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.
Ugh.
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 ~

This.

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.

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.

Two Days Ago

So, a lot of things happened two days ago. Or at least, that’s relatively a lot compared to my usual mundane day as a plebeian member of society.

It all started a few hours before March 5th. I was utterly confused on whether or not my classes would still run as usual or if I had to attend a public lecture instead. I mixed up my schedules and mistakenly remembered that the latter class which clashed with the public lecture’s schedule at that particular meeting wasn’t really important. I decided to skip it.

The reason is because a friend owed me a treat and due to clashing schedules (oh, that phrase has been the highlight of my life, recently) he could only do so after mid-terms or on that day. Of course, being me, I wouldn’t want to waste a treat.

In the end, I ended up skipping the other, somewhat more important but still not all that vital class. Oh well. I’m usually a good student in that class anyway.

At midnight I actually wrote down a poem. Yeah, a love poem. I’ve been writing around midnight again for the last couple of days. That’s a sign of me being either in deep shit or deep feelings, this particular case being the latter. Don’t believe me? See recent posts—both in this blog and my other one. If you still don’t believe me, oh well. Not my problem.

I decided to come clean and confess rather than regretting never telling and end up asking “what if?” for quite some time. So I slept on that thought.

As I’ve typed before, I got my schedules mixed up. So I ended up making a task for the less important class and skipped the more important one (there goes one absent mark, sigh).

Well, at least my friend still treated me to lunch. A free lunch (plus, ice cream!) can always make my day better, even if just a bit.

Oh, I did confess. And glad to have done it. Why go through unnecessary drama if I could just say something to prevent it? Plus, the both of us are easygoing—to the point I felt like he didn’t really acknowledge my words. Then again, it’s nowhere near a serious condition. So, yeah, I’ll stop now. That’s it on that topic.

But wait—there’s more! I had to hand in a task. One I made entirely on my own. Another highlight of two days ago: I’ve decided to confront (when I can and it’s appropriate) anyone who tries to take advantage of me, especially ones who try and be sneaky about it, or those who don’t pull their weight in tasks.

Seriously, not one out of six people responded in the chat. They think their scores will me just peachy since I’m around. Well, they should think again.

I knew taking law here would mean I’ll come out able to be a harsher person, but I didn’t think I’d have to be stern (and possibly harsh) already in this semester.

Hmm… come to think of it, that’s not really a lot in one day. Just a lot going on my mind and to go through in one day.

That’s still conceivable as “a lot”, right?

About Last Friday and Curiosity

So I’ve just finished my first midterms as a university student! And I shall pass, I believe, though not with flying colours.

During those midterm days I went to campus a few hours earlier than the appointed time.  Why? Well, to study, of course. Well, no. Rather, to look for people who are studying. Mostly I ended up studying next to none. In my defense, you could open your books and/or notes in half of the tests. But that’s not what this post is about.

I met some new friends in those few days. Just a few people. And for reasons still unknown to me (probably boredom, though), last Friday we decided to go somewhere, anywhere. Long story short we ate and wanted to go to Monas (do Google it of you’re not from Indonesia or don’t know what that is). We parked in a building across it (my friend’s dad worked there, so, family member privilege!) but just as we reached the front gate, we found the whole road blocked.

Whether it be bad luck or fate or something else, we got stuck there. Because of a protest that went on. When we heard the guard say it’s from FPI, we automatically started to go to our cars and decided to just stick around within the building perimeters to stay safe. A few minutes later I heard a sound like something just exploded.

“What was that?” I asked.

“I think it’s tear gas,” a friend answered.

Yup, it’s tear gas alright. We were probably a hundred feet away from where the gas came from, but the smell still reached us and my friends who weren’t wearing glasses felt the sting in their eyes. Those of us who did wear glasses felt it later on.

Now, let me tell you, it wasn’t all that scary being in that position. For me it wasn’t, at least. Soon enough we were bored. Suddenly one of the guys just headed towards the front gates. He said he wanted to see the protest. Being me, I followed suit, leaving four others behind. But he went up right behind the police who were trying to hold back the protesters, while I watched from a distance. And when it was all over and they were bringing in a guy with his head bleeding, he was right beside him, taking pictures and a video.

Hint: here’s where what happened last Friday ends and where my personal ramblings begin.

When I followed my friend outside, half of the reason is because I was also curious, and the other half is to keep an eye on him so at least I know where everyone is. A realization occurred. A few years ago, I would’ve gone as close as I could in that situation. So… why didn’t I do it, last Friday? Sure, there were rocks flying and the tear gas, but it was relatively safe. Plus, when I got out, the crowd had already started to disperse, so it’s not like they’re gonna do anything drastic at that point.

A part of me said it’s because I’m older and wiser, because thinking about your safety and putting it first is a good thing. But I have noticed that I’m just not all that driven by curiosity the way I used to. The thought made me sad. I know why, though.

At school, home, or just when hanging out, I ask random and weird questions. Often they’re weird to the point I don’t expect an answer, but what happens half the time is they just get brushed off. Not devastating, but not a nice feeling either. Still, I do feel at a loss without it. I mean, being curious is a trait that’s constantly present throughout my entire life.

I guess from now on I’ll just start asking questions again, and be more persistent in getting answers. Or at least stop backing down just because people think I’m silly.

Peribahasa; Sekeping Kenangan dan Dua Pelajaran

Dulu, zaman seragam lima hari seminggu gue antara pelaut dan merah-putih, guru gue punya cara menarik untuk mengajak murid-muridnya belajar. Setiap pelajaran Bahasa Indonesia, ia akan menyuruh kami membuka buku kumpulan peribahasa kami, lalu membuat lomba. Siapa yang terlebih dahulu menebak arti suatu peribahasa dengan benar (walau bukan “menebak” juga karena dibantu kamus) ia akan mendapat poin.

Tidak seperti kamus biasa, kamus peribahasa tak memiliki batasan-batasan huruf. Dan ini yang menyebabkan permaninan kami berlangsung seru. Keberuntungan ikut dibawa pula, soalnya. Sampai suatu hari gue melakukan sesuatu….

Gue mengambil selembar kertas origami dan mengguntingnya kecil-kecil, lalu menempelnya dan menuliskan huruf-huruf sebagai penanda. (Sungguh gue baru-baru ini menemukan buku itu lagi, masih utuh satu dekade kemudian. Hanya sedikit berdebu dan usang. Tetapi gue malas memotretnya, hahaha….) Dan seperti yang bisa ditebak, beberapa hari berikutnya kelompok gue hampir selalu menang. Lalu kelompok lain ada yang menuding gue curang.

Nah, gue bingung, sebingung sekarang. Kan itu hasil kerja gue, sesederhana apapun. Tak ada larangan, bahkan tak ada yang dipertaruhkan dalam permainan. Kenapa mereka harus marah? Kalau mereka mau, mereka juga bisa berbuat yang sama. Lagi; kenapa mereka harus marah?

Lalu gue belajar bahwa sepuluh menit gue menghabiskan waktu bisa memberi keuntungan berhari-hari, bahkan berminggu-minggu. Siapa tahu kejadian itu salah satu alasan kenapa gue begitu menjunjung tinggi kepraktisan dalam hidup? Tak apa susah sedikit di awal kalau memang banyak manfaat kedepannya.

Hal lain yang gue pelajari; orang-orang selalu melupakan usaha dan terlalu berfokus pada apa yang kini mereka miliki. Jika seseorang bercerita tentang perjalanan hidupnya sendiri, ia akan memberi proporsi yang lebih besar terhadap masa-masa sulitnya ketimbang jika orang lain yang menceritakan. Kalau orang ketiga yang membawakan, perhatikan bagaimana wajahnya berubah menjadi setengah berangan saat menceritakan kekayaan atau prestasi yang diraih si subjek pembicaraan.

Apa gue juga begitu? Entahlah. Tetapi kabar baiknya gue selalu bisa berubah. 🙂

Terkadang hidup begitu. Kita iri pada orang lain, menganggap mereka “curang” dalam kehidupan. Sepertinya jatah keberuntungan mereka lebih besar dari orang lain pada umumnya. Padahal, bisa saja itu karena mereka dikaruniai talenta dalam bidang apapun itulah. Bisa saja mereka juga sudah lebih banyak berusaha, tetapi kita tidak mengetahuinya.

Kalau begitu, apa bisa dibilang curang?

She Taught Me to Smile Anyway

CANCER.

So… did I get your attention? Or were you by chance searching for posts tagged with the word? Either way, you’re welcome to read this post, or not if you don’t feel comfortable. But this won’t be about me or someone I know surviving cancer, or an inspirational story related to it. This story won’t have a happy or sad ending, because I don’t even know if it’s ended yet.

There’s this girl I kind of know who has cancer. “Kind of know”? Yeah. The thing is, we live in the same city, and last year (or was it two years ago?) we frequent the same mall, and at the same spot; the bookstore.

How do I know she has cancer? Aside the bald head protected under a crochet cap, she has that sick look. Do you know it? That look when you can just tell.

So, back to this girl. I’ve seen her a couple of times, usually with her parents. Sometimes she’s alone too.  But it’s almost always at the bookstore. And in percentage, she mostly look at the same books I do. But I’m not going to talk about that.

It’s the stares she gets.

I know, I know. I’ve done it too. But after the first three or four times I see her, I could just notice her, go “Oh! It’s her.” and go back to whatever it is I’m doing. One time, I decided to look at the other people. The ones who were staring. Like I did.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not going to rant about how inconsiderate people are, staring at strangers. I do it a lot. We all do, don’t we? It may be a pastime while waiting for a friend in the toilet, a hobby, or there’s someone who piques your interest; like this girl. I’ve personally never met anyone with cancer, and I’m thankful for it.

These people had different kinds of stares. Some were just curious like I was, a few had crunched eyebrows, maybe they feel uncomfortable seeing her. Others (most, actually) had a sympathetic look towards her. I saw this and shook my head. Personally, unless I’m presenting something or doing a speech, I don’t like it when I get that kind of attention.

That made me realise something; the disease itself isn’t always so bad as how people react to it. In a smaller magnitude, I know the feeling. When I was a kid, whenever I coughed my mom would make a big deal out of it. It’s annoying. I can’t imagine the kind of things she goes through on a daily basis. Sure, it’s a sign of sympathy and love, but it makes life and living that much more uncomfortable when you’ve been stripped away of your health already.

But you know what? One time—I forgot if I was staring at her or not—our eyes met by accident. We both blinked. I stifled a smile, trying to look sorry or at least to make the moment less awkward. She giggled and slightly nodded at me.

And she smiled. At me. Staring at her.

i feel ashamed. At the time, I vaguely remember being in a bit of a pickle myself, though I don’r recall what it was, so it must’ve been solved, muhaha! Still, every now and again I think back to that moment. If I were her, I’d probably sneer at people who look at me, or avert my gaze. But she managed to smile in the face of people who doubt her odds of surviving.

Honestly, I want to stare at her. She’s the kind of beautiful I like. You should see her face light up like a kid when she picks up a potential book she might buy. I like that kind of look on people. It’s like their eyes sparkle and they have this happy glow or something—I can’t describe it, but if you’ve seen it, you know what I mean. And as cliché as it sounds, she’s so full of life.

I don’t see her anymore these days. I don’t know whether we just don’t cross paths anymore, or she’s moved away, or too weak to go out these days, or the worst case scenario, already gone. I really hope she’s doing fine. Whenever I see a crochet cap, I think of her, though in instant flashes. She taught me without saying anything that whatever the world throws at you, you just gotta smile anyway.

And it’s okay to be sad. In fact, wallow in your sadness every once in a while—it’s good for you. Just make sure you throw all the sad feelings away in time to enjoy what little—or the lot—that you can.