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:
- Lower maintenance. I hate waiting for long hair to dry.
- 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 ~