Let me pick up where I left off and get back on track. The main topic: my size, not my fashion choices. Got it.
Fast forward to the year we left for Vancouver. At some point, I started working out more and more. Don’t know how or why but it happened. Jillian Michaels was my girl and her 30 Day Shred Workout was my jam. Only, of course, I wasn’t thaaat dedicated to the 30 Day Shred and missed days here and there. I also began to eat less. I halved my portions (I’m sorry, curry, I can only eat half of you; sorry, bowl, I’m only filling you up halfway; sorry, Asian roots, my white rice and noodle intake is being reduced for the greater good lol) but still had no one true goal to lose x amount of weight or be as thin as x celebrity.
When the term ‘thinspo’ blew out of proportion on the internet and girls started finding other thin girls to inspire them, I was nowhere near climbing onto that wagon but I did wonder now and then how awesome it would be to look like Erin Heatherton. Or at least the airbrushed healthier-looking Erin on the VS site, not the one whose rib cage was sticking out.
My mom encouraged me to find some kind of inspiration to keep going. Oddly enough, I lack that kind of drive/competitive streak which I blame partially – or entirely, depending on my mood – on the fact that I always missed joining the A (read: smart) class because my report card always somehow didn’t make it to the school in time. I don’t paste pictures of my idol or fitness quotes on the wall to motivate myself, I don’t make schedules or workout routines that I strictly follow, I don’t force myself to go on diets or cut out specific foods, I don’t think of being able to fit in smaller-sized pretty clothes. Not very inspiring, I know.
I made it very clear – well, I hope I did – to my family members that I was exercising for health’s sake, not for numbers’ or fitting into a size 2 dress’s sake. I meant it. I didn’t start working out to lose a specific amount of weight. I did it for me. I did it for my health. Because I knew that I wasn’t doing enough daily physical activity. The bonus, to me, is looking nice in things I would like to wear. Anyway, I lost weight, toned up, and for the first time ever, I felt healthy.
When people told me that I looked better after I started working out, I didn’t quite know what to feel. Of course, my first reaction was delight because people actually noticed that I had slimmed down but then later I would mull over it for a long time. Did I look better because I was thinner? Or did I look better because I looked healthier? Clearly, it was the former. Thinner, healthier, what is the freaking difference, right? To me, and I’m sure to many other people who know anything about anything, thin doesn’t automatically equal healthy.
I thought I would feel better after slimming down. Healthy? Yes. Better? I don’t know. I tried to explain it to my mom who told me, ‘Who cares what other people think? Do it for yourself.’ Truer words have never been spoken. But it was more than that, I feel. I still didn’t feel satisfied with the way I felt, if that makes any sense.
I’m not sure if I can explain it better now or if what I’m about to say accurately describes what I feel but I’ll try anyway:
I was comfortable in my own skin. I was comfortable in my own skin before people started calling me fat. I was made to feel uncomfortable even though I was perfectly okay being the size I was (which wasn’t fat). The fact that I was made to feel ashamed of my own body at such a young age repulses me. So after losing weight, I guess I felt like, ‘was my old self that bad? How much better is this? Was the old me not me? Is that all I am – a size? At size 12, I can’t be happy, but at a smaller size, I can be? Am I closer to ‘beauty’ now?’
When I could have been focusing on things like building my self-esteem or working on my talents, I was made to feel self-conscious about my body?!
I don’t want people to like me because I’m thin. I have never wanted people to like me because of my size. I want people to like me because I’m funny and easygoing and loyal and practical and sometimes adventurous. I want people to like me for who I am, regardless of whether I’m a few pounds heavier or lighter. Too much to ask for? Too idealistic? Who knows?
I’m finally getting to the part about the fitting room in part 5.