How I overcame low self esteem that resulted from being body shamed

Published by Amaka Chibuzo-Obi on

I just went down memory lane. Come closer, let me tell you about it.

I was in S.S. 2 at the time. In a ‘big man’ school (an affluent school). Most of my school and class mates were ‘omo baba olowo’ (rich children).

Me? My dad  scrimped and saved and sweated to keep me in that school.

So of course, I don’t need to tell you how my self esteem fared.

Even though no one particularly went out of their way to make me feel bad, I almost always felt bad!

About everything!

The fact that i wasn’t a rich kid

The fact that I was really smallish in size (Look my size now and imagine how iI was back in secondary school 😂😂)

And to crown all my troubles up, I felt bad about the fact that I had “yam leg” 😜😜😂😂😂 (or so everyone told me then)

[Strong calves are called yam legs in Nigeria. They aren’t usually accepted as a beautiful thing]

Of all my frustrations and (perceived) flaws, none hurt me more than the “yam legs”.

I don’t need to tell you how (unknowingly) cruel teenagers can be with their taunting.

One particular girl from Aba will be singing as I walk past “pumping the mba ji. Pumping the mba ji” 😭😭😭😭😭 (mba ji means “big sized yams”)

I was severely body shamed but back then, body-shaming wasn’t a known term. It was just seen as normal teasing.

It was ‘normal’ to the teasers, but to me, it was excruciating!

Honestly, If i could buy a new pair of legs from the market, no matter the cost, i would probably have stolen someone’s money to go acquire brand new ‘straight legs’!🤦‍♀️🤦‍♀️🤦‍♀️

My self esteem was in shambles!!

I constantly prayed for God to make me someone else – someone taller, fairer, more busty, bigger butt, with a straight pair of legs + a rich home.

I bet God was looking at me like “Oh! How ignorant this child of mine is. If only she knows who/what she is and the stuff she is made of, none of these will be an issue for her”.

Well, I didn’t know. So I kept asking for me to be changed.

I am not kidding you, I actually literally prayed about these things!

And because I know that, faith without works is dead, i put in the work to effect the change i sought 😜😜😜

I started tying up my unwanted ‘yam legs’ really tight with bandages every time I wasn’t going out. With the hope that the pressure will deflate the “yams”!

But alas, once I release them, they shake their heads and get right back into formation!

I was stuck with them!

It took me years of personal development, self awareness and love, changing my circle and learning how to control my mind and self-talk to get out of the messy place low self esteem tried to keep me.

I didn’t wear skirts or anything short for so many years (almost 5 years). But now? I can’t get enough of short gowns!

Because now, I know that, I am much more than my “yams”.

I also know that, nothing means anything than the meaning you give to it. What you call your dog is what your dog answers to, right?

So i choose to call my “yams” “Strong sexy legs” and that is what they are!! 😜😜😜😜

I ask you today, “What is that thing that you are ashamed of, that is causing you to feel less of yourself???”

Find a positive way to look at it. Give it a positive meaning to you.

Then get rid of all those people who constantly seek to rub your “flaw” in your face! Look for people who uplift you and make you feel good about yourself and stick around them more.

You are more than any ‘flaw’, mistake or shortcoming!!!


My name is Amaka Chibuzo-Obi.

I help women, especially married women, significantly improve their lives and increase their life satisfaction by helping them gain clarity, achieve Balance and master their minds and emotions 💝💝💝💝💝💝💝💝💝

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