There are not many things I regret in life. And the things I do regret, I can usually get over the choking feeling by listing the many benefits of things turning out the way they did rather than any other way.
What if, used in the past sense, is a form of regret. One big what if that pops up in my mind once in a while is: What if I actually went to Jamaica back in 2007 to compete in Caribbean’s Next Top Model for which I was chosen to represent Trinidad and Tobago? You are correct in thinking that it sounds much like America’s Next Top Model, because it was patterned after that and was made into a reality show, complete with challenges, make-overs, and tense eliminations.
Wondering why on earth I didn’t go if I was going to be given free accommodation for a week, a weekly spot on regional television, probably the only make-over in my entire life, a free trip to Jamaica (which I am still yet to visit) and more?
The answer is: the Vice Principal of St. Joseph’s Convent at the time told me I was not allowed to represent Trinidad and Tobago in a modelling competition because it was against the principles of our Catholic institution and if I did go my House Captain position, which was utterly important to me and my future, would be taken away.
So after weeks of eating one slice of toast for breakfast, only half of the free box lunch we got at school (leaving most of the rice behind — empty calories), and giving up sugary and fatty things, I gave up on my chance to be the face of the Caribbean. After losing 20 pounds, as I was directed to do by the organisers of the competition, and becoming the slimmest I ever was, I gave up on my chance to star on reality TV. After weeks of being so hungry for so long and almost fainting during my weekly football matches and missing easy goals, while I was team captain and expected to be the top scorer, I gave up on my chance of being groomed into a truly beautiful and finished woman. After weeks of hormonal distress due to my body having an adverse reaction to the loss of 20 pounds and the lack of body fat, I gave up on my chance to win a two-year international modelling contract. All because my Vice Principal said I couldn’t.
That year, 2007, was the last time I was ever slim. I went onto university to play varsity, division one football (soccer) and gained 30 pounds in one term (freshman 15 for two people). I came back to a friend asking if ‘every time I opened my book to study did food come out’. And men no longer looked at me as a model but as ‘powerful’. They started asking me not to kick them because I ‘might kill them’. Not only did I give up my chance to be an international model in 2007, but I would never have that chance again because, quite frankly, I enjoy food way too much.
This ‘regret’ was recently triggered by the Miss Trinidad and Tobago reality series that is currently on local TV.
How do I rationalise giving up such an opportunity to experience something I never would again? Well I tell myself I would have never been able to play national football as I did for five years beginning in 2007 because I would have been too busy posing in front of cameras and keeping my bones showing. I would have had to delay university, maybe, or go to another one. I may have become obsessed with the way I looked and have given up on my academics to become a self-centred socialite who dated only hot, rich men. Perhaps I would have embarrassed myself on TV and lost terribly and also lost my House Captain position and as a result not gotten into university because of this one less ‘leadership position’ on my CV. Or maybe my loss of weight would have sent my hormones plummeting and I would have developed an eating or mental disorder and been on drugs. Ok, as you can see, I don’t have many real rational reasons for why it would have been a terrible decision, I am mostly just digging in an empty barrel here…
HOWEVER this blog is really supposed to have been about how I am always hungry, and as a result, after 2007 my appetite exploded and I gained weight that I was never able to lose. And about how one day an Indian lady, who was my London landlord’s wife, told me that people in her country believe that EVERY GRAIN OF FOOD THAT YOU EAT HAS YOUR NAME ON IT.
I love this saying and I take it with me everywhere and remind myself of it every time I think of what I gave up in 2007 and why I am not gorgeously slim and nothing fits right. Every time I am broke, like I was this week, but eat amazing salmon and Brazilian dishes, I think of how absolutely blessed and looked-after I am that that food had MY name on it. That I never go hungry. That even when I am my poorest, I still eat like a king (yes, a king, not a queen). That I am the size I am because that is the way it is meant to be. That everything is always exactly how it is meant to be. I repeat, THAT EVERYTHING IS ALWAYS EXACTLY HOW IT IS MEANT TO BE. So I have no reason to regret anything. And after a few minutes of huffing and puffing, I stop regretting, and start thanking my God for everything I DO have.
OK… I am off now to eat a gluten-free Pillsbury cookie straight out of the oven, soft and juicy. You should go too and find the grains with your name on them.
Do you have regrets? Do you love food? Where you once a model or still are and want to fight the cause? Argue with me. Tell me your story. I’d love to hear it.
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