enough already!!!

Okay, I admit I’ve never been fatter in my entire life than I am at this moment, but does that give people the right to rub it in my face whenever they feel like it? It happens all the time, like, someone (friend, officemate, office manang) would take a look at me, realize that I’ve grown way too huge for my own good, and be unable to resist the urge to come up to me and tell me about it, probably thinking, “Oh no, I can’t possibly let her go through life this way, I have to do something.” And so for the nth time in my life I would get to hear the remark “Tumaba ka,” or some derivative of it. My own mother, for goodness’ sake, never fails to mention it every time I come home in the weekends. She greets me with, “Nakupo, kalaki na ni Rina,” as if it’s some gruesome fact that she’s managed to shove to the back of her mind during the days when she doesn’t see me, only to have to face up to it again every time I walk in the door. Remarks about my size has joined her usual motherly litanies, along with “Parang walang nangyayari sa buhay mo” and “Bakit hindi ka kaya mag-abroad para makaipon ka” I actually miss those days when she was just scolding me for not helping out more around the house.

And it’s not just my mother. My sisters also never fail to point out the painfully (and hugely) obvious. My sister told me the other day, “Siguro kung ganyan kalaki ang tyan ko sobrang depressed na ko.” Well excuuuse me for not equating my sense of well-being with my weight.

I know these people mean well, it’s just that I guess I’ve heard the comments far too often it’s not funny anymore. I just pretend that it’s funny; I give a short laugh and ruefully say, “Yeah, I know, I know.” I’m a non-confrontational person, and I don’t want to be too defensive or sensitive about it; it’s not like I can just scream, “Well, so what?”

What gets to me is the implied judgment in those remarks. They’re not just statements of fact or even observation, along with the remarks are the implied messages saying it’s my fault that I got to be this way, it’s my fault that I’m not doing anything about it. Well then, if it’s my fault then it should be my business, right? Right.

11 thoughts on “enough already!!!

  1. j.gabriel May 8, 2006 at 4:31 am Reply

    This is one aspect of Filipino culture that I have still not come to terms with. My parents used to be like that, albeit mildly, but even that has subsided over the years of realizing that in the States, for example, it is socially unacceptable to introduce conversations or greet people with a criticism of their physical/aesthetic features. When I met one of my uncles (….for the first time ever in either of our lives), I was 16 and I had a small blemish. His icebreaker was: “What happened to your nose?” Also when I’m in the Philippines, “tumaba ka yata” never fails to make its appearance in some conversation with a cousin or relative. I don’t really get this aspect of the Pinoy, and it’s something I am glad not to have adopted into my own personality. They don’t really think much of it, and I know they don’t say it with necessarily malicious intent, but it just seems unnecessary, awkward, inappropriate, and impolite — not to mention a bizarre way to start a conversation. A concerned close confidante can pull off these sorts of things if the other person’s best interests are at the forefront of their minds, but usually these are not the people (nor is that the intention) of this kind of commentary.

    Honestly, don’t give it much weight (pun subconsciously intended). Do you; to hell with what they think.

    Oh and btw, my sisters and I are still baffled by how nearly everyone in the Philippines is so damned skinny (except mga tiyan) despite a diet of deep-fat fried meats, heavy carb intake, and sugary desserts–on top of absolutely no exercise. What is with this? I think the food out there must have tapeworms or additional digestive bacteria.

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  2. don May 8, 2006 at 10:56 am Reply

    No negative comments here. Besides, what’s wrong with love handles?😀 Don’t mind them; it’s your business, and you know better.

    Gabe, could it be that the geographical conditions of the Philippines (e.g., its tropical climate) render certain direct/indirect influence leading to this phenomenon that you and your sisters are baffled about? I was just reminded of the mammoth elephants that adapted to the Ice Ages by developing thick fur to protect them from the cold temperature. Correlation, maybe, that people in temperate countries adapt the same way by, uh, having fatty skin, perhaps? Thus, the opposite for warm, tropical countries?

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  3. wolverina May 8, 2006 at 1:10 pm Reply

    hhhmm.. so i seem to be immune to geographical conditions… yeah, grrr, too many skinny people around, you can’t imagine how hard it is for me to shop, even the stores’ “large” sizes are sometimes too small for me. unlike those blessed creatures (genetically-blessed or tapeworm-blessed or otherwise), i have to work off each and every excess pound. sigh.

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  4. j.gabriel May 12, 2006 at 6:35 am Reply

    i’ve considered that too. i think of all the Norwegian beef farmers with layers of subcutaneous tissue like the enormous walrus which lives at their shores. but then i realize, there are wildebeests in the sahara. there are elephants in india. there are karabaw sa pilipinas. ano nangyari doon? furthermore, that type of Darwinian evolution can only occur as a slow, multi-century process. why is it that filipinos who move to the US are generally so much bigger? taller, more muscular, and in some cases fatter? there’s something in our diets. anyway, i’d rather have a little bit of chub. its fun to play with when bored.

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  5. malu May 13, 2006 at 2:48 pm Reply

    hello rina! i completely KNOW how you feel. the first time i ever had body image issues was after my second trip to the philippines (i was in high school). i’d never considered my weight to be a “problem,” but apparently, according to my relatives sa pilipinas, it was indeed something worthy of attention. ever since then, i’m used to being greeted by comments on my weight by aunts and uncles. well, maybe i shouldn’t say that i’m “used” to it, but i’ve come to expect it. even though i’ve cerebrally made efforts to take such comments with a grain of salt, when it comes down to it, these comments are very hurtful to me. it’s not a matter of feeling confident about myself or not– it’s a matter of someone else making you feel unattractive. anyway, from the pictures i’ve seen, you look great! and you’re clearly an intelligent, sincere, and kind person (from your blog and from k. don’s testimonials), people have to find a way to have one up on you somehow. in the states, we’d just say to them, “ptsh, don’t HATE!” haha! can’t wait to meet you btw.

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  6. don May 14, 2006 at 6:19 pm Reply

    Hey Rina, you probably wouldn’t mind us turning your comment page into a cousins’ geeky session for a while, would you?

    In Gabe’s previous statement: “…i’d rather have a little bit of chub.” — ladies and gents, that is an understatement. In the flesh, you’d find that “little” chub massive.

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  7. j.gabriel May 15, 2006 at 2:03 am Reply

    Yeah, it’s massive. But hey, it’s going away, slowly but surely–KuyaD, kumusta ang tiyan mo?

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  8. don May 15, 2006 at 1:03 pm Reply

    Gabe, you mean my 6-pack abs? Last time I counted them there were still 6–firm and pandesal-like. Sometimes I wish there was even just a little bit of chub to play with, hehehe😀

    Malu, let me be the first to volunteer to annihilate–with first strike capability–anyone who tells you that you’re chubby!😀

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  9. wolverina May 15, 2006 at 1:56 pm Reply

    *suddenly finds self moderating all-out tungol comment-fest* 🙂

    malu: yeah, i’ve sort of gotten “used” to the comments, it’s just that sometimes i feel the need to rant about it a little, and that’s where my blog comes in. “it’s a matter of someone else making you feel unattractive” doesn’t it suck unintentionally giving people that power over you? and we just let them have that power! it sucks, and i’m working on it. … and i’m looking forward to meeting you too!

    don and gabe: umm, on second thought, no, i’m not even going to meddle in the discussion you two have got going…🙂

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  10. j.gabriel May 15, 2006 at 5:01 pm Reply

    hehehe–pasensiya ka na, rina… i would throw in a “po” there for polite emphasis, but i’ve come to realize that people in their 20s (particularly women) do not like to be given this deference by me because it makes them feel old; lalong magagalit sila sa akin!

    i cant handle the comments too well either, my response is to just kind of stare blankly either back at them or beyond them, and to frown or (literally) bite my tongue. its so weird to me, immigrating asians [of all sorts] do it here in the states too, and it’s not restricted to looks:

    “why you live so far away? nothing to do up there!”

    “how much money do your parents make each year?”

    “yeah i drive a mercedes CLK / yeah my daughter went to an ivy league…..you?”

    why the invasion of personal privacy?? why the presumption of mutual comfort and familiarity? why the constant status and comparison?

    anyway rina, ito ang aking huling paalam sa itong post (hanggang may sagot galing kay KuyaD…hehe, loko lang). kung masaya ka, kung malusog ka, huwag kang mag-alala. i know i’m going to go from kabayo (i wish) to baboy-ramo (oh no) over my ten week stint in the philippines….. but i’ll enjoy every moment of it!

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  11. buhay-baboy « howling at the moon April 2, 2007 at 7:33 am Reply

    […] for dinner (and she tells me that I’m getting so fat already, but that’s yet another story, another rant). The rest of my stay home will consist of a cycle of reading, sleeping, eating, watching tv – […]

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