I weighed 10.4 lbs as a baby. My mother said that when she was still carrying me, there were times that she would order a liter of coke, large sized pancit canton, bread, siopao, ice cream (and the list goes on) and eat it all by herself. Because of that, I would kiddingly blame her for my gargantuan size.
Big people have always been the objects of bullying, but I was not the bullied type due to my body structure. It seemed to warn my potential bullies that I could snap their bodies into half even before they could open their mouths. But in my elementary years, I had a fair share of bullies. I remembered one lunch break at school while I was walking down the stairs— I met a former classmate who muttered “Baboy, baboy” while looking at me as he walked all the way going up until he was out of sight. I was fairly insulted but believe me, I was more of flabbergasted. How old were we back then? 11? 12? And at that age, he was still calling me names. Weren’t we too old for that? He destroyed my belief that somehow, in one way or another, puberty can affect maturity. His existence proved otherwise.
“Ikaw ang mama kay dako man ka,” —
that’s what my group mates would tell me every time we have a roleplay in class. And that, my friends, was the root cause of my pure loathing towards whatever form of performing arts. Not only because I’m bad at it but also because the people around me would unfailingly consider my weight when casting me in a role. It makes me wonder why they have to have the image of a big mother when mothers come in various shapes and sizes.
As I grew older, the tip of the weighing scale and my insecurities were inseparable as it goes higher although it may not have been obvious to my mother. “Og conscious pa na siya sa iyang gidak-on, dugay ra na gapaniwang,” she would say. Well Ma, I beg to disagree. I researched countless diet fads and exercise tricks to quickly shed these pounds that I’ve been bringing all my life since day one. I tried doing them all but all those researches remained like thesis in library shelves where it will remain as ‘researches’ forever. Indeed, there is no shortcut in achieving the things we want in life. There are a few, actually, but most of them are crooked ones like starving oneself. And there is no way in this world that I would do that.
I tried losing weight for all the wrong reasons. I tried losing weight so people would stop assigning me roles that suited my size. I tried losing weight because the humiliation of not fitting in a seat when riding a multicab or a tricycle was already too much to handle. I tried losing weight because I’ve had enough of that look that I always receive from a sales personnel every time I would ask for a bigger size of clothing or footwear. I tried losing weight so that relatives would finally refrain from giving comments every time they see me. I tried losing weight so that these insecurities that keep clawing at me would finally stop.
I realized that I was trying to lose weight for all the wrong reasons. The weight I was carrying all along is not because of the high investments of food in my body— it was actually the opinions of other people.
As I grew older, the more people’s opinions added weight to my feelings. But as I grew older, I realized, what if I use the weight of my feelings to lose or if not, lessen it? I know one exercise trick where you have to have additional weights in your body so when you run, jog or walk, you would sweat more. And when you sweat more, you lose more. That’s what I actually did. I used the weight of my feelings that had been stored up in me for so long and used them as a stepping stone to greatness. I may not have physically shed pounds but the heavy feeling in my chest gets less and less every day. I am a hypocrite if I say weight jokes do not affect me anymore, but I don’t want to hide in my bedroom forever to avoid this cruel world.
This time, I’m willing to play as a mother in group presentations (but I’m still against the notion that mothers should be bigger than her children). This time, I would shrug off the glares from my fellow commuters every time I would force myself to fit in skimpy space in a multicab (I’m always eager to go home after school). If a sales personnel would complain every time I ask for a bigger size of clothing or footwear, I would just firmly smile and meekly demand my service (I have every right to do so). I would counter my relatives with remarks of agreement every time they give comments regarding my physical appearance (them: “Ning dako lagi ka samot, Ann!” Me: “Lagi oi.” in my head: Ikaw gani. Hihi joke.) And this time around, I’m the one who is clawing my insecurities away. I’m stripping myself off of all the brands that society has labeled me— it could no longer define me anymore.
I’m not saying you should not lose weight if you are obese or overweight. Too much weight is detrimental to your health. You have to exercise and diet (bleh bleh bleh). Eat less, gain less. There is no shortcut to success.