Part 3: Weight, what? (What is enough?)

Where we left off last time, the question was, was my weight loss or drop in jeans size good enough for the people around me?

No. Not many people noticed – or cared – that I lost some weight. I guess it wasn’t significant enough for them. During my two years in college, I more or less maintained that size which I thought was good enough.

When is anything ever good enough in Asian culture though? You got an A? Get an A+, dammit. You earn $5k a month? Why don’t you earn $10k? You got a 99 on your paper? Why not 100? I believe there is a related post.

In college, I had a strange wake-up call. Gone were the school uniforms that were compulsory in public schools. Replacing them were booty shorts, miniskirts, crop tops, tiny dresses, basically tiny and tight clothes. None of which I could wear without feeling like I was going out without my pants on (which wouldn’t be too far away from the truth) or wanted to wear. I didn’t care.

Except I was made to care.

In high school, even what with being known as fat and having to look at myself as that, I loved fashion. I wanted to become a shoe designer after discovering Celine aka The Shoe Girl. I knew all the latest trends, enjoyed looking at Fashion Week pictures, spent a lot of time admiring fashion illustrations, the works. It even led me to buy a lush and lovely cardigan from Victoria’s Secret while conveniently forgetting to take into account the model’s 5’10 height. The cardigan’s hem brushed the model’s knees ever-so-slightly… When I tried it on, I was drowning in cloth. Needless to say, I shoved it into the back of the cupboard and prayed that my mom wouldn’t ask me where the $50 cardigan had gone.

Ah, the good old days. I mean, back when all we had to care about was whether our uniform sleeves had been ironed or not.

The girls in college, freed from the stiff and matronly school uniforms, went wild at Forever 21 and Topshop (before Asos and new non-sweatshop boutiques became a thing). Leave it to them to find the bootiest of booty shorts and the spagettini-est of spaghetti straps.

I tried, at first, to be fashionable. I like to think I dressed nicely. There were days when I would bother with jewelry and on other days, I had nail art to dress my nails up. I’m a practical dresser so wearing more than T-shirt and jeans was extra effort on my part.

So it came as a nasty surprise when I began to realize that I was being sneered at by more fashionably-dressed girls. If there weren’t sneers, there were ugly judging looks. I was not up to the female college student population’s standard. Cue dramatic Dracula music. Note that this has nothing to do with being ‘fat’ since girls bigger than me who lived up to the fashion standards were accepted.

The strange wake-up call was when I realized that it no longer mattered – or at least, it mattered a lot less – if I was ‘fat’ but it mattered whether or not I was wearing the right clothes. Also, my first step into our society that places far greater importance on appearance than on qualities such as intelligence and personality. I wasn’t enough in terms of size or fashion sense. MIND-BLOWING.

While those girls’ fashion sense heightened and clothes were reduced to pieces of cloth, mine was eventually reduced – like a properly-done Thanksgiving gravy – to my mom’s old T-shirts she had gotten on vacation or from company events. Phuket Island, Hard Rock, and Bondi Beach T-shirts – the ones with a logo on the left chest and a brilliant piece of graphic illustration on the back – took over my wardrobe, for the most part. Ah, bliss.

The last two semesters of college were absolute bliss when I stopped giving a shit about what the ‘fashion-savvy’ girls thought of me. Boys did not, I think, think of me as part of the female population and I became ‘one of the boys’. Fine with me.

P.S: I suppose it didn’t help that I wore glasses (still do) and no makeup (I do now).

I suppose I’ve messed up the flow of my original topic, haven’t I? I’ll bring it back around in part 4.

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