My waistline is creeping away from me, it’s true. Partly, it’s because I can now afford lunch and I’ve outgrown the idiocy that inspires anorexia. I no longer have to walk from Akamwesi to Dfcu to Lecture room what to room 3 in God knows where.
Rogue kilograms have arranged themselves around my curves, to the (overly dramatic) dismay of family and friends. The only person who seems to approve of this larger me is a perpetually drunk dude at my stage, who calls out “size yange!” every time I wobble past. Wait. Saying wobble is poking fun at myself. I don’t wobble. My walk is musical.
When I was in senior four, I had a teacher called Mrs. Lubega who in the middle of an English lesson informed us that we would all get fat, so fat that we wouldn’t be able to recognize ourselves. As one, we cried, ‘Blasphemy! 16 year old bodies are forever! We won’t let ourselves go! Etc’
A couple of years later, nearly everybody who was in that class has gone up to three dress sizes up. Their cheeks are rounder, their entumbwes jiggle when they walk and they look nice but mostly feel bad about their new selves.
It wouldn’t take too much effort for us to maintain some approximation of our campus bodies really. There’s all the walking that we could do from taxi stages, up the stairs to office and down the stairs to the canteen, if we could be bothered. Instead, we send the office messengers for our breakfast rolexes, hop on boda bodas for any distance that involves more than 5 footsteps and avoid all forms of exercise, probably because the permanent scars that the compulsory chamuchaka in high school left on our psyches. As for gyms, few are willing to part with their exorbitant fees.
The way adulthood is structured isn’t doing us any favors either. The world offers three socially acceptable options. A 9-5 job, an entrepreneurial endeavor or marriage.
According to aunts and other advice givers, a business won’t survive if you’re not committed and involved. Basically, do it yourself or suffer big losses. So if you run, say, a clothes shop in equatorial mall, you’re going to expand from all the inactivity and boredom induced eating that keeping shop comes with.
If you work a 9-5, you have only one hour to yourself during the course of the day which you almost invariably spend stuffing your face with soda and pilau. The only way to get exercise in is to break into spontaneous stretching in your cubicle or in the office kitchen, but it won’t be long before the MD tells you to stop behaving like a lunatic on his premises.
For the ones who have dived straight into housewifery, the fat gathers even faster unless they have a home gym (in which case they have abs that can crack eggs). If it’s not because of the gallons of porridge you’re swallowing to manufacture breast milk for your new baby, it’s because you lie about all day pointing the maid in the direction of the housework.
It’s sad and irritating how much pressure we’re put under to remain looking like our half starved university selves. Nobody owes anybody an explanation for their new hips or their rounder bottoms. Don’t make us waste our most beautiful years on weight-paranoia.