Written by Kyrah Capuyan
As I listen to Megan Trainor sing about not worrying about her size I think, that’s right, it is okay not to be a “stick figure silicone Barbie doll” and I look in the mirror thinking I look good, but then I walk out that door and it all crumbles down.
Somehow, my mental image of physical beauty in the Philippines was conditioned by an Angel Locsin and an Anne Curtis. Social media does that, they make fat people feel “not-so-pretty” and unwanted. You hear the people say “Maganda sana siya pero ang taba niya” and this makes me feel worse, as if I can never be called beautiful because I am fat.
Growing up in Baguio, I had never been the skinny girl specially after giving birth. I was always a tad bit bigger than the rest of my peers. All of them were wearing a size “S” and they whine about how fat they are while I’m here wearing a size “L” feeling like a potato. I like the clothes I wear, they aren’t what’s ‘in’ but they are very comfortable. But I could still fit in wearing comfy jeans and t-shirts, dress up only for occasions and be more lax about my appearance.
As I got older I realized how I needed to change things. My turning point was that day when I came to work in my usual jeggings and lose shirt with minimal make-up on and everyone else, even the other plus-sized girls were dressed in what looked like their Sunday best and I felt like a horrible slob next to them.
Day by day I was persuaded to the idea that being big meant I was not allowed the same things skinny or normal sized people could have; love, acceptance and confidence just to name a few. I tried to surf the internet on ways to quickly lose weight and how to dress accordingly, it only seemed to make me feel like I couldn’t. While the internet was pushing body positivism, the environment I had was not. At home, my mom would constantly tell me “Ang laki laki mo na” pointing at me with disgust.
Surrounded by girls and guys on diets, thinking smaller is better, I turned inward and thought the best solution would be isolation. I stopped shopping in stores, the crippling insecurity of not being able to fit in anything kept me from browsing. The shame of having to ask for the biggest size and then not fit into it scared me away so I turned to online stores which I know carry things that will fit, but I realized this was not right.
I started to change my perception on how I looked, I changed my mentality and of course I wanted to change myself physically. Getting thinner would take time but it doesn’t mean that I can’t do anything else to help myself.
I started dressing better, learnt about flattering cuts and colors and put more effort into looking good. I started wearing skirts more often, traded in my baggy jeans for dresses, hoodies for jackets. Trying to mimic the girls around me, I fumbled around with makeup to hide my uneven skin tone. Experimented around to find ways to make myself look more beautiful despite my size.
Days and weeks pass, my self-esteem has continued to be a roller coaster ride but I’m slowly coming to terms and accepting how I look, and also realizing it isn’t all dark and depressing to be big.
I may still be insecure about my weight but the lifestyle changes I went through since I gave birth have helped me become healthier. I still want to lose weight and I am still trying my best, but like I said, it isn’t something we achieve in a snap, it takes determination and inner peace.
For now, my focus is on living healthier, eating better, exercising more, and loving and accepting myself.