Beauty comes in a variety of forms and shapes. If you looked across various cultures and times, you would see that people had (and still have) differing ideas about beauty. Some people favour curved, while others prefer slender, tall, or short. Beauty, however, is more than what we can perceive with our eyes; it is found within!
For Zintle Mayekiso (22) of Zwide in Gqeberha, carrying a lot of weight made her a laughing stock for many years. She recalls being mocked by her classmates at Booysen Park Primary School in the north of Zwide when she was a little girl.
Due to the abuse she experienced as a young girl, Mayekiso developed a hatred for herself and began to fantasise about having the thin, petite form that society deems to be the most beautiful in the world.
“I kept hating my body, felt like I couldn’t do anything. And when I looked around, the only active people I saw were slender people who were participating in sports.”
Getting out of her comfort zone
When Mayekiso moved over to Khwezi Lomso Comprehensive School in 2015, she avoided sports and other physical pursuits until her English teacher and rugby coach, Mr Zokoza, encouraged her to join the team.
Mayekiso was able to view life from a fresh viewpoint as a result of her physical training, disciplinary tactics, and interaction with other children and adults of all ages.
She tells Health For Mzansi that she appreciated the setting because it let her see that she could accomplish some tasks without feeling inferior.
“I have received participation and runner-up medals. In my sports journey, having to play for a provincial team was my greatest accomplishment.”
It all starts when someone has a complexion that is too dark, at which point the society starts calling them “blacky”, or “Sdudla” if one is chubby. Mayekiso calls this behaviour unpleasant and disrespectful.
She says being a big child in some communities makes things much harder.
She feels that the society in which she grew up, is hostile to plus-size people. They expose people to their perception of what a decent overweight person should look like in order to be acceptable by society, she adds.
“As a result of all of this, I fell under the spell of body dissatisfaction, which was linked to a variety of physical and mental health problems such as anorexia, depression, and body image disturbance.”
Learning about self-love and acceptance
Every big-bodied person deserves the same respect and attention as everyone else. According to Mayekiso, it is every parent’s responsibility to handle the abuse that comes with being different, whether it be skin colour, language, bodily differences, or physical appearance.
Mayekiso says she got lifesaving knowledge when she joined Ubuntu Pathways for an educational programme called PLP, which focuses on empowering and assisting adolescents with skills.
She states that she has never looked back since and that she has been able to regain her confidence.
What is the best way to get started?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question and many others like cryptocurrency for example. The best way to get started with cryptocurrency trading will vary depending on your level of experience, resources, and goals. However, some tips on how to get started with cryptocurrency trading include reading up on cryptocurrency basics, establishing a trading strategy, and setting up a secure trading account. The same goes for self-acceptance and overcoming body-image issues.
Bullies are everywhere, and Mayekiso warns that if you don’t develop a thick skin, you may end up committing suicide.
Being content with the beauty she sees in the mirror, being entirely comfortable with everything inside, from looks to how she feels, is what keeps Mayekiso going every day.
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