Of Waist Beads and a Tendency towards Vegetarianism

I am wearing waist beads and I am tending towards vegetarianism-not vegan. The butterfly effect is that last year, April-May, I was involved in a car accident and needed to be on bedrest for an indefinable amount of time and during this time I was gaining an average of 2pounds a day…actually, it started a week before that; I was in the hospital for malaria- 4+, which is like death is knocking at your door type of malaria-and got the munchies, and they were s.e.v.e.r.e. I felt a tad awkward sitting up with a quinine drip taped to my arm, eating Debonair’s chicken and chips, while all the other patients were lying there as if plastered to their beds. Then, fast forward a week, after the accident, the highlights of my day were the three meals. And during the meals, the only reason I would stop eating is not because I was full, but because I would know I was supposed to be full after eating so much. The doctor tending me asked me to go for check up every two days, and every two days, another two pounds.

Fast-forward a month, I am much better, I go for my annual pilgrimage to the land of the MacDonalds. I decide enough is enough, I need to take control of my life again, I read all the slogans, get the bumper stickers and I am impressively psyched for getting back in shape. Minus a pound every three d.a.y.s. Whoever said the way down is easier than the way up sure wasn’t talking about me, but no matter, I’m sure there’s a slogan that says ‘Slow progress is better than no progress’. Anyway, the last week of the holiday, I was hit by extreme logic ‘why was I battling cravings, with temptations everywhere, when I could just give up and start again in the land of no temptations’. Lawrd knowed it being a last born don’t help cause my brother be bringing me icecream on his way back from the gym, and my sister finds it necessary to make me afternoon snacks, and my other sister’s fiancé finds it necessary that I sample his culinary skills at dinner time, while that sister finds it necessary that ‘she’ make me dinner at 11 o’clock pm when she gets off work. I am only human, lo!, I never claimed to be anything mo! So I even stopped weighing myself and let it rip.

Back to Malawi and I realise I have no scale. Now errbody k.n.o.w, a challenge aint no challenge ‘unless’ you can track your progress. Fast forward seven months and I realise time for my annual pilgrimage is coming up so you know I aint trying be caught in no vicious cycle. Anyway, a friend of mine just got waist beads and I think they are the new fad-and if they aint, they should be. So I went and got me some waist beads…o.k. you got me; I lack the initiative. I came across them in one of the many boxes I inherited from my mother or confiscated from my sister. Single string but it coils around twice on me; white for chastity. I mean, I wear them because they make my stomach look sexy but since I ‘am’ African and constantly thrown into the overseas i.e. inevitably become ‘exotic’, I decided to learn all about the tradition surrounding them so that I could milk the aura of mystery for all it is worth. So, first and foremost, there is nothing ‘chaste’ about waist beads. They are, traditionally, there to be worn under the clothes to be seen solely by those/that one whom you let under there; they are sort of a visual and sensual aphrodisiac- apparently they stimulate the man, get him in the mood. !But! ‘also’, they shape the waist! I guess, in the manner of a corset. (Although, I don’t get how that works as beads just tighten around your waist, not really ‘shaping’ you) But I can see how they help you maintain your weight since they are not elastic and therefore become snug to bursting if your weight gets out of control, or, alternatively, you can see how much weight you have lost by how loose they become.

And then I was broke for about a week, two weeks ago, so couldn’t buy any more meat and had to ration the meat I did have. Then I realised that I actually do like vegetarian food so even after I got mended I continued on the path. Then I realised it’s doing wonders for my waist (!not to mention my bank account!).  The only reason I am not going vegan is because I don’t wanna be that guest that screws up the dinner menu/ mood causing the host(ess) to feel inadequate and everybody else to feel uncomfortable for that awkward dishing moment when I am like, “Oh tuna salad for starter? I’ll just have the lettuce. What’s that? Oh you mixed everything together already. Guess I’ll just skip to the main course” *insert awkward laughter* “What’s in the potatoes? Oh, bacon bits; I don’t eat that. Oh, the mushroom was stir-fried with chicken? I don’t eat that either. Was the spinach fried in vegetable oil? Oh, lard? Isn’t that like pork fat?  No, actually, I am v.e.g.a.n; I can’t ‘pick out the bits’. I don’t touch meat at all. But it’s fine, I’ll just have dessert…you can leave out the ice-cream but did you use any milk and/ or eggs in the gateau?” I mean, that’s not the ‘only’ reason but it’s compelling enough for a people-pleaser such as myself- or whatever the more precise word for ‘person who likes to keep the level of tension at a grouping down to a minimum’ is.

It’s bad enough I don’t eat certain meats: like pork; but if they can afford bacon at the table, they most likely have eggs too, and I am not one of those strict anti-pork-stars who will burst into people’s kitchens demanding to see if they are recycling the unholy bacon oil on my eggs benedict (I would prefer if it wasn’t recycled on my breakfast, but I aint gonna lose sleep over it), nor do I carry around a pan in my handbag incase I am invited to eat at a home whose pans have all been soiled with the unclean blood of swine.  In addition, I don’t eat duck, lobster, oysters, and prawns but I usually come across these at expensive restaurants where they have alternatives which can be had without inconveniencing anybody, least of all the host’s wallet, as they are usually less pricey. And a few others which are negligible in our context.

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