An Overthinker’s Guide to Starting Afresh by Amirah


One of the many ways Fola liked to enjoy her nights was ensuring she ate something “sweet” to end the day, it didn’t matter if she spent the entire day stuffing her face in confections, she just had to munch on something sweet at the end of the day. Luckily for her, she always had a stash of sweetmeats by her bedside drawer. Stuffing her hand in the drawer and Rummaging through the endless options ranging from chocolates to cookies and biscuits, her hands felt something, and her eyes gleamed with excitement as she brought out a half-eaten double-sized bag of chips, she immediately begins to wolf them down whilst casually scrolling through Instagram.

She had already liked a few of her friends posts before stumbling across a post that made her freeze. Her once bright smile dwindled to nothing but a blank stare. She glared at her screen and suddenly her eyes began to water, tears streamed down her face as she sobbed quietly with Eyes tightly shut in an attempt to stop the waterworks, she places what was left of the bag of chips on the bed and glances at the mirror by the far end corner of the room, she gets up and slowly walks towards it, quickly wiping her tear-stained cheek. She stared at her reflection and hated every part of what she was looking at. She hated how she felt at that moment, how easily triggered she was, and how she couldn’t control her emotions or her appetite but most importantly, she hated the fact that she couldn’t just love herself for who she was.

Fola had always been a big girl since she could remember, she had tried numerous diet plans, and exercise routines and even ingested a handful of pills, teas, and injectables that claimed to aid weight loss within a short period of time but all her attempts at losing weight were futile. She had undergone multiple phases of starving herself and on several occasions had resulted to binge eating on her “cheat days” not only did that make her gain back the weight she lost but it also led to her developing an eating disorder. one that she wasn’t aware of until years to come. Even though Folas situation was genetically disposed and uncontrollable due to her genes, she was her own biggest bully. One would think because she had lived her whole life under the identity of “the big girl” she would be used to her appearance and be a lot kinder to her mind but how could she, getting used to something that kills you on the inside means slowly giving in to death. So, she did what she knew best and continued to loathe how she looked. and the world itself, although never kind, was even harsher to her which fueled the self-contempt.

Glancing at her phone, she stared at the girl in the photo, admiring her beauty, and thought “what I wouldn’t give to look like this”. The girl in question, unbeknownst to her was bestowed with unvarying adulation from Fola who had no qualms spending hours gauged by her posts in great veneration. She stared at the girl’s body(her biggest trigger) she loved how protruding her collarbones were, how her thighs never touched and the way her belly never poked out when she sat, something Fola could never relate to. She cursed herself for constantly overeating and felt there was no one to blame for the situation she was in but herself. This event is extremely important because it was the genesis that kickstarted Folas weight-loss journey.

As time went on, days turned into weeks, weeks into months, and months into years. Folas efforts had finally paid off and with certain surgical procedures effected she now stood at 140 pounds (her desired goal weight) Fola received attention and constant admiration and laudation from both genders. The weight loss had not only drastically changed how she looked but also unveiled her beautiful facial features. She looked amazing and everyone saw and knew it. Everyone except her.

The belief was; if she looked better, she would feel better. right? But why did she feel so empty? Why was it so hard for her to see the beauty the world saw? What was missing? She would constantly think “maybe I’m damaged” but she was not damaged. It would take fola years of constant battles with her weight, self-image, and eating disorder for her to realize the answer to these questions.


There is no love more pure and genuine aside that of the divine almighty than yours.

I think of self-love as this never-ending journey that requires a lot of focus and patience. Self-love gets thrown around so much that one would think there exists a universally accepted set of guidelines that dictates how one should love themselves. But sadly, that doesn’t exist. Self-love is subjective. And for people like Fola and myself, self-love is self-acceptance. This involves bearing it all. staring at your reflection of flaws, self-doubts, insecurities, demons, and so on, acknowledging it and accepting it. The ability to mentally strip yourself of any illusion or self-sabotaging coddling tendencies, be fully aware of who you are as a person, the good, the bad, and the ugly, and embrace it in complete acquiescence. That is self-love in its sincere and authentic form.

Like Fola, several people believe that once they get to a certain position in life where they’ve always dreamed to be everything will automatically fall into place and they’d be happy by default. This however is nothing but mere delusion. Obtaining what you’ve always desired is obviously a blessing but most often than not the feelings that accompany the blessing end up being solely temporary leaving behind nothing but an empty blessing. Fola couldn’t grasp why she wasn’t happy after all she had gotten what she always wanted but what she didn’t realize was that for this desire to be completely fulfilled she needed to reach a certain level of satisfaction with herself in order to love who she was. But she couldn’t be content, contentment stems from acceptance. But all she had was an empty blessing.

Subjectively, I personally am yet to achieve complete self-love because there are certain personality traits I struggle with accepting. Self-love doesn’t only end in acceptance but also involves you respecting yourself enough to work on those flaws you have. Like stated earlier. Self-love is a journey but not a physical one. It’s a long, tiring self-unveiling journey that only strong-willed and minded people can embark on. It takes a strong soul to see imperfection or incompleteness in themselves and still feel whole. However not a lot of people can deal with this harsh reality, they would rather spend life chasing every thrill, pleasure, and desire imaginable in pursuit of feeling whole paying no attention to the fact that all they need is self-confrontation.

To conclude, we should all endeavor to practice some form of self-acceptance starting today. Confront your innermost demons, praise yourself for every little progress you make, and celebrate your growth but most importantly access, acknowledge, and accept every individual part of you. And Remember although the most terrifying thing one can do is accept oneself wholly why not dare to love yourself while at it?

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By clarajack


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Pencilmarks and Scribbles Magazine was founded in 2017 by Clara Jack to be a home for African writers, asking them to come as they are and giving them room for growth. The publication aims to give back to the Nigerian Literary scene for the things it has given us.