On Body Issues and Self-Esteem
DISCLAIMER: Consider this post to be a Dear Diary one. My way of processing things is by talking about and through it. I’ve shared this with a small circle of people, and shared a little about it to close friends on IG stories. But, I finally decided to write about it openly so that I no longer have it hanging over my head.
Body Issues. I don’t recall a time in my life when I didn’t have any. I was a chubby toddler, a very short pre-teen gymnast, a curvy barely five-foot teenager, and a whole variety of body shapes as an adult as I yo-yoed up and down on the scale. As confident as I presented myself to be, I was really nothing but a messy ball of insecurity. One comment about how I looked would drive me into a tailspin that would keep me up at night.
To a couple people, my nickname was “Panget.” My Grammie always had some comment about my weight, whether “Ang payat payat mo” or “Ang taba mo na” but never anything in between. Someone I knew in high school said “Okay sana si Mikko, kaya lang mataba siya at tsaka maliit.” My long hair made me look losyang, while my short hair made me look like a siopao. I felt like I was a pendulum swinging from one extreme to another, never ever finding that perfectly acceptable spot.
In my head, I attributed every “wrong thing” that happened to me on something physically off about me. I didn’t win gold on an event, because I was too small to have the power. I couldn’t make the winning goal because I was too fat to sprint from one end of the field to the other. Oh, and the dreaded teenage angst of my crushes never liking me, because among my circle of friends, I was not the one you would notice. Okay, I’m not asking for your pity or anything like that. I survived and thrived regardless, but the self-esteem was never quite there.
Why am I talking about this now? Hear me out, friends. It wasn’t until a few years ago when I finally really talked about it, dug deep to find the root of it, found the courage to address it, and dare I say, find it in me to finally love me. All this in my freakin 30’s! It took new acquaintances, random beach trips and unexpected readings to answer some of the most difficult questions.
It all started up in my noggins. I started actually caring about myself. Whatever-CQ blessed me with time & solitude. Daily workouts started as a way to pass the time. (That, and also trying to see if Chloe Ting actually knew what she was talking about.) What I got instead was the physical finally matching my state of mind. Now, all I have to do is keep up with it. I don’t own a scale or a tape measure, so I don’t know the numbers. I choose not to know the numbers. So, please don’t ask me. Really, I just wanted to celebrate this small win, and hope that no one would judge me for it.
So, if you find me dressing up differently or posting more photos of myself, PLEASE, just leave me be. I’ve hidden myself behind figurative curtains for far too long. I’m not here to parade myself. I’m just not filtering myself out of my own life anymore. This is me.