For as long as I can remember it has always been a long push & pull relationship with wanting to eat all the scrumptious meals served and not wanting to hear that much feared "ang taba mo iha, bawasan ang dessert" comment. For most of us, Christmas is a time to see relatives we haven't seen in a year and while it's supposed to be a time of bonding, it has become more of a "I want to strangle you but I can't so I'll just sit here and smile."
It's difficult to enjoy the season with such unwelcoming comments, however, why must we spend most of our energy getting worked up over something that really shouldn't mean anything?
Why does the "fat" word scare us? Why are we more stressed about the way we look instead of how we are on the inside? Why are we so comfortable in "fat shaming" other people but hardly call other people out when they bully others? What have we become as a culture? Why do we applaud mean girls and shame ones whose only fault is a bad set of genetics?
Some of us blurt these words out of habit, or because we really have nothing to say to the relatives we rarely see, but if you have been part of the fat shaming club maybe it's time to change your game. Talk about the 1 million other interesting things on the planet. Really, there's more to a person than their body fat. There's more mind blowing things in this world rather than your latest diet (seriously have you seen the last Grey's episode??!), and more photos to post rather than your #gymselfie (had to throw it in!).
I am, however, not telling you that you should have YOLO eating habits and quit going to the gym. I realized that working out and eating right is more for my sanity rather than my vanity (plus points for rhyming words!), however, I don't recommend feeling extremely pressured to look stick thin. Pressure takes the fun out of working out and pretty much everything else.
Ask yourself why you go to the gym. Ask yourself why you're choosing to skip meals and not enjoy the holiday cheer. Are you doing this because it would make you healthier (Skipping meals will not do that, I assure you!) in the long run? Are you doing this to finally in your face your fat shaming relatives?
Or are you doing it for you? If you're doing it for you, then by all means go for the gold. However, if you're doing it to prove the point one of three things will happen: you will hate working out, you will hate the people you are trying to please and you will hate yourself.
Just remember you only have to answer to you. Be at peace with who you are, and soon enough, you will be at peace with everyone and everything else.
So while I can go on and on about how people should shift their focus, maybe we can begin with us. That while it may take awhile for them to catch up, maybe we can inspire them to be kinder to us (and others) by being kinder to ourselves.
Once people see that their fat comments don't degrade us the way they meant it to, they will take a step back and revel at the confident person before them. A Rappler article I came across last week said to respond in a way that totally throws off their game, "Oo nga po eh, trend daw po to" or something along the lines of, "Ganyan po talaga kapag masaya."
Remember nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent so at the end of the day, the power isn't really theirs, it's yours. And while we're on the topic of power, remember you also have the power to create a ripple. So the next time you feel tempted to be spiteful or mean spirited, use the power for good and soon enough (hopefully!) the world will follow suit.