It has been more than 2 years since I started this 30 Day Challenge – clearly I have a lot of discipline when it comes to choosing to do something and seeing it through to the end as I am supposed to do. Guess rules aren’t really my forte sometimes Nevertheless, I know that one day I will be able to complete it and for now I thought I’d come back to answering another of the challenge’s points:
Day 29: Something you hope to change about yourself and why.
As I sit here munching on a Strawberry flavored Pocky, the one thing I hope to change about myself (and which I am currently proud to be doing something about) is myself: my body. My body and the ‘image’ it presents has been a long standing battle for me which I have fought for as far back as I can remember. Maybe it might sound superficial to a lot of people – always talking or thinking about the outside instead of the inside blah blah blah – but you have to admit that these days it is more and more obvious that there is a standard image that every person is expected to mold themselves to fit. “It’s all about the looks these days” and while I know we don’t have to follow how society at large tells us we’re meant to be there is still a lot of pressure.
For as far back as I can remember I have never been happy with my body. Although I used to be on the swim team at school and it was compulsory for us to do P.E. until we were in Year 10, I was still considered ‘the fat one’. My family members – parents, siblings, aunts and especially uncles, had absolutely no problem telling me that I was quite the fatty and that I needed to lose weight ASAP. As one particular uncle always said: “Do you really want to embarrass your family, especially your parents, by having people feel sorry for you because you’re fat?” A lot of people may find it shocking that adults would actually say that to a young child/tween but in Asia people have no problem with being honest. It’s not that they are trying to be blatantly rude (although I know that’s not true for everybody) they just believe that they are entitled to say whatever they like because they are family.
So with that kind of history, it is no wonder that I have issues with my body image. I was always so self conscious – choosing to wear big shirts and baggy pants to cover up all the fat. My unhappiness with the way I looked was perhaps the main reason I chose to harm myself. Logically, harming myself would only make myself look uglier in the long run and it wouldn’t change the way I looked and it wouldn’t make me feel happier either but that didn’t matter. It was a release for all the disgust I felt about myself and it didn’t make me feel so bad about crying over my ugliness. I don’t hurt myself anymore for that reason but it is still a struggle to wake up everyday and look at myself in the mirror and think ‘that person looks ok/good’. Since I went to the UK I have gained quite a bit of weight and it has been tough coming back to Asia where everyone is half my size in height and weight. I feel like I can pick some of these girls up and break them in half like a twig they’re so thin! So naturally I have been feeling extra self-conscious and to be honest it has got me quite down being surrounded by such people. Being around my family doesn’t help either because of the constant remarks I get from my mom and brother. On that note though I have already taken steps to changing and improving the way I look. I have been going to the gym and training with a personal trainer 3 times a week and on the days I don’t go in I run and do what circuits I can at home. I am still distraught about how bad my body looks but I am hoping that with time (and a heck of a lot of effort) I will be able to look at myself in the mirror and think, ‘she does look good’.