Amidst all the Jelena posts, I was quietly drinking my bulletproof coffee and trying to go on a fast, I stumbled upon another Facebook post. The first line got me…
“Why do people feel the need or feel like they have the right to tell me I’m fat?”
A few more relatable rants until this part…
“I can’t be in my closet and say ‘Oh! Nice dress, I’ll wear this”. Instead, I’m always like ‘Nice, kaso sabihin nila ang taba ko”, or ‘Nice, kaso iju-judge nila ako’. So dapat magpapayat muna ako before I can happily choose what to wear and happily wear it?”
And that hit me hard.
Growing up, I was always a people-pleaser, someone who does not know how to say no and I know it might be off-topic but I am saying that to emphasize the impact of these traits on how someone sees themselves… and even if you grew up differently, I bet, even once in your life, you have been body-shamed.
I have always had a small figure. I was a skinny child in my grade school days and I never really paid attention to my body as my Harry Potter books got me busy. Come High School, I may be timid but I wore what I please. First day of school, I wore a sheer halter dress and at 15, my mom let me wore a g-string. No biggie. Although I knew that in a conservative private school in the province, I would be the talk of the town for wearing such a “bold” outfit when everyone was in their shirts or pants. Bottom line is I OWNED MY BODY.
…not until I saw how the boys in our school make fun of a classmate for being “chubby” and for slowly realizing that for you to be a campus heartthrob, you have to be not just good-looking, you have to be thin too. I was a volleyball player back then, and I had the metabolism of a teenager but strangely enough, I started to watch what I ate. I remember me and my bestfriends would have lunch together and we would share on a chicken sandwich and unconsciously rant about how “fat” we were when in reality, we weighed 100 pounds, at most. Come to think of it, we were just brats who complained even if we have nothing to complain about. I was never really that pressured about my weight because as I’ve said, I had a metabolism that anyone would kill for.
It was 2008 when I moved to Manila for college and gone were the days when homecooked meals were prepared for you. Fastfood meals were the most convenient and anyone could vouch that stress-eating is real, especially when finals and class presentations come your way. The only workout I did was to lift my spoon and fork lol. To add to that, date nights also consisted of food and so from 45 kilos, I gained 3, 4, 5 kilos and everytime I went back home to visit, I was always greeted the same way, “tumataba ka”, “uy nagkakalaman ka”, or “lumalapad ka ah”! I did not mind at first but man, when these comments just won’t stop… it starts to get to you. It’s as if you are defined by how you weigh. It’s the constant reminder in a tone where it seems it’s unacceptable to gain weight?
Take the comment on this photo taken 7 years ago as an example:
Comments like these put SO much pressure on me looking good. I also remember being in a school team where someone made fun of me when I did floor exercises because I “looked heavy” and that time when a certain person saw me eating at the cafeteria and took away my plate with a “why are you even eating?” comment. I was never bullied my entire life so hearing things like this slowly has taken its toll on me. I was, at most, at 125 pounds then.
Since then, I hated wearing fitted clothes or any top that had no sleeves. There was a time that I just did not want to deal and hated going out. I hated looking at the mirror. “I have nothing to wear” became an everyday dilemma. I felt guilt every single time I eat. I knew in that moment, I did not own my body anymore. My body is owned by the picture-perfect people on social media, the judgmental stares and the passive-aggressive (and mostly unsolicited) comments about my weight, my arms, or my double chin.
I’ve come along way from college and as much as I wish to end this blog with me being a body-shaming survivor, I honestly think I still can’t say that. The photos below were those times that I tried so hard to lose weight… and I did. Only to gain them back again.
I currently have a love/hate relationship with my body. There are good days, but mostly bad. I gain some weight, I lose some. It is a very exhausting part of my life and mainly the reason why I’ve tried to work out even when I don’t want to, starve myself despite the headaches, then binge-eat at times and try every diet possible out there but I still look in the mirror and see someone who is never good enough. It’s the constant “ang taba mo ngayon” being the new “hello”. It’s the constant pressure to look good especially when you see all this beautiful people around you and believe me, I know that beauty is skin deep but until we learn how to redefine beauty in our culture by accepting beauty at all different shapes and sizes and people learning how to filter thoughts in their head and thinking about what and how to say it, there will always be people feeling bad about themselves.
So next time you make age, gender, weight or skin be the intro for your small talk… why not bring some positivity to the conversation? Maybe next time when we are with our family or friends, let’s try to not give in to the body shame talk. Let’s stay positive, appreciate others’ bodies for all of the awesome things it can do. Tell others how awesome they are and how great that dress looks on them, or how glowing and young they look. It’s about damn time we lift each other up, girls!
And if you are still having one of those days, remember that we are smart and well-educated women who are kicking ass in this arena called life. We’re raising humans, running businesses and charities, and contributing on a larger scale than the women who came before us. Our bodies weren’t meant to look like they once did when we were in high school. Our bodies are designed to change and morph with age and babies so let’s all be kind to ourselves and eat that damn cake 😉
All my love! ♥