This is still a weird topic for me to talk about, but I feel like it’s needed. Not only for me, but for every single girl out there that’s currently struggling with theirs and feeling like they can’t discuss it. Keep in mind, I am still young and this is still somewhat of a touchy subject for me. I’m not one to really go into depth about the history and background of my body image issues because it’s something that I still haven’t really been able to fully overcome, but I want to share my ongoing journey to loving my body in hopes that it helps someone else struggling to love theirs.
Growing up, I’ve always been generally smaller than everyone else. Yes, I am Asian and just as expected, I am a smaller person. Although Ive grown up in a very diverse area, I was 1 out of a grand total of maybe 4 Asian kids in my elementary school. I was the only Asian kid in my grade for the longest time. How is this relevant to anything, you ask? When you’re young and literally nobody else around you looks like you, it gets kind of confusing. I didn’t know where I belonged. Who was I supposed to look like? Why were my legs so short and chunky and why is that girl’s legs so long and skinny? By the age of 5, I already hated my body.
Unlike myself, my older sister does fall under your typical Asian stereotype. She’s this teeny-tiny, petite little thing. As I began to hit puberty, I found myself being compared to her constantly. It wasn’t her fault, but I almost resented her for it. The comparisons between us from our family were constant. There’s nothing more scarring than seeing your family in the Philippines for the first time in years and being asked, “why don’t you look more like your sister?” constantly. It’s hard not to let those thoughts invade your own mind and eventually, I found myself comparing my body to hers all the time. She’s 4 years older than me, why am I bigger than her? Her thighs are smaller than mine, why are mine so huge? Why do I weigh more than her? I couldn’t even fit in her jeans anymore. I’m younger than her! FOUR years younger than her! Talk about a blow to your ego.
During high school, my weight was literally a roller coaster and always fluctuated up and down. I was in and out of cheerleading. My sophomore year was an “out” year and I weighed my heaviest. My junior year was a very much “in” year and I weighed my lowest. I think it was at this point, I stopped the comparison between my sister and I, probably because this was the most satisfied I had been with my body in a really long time, but also I think I just finally matured enough to realize that she just had a different body type than I did and there was literally nothing I could do about this. I was just always going to be bigger than her and that’s alright. My hourglass or curvy figure became more prominent and thankfully, around this time was when my body shape was being more and more accepted in Hollywood. So I mean, that helps.
For the next year or so after high school, I stayed relatively the same size, although at the time it never felt that way (of course). Fast forward to 2014. This was the year I felt the absolute worst about my body. I was in the middle of beauty school and let’s be honest, my eating habits definitely weren’t the best and what’s this exercise you speak of? How about stress? Oh my god, the stress. 2014 wasn’t my best year overall and that was reflected in my weight. In the past, I never really gained enough weight at once to really make a difference, but at this point, my parents were noticing. Nothing is more embarrassing and upsetting than having your own father tell you that you should probably watch what you’re eating and that was in the gentlest of terms. There are worse remarks, but I’ll keep those repressed somewhere in the back of my mind.
I’m sure my parents never had harmful intentions when mentioning my weight to me, but I’m almost positive they didn’t think them through either. It hurts the most when it comes from your family. They’re supposed to protect you, but I felt like they were all against me. One instance that really brings this full circle for me was when a family member decided to try and bring up my weight to my boyfriend behind my back. I think that’s what really sent me over the edge. I couldn’t do this anymore. I couldn’t listen to their comments anymore. I had to do something to prove them wrong.
To be honest with all of you, I’m definitely no fitness or nutrition expert. I’m still trying to get the hang of all this exercise shit. I am making a conscious effort to eat healthier and I try my best to stay away from the yucky stuff, but it’s still something I’m working on. I do believe the more I come to terms with my body and the less I stress out about it, that actually reflects in my body. I no longer see myself as a lost cause. I see myself as work in progress. I stopped dreaming about looking like a Victoria’s Secret model and got real.
Will my thighs ever be stick thin? No and I’m happy with that. Will I ever look like those waif-ish girls on the runway? No and I’m happy with that. My thighs will always be bigger. My hips will always be bigger. My body will never be what it once was in high school and I’m happy with that. I will never have this long, lanky body that I craved when I was a little girl and you know what? I’m HAPPY with that. This is my body type and I’m damn PROUD of that.
Now here I am. I can’t say I’ve made it very far, but I’ve made some progress. I’m not where I want to be just yet, but I’ll get there with time. I think sinking to an all time low last year (not just with my weight, but everything else as well) and really letting go of myself and seeing the negative effects it made on my body was the biggest wake up call I’ve ever had. There’s a lot of obstacles I’m still trying to get over, but with time, I’ll get there.
I think the one of the most important lessons amongst many I’ve learned so far when it comes to my body is that I can’t sit around and whine about it anymore. I have to be realistic about my body. I have to deal with the things I can’t change and I have to work with them. This is the most satisfied I’ve been with my body in a really long time and if I keep working, it’s only going to go up from here. Nothing motivates me more than knowing that.