There was a time I frequently visited She Likes Sweet Things A funny diary of a chick who wanted the perfect body but who couldn’t keep away from sweet things. It was about food and ex-boyfriends and hilarious hubris and the foolishness that comes with youth and more food mixed in with racy anecdotes that gave way to the struggles of a hip young urban female. It was written with a fluidity and brevity and a wit I loved and enjoyed. Which is to say it was unhinged. At the time the author, Wanjiru Gaitho, was a Business reporter with Citizen TV and she seemed to posses that “invisibility cloak” that allowed her to write whatever the fudge she wanted. Then something drastic happened, she went into PR and the blog grew flaccid and irregular and after visiting it a few times and finding nothing fresh I gave up.
Like most writers who sold out, every time we would meet she would moan about “going back” to writing but nothing happened. Too many demanding accounts. Deadlines. PR was eating her inside, it seemed. Then she got married and I thought OK, now it really won’t happen because happiness, I think, is the greatest killer of writing. I think very happy people make very lousy writers. Moderately happy people make better writers. I think the best writing comes from a place of darkness, just like heartbreak songs, well until that stupid “Happy” song came about. Then this month she quit her PR job and joined the corporate life and I told her, Come on Shiro, write! And she said, OK, let me send you something and three days later she did and as I read it, I saw the heart of that unhinged writer. I could hear her voice, distinct albeit covered in the drudgery of her professional past.
Nobody writes well by writing one great piece every two months. You write well by writing every day even if it’s shit and you are insecure about it.
This, wasn’t shit. This was written by someone who needs to go back to writing.
Gang, meet Wanjiru Gaitho.
Let’s all grow fat.
Are you on Instagram? Do you spend countless minutes of your life trolling through your friends’ and potential friends’ and haters’ posts, trying your darndest not to like a 9 week-old post because then you’ll have made it pretty obvious that you’re interested in their lives and that would completely ruin your “I’m too cool to care what you’re up to” attitude?
I am on Instagram and that is exactly what I do. And I’ve been ashamed of that but you know what, I’m coming clean. I’m confessing. My name is Shiro and I am an Instagrammer. Instagram has been my drug and that I have used it to see what people who are no longer in my life are up to. I’ve used it to prove to myself that my life really is cooler than person X’s; I just can’t be bothered to post all that really cool stuff that happens to me because then I’d look like I’m trying too hard.
Let’s be honest; social media is the devil. Social media is the cause of many sins; from tweaking your answer to “So what were you up to this weekend?” to using filter on filter to make your skin look flawless when really it’s just as bad as mine..and that’s on a good day.
Social media is the reason I can say with complete confidence that I am not wearing any make-up when I know damn well that I’ve drawn my eyebrows and brushed on at least two layers of mascara on my eyelashes to make them look “naturally long and thick.” But hey, at least I’m not wearing foundation or bronzer or concealer or lipstick or any of the other 15 products that girls use nowadays to achieve that “naturally flawless” look.
Now I’m writing this and my husband of 2.5 months just read my confession and I can swear he’s laughing more on the inside than he is on the outside – and he is laughing on the outside – but you know what, I’m confessing so that you too can have the confidence, the titanium balls, to come clean.
I was on IG – yeah, we Instagrammers call it that – the other day going over some blogger’s pics. I was wondering how the hell she got her tummy looking so trim that soon after giving birth and I concluded that she’s hiding something from us because you know what: she is a blogger and bloggers love sharing. And she’s not sharing pre or post workout pics – so obviously she’s not working out right? Which then led me to the conclusion that she’s definitely hiding something. She’s trying to look like she just popped out a baby and then got into the best shape she’s been in since she got onto IG without working out. Or dieting. Because there were no diet posts either. Then I scrolled down to posts from a couple of weeks ago and saw what she’d been using: a waist trainer. Or at least what she claimed she’d been using because that might just have been a “sponsored” post. So I spent more minutes of my life that I will never get back looking at the post-waist trainer post pics until I could swear I spotted the outline of the waist trainer under one dress because it was looking very Kim K-ish. And I was happy. I’m sure this is the feeling God had when he finished creating the earth. I looked at it and I was pleased.
I’ve just re-read all that crap I’ve written up there and I can’t believe how incredibly sad my life must seem. I’m not a troll. Honest. I’m just really into other people’s lives. I want to be able to contribute to Kenyan pop culture without having to read Ghafla or Mpasho, and being on IG makes me feel like I’m a tad bit classier than those unfortunate Kenyans who read gossip blogs and sites. At least that’s what I think I heard someone say once.
So anyway, I’ve been on my usual weight-tripping nonsense, obsessing about my weight and not doing much about it apart from watching workout videos on – yeah, you guessed it – IG. I keep telling the husband that we need to work out and we need to eat healthy and we need to get right with this healthy lifestyle story. Of course completely ignoring the fact that he’s very comfortable in his body and has absolutely no intention of torturing himself with home/gym workouts or cutting out junk. But I refuse to be alone in this struggle. And IG ensures that I’m not.
I enjoy seeing people whine about their weight struggles over indulgent desserts. I feel a strong sense of kinship with these people because I do exactly the same thing. I’m a pro at moaning about my weight while licking a spoon heavy with Cold Stone’s Mud Pie Mojo. Half the time I don’t even hear anything over the sound of the ice-cream melting on my tongue causing me to moan in satisfaction. I have a feeling I sound like a horny whale while doing it but you know what? I don’t care. OK I do but not at that very moment.
I’m caught in a vicious cycle of not caring what I eat then suddenly being overcome by guilt and trying to get right. So what do I do to make myself feel better? I go onto IG of course. I enjoy tracking people’s attempts at working out only to fail after week one. I completely get them. They are my people. I mean, last week, after looking and relooking at Ashanti’s IG and her bangin’ bod I psyched myself up for the gym. I started psyching myself up on Monday. By Friday I hadn’t even removed my gym bag from the corner of the closet I hid it in to avoid the guilt that came with seeing it every day. But I did successfully check out a ton of workout vids on IG.
And by Saturday afternoon I had packed my gym bag. My grand plan was to go for a one-hour high intensity workout after my salon date. I went to the salon. Then stopped by the supermarket to pick some water because I was thirsty and hydration is important when one plans to work out. I started driving towards the gym. Next thing I knew, I somehow missed the turning to the gym and drove straight home. I told myself it was for a reason because the clouds were fat with rain and I needed to get our laundry from the line. I mean, who wants their clothes getting wet after all the work of washing them? Logical Practical reasons.
And I did indeed make it to the gym on Sunday morning before going to church. And it felt great. I mean, I still remember that exhilarating post workout feeling. To be honest, I think I’ve used up more energy trying to cling on to that feeling in the week since I was last seen at the gym, than I used at the gym that morning. I’ve used all sorts of excuses this week; from work to not feeling well to needing to be home to cook for bae. Name it, I’ve used it.
And I feel terrible, I really do. I’ve been spending a considerable amount of time in front of the giant mirror I convinced the husband to buy, scrutinizing my body for signs of weight gain. I’ve checked out both my on and off-duty – on is when I suck in my stomach, telling myself it’s a great exercise for the core, off is when I just let it all hang out. I think the husband only sees that when I’m dead asleep and have therefore lost all consciousness and/or will to hold onto the on-duty stomach – versions of my body and told myself I’m not doing too badly.
That was, until yesterday when I put on some small shorts and they fit better than they did when I wore them during our honeymoon. I should have been happy right? Wrong. I realized they’re marked size 18 UK. I’ve been a size 14 UK bottom for the last couple of years so why the hell am I fitting perfectly into shorts that a size 18 UK? Do you know what that did to my weight-esteem? I mean really…I know for sure that I’ve not gone up two sizes but damn!
So, what is my plan of action. I’m finishing this little rant then I am going to have a small breakfast while I scroll through IG looking for workout videos. I need inspiration. I won’t lie and pretend that I do not draw immense pleasure from seeing people continuously post their workout pics and videos only to see no difference in their before and after pics/real life because you know what: I’m a sadist. I am. I want us all to be fat together. I want us all to plan our trips to Cold Stone and all other sinful places and not give a pig’s badonk about our weight.
I want us to be in this struggle together. Is that too much to ask for?