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Loving our lumps and bumps

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After years of constant worry, it’s good to finally know the truth. There is absolutely NO CURE for cellulite! Well, that’s unless the medical doctor I watched on the Oprah Winfrey show was only trying to sabotage sales of all the creams and potions produced by those oh-so-cutting edge cosmetic companies who promise a reduction in the ‘orange-peel effect’ of cellulite within 28 days – or your money back.

Mmmm. Now, I have never personally tried those creams, figuring that I would probably just be donating my hard-earned money to companies who realise that far too many women are suckers for products that don’t do much else than raise false hopes of a new body. But still, something in the pit of my gut tells me that these miracle potions aren’t what they seem to be.

And so while Oprah’s guest might have been the source of much disappointment and cursing from women from all quarters, for me he delivered the most liberating news I have heard all year.


Because, in effect, he told me to stop fretting and fussing about a few bumps and lumps on my body and focus on the real humps and bumps on the road called life. It’s petty and time-sapping to worry about things that I have no control over, and things that will have no consequence in the future.

I hardly imagine that anyone is eulogised with the following words, “She was a great person with a kind heart and a bit of cellulite on her thighs.”

It sounds ridiculous, and yet it is these very trivial things that keep so many women imprisoned. We figure we aren’t good enough because we have been made to believe that there is an existing template of ‘the ideal woman’ that we are all meant to fill out. If we don’t quite fit into it, we think we don’t have the same value as every other woman.

Well, I am tired of that. And I am writing this piece to declare it! For a long time, I wouldn’t wear sleeveless tops for one simple reason. I thought that the stretch marks on the back of my arms would cause offence to people and make them think less of me for having such horrible marks. It was an entrapping, all-consuming feeling that told me I had to protect society from my ugliness.

But you know what? I met a young woman who challenged my ideas about myself and made me rethink my attitude. She was a very beautiful girl, completely at ease with herself and dressed in a string top in all the glory of her stretch marks, both on the back and front of her arms. Now, it wasn’t the marks that I noticed first, but her sunny personality and confidence; her radiance. She didn’t care what anyone would say about her because she was too absorbed in full contentment and joy at being herself.

How many more of us would be happier if we acted just like this young woman? And how many more of us would be happier if people in this often cruel world would just let us be?

I know another young Zimbabwean woman with a birthmark down one half of her face who has to apply layers and layers of foundation every day to hide the mark because people cringe at it or tell her she looks disgusting. And I know women who go through the same make-up routine daily because they think that their beauty can only be fully manifested in coats and coats of propylene glycol and sodium dehydroacetate (just two ingredients from a foundation I have in my own makeup bag). Does beauty lie in ingredients most of can barely pronounce?!

Don’t get me wrong – makeup, exercise, healthy living and preening are not bad. They can definitely enhance natural beauty and make a person feel more confident. But they are not the cause of beauty. Beauty is inherent and ambiguous. It is not about how you look, but more about how you feel – not only about yourself, but also how you feel about those around you.

I have seen beauty in all the places where we think that there is none. Yes, even in the dimples of my thighs when I try to remember which piece of cake or plate of food I enjoyed too much of to get my little cellulite badge of honour. And when I feel bad about cellulite, I just say, “Thank you God that I even have these thighs!”

So I can’t do anything about my cellulite. No big deal. There are more important things that I can change, that we can all change by focusing more on what is within us.

One comment to “Loving our lumps and bumps”

  1. Comment by Shepherd Chabata:

    It is so bad how the ”media” has created and define the template of a ‘hot’ woman or man. Skinny is the way to go and bumpy chest and tummy that makes it hard for the ‘ideal’ guys to laugh even at their own jokes.

    I overheard this other day some few drunks at my watering hole saying out their fantasies and what puts them on. Some guy in very low tones says ‘guys if only you knew how my chiks stretch marks turns me on.’ He even had a nice name that he called them that I am not going to publish here. Ok thats one man with his taste. The other one is in awesome praise of his wife’s big body and I am thinking. So why do these women bother themselves.

    Well one men’s meat is another one’s poison. But still why should some one purge themselves for the sake of some one. Ladies be who you are and dont make your selves cheap by being made unto like a template that some one wants you to be..