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Thursday, May 27, 2010

What is Real Beauty anyway?

Every time I wake up in the morning, it has been out of habit that the first thing I do is look at myself in the mirror. And whenever I do, I see a big girl. Not too tall, not too fair-skinned, with curves that are all over the place, thighs with cellulites, and so on. But it never bothered me. As long as I can muster a great morning smile back at me, I know that the rest of the day couldn't get any better.

But deep inside, I've always been bothered by one universal fact: that people nowadays only see beauty as something that they see in the magazine covers, TV commercials, billboards, and so on. And if that very same girl who looked in the mirror flaunted her voluptuous figure in their faces, they'll only stare back with ridicule in their eyes.

Why am I writing this down anyway? When I know for a fact that I've mostly avoided this topic out in the open. Well just a few minutes ago, I was inspired by this line from my former schoolmates' Stacy & Danah Gutierrez's blog (http://theplumpinay.blogspot.com).

So how do YOU NOT let your body define you,
when everything around is saying otherwise?

Even as I compose this entry, I honestly am still obsessed over my weight issues. Just a quick story behind that: I wasn't always 'fat' or 'voluptuous' so to speak. Until the age of 6, I was thin as skin and bones. Most of my childhood memories were of me in the hospital or at home being medicated. But my mother and cousin (who's a doctor) decided that I should take food supplements because I often get sick... and to gain some weight. From then on, you probably know what happened. And then before I entered my senior year in high school, I decided that I should do "crash diet" 2 months before school starts so I can get a good role in our school play - something I've worked on for quite a while back in h.s. And it worked! I lost 30 lbs. in less than 2 months. And I've stuck with that condition for the rest of the year, eating mostly raw tuna sandwiches, oatmeal and soup to get me through the days. But I knew I wasn't at my best state; my menstrual period became delayed most of the time, my skin was dry, and I had that 'haunting' look on my face due to dehydration.

Yes, I was able to fit into small- to medium-sized tops and size 27-28 jeans. But it was an enduring year. It really was.

However, it was a different story when I entered college. I became busy with academics and extra-curriculars (including the Student Council for 3 years). And I turned to food whenever I feel stressed, or as a reward to myself. So I started gaining back the weight I lost. From what I can still calculate, it has been a steady gain of 30 lbs. for 3 years. But now that I'm back to my former self - voluptuous and huggable as others put it - I became more and more conscious of what I look and how others perceive me based on my looks. It causes me ANXIETY whenever I go out, to the point that I even plan my outfit the night before I go out of the house; from top to jeans to shoes. As long as the clothing hides my flaws, I'm good with it.

And for this summer 2010, I decided that since I already graduated from college and have more spare time despite my review classes I can get myself into an exercise routine to hopefully lose some weight - but in a healthier way. Since the 2nd week of April, I've been jogging for an hour or so around The Fort (a minimum of 4x per week). So far, so good... but I am yet to step on the scale to see how much I've lost (or if I've lost any weight).

HOWEVER, just a few days ago I've had this slight argument with a guy friend over my 'weight'. And I ended up telling him: "You know what, I wasn't always like this. This is me in the picture (as I handed to him my phone with an old picture of mine)." And he replied by saying: "Are you sure this is you?... Hmm, I don't believe it. But maybe you could change my mind, there's still a month before our board exams."

I couldn't believe it! A guy whom I barely know had the guts to say that to me without even flinching?!? Let alone be sensitive enough towards my feelings?!? And yet, I never got mad at him. Instead, I focused on the brighter side.

How do I not let my body define who I am despite everything else? Simple:

  • I know myself.
  • I know what I've been through.
  • I know that with hard work and determination, I can achieve the body I want.
  • I eat like a normal person.
  • I know I have good skin.
  • I am smart (and knowledgeable) in my soon to be profession. :)
  • I wear mini shorts to class, and I know I look good in it!
  • I have a good support system, namely: my family and close friends. They know I've been struggling with weight issues for quite some time, but they always manage to make me see the other good things rather than the flaws.
Those and so much more.

There is so much to life for and love in this life, and to me... that is real beauty. Because beauty is a big word that can be interpreted in many ways.

Life is beautiful.
I feel good and beautiful.
That is real beauty --- never let anyone else define who you are.

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