, that would have been bullying, but this was the 90s. Who send you.
Fast forward to 2005, I was now in my first year in the university. I shared the dorm room with three girls. Bose, Stella and Ngozi. I am 5’6 and weighing 98kg. I am about to embark on my first diet. I am super excited and looking forward to it. Stella has sworn on the product, gushing on how her cousin used it and got amazing results. No dieting and No exercise. Just taking the drink everyday for 30 days and I am guaranteed to lose 20 kg. You can imagine my excitement. I doled out 20k of my hard saved money into the drugs (and 20k was no beans for me at all. it took months of saving) She finally brought the drugs for me. I was so excited. We anxiously proceeded to try the drugs. As she opened the first container, a stench which was like a week and a half old dead rat, rotten soup and garlic all mixed as one, permeated the room. Ngozi screamed and ran out of the room. She was asleep at the time so you can only imagine how bad the smell must have been. She was immediately followed by Stella who had dropped the contents on my rug (arrggh!) and ran out screaming and cursing in a language I didn’t understand. I looked down sorrowfully at what I considered my miracle fat cure before the stench overpowered my senses and I wobbled…quickly…..out of the room…..
Tune in next week Friday to find out more about Fatimah’s first sojourn down to the road of fad dieting and let us have your opinion on her tale so far. Do you want to read more from Fatimah?