Being Fat: A Curse and A Blessing

WARNING: This is gonna be long. If you’re not up to read some whining, then just scroll to the next post, ‘kay?

One word, three letters, over a dozen years of resonating shaming and dietary tips (plus a few on having a healthy lifestyle). Yeah, you’ve probably guessed it by now.
The word “fat” has always been associated with me since… no, not since I can remember (my first memories go waaayyy back to my 1st birthday). When I was around 7, I think. This is the stage of life when having chubby cheeks and lump-like limbs take a turn from being a pinching magnet followed by gushing remarks to scrunched eyebrows accompanied by slight stutters, trying to use euphemisms to conceal their disapproval of my roundness.
And as time passed, it got worse and worse. No matter how smart I was in class or whatever the few achievements I got, the feedback was something like “Good job, you make your parents proud! With that kind of hard work you can succeed in losing weight too, don’t you think?”
Geez. Like, really? *cue for eyeroll*
Let me tell you, that did some damage in my junior HS years. I had the lowest self esteem and didn’t even like to raise my hands because I was afraid someone would comment on my flabby arms or something. I never really enjoyed getting my picture taken, but it was more apparent in those years that I didn’t really smile in family pics. I didn’t talk much either, only responding with more than two sentences when a relative talked about books or topics that interested me. I started wearing black more and more because it made everyone look slimmer (and it’s neutral so it goes with everything). It got to the point where I cut my hair short for two reasons:
  1. Lower maintenance. I hate waiting for long hair to dry.
  2. If my hair was a certain length I could get away with short hair that actually framed my face nicely so it hid its roundness. So, yeah… even my seemingly “short hair don’t care” attitude was initially surfaced by being fat.
That stage was also when I realized I had to stop trying to compensate for my looks. So I became lazy. It took a toll for sure. My grades went downhill (though I was far from being labelled as a stupid kid or a delinquent) and I only studied to get a passing grade. When my parents were furious with me I was even relieved sometimes. I thought that, hey, at least they weren’t talking about me looking like a potato.
But being fat something I’m no longer ashamed about being fat, fortunately. High school came along and changed all that. I matured enough from all that shaming to not care. I still listen—I mostly do—and I realized that sometimes when people try to address my being fat, it’s purely out of health concerns and nothing more. They don’t talk about getting small-sized clothes or that ever-annoying sneer “Well, once you like someone, what I say will make sense!” kind of remark. I’m genuinely grateful for these kind of people, albeit somewhat being ignorant to other factors that play in health and well-being. At least they don’t  force a beauty standard on me.
Now, I’m actually grateful and still amazed at how much being fat shaped the person I am today. I don’t care how I look so when I do take pictures I don’t mind the results not being perfect as long as my eyes aren’t closed or my face isn’t blurred out of recognition. This led to a staggering two-minute session when I took my yearbook picture. Efficiency at its best! 😀
I’m never perplexed with what I wear. I still wear a lot of black, frankly because I love black these days and you don’t go wrong with black unless there’s a strict dress code in place. I still wear boys’ clothes just because of the quality and its easier to find something that fits. (I do know that even if I lose 60 pounds my shoulders and chest measurements would still hamper me from wearing girls’ clothes with certain cuts.) I still despise wearing skirts, though. They don’t let me sit freely on the ground. It’s just not practical enough for me. *sigh*
I’ve encountered plenty of fat shaming. Enough to differentiate when people just don’t like fat people, and when there’s a concern deeper than my jeans size. In rare occasions I’ve felt that a few people want me to go on a diet simply because they don’t want to see me get bullied. They want me to be triumphant, a success story, but simply don’t know me well enough to know that if I wanted to lose weight, I would’ve done so by now.
Because I didn’t see the point of studying anymore (silly me, actually thinking my looks are the only parameter to my worth) I did become lazy but was still forced to get good grades. I had to be able to capture what people were saying and process information quickly. Now I’m able to stay awake through most class sessions and get the most out of the lectures. As long as there’s not too much to memorize, I can handle big chunks of information in a few minutes and still reiterate the big picture.Sometimes, I manage to give presentations and answer exam questions with a decent mark though I didn’t know what I was blabbering about half the time. This has saved me from numerous bad grades and helps me immensely in debate rounds that I’ve come to love.
Now my only concern is the amount of fat that’s around my organs, because it’s the type of fat that can cause serious damage. Apart from that, sure, I’d rather have the ideal body shape and not have acne and get fabulous hair, but I’m still comfortable with my body—enough to go walking around in shorts with my hairy legs visible to the world.
So, it all ends well, right?
Well, not quite. I’m entering my third year in college really soon, which means I’m closer to the gruesome adulthood. *cringes* And… this means I’m back at the starting point where looks matter and getting a decent outfit could be a determining factor in future job interviews.
It’s not all bad, really. I enjoy looking at clothes, I just don’t like skirts and minimal material clothing that costs a lot of money. I do believe that to truly be comfortable with myself, I need to find that balance between comfortable in what I wear and being presentable, at least. I can still pursue a good image through the way I look without letting it dictate the way I live.
So, not all ends well. But such is life, and for now, that’s good enough for me.

PS. There. Geez, this is a long post. And I’m not even done, I’m just content enough ranting for now. Might be a follow up post.

Sorry, guys. Seven months of being idle and this is what you readers get. Oh well, hope if you read it you get something out of it anyway. Cheers ~

Hi, guys!

So, I made a little project for myself that will be going on for the next two months, and maybe more, if I feel like it.

Anyway, I’ve just bought a O2O book from a bookstore… obviously. There was a promotion, which would explain a lot of things. And when I noticed that one book has 60 pages, I got an idea.

I’m gonna do a page a day on this blog. So at the end of January, I’ll be posting a gallery of pics containing what I’ve written down. I just hope the image quality will be good enough, and it won’t take too much space.

Wish me luck!



Just finished watching—binge watching—an anime; Amnesia: Memories. Quite an interesting take on paralel universes. Sweet moments are there too, though not strong enough to be a story. It’s just 12 episodes.

I’m having a conversation—a chat, really—with an old friend from Junior High. He’s one of those people you could just pour out your opinions to, and he’ll try to get the best and last word, but he’ll still listen and really weigh what you have to say as long as it makes sense. And we both could never seem to have a purely casual conversation. It always ends up with picking out each other’s brains. Maybe that’s why we still get along after all these years.

Thinking of memories and heavy reading materials I’ll have to do in a few hours, yet I’m still up at this hour. Good thing I had a nap.

Filled my journal, just a bit. Changed the ink for my fountain pen. Finished two books I’ve put off for months.

Staying up late and feeling sleepy and tired but awake at the same time. Brain racing, fingers typing, eyes dazing back and forth from reality to daydream.

Feeling accomplished because I just finished my finals, queasy from thinking about my grades, excited for the roller coaster of idleness and hecticness this holiday, anxious about my holiday habits.

This. This here.

This feels nice.

I know this feeling.

It feels like heading somewhere. A familiar place I’ve known. Not exactly as I remember it, but I’ve been here before. It feels like coming back for a stay at an old home.

This, Too, Shall Pass

I really wanted to find a rhythm. A balance between tasks, debate, writing, and everything in between. I really wanted to find my pace. I don’t want to run doing everything last minute like it’s a race. I really wanted to find peace. A place where I can simply exist.

This semester, at least so far, is none by the least.

There’s perpetual anxiety not to fall behind on the weekly hectic. A gloom that looms over every waking moment. Stress addressed to me specifically, and just life generally.

Still, I mustn’t forget.

This, too, shall pass.

Worst Nightmare Ever

I dreamt I was in a huge neighbourhood where there were gangsters (well, sort of). I initially belonged to one but for some reason flipped sides to an all girls gang. Something to do with a sandal strap… oh well, dreams’ details are often blurry like that.

Fights went on and I was stuck in this gang as a “passive member” while the rest of my family were in another part of town. As one could easily imagine, the fiscal damages were higher every single day.

One night during dinner I noticed the other girls were sort of excluding me. There was an indescribable gloom in the atmosphere. I decided to stay downstairs and opened the front door to catch some fresh air while savouring my bowl of noodles.

Suddenly there was a car honk. The front gate opened. I saw my dad in a shirt with a gold-ish hue about it. He seemed to have aged in a way that I can’t quite put my finger on. He walked up the steps slowly, while I put my bowl on the table in front of me and was on the verge of getting up.

The car reappeared and I saw a gun barrel. The sound blasted in under a second.

I hurried to my dad with a suddenly stupid brain. Should I say my last words to him or drag him inside and call an ambulance? What will happen next? How do I contact the rest of my family?

I wanted to say so much. But before I could make a sound he just smiled and put both hands on my shoulders. He bowed his head.

I knew what that meant and bowed my head too.

In his last moments, my dad was gonna pray for me.

I woke up to the wonderful reality where there were no gunshots in at least two miles from where I lived. Both my parents were still sound asleep in the next room.

Worst nightmare ever. Best waking up ever.

Selusin Soal

Selusin pertanyaan untuk selusin tahun, umur GagasMedia. Dan pembaca selama setengah dari lusin itu akan menjawab demi satu dari selusin paket buku.

1. Sebutkan 12 judul buku yang paling berkesan setelah kamu membacanya!

Pertanyaan yang sulit bagi siapapun yang senang dibuai cerita. Setelah mengobrak-abrik ingatan, Goodreads, dan inventori buku, akhirnya muncul juga 12 judul di bawah ini.

  1. Animal Farm — George Orwell
    Satire tentang situasi politik yang serupa dengan 1984. Novel ini dapat dikatakan versi yang lebih pendek dengan tokoh-tokoh hewan.
  2. A Study in Scarlet — Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
    Bagi pemggemar Sherlock Holmes judul ini tak asing. Novel ini memang karya pertama dari ratusan kisah Doyle yang menghadirkan detektif paling terkenal sepanjang masa.
  3. A Thousand Splendid Suns — Khaled Hosseini
    Karya kedua Khaled Hosseini, sayangnya tak seterkenal The Kite Runner. Bercerita tentang kehidupan wanita di Afganistan.
  4. Bumi Manusia — Pramoedya Ananta Toer
    Novel pertama dari Tetralogi Buru yang sangat terkenal. Menceritakan kehidupan Minke, seorang pria Jawa yang terjebak dalam aneka kasta sosial dan munculnya benih-benih perlawanan di dalam dirinya.
  5. Dunia Sophie — Jostein Gaardner
    Novel fiksi yang kental dengan filsafat, dikemas dalam bentuk yang menarik. Bukan bacaan yang tergolong ringan (mungkin karena terjemahan maka bahasanya agak kaku), namun menjadi bahan perenungan otak yang menyenangkan.
  6. Entrok — Okky Madasari
    Mengangkat kisah seorang perempuan yang lahir tanpa apa-apa dan berjuang mendapatkan kemakmuran, juga ketidakadilan yang menimpanya dan konflik dengan anaknya. Tak hanya itu, karya ini juga mengupas masalah feminisme, kepercayaan, dan politik.
  7. Gods and Kings — Lynn Austin
    Buku pertama dari seri Chronicles of the Kings (yang sayangnya tak kumiliki, hiks!). Fiksi Alkitab, mengangkat kisah hidup Hizkia.
  8. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings — Maya Angelou
    Salah satu utobiografi Maya Angleou. Mengisahkan masa kecilnya yang menarik dan juga masalah keluarga serta pemerkosaan yang menimpanya.
  9. Kei: Kutemukan Cinta di Tengah Perang — Erni Aladjai
    Novel ini puitis tapi tak muluk. Penokohannya baik, dan alur ceritanya kompleks namun tidak memusingkan. Kei bercerita tentang perang saudara yang terjadi di Maluku. Novel ini menjadi pemenang unggulan Dewan Kesenian Jakarta tahun 2012.
  10. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children — Ransom Riggs
    Buku pertama dari seri yang belum rampung (Riggs sedang menulis buku ketiganya). Konsep seri ini menarik sekali. Bukan hanya tokoh-tokohnya adalah anak-anak berkemampuan khusus, tetapi ide tiap tokoh diambil dari foto polaroid lama yang juga ditampilkan sebagai ilustrasi dalam buku.
    Example pictures from the book. There’s a graphic novel version too, but I haven’t gotten my hands on one.
  11. Sang Penyamar: Memoar Masa Perang — Rita la Fontaine de Clercq Zubli
    Buku ini bercerita tentang penyamaran Rita sebagai pria pada saat pendudukan Jepang di Indonesia. Selama 3 tahun lebih ia harus berubah dari seorang gadis cilik yang polos menjadi seorang pemuda yang cakap bekerja. Saat itu, Rita yang baru belasan tahun mengalami banyak hal. Ia menceritakan kengerian dan juga momen-momen menyenangkan yang kadang bisa terselip walau ancaman penyerangan dan identitas aslinya terungkap selalu membayangi.
  12. The Time Keeper — Mitch Albom
    Buku yang sungguh puitis. Kisahnya tentang seseorang yang pertama kali menemukan cara mengukur waktu lalu terperangkap dalam keabadian, dan mendapat cara menebus diri dengan menolong dua orang dengan masalah waktu yang berbeda: yang satu ingin mengakhiri waktunya di bumi, yang satu lagi tak pernah mau waktunya habis.

2. Buku apa yang pernah membuatmu menangis, kenapa?

Semua karya Khaled Hosseini (A Thousand Splendid Suns, The Kite Runner, And the Mountains Echoed). Jika pernah membaca karyanya, siapapun akan setuju dengan kepiawaian sang penulis menarik-ulur emosi pembaca melalui adegan-adegan kecil tak terduga.

Oh, dan surat Dira dalam novel Dealova (Dyan Nuranindya). Surat manis itu terdengar begitu tulus, dan sampai sekarang masih bisa terlihat dampaknya dalam tulisan-tulisanku.

3. Apa quote dari buku yang kamu ingat dan menginspirasi?

Karena sedang libur, dan iseng, sekalian sajalah dibuat desainnya.


Kutipan ini mengajarkan tentang toleransi dan pengertian terhadap mereka yang kurang beruntung, dan bersikap tegas terhadap mereka yang melakukan kesalahan/berperilaku buruk karena ketidakpedulian.

4. Siapakah tokoh di dalam buku yang ingin kamu pacari?

Mr. Darcy dalam novel Jane Austen yang berjudul Pride and Prejudice. Kami akan cocok karena bisa menjadi teman bicara yang seru dan sama-sama keras kepala tanpa harus bertengkar. Aku dapat membantu meringankan kebiasaannya berprasangka dan tak memerlukan gestur-gestur romantis yang “menye” sehingga tak membebaninya yang memang tidak begitu emosional. Mr. Darcy lebih memilih membantu dengan cara nyata. Ia juga orang yang jujur, sifat yang sangat kuhargai dalam seseorang.

5. Ceritakan ending novel yang berkesan dan tak akan kamu lupakan!

Entrok karya Okky Madasari. Akhir novelnya berhubungan dengan bagian awal buku dan benar-benar tak terduga. (Lebih baik jawaban ini jangan dilanjutkan supaya tidak menjadi spoiler.)

6. Buku pertama GagasMedia yang kamu baca, dan kenapa kamu memilih itu?

Let Go oleh Windhy Puspitadewi. Dibeli 25 Juli 2010 dengan harga Rp 35.000,-

Alasan memilih buku ini? Penasaran. Let Go adalah buku pertama yang kutemui yang berkesan cukup ringan sehingga bisa dibaca saat santai, dan tak terpusat hanya pada masalah percintaan. Setelah beberapa kali mengunjungi Gramedia dan perhatianku selalu kembali ke buku itu, akhirnya Let Go menjadi pengantar ke dunia GagasMedia bagiku.

7. Dari sekian banyak buku yang kamu punya, apa judul yang menurutmu menarik, kenapa?

Judul-judul buku yang menarik bagiku adalah judul yang memberi visualisasi surreal, judul yang menggunakan majas personifikasi pada benda abstrak. Misalnya “The Time Keeper” karya Mitch Albom, “Pasung Jiwa” karya Okky Madasari, dan “Sunshine Becomes You” karya Ilana Tan.

Aku juga menyukai judul yang agak panjang namun menceritakan sedikit konsep cerita, misalnya “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” karya Ransom Riggs dan “One Hundred Years of Solitude” karya Gabriel García Márquez.

8. Sekarang, lihat rak bukumu… cover buku apa yang kamu suka, kenapa?

Sampul buku-buku hard cover yang kumiliki kebanyakan bagus. Memang media yang tebal memberi ruang kreativitas lebih.

Maaf, aku terlalu malas mengeluarkan buku ini dari pojok dalam rak. :’|

Sampul ini cantik dan memiliki perincian indah. Tulisannya berwarna perak. Sampulnya juga sangat melambangkan isi buku—karya-karya Poe yang suram, terkadang seram, indah dalam tragedi. Sama seperti hidup pengarangnya.

9. Tema cerita apa yang kamu sukai, kenapa?

Buku-buku yang mengangkat permasalahan sosial seperti To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee) dan Tetralogi Buru (Pramoedya Ananta Toer). Menyenangkan untuk dapat mempelajari budaya dan konflik sosial, apalagi dilihat dari sudut pandang yang begitu menarik.

Juga buku-buku yang berdasarkan kisah nyata seperti Sang Penyamar: Memoar Masa Perang (Rita la Fontaine de Clercq Zubli). Memoar dan kisah nyata menarik karena memberi kesempatan pada pembaca untuk belajar buku dan membayangkan kehidupan orang-orang yang benar-benar mengalami apa yang mereka baca.

10. Siapa penulis yang ingin kamu temui? Kalau sudah bertemu, kamu mau apa?

Pramoedya Ananta Toer. Aku ingin mendengarnya bicara dan bercerita tentang banyak hal. Aku ingin belajar darinya dan kehidupannya. Aku ingin mendalami kepribadian penulis Indonesia yang menghasilkan permata literatur. Aku ingin menyeruput segelas kopi atau teh sambil mendengar perasaannya saat tahu buku-bukunya lebih mudah ditemukan dalam tulisan bahasa asing dan buku bajakan ketimbang di rak-rak toko buku besar.

Aku ingin tahu bagaimana ia berhasil menyelesaikan Tetralogi Buru kendati semua kesulian yang dialami. Dan aku sangat ingin berterima kasih atas sumbangsihnya sebagai anak bangsa. :’)

11. Lebih suka baca e-book atau buku cetak, kenapa?

Buku cetak. Selalu buku cetak. Terlepas dari harga dan kesulitan mencari stok judul-judul tertentu, fakta bahwa buku cetak mudah hilang dan sobek, akan menguning seraya menua, bisa terkena jamur dan entah apalagi, menurutku semuanya worth it.

Aku menyukai bau dan tekstur kertas. Aku suka merasakan debar kecil saat membuka bungkus plastik sebuah buku baru. Rasa puas menemukan buku di tumpukan/rak dengan mengenali sampul diikuti perjuangan kecil saat mau menariknya keluar dan merasa memiliki jari-jari sebesar gajah. Tulisan kecil dan selipan-selipan bagai harta karun yang terdapat dalam buku bekas, lipatan penanda halaman yang mengandung kata-kata yang menyentuh hati si empunya.

Sungguh… bisakah e-book menggantikan semua itu?

12. Sebutkan 12 kata untuk GagasMedia!

Kini umurmu genap
Selusin tahun

Terima ini
Kubuatkan haiku
Kado untukmu


Astaga, ternyata menjawab 12 soal cukup memakan waktu. Lewat 3 jam sudah, hahaha….

Semoga kalian yang menyempatkan diri membaca ini tak bosan, dan semoga rekomendasi buku-buku di atas berguna. Sekali lagi, selamat ulang tahun, GagasMedia! Semoga kalian suka dengan kadonya. 😉

Weekly Entry (June 1st – 7th 2015)

My first week of approximately 2.5 months being free from formal education! (Albeit, I have to go back a few times to take care of some things.)

So, let’s start with my somewhat amazing scores! And by amazing, I’m not saying I got all As. Well, mostly. I got one A- and a somewhat startling B-, though I didn’t expect to get a gold star on that particular subject anyway. But what’s interesting is… I got a C. Because my lecturer had to go back to his hometown due to an emergency, he couldn’t finish grading all the papers and exams in time and input it in the system. Thus, every student in every class he teaches gets a C, whether they actually got an A or an E (the lowest alphabet in my campus is E. But there’s no A+ either, hmm….)

I don’t really mind, but it leaves me with a problem. You see, if I get a GPA of 3.5, I get a 10% for next semester’s fees. 25% if I get 3.75, and 50% if I get 3.9 or above. If I get an A for this last subject, I’ll get a 25% cut. If not, I’ll only get a 10% cut. I mean, the 15% difference isn’t that huge, but it helps to reduce financial burdens nonetheless. So, yeah. I’m waiting in anxiety for that last letter to appear in my student data.

I’m catching up on sleep, but it’s kinda hard when I have problems keeping my eyes shut before it’s 2 am. Maybe it’s because I take naps? But naps are nice! #teamnaps

If nothing else, I need to be more productive in reading. Poor little books, left untouched and unread in my cramped little shelf! And poor little shelf, being worn down by the weight of my books! I definitely need more book space storage. *grumbles*

I know I wasn’t all keen going into Law, but now I find it more than tolerable, though less than enjoyable. I’m definitely gonna try and keep my grades satisfying. Speaking of law, I wonder if I’ll ever muster up enough determination to go into moot court.

A to-do list while I’m still in college: try MUN, at least once.

Week Entry (May 11th-15th)

You can never know what you don’t know about someone.

It’s weird that my life in general is just so bland—meh, to say the least. And yet I’m surrounded by people with so interesting lives. By interesting, I mean eventful, whether good or bad. It’s like God made a rainbow of acquaintances to fill up my grey skies.

Do I have a trustworthy face? Why is it when people really open up to me it’s never in moderation? It’s like something so petty but they just need to get it out or it’s that complicated and they feel like I’m one of the (first) few to tell for whatever reason.

Why do people like to send out mixed signals? No, I’m not talking just in courting or playing chase. Just in social life in general. It’s hard for me sometimes to know if someone cares for another person, and it’s hard to know their true character.

Why are emotions so overwhelming? Or is it just me? Like, I can handle the emotions and I know I can always manage but physically it’s like I’m always so tired.

I’m bored. I’ve only gone to the movies once in months and I just need refreshing—something to break my monotone routines. Geez, I’m glad the holidays are around the corner.

I find it hard to look up villas and call the owners and negotiate. I’ve never liked conversations over the phone, though I still prefer verbal communication rather than wearing out my fingers in chats.

I need song recommendations. One that’ll fit in my range. And have a nice beat and meaningful lyrics but not so melancholic. Like a fun kind of contemplation. Like Alecia Beth Moore a.k.a. Pink.

My diary’s nowhere in plain sight. I should write more often. But I write enough in class and during exams and debate. My thumbs can get cramps now. That’s simply kinda creepy.

Speaking of writing, I need to set a goal to actually write something during the holidays. A kid’s story, a novelette, whatever. Just. Write.