October 15th, 2009
A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
That seems to be my new mantra!
After my usual start to the day (school run, gym, and breakfast), I sat in my kitchen, pen and paper in hand, trying to organize my day. I am so blessed to have the kind of shop assistants I had, who are able to hold the forte for me. It has really helped simplify my life.
As I worked through my to-do list, there was one glaring item…picking a birthday present for Marianne, my husband’s friend’s wife, who turns 40 today. I had almost forgotten about that! A look at my BBM news feed confirmed the occasion, as all our mutual friends had her picture on their display. I sighed deeply, before doing the same thing, and sending a perfunctory birthday message. We had to do what we had to do…abi?
I guess I should shed a little more light here.
As fantastic as my darling husband’s friends are, unfortunately they all have the most…erm…interesting wives. And I use that word loosely. In all my 37 years, I have never met a more materialistic, condescending, extravagant, and backbiting bunch of women! They are nothing short of amazing! With them, the competition never ends! It’s all about bags, shoes, clothes, human hair, and air miles.
You see, I’m an Enugu girl…born and bred! JJ and I had met in UNN, but he was a Lagos boy. When I finally moved to Lagos, for NYSC, I finally got to meet his best friends I had heard so much about. Fantastic guys! But I will never forget the first day I met their then girlfriends. The women had sized me up from head to toe, and had giggled amongst themselves when I spoke. I was later to find out that they found me “igbotic”. Well, excuuuuuse me! This trend repeated itself every time we hung out. If they weren’t laughing over how I pronounced a certain word, it was over my dressing, or “cheap” bags. Well, I wasn’t married to JJ then, and I was dressing only according to how far my pocket could stretch. And then of course, my weight didn’t help matters at all. The four ladies have always ranged in size from a size 8 to 14, so my then size 16, which soon became 20, and soon 22, gave them enough fodder for jokes. I was always extremely depressed after every group outing. The sad irony was that I was the youngest of all of them, so you would think they would have been protective of me, instead of overly critical…but no such luck!!!
JJ and I soon married, and I guess maybe because we were not bogged down by living the high life and buying expensive things, we were able to focus and plan properly for our future. By the time we built the first of our homes, his friends were still renting expensive homes in highbrow areas. By the time my husband was now able to buy me the long coveted designer bags and shoes, he went for the extremely high end of the food chain, which made theirs look like factory rejects. It didn’t take long before they stopped laughing at me, and started struggling to befriend me.
By the time I was now in this “inner circle”, what I discovered made me wish I was still standing on the outside. I had always known them to be gossips, but I now found out that their worst gossiping was about each other! My mouth was on the floor those first few times, when they would proceed to tear any absent person to shreds. It was either how this person’s Dior bag was bought in Kuala Lumpur’s China Town, or how that person’s Aunty Funmi hair was more like Aunty Bunmi hair (i.e. fake), or how the other person actually grew up in Mushin but was forming aje butter, or how the other person’s husband had to get a cook because she couldn’t light a match…Oh boy! Those few occasions I hung out with them, my ears were so full, they were on the floor. They were the real definition of the word frenemies!
By the 4th time, I started making excuses, and after a while, they stopped inviting me. I knew that by staying away, I had offered myself as a sacrificial lamb for their gossip, but I didn’t care. JJ told me how he was told that they thought I felt I was too good to hang out with them. Whatever! I still attended general family gatherings, which had our husbands in attendance, as I knew that the gossiping would be curbed then. And we always made polite small talk. But their resentment always hung in the air like tear gas fumes.
Tonight should be interesting!
October 16th, 2009
Last night turned out better than I thought.
JJ and I had arrived at Marianne’s party late, no thanks to a last minute conference call my husband had to participate in. But the extra time had given me enough time to get myself ready, and by the time we left, I knew I looked good!
“Wow” the birthday girl exclaimed, when she saw us “Ihunna, you look amazing!”
Chidi, her husband, echoed her compliments, and I was already on cloud 9. I handed her her gift, and walked over to where the other ladies were seated. As I approached them, I knew that they were assessing me from head to toe.
“Wow, Ijeoma!” Modele, Afam’s wife, had simply refused to remember my name, after fourteen years “Did you lose weight?! You look stunning!”
“Is that a JBL dress?” Anita, Chiggy’s wife commented “It’s gorgeous! You look gorgeous, babe!”
“Yes, she finally found a diet that works!” Marianne chimed, with just the tiniest bit of blink-and-you miss it sarcasm. Well, I chose to miss it.
And so, for the next 3 hours, we sat there making fake small talk, and when it was over, we parted with plans to meet up for drinks, plans none of us had any intention to keep.
But it was a triumph! For the first time, I wasn’t self-conscious and insecure in their company.
With every kilo I was losing, I found myself regaining a little bit more of myself each time…and I was grateful for that!
I was well on my way!
Catch up on Ihunna’s story here:
- Confessions of a Fat Girl 1: Grubbido
- Confessions of a Fat Girl 2: Fragile
- Confessions of a Fat Girl 3: Defiant
- Confessions of a Fat Girl 4: Progress
- Confessions of a Fat Girl 5: The Gym
- Confessions of a Fat Girl 6: Killjoy
- Confessions of a Fat Girl 7: Pain