Adele has gotten a lot slimmer to the shock and amazement of those who are just discovering the secret that wasn’t.
When I noticed she was trending last week, my guess was accurate.
She just celebrated her birthday and posted an image of herself saluting the men and women at the frontlines of this awful global pandemic that’s ravaging her hometown with a death count that has surpassed the two hardest hit European cities — Italy and Spain.
But it was interesting and disappointing to watch the hot takes over Adele’s thinner figure with some applauding her willingness to correct a “problematic” feature and others insisting that she was perfect to begin with and didn’t need any major improvements.
Her main reason for sharing her post basically disappeared in a growing pile of approvers and disapprovers fighting for attention.
All she wanted was to thank birthday well-wishers and extend further gratitude to the ones who consistently need and deserve our prayers.
My thoughts on the matter are somewhat complex but I did stumble on a gem that helps to express my general sentiments.
That being said, I find my sensitivity level diminishing with age because almost everything is a trigger that somehow brings up past wounds that I swore were over and done with, but surprisingly enough they make comebacks.
This isn’t an attempt to piggyback off of the silly controversy surrounding Adele’s grown up decision that nobody has the right to summarize, analyze or even question enough times to initiate a trending topic.
I just can’t help but find it somewhat ironic that my childhood and early youth was spent trying my very best to gain weight, due to the loud and dramatic observations made by family members who meant well, but ultimately the constant noise drove me a little mad.
Growing up in Nigeria forced my assimilation into a culture that was starkly different from the Americanness that was acquired by birth.
I was quite thin as a pre-teen and even bonier during my teen years, and that was a frustrating disposition for an impressionable girl who just wanted to look like everybody else, because at that stage of life it means more.
It also didn’t help that my rambunctious uncles would relentlessly tease me about how I could devour platters of food and not gain an ounce of weight.
By the way, after my permanent move back to the States for college, I came to greatly appreciate the blessing of a very forgiving metabolism that served me well in adulthood.
But before I understood the comfort of being comfortable in my own skin, I was tortuously self-conscious of what I couldn’t change no matter how hard I tried.
It also didn’t help that I spent most of the months out of the year in an all-girls boarding school, which was the breeding ground for any and everything that could heighten insecurities.
My goal was to show up with extra weight at the beginning of a new term in order to prove to my classmates that I was capable of developing hips, thighs and breasts-in-progress.
There was that time that I concocted an ambitious plan to continuously raid the kitchen by stealing extra pieces of fried chicken and meat from the large pot secured for Sunday dinner. And then I was guilty of eating an unconfirmed amount of cupcakes that were stored for my younger brother’s birthday party.
My schoolmates were always waiting to see whether or not I was able to live up to my end of the bargain, and needless to say, I never failed in my role of being a source of amusement.
I took it all in stride, mainly because I was preoccupied with more pressing matters of childhood trauma that I was sadly unable to articulate for reasons that were tied to stolen innocence, and not knowing the extent of the damage until much later.
As I got older, the highs and lows persisted when it came to how I viewed my body, and my “enviable” weight stayed the same.
I wore a lot of baggy clothes in my early twenties and it had nothing to do with the grunge era that defined the early nineties. It was because of the shame of being too thin in my head and also ramifications of those life-altering episodes that translated as the urgent need to keep my body hidden from the prying eyes of predators.
As I headed into my thirties, I began to loosen up a bit. I was tired of friends badgering me about being too modest with my presentation. They bemoaned how it was apparently a crime not to be constantly clad in body-hugging pieces considering my “model-like frame”.
I was also dating a guy who made me feel good about myself, and that unearthed my buried sexuality as a late-bloomer, who was encouraged to celebrate the freedom of my sensuality in ways that helped identify my sweet spots.
It was more for me than anyone else. I just required boosters to get the ball rolling in the right direction.
All this to say that my personal struggles with my body was far removed from public consumption, and I can’t imagine what it would be like to have countless strangers weighing in on something that they have no right to either ridicule or cosign for rampant circulation.
I’m guilty of it now!
As I prop yet another passionate essay that’s aimed at convincing readers to see it my way, and using an unwilling subject with recognizable status.
I guess my final word is to urge all of us to be considerate of what we have no idea about because it’s quite frankly not our business.
There’s always a very personal story attached to collective observations and criticisms, and each of us has the right to be protective.
So does Adele.