‘My aunt gave me slimming pills as a graduation gift, here’s what I learnt from that experience’

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Illustration photo by Getty Images.
Illustration photo by Getty Images.
  • Graduating from university is a huge accomplishment, perhaps even more extensive than you realise. Putting on your cap and gown and receiving your qualification is one of the most precious moments.
  • While celebrating her graduation, Lethabo received slimming pills as a ‘gift’ from her aunt, but she handled it like a boss.
  • Here is her story as told to Palesa Chidi.

My aunt and I hadn't talked since 2019 because of what transpired before in our family until recently. We rekindled our relationship, and I decided to give her another chance.

At the time, I was celebrating my graduation, and she, in conversation, decided to tell me that she'd get me something nice for my graduation. Like any normal person, I anticipated a bag, some new shoes, or something along those lines.

Considering that I'm into beauty, I didn't think it would be anything else. So the day arrives, and she hands me these two products, one of which is a container of slimming tablets. At first, it came as a shock, but I didn't respond to the pills. Instead, I decided to brush it off.

READ MORE | Instagram troll asks Lizzo how she deals with being obese every day, and she responds like a boss

I get everything, but not once did she even think that would be a hurtful gesture, let alone ask me if I had any plans of losing weight, which wasn't her business but still would've been better than just shoving slimming pills in my face. Those pills cost a fortune, but even in the midst of purchasing them, she didn't consider that I would've liked something else instead. 

I know that had she given me those pills a year or two ago, I would've been gutted by the gesture and responded negatively or harshly towards her. But seeing that I'm a different person now, and my perspective towards people who aren't as body-positive has somewhat changed, I never feel the need to educate other people about body positivity and self-acceptance. I just decided to say nothing and move on with my life.

READ MORE | Ariel Winter reveals she was body-shamed: 'I was fat-shamed at the age of 13 - it was rough'

We exist in a world where so many people like Lizzo and Thickleeyonce are constantly trying to dismantle the social stereotypes linked to being overweight, dark, or simply not fitting within society's beauty standards. I wasn't going to be that person who needs to raise their voice a bit higher than usual just to let a person know that they've made me uncomfortable.

My silence is just as enough. Weight is a sensitive topic, whether one is obese or anorexic, it shouldn't be taken lightly or as a joke. I hope that more people are aware of the dangers of such gestures on other people because even a simple question such as ‘when are you going to the gym?’ can trigger someone's depression or self-esteem issues.

Have you been made to feel like there is something wrong with you by a close family member or relative? Tell us about it here.

*Not her real name

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