I must be sick. In my head, there's this pretty chubby woman in the mirror. In the real world, she's a hideous 180-pound top-heavy waste of space. And I just might be the last to know.
Am I making you sick already? You can exit this page. NOW!
In the previous months, I have noticed how strangers felt licensed to talk about my weight. The cab driver who refused to shut up, the pool maintenance guy who shared his pessimistic view about my weight loss with his colleague even if I wasn't out of earshot yet, the barker who addressed me as "tabachoy", the ladies in the gym who provided me with unsolicited advice and so on.
So maybe it's high time for me to talk about it, too, huh?
I've always been big as far as I could remember. I was this instant standout among my skinny, prim & proper classmates and playmates as a kid. Everybody had this compulsion to pinch my cheeks and arms then give me a bear hug. In any order.
But, when one reaches puberty, it's not cute anymore. My body weight dwindled as often as MTV's launches for boy bands. I blame it on my inconsistent workout plan (read: short-lived cheerleading career) and relationship with food (read: emotional eating). Put that together and you'd really be in a bad shape.
This went on until college. Eventually, I found myself getting addicted to aerobics as response to the unpleasant turnout of a romantic relationship. I put all my angst, bitterness, sexual frustration and other negative energies to my daily one-hour workout. Back then, I've become this voluptuous chick. But the world does not agree at all. Fools!
As a yuppie, I initially juggled my full-time work in graveyard shift and freelance writing for magazines. My appetite grew insatiable in adaption to this new lifestyle. When I got too many "What happened to your waist?!" from colleagues and college friends, I started attending yoga classes, [then dropped it] and signed up for gym membership. That was my priority for months until the mind-blowing, self-esteem shrinking demands of graduate school in UP-Diliman caught up with me. I had to choose. Workout or bedtime during my rare free time? I opted for the latter.
It's been 2 years since I realized graduate school robbed me of my neglected priorities. Yet, I remain the same big girl when I enrolled in the university. Last year witnessed my attempt to be a serious swimmer and, before the year ended, my enrollment in a gym near my place. Why am I doing this? What am I trying to achieve?
As a result of my tragic kneecap dislocation and meniscus tear for dancing drunk last year, my therapists strictly advised me to work on my weight loss. My knee can't take my excess fats anymore. Aside from this, I have polycystic ovaries which explains the hair fall, cystic acne, uneven skin tone & irregular menstrual period. The threat of infertility does not make me worry at this time. But its correlation to diabetes does. I tend to overindulge in sweets even in my dreams and, worse, we have family history of such. Case in point: my mother.
In spite of this pressure, I wish to retain my curves. I don't ask for toned biceps to replace my arms. Neither am I saving up for liposuction. I refuse to comply to mass media's depiction of sexiness! In my own opinion, I am beautiful and extra sexy for taking pride in my curves, morena skin, big curls and rambunctious laughter. Unlike most plus size women in this country, I have this strong relationship with off-shoulder tops, miniskirts and shorts. If I have to spend more to alter men's t-shirts so I would look better and feel more comfortable, I would. And I am crossing my fingers everybody else would be inspired to feel better about themselves.
However, I must confess I'm no poster kid 24/7. I have recurring moments of self-doubt and loathing. I can get intimidated by skinnier women. In fun pictorials with friends, I tend to be protective of my wings, double chin, belly rolls and other bulges. They're not meant for public consumption, I would remind them.
See, this journey to body acceptance can be looong and bumpy. I invite kindred spirits to make yourselves known, speak up and let's be one another's soul sister. We could use all the motivation and support that we can get.
And, for starters, pleeeease stop saying you're fat. You're extra sexy! Give yourself a big hug!