Taruri Gatere

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Hey there!!

My name is Taruri Gatere and I am the creator of Flawnt It.

Flawnt It was born out of totally selfish reasons… I just
wanted to create a space in the world where it was okay for me to be me. I was
tired of constantly measuring myself against the worldly standards of beauty
and working so hard to fit them. It got so exhausting! So I guess you could say
Flawnt It was borne out of laziness too!

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Seriously though, I have always felt very different from
everybody else, and I’ve never been able to comfortably conform. I was always a
stubborn child, growing up, I wanted to know things for myself, and I never
wanted anyone to tell me what to do. I wanted to know what to do, for myself.
When I was young, my body was never something I thought about… until I got to
standard four, and my hips already started forming. My friends would tell me
that I have a “figure 8”. They would say it with such admiration that I started
to become proud of my body. I’d strut around, trying to “catwalk” and pose with
one hip jutting out and my arm resting on it. I felt beautiful. In upper
primary, my hips and bum continued to slowly expand and the compliments just
kept increasing with each passing year. In Standard seven, one of the most
popular boys gave my bum a rating of 96% and I remember pretending to be
appalled by the fact that I was being rated in the first place, while inwardly
I was so flattered!

Things changed when I got to high school. I would still get
comments about my hips, but they were more like exclamations at how big they
were… They didn’t sound complimentary at all. I began to feel fat and
disgusting.

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This was also the time that I discovered that the dimples around my
hips and butt, that I had found cute until then, were an unsightly thing called
cellulite. When I look at photos from then I get so surprised and I wonder what
the hell I was seeing! I was so tiny! But I began to starve myself. That would
become my go-to solution for years after high school… Hunger became like a best
friend to me. I’d actually welcome hunger pangs because I knew it meant that my
body was going to eat up all that excess fat. It became like a high for me… I’d
feel so proud of myself for only having a meal a day, especially if that meal
was a really tiny one. And I would make sure to work out too. This went on for
years… in between my thin phases I would have phases where I gained a lot of
weight, I was yo-yoing so much.

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In my early 20s I had just come off of a pretty dark
depression and I was just starting to get my life together and once again I
decided to lose some weight. For about a year and a half, I did the
starving-working out thing and got small again. I found a group of amazing
friends and I got into a really happy place and forgot to starve myself and as
always, the weight began to pile on. The weight gain coincided with an acne
outbreak of epic proportions. I think my body was so unhappy by that point, it
was screaming for me to stop the madness. Because of my appearance and other
personal reasons, I was also just emotionally and mentally exhausted. Between
trying to lose weight and trying to find a solution for my acne, I was a wreck.
I tried everything I could to fix the acne… from creams I bought from Eastleigh, to washes and tonics from chemists… I tried it
all. And the more frustrated I got, the worse the acne got. Leaving the house
got so difficult because of the interactions I’d have with people. If it wasn’t
former classmates commenting on my weight, it was perfect strangers walking up
to me and giving my business cards of dermatologists or writing down names of
creams they swore worked for their cousin or sister. I slipped into a dark
place once again, feeling so ugly and disgusting. In my despair, I looked for
something, anything to cling to. I wanted something that would last, something
stable. And I went on a very interesting spiritual journey (that’s a long story
for another day).

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I found myself in my spirituality and I realized that I was
the one with the power in my life. I had been giving my power away by allowing
other people’s standards to become my own. I was underfeeding and overworking
my body, slathering all kinds of chemicals on it just to fit into a mold that I
hadn’t chosen for myself. The stubborn child within me came back to life. I
wanted to create a space for myself where I was good enough as I was. I wanted
to free up mental space, so that I could concentrate on just living life and
being happy, instead of worrying about inches and kilograms. And when I looked
at the women around me, they seemed to be struggling with the same things… My
Mum, my sisters, my friends who were all so gorgeous to me, were constantly
criticizing themselves, talking about their bodies negatively and feeling
unworthy or ugly or disgusting. My eyes were opened up to the madness of it
all… Beautiful, intelligent, amazing women were feeling worthless because of a
number on a tape measure or scale. Talented, vibrant, incredible women were
reduced to tears by the thoughtless comments of relatives. What utter madness!
I decided that I was done with all that nonsense. I was going to embrace my
flaws, and love them. I was not going to let anyone else tell me what beautiful
was. That’s when my Flawnt It journey began.

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It’s a journey, and I still have days when I have to
actively remind myself that I am beautiful no matter what size I am. Food has
become a pleasure for me now, and I eat as much of it as I want. Because I like
being healthy, I eat good quality food. Exercise is becoming something I do for
the love of my body, movement that I enjoy; not something I do to fight the fat
or lose weight. I want to enjoy my body, to love it like a friend, to be kind
to it, not just with what I put into it but also and perhaps even most
importantly, with what I think about it and what I say to it and about it to
others. My “flaws” are not things I will hide anymore. I will wear a teeny
bikini and show my jiggly bum and my cellulite. I will go without makeup and
show off my acne scars. I will let out my belly when it’s bloated and I will
love every inch of this body! It’s so unique, there’s no other like it.

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Here, on this blog, we will be posting stories of other
amazing “Flawnters” who are in various stages of their journeys of self-love
and acceptance, all with different “flaws”. Once a week, we will share a new
story… These brave and beautiful souls have bared themselves and shown such
vulnerability. They jumped onto my Flawnt It wagon, so willingly and openly
giving themselves to this project. For those reasons I have a request; please
keep the comments on this blog respectful. Any disrespect here will not be
tolerated. This is a positive space and I would love to keep it that way. Find
inspiration here. Find a safe space to share your own story. Find encouragement
as you walk on your own journey of acceptance and self-love.

Photos courtesy of: Kombo Mutuku Muoka, Urbantu Media 

One thought on “Taruri Gatere

  1. You always are beautiful Gatere I knew way back in college. Self acceptance is the key to freeing ones-self and by creating this space, you have helped many women out there who never knew where to turn and tell the weight that they carry in their hearts in rgards to their bodies.
    Keep up the good work beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

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