Celine Njoki has survived severe physical, sexual and emotional abuse at the hands of several people throughout her life. She was abused by family and “friends”, and gang rapped 3 times, with the most recent attack occurring in April 2018.
Celine is one of our contributors at The Weight She Carries and has been documenting her healing journey. You can read her articles and watch her videos here.
Today she shares with us how she learned to re-love herself after years of compounded trauma.
As someone who has been sexually assaulted multiple times, what kind of relationship did you develop with your body?
First of all, I hated my body so much. Even the thought of looking at myself in the mirror appalled me. As in, I couldn’t even look at myself in the mirror. That is how much I hated my body. I also felt like everyone had this nice figure, everyone was more beautiful than I am. It even got to the point sometimes, I couldn’t even bring myself to apply lotion to my body because I felt like I was born ugly. I felt like my body was so ugly. I felt like everyone deserves a nice body except for me. I hated my body so much. I would wear baggy clothes to hide my body. It didn’t help when people called me big because I’ve had a big body since I was a baby, and sometimes people would make remarks and call me big.
What lies did you believe about yourself and your body?
The lies that I believed about myself and my body were that I was not good enough. At one point, I felt like I was going to die soon, and there was no need of taking care of myself because of the things that were happening to me. Most of the time, I had unkempt hair, or I would shave my hair. If you see my photos when I was a child, I used to shave my hair and sometimes I would even take scissors and just cut my hair and leave some patches. I was also in some torn clothes because there was really no one to take care of me. This made me think that I didn’t deserve anything good. I didn’t deserve to wear nice clothes, nice shoes, I didn’t even deserve to go to the salon…that those things were for the chosen few.
What would you tell a woman struggling to appreciate her body after abuse?
I see you. I see you struggling so much to appreciate yourself. But I want you to know that you are precious, powerful and captivating to God…and to me also. You are a breathtaking woman with an irreplaceable purpose. Regardless of how you’ve been treated by others or the lies that have been spoken over you for years, you are a masterpiece. And you should love yourself so hard, so hard, because you deserve that and much more. Your body is so beautiful. There’s no one else in this world who looks like you. God created you and gave you that body for a purpose. It doesn’t matter what you’ve been through. It doesn’t matter what people told you. You are loved. There are people waiting for you to rise. There are people clapping for you, and you are loved.
Read Celine’s full story below.
Vimbai E. is a writer, journalist, ghostwriter and the founder of The Weight She Carries. With hundreds of articles publishing online, in print and for broadcast, her love of language and storytelling shines through every piece of writing that bears her name.