I love her size. In fact almost everything about her makes me love her. Kojo
He first laid eyes on her when he went to visit his relative at the hospital where she worked. Something about her made him believe that had he found a future home for his heart. A home where he will be safe, loved and cared for. He knew he had found his other half. He knew his whole life will change if he spent it with her. He looked at her and saw her better than anyone else in the world. He set out on a journey to capture her heart. It did not matter how long it took or how difficult it was going to be. He was determined because he strongly believed that she was worth it.
He spent the next year and a couple of months pursuing her. Giving up was not an option when it came to capturing that resting place for his heart. She was his fortress and he will lay siege outside her gates until she let him in. His persistence paid off in the end.
I saw the pictures of Kojo and Abena for the first time on my news feed on Facebook. My friend Belinda had shared the pictures of their photo shoot. The second I saw the pictures, I was intrigued. Here he was, an average size young man showing off the love of his life; a full-figured woman. I was not sure why I was intrigued. A lot of thoughts went through my mind. I did see something though.
I saw courage. I saw vulnerability. I saw love in their eyes.
Of course, Kojo is not and will not be the last man to show off his love to the world this way. Other men in his position have done the same. They chose to love women who do not seem to fit the false society notion of physical appearance. They also chose to share their love with a world full of superficial notions of attractiveness and beauty.
I had an overwhelming need to talk to Kojo. I wanted to hear his story, his experience, what his challenges were. I wanted to know if he faced ridicules, if his friends made fun of him because of his choice of Abena. I wanted to know Abena’s view of the relationship, if she had challenges.
I had questions because we live in a superficial world. The images of the ideal attractive couple we see on television or magazines did not look remotely like Kojo and Abena. The man is usually tall, muscular and in great shape. The woman is slightly shorter than the man, incredibly beautiful, skinny or in great shape. Take a look at the modelling industry. Think about who advertisers pick to showcase a couple on television advertisement or magazines.
I had questions because I had faced some ridicule myself when I was in Ghana two years ago. When I received news that my mother was sick and had a few months to live, my world and was turned upside down. Life did not mean much to me anymore. I stopped going to the gym, stopped watching what I eat and I ended up gaining weight. Going to Ghana, I forgot how brutally blunt my country people can be.
Eeiii, look at how fat you have become
Obolo (Fat person in Ghanaian native language)
I got so tired of being called Obolo by relatives and friends in Ghana that I started snapping back at people. I did not care who the person was. I felt anyone who was fat shaming me to my face was rude and disrespectful. To them, it meant nothing to call me fat. The fat shaming was actually coming off as a term of endearment in some cases. I was back in the gym the second I got back to the States. There was no way I am coming back to Ghana looking fat again.
Body image is not a light or fun subject to tackle. A lot of people are suffering mentally with issues like low self-esteem in relation to how they appear. I am in no way diminishing staying in shape or maintaining a toned body. I am simply stating how we are conditioned by the media to view how an attractive couple should look like. The ideology of the media promoting a superficial image of what a couple should look is not new. However, we sometimes fail to see how we have internalized this notion. We sometimes fail to see how we conform to this ideology unconsciously. We know it is wrong but how dare we go against the norm.
I reached out to Kojo via Facebook. I needed him to know that his courage had inspired me. I wanted him to satisfy a curiosity. I am a stranger and he did not owe me any answers or insight. He responded and I got to spend some time with a very genuine and humble human being.
A snapshot of our actual conversation:
Me: Have you had any of your friends and family complain or say negative things about your relationship?
Kojo: Well my family has no problem with whomever you intend getting married to. Once the love is true and genuine, my family is so cool with anybody we bring home or introduce to them as a fiancé or fiancée
Me: What do you love about her the most?
Kojo: I love her size. In fact almost everything about her makes me love her. She has a warm heart, caring, loving and above all God-fearing
Me: And have you had your friends or strangers make fun of her size?
Kojo: Maybe at my back but not in my face. Because I wouldn’t allow anybody disrespect my woman in my face
Me: Also, how does she feel about her size in relation to yours?
Kojo: She is always happy with how she looks. She doesn’t care about what people say about her. Never!
It took me a whole year and some months to win her heart
It wasn’t easy bro lol
Me: Who keeps your relationship alive? So what keeps the relationship going?
Kojo: Prayers bro. Every relationship has its ups and downs but when you entrust it into the hands of God he does all the miracles without you stressing
After our conversation, I got it. I got a glimpse into the mind of someone who does not conform to society norms. He had found something I have been searching for in two decades.
I love her size. In fact almost everything about her makes me love her.
This statement Kojo made in response to one of my questions stuck with me. He followed “I love her size” with “In fact, almost everything about her makes me love her.” This statement satisfied my core curiosity. When he looks at her, he sees something deeper than what we see. He sees everything that makes him love her. He sees comfort, security, joy, satisfaction, a sense of belonging. I am sure Abena is not perfect but Kojo loves everything about her. He is not cherry picking what he loves about Abena.
The most attractive and happy people in our society are the ones who know that their physical appearance is not the most attractive thing about them. They have a certain kind of confidence that showcases their inner beauty. A beauty very few will see because we are a society that cannot look past physical appearance.
I am not going to lie and say that personal appearance is not important to me. We all have a type, an ideal person we hope to fall in love with. I am superficial. I am attracted to and have only dated skinny model looking type of women. All my friends and family know this. In fact, my superficial stance towards dating is what they point to as the reason for my failures in finding “the one.” The reason why I am still single.
So will I follow Kojo’s example? Will I be courageous as he is? Can I look at a woman and see past her physical appearance and focus on her inner beauty?
I will say the jury is still out on this one.
I am looking at a skinny and gorgeous woman and hoping that she is beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside. I got it all backwards. Can I turn this ship around? Maybe, but it is a slow and painful turnaround and I am barely moving.
Kojo is unique. He is the cool kid and the rebel in the school of love.
Me, I am the nerd and trouble maker in the school of love.
What’s the greater risk? Letting go of what people think – or letting go of how I feel, what I believe, and who I am? Brene Brown
Kwadjo Panyin is a Ghanaian born relationship and lifestyle blogger located in Los Angeles, California. He holds three degrees; a Bachelors degree from Rutgers University in New Jersey, an MBA from Franklin University in Ohio and a Masters of Science degree from Northern Kentucky University in Kentucky. Kwadjo is a business professional who blogs for fun. His articles are about the challenges of dating and relationship anomalies. Writing, blogging, world travel, and photography are his favorite hobbies.