body image

i am the tallest girl, 5″5, in my immediate and extended family. i’m also the biggest, in regards to size and weight. this has always been the case, from childhood to now. so you’re either thinking i’m an ogre OR my entire family is tiny as shit. it’s a combination of both. and i fight with myself constantly over this body image.

do you remember when we were kids and it’s picture day and they line you up shortest to tallest? i don’t know why but that’s what they did when i was in school. invariably, i was always the first kid in line. so with my peers, i was rather scrawny. at home tho. man. i used to beat up my boy cousins… well, until they hit their growth spurt and became stronger, tho not taller than me. {face}

as i moved into adolescence, i became leaner, a body type my stepmother approved of. i took swimming lessons in lieu of playing soccer or softball with my friends. she didn’t think the latter sports were feminine, she feared they’d make my limbs big & bulky, so i made do with the water sports. the major growth i had those two years in manila on the swim team was startling.

in college i did not gain the freshman 15 but i became rounder. i was still the same size i was at 16 when i was 22. despite the beer guzzling and late night snacking. and maybe it was also because when i was home on holiday, my stepmother would monitor everything i put in my mouth. i routinely skipped meals when something she said hit too close. because you see, i was the biggest girl in my family. i towered over all the females and equaled in size with some of my boy cousins and uncles. talk about comparison!

and now? there is never a time spent in my stepmother’s presence that she doesn’t mention how fat i’ve become. and sometimes, if i’m particularly lucky that day, there’ll be the added comment about my single status, or how my sisters are so petite next to me. and the last time i talked to her, this past july, she actually asked me how much i weighed and what size i wore.

i once read that it’s quite common for women in their 30s to develop eating disorders. i understand why now. my body is changing in ways that rivals when i was 14, i’m in constant alert of what i’m physically feeling. i can’t fathom what i’m going to go thru when i hit menopause. i will be a hot mess.

i’m still a girl who enjoys food. i write about food. i daydream about food. and i play with food. not for a living but to live. more often than not, i order dessert. and as dramatical as it sounds, it disheartens me when my body does not process foods like it used to. i get despondent when jeans don’t fit right anymore, or my days of baring my belly button (come on now, even if i could, i wouldn’t! i’m just saying!) are gone. sometimes i avoid the mirror and i obsessively weigh myself throughout the day. and if i’m honest, i avoid my family because i cannot bear to be physically compared to them anymore.

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