By Zerida Mponye

I was having breakfast at Cafe Javas the other day when I saw the most beautiful woman. She was seated right in front of me, slightly to the right so I had a really clear visual. I noticed, while I picked at my underwhelming red velvet cake, that she was eating something I can only describe as cheesy and meaty. To be honest I didn’t really know what it was, but it looked so yummy. Infact, if it wasn’t for the fact that I had a lunch date later in the day and didn’t want to use up all my day’s calories on breakfast, I would have asked the waitress to bring me exactly what she was having (on top of my red velvet slice which,  quite frankly, I regretted getting as soon as I took my first bite).

Anyway, as I continued to eat my cake and mentally will the gorgeous woman to turn around so I could get more than just her profile, a tall, size 12 waitress walked up to her and exclaimed at the fact that she was eating cheese. “I’m fighting to shake off the extra kilos from eating cheese too often last month,” she said. “I’m 67 kilos, at my size imagine, and I’m fighting to lose them. But you, at your size, you’re eating cheese?” And as soon as she finished her not-so-humble brag, she walked off. I watched the gorgeous woman play with her food for a few minutes after that – never once lifting the fork to her mouth – before she summoned another waitress to take it away. I left before her so I didn’t get to see if she had it packed or gave in to the waitress’ taunting and gave up on it altogether.

At some point before I left, however, she stepped out of the cafe for a second. As she walked back to her table I finally got a good look at her. It turned out I actually knew her (sort of). I’d driven past her several times a week in 2014, jogging in Muyenga. She’d lost so much weight since then that I hadn’t even recognised her. And then I thought about how insensitive Miss size 12 had been. Poor woman couldn’t even finish her food because her waitress appointed herself Chief of the Weight Police, deciding what a paying customer could and couldn’t eat based on their size.

There’s a really loud rant brewing in my head right now, but I’m not here to rant. I’m only telling a story. But I hope my silent rant sparks off a series of rants in your minds too. And to the weight police, kindly stop it. No one knows how much weight we’ve gained better than us. We’re the ones who have to go through an entire wardrobe of clothes that no longer fit in search of at least one item of clothing that still does. Allow us to celebrate our little victories,  even if you can’t see them, and stop making our losses that much worse. I promise, it will not make you any skinnier.

Let us be.