Body Image Issues

I asked the crazy talented Kenneth to take photos for my LinkedIn profile a couple of days ago, and for a while there I was feeling pretty good about myself.

So of course, I used one of the photos as my profile picture on Facebook.

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In celebration of my final year at UofT, I had the photos taken on campus. Bonus points if you can guess where this is.

It was received pretty well, except that there were two comments focusing on my weight gain. They were essentially comparing me now to how I looked 5 years ago, and both were from people I was really close to back home. The first one was from a college classmate, and her comment really wasn’t bad. She has always been supportive, and I know that her comment wasn’t mean-spirited. But was the second comment that made me blow my fuse — it was from someone who used to be my best friend, and it was nothing more than, “Nanambok ang iban. hehe.” This translates to: “Someone’s gotten fat. hehe.”

It didn’t help that just a few days prior to this, my Mom had flat-out told me that my stomach was big — “I bet you don’t fit in your old clothes anymore.” This was right after we’d gone out to a 6-course dinner at an underground dinner club for a mother-daughter date. We were waiting for the streetcar, and while I was looking down the street checking to see if it was coming, she says it with such judgment in her eyes. I recognize that her parenting style has recently been improving, but I think that this is and probably always will be one of her more constant hang-ups. She doesn’t understand that it is unacceptable to continually rag on my appearance, especially since she always points out the two things I am sensitive about: my bulgy left eye and my body weight. It cuts deeper than I think she intends, and I end up resenting her for it.

I’ve been fighting body image issues forever, even when I was 17 and skinnier than a rail. Telling me that I’m fat now compared to when I was a stick-thin 97 lbs on a 5’ frame is not helpful, nor is it a good frame of reference. During my late teens and early twenties, I was sick and (and undiagnosed) with Grave’s Disease, which is essentially hyperthyroidism. The reason I was skinny was because my thyroid hormones were running sky-high, unregulated.

I had to go through several years of monthly blood tests and continuous tweaking of my medication to get me back to a healthy state. At my sickest, my family doctor exclaimed, “How are you still walking?!” I’m now in remission, and thankful for it. This is the healthiest I have ever been.

Honestly, Mom, 123 lbs on 5’ isn’t fat. I’m so sick of having to deal with body image issues and people pointing out that I’ve gained weight because I am so much more than a number on a fucking scale.

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This ended up being my LinkedIn photo because, well, I think I look trustworthy in it.

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