Fat Is Not A Four-Letter Word

Disclaimer: I am not stupid. I know how to spell. For some reason I have to keep explaining this, but a “four-letter word” refers to a bad word in general, because most “bad words” are indeed 4 letter.

I meant to post this before Valentine’s Day, but circumstances made me delay it. Now that it’s almost my 2-year anniversary (woot!) and I plan to over-indulge myself, I thought now was as good a time as any.

People are always concerned about their image. Even those that say they aren’t are, trust me. That lists most of my acquaintances. Am I concerned about my weight and image? Absolutely. But not as much as I used to be.

Unlike my mom who tells me to lose weight so I can fit into my graduation dress and look nice on my birthday and in general, I want to lose weight because I’m unhappy this way. I recently had my yearly physical, and I found out I’ve gained 30 pounds since last year. Yikes. This was due to the 4 months I was sick with mono and endless school work preventing me from leaving my desk. Not working out makes me feel tired and sluggish, and I just want to eat more. Exercise energizes and refreshes.

I’ve met anorexic people and bulimics, and it just breaks my heart. People putting themselves in physical harm to conform to a social standard. Not to be healthy, but to look good. Sigh. If I could I would run to all of them and hug them and tell them they’re beautiful just the way they are, but alas.

I’ve made this argument before and people said, “But we shouldn’t be encouraging people to be fat either. It’s not good to indulge too much…..” etc etc etc.

Story time.

When I was about 9 years old, I was showing signs of bulimia, but not for conventional reasons. It was kind of like a primitive version of cutting myself. When I was sad (which was often) I would make myself throw up to get the butterflies out of my stomach. It also made me lose weight, which was a bonus since I was the chubbiest kid in my family. It’s not easy having sticks for cousins. Then I saw on TV that models did it too (of course), so I was like, hey, maybe when I’m older I can be like them. Woo. I also did it to get out of school, because in this county if you just say that you threw up you get sent home, no question. I had no reason to stop. Then my dad noticed how often it was going on, and he told me I was going to get sick if I kept doing that. The moment I found out I could die or get sick by continuously purging made me stop; I wasn’t trying to hurt myself really.

Think about what that implies: Imagine walking home and hearing your NINE YEAR OLD DAUGHTER throwing up every day so she can be happy and thin. Is that what we’re trying to encourage?

Story time 2.

My brother is 2 years younger than me. He’s always been fat. Not saying big-boned, not using pretty words. He’s just this really big guy. His entire life he’s had family and friends tell him how big he is (no duh) and teasing him. They never realized how much it was hurting him. A year ago he went on an extreme diet. He had one meal a day and exercised maybe 2 – 3 hours a day. Does that sound healthy? Nope. He lost about 60 lbs in 2 months, which is EXTREMELY not recommended and unhealthy. During those months he blacked out twice and stayed in bed when he wasn’t working out because he said he was “too tired to do anything.” This broke my heart. I missed my HAPPY chubby little brother instead of that thin wreck I saw in bed all day.

My philosophy is: Do what makes you happy.

My brother is back on track now. He’s found a balance between working and eating, and he’s a lot healthier — and thinner — now. Fortunately, his story didn’t end the way many others do.

Fat is beautiful. In Africa, larger people are seen as beautiful because they’re seen as more wealthy. Everyone, in every shape and size, is beautiful.

Am I saying to eat everything all the time and become grotesquely obese and unhealthy? No. That won’t make you or anyone around you happy. I’m saying take life to the fullest, just don’t hurt yourself.

That piece of cake? Go for it. That vanilla ice cream bowl covered in fried bananas and caramel? (My dessert last night.) Absolutely. Don’t be afraid to be happy.

What Is: Fetal Position — A Vent

Fetal position is that curled up little ball — knees to chest, face down, arms forming a protective barrier– that I crawl into when I’m upset. Or really cold.

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A demonstration of fetal position. And an average night for seniors at my school.

Recently I’ve been doing a lot of crying. A lot of moping, whining, sobbing, self-loathing.

I usually get A’s. I’m that type that stays up all night doing homework and sleeping the next day, but I regurgitate the information I retained as fast as I can and maintain my grades. I’m not used to failing.

Two days ago I got a grade sheet in my honors pre-calculus class. It was an F.

But how? I study all night, I kill myself finishing the homework and double-checking the steps, I memorized all the formulas back and forth. But when it comes down to test day, I can never get the problems right. I can never get anything higher than a C. I’m lost.

If I’m being completely honest, the first thing I thought when she put that grade down was

“I should just slit my throat now.”

And I meant it. It was all I thought about for the next few days. A million consequences ran through my head: I could get rejected from my first choice college, they could accept me then rescind it, my parents might take away my car and money and privilege of going out for the rest of ever, my teachers and peers will start looking down on me, I’ll have to stay up even later and start losing hair and sanity etc etc etc for the rest of eternity. Even listing that rant makes me nervous.

But then I calmed the fcuk down long enough to ask myself: Will I remember this is 10 years? In 5? Hell, in 1?

Let me put this into perspective: I was freaking out and stressing out and considering suicide because I got my first bad grade. That won’t even go on my report card. And I have 2 months to get it up. So the colleges will never even know it existed.

Crazy, right?

This reminded me of B, my good friend that recently committed suicide.

The kind of stress and pain he was going through was unimaginable to someone like me. Though I’m sad he’s gone, I could never blame him. But if I killed myself? Because of one bad grade no one will remember in a year or a month or a week? Everyone would hate me. I would hate me (from wherever I would end up). Being so stressed that I would even consider what I considered, and what I always consider, is an insult to everyone in worse positions than me, and an insult to B.

Yes I get stressed. Yes I’m being immature. And yes it would be a lot easier to just give up. But even if I got rejected from every college and worked a mediocre job in an average household for the rest of my life, I know I’m still better off than a lot of people. And I’m thankful for what I have and who I have and that I’m alive today to be thankful.

I’m over it.

Let It Wash Away Your Fears.

As I’ve said, one of my dear friends passed away yesterday. I haven’t been dealing with it well at all. There’s been a lot of turmoil going on, and I just need to write it out to clear my thoughts.

Something I’ve been thinking about and have been asked about by my counselors is: Where do you think he is now?

B was Shinto. Though his parents were crazily Christian, he believed in Shintoism. He just liked the belief that everyone was equal and shared the same force. But he also believed that after death, a human’s life energy goes into nature. I think that’s beautiful, and I hope that’s where my angel is now. Since I’m agnostic, I’d like to believe in his beautiful concept of the afterlife.

Then they asked: What part of nature do you think he is?

I thought for a second, and I decided: Water. B is now pushing the flow of water. He’s giving life to the living, and traveling all around the world. He could be a cloud or a stream or just part of the ocean right now, but I firmly believe that right now he is water.

B wanted with all his heart to go to Korea, because he loved the culture so much. I hope with all of my heart that he floats there soon and settles in a beautiful Korean lake, or wherever makes him happy.

After school, it rained. It made me cry, but at the same time I wanted to believe that it was B telling me it’s okay. He did it, he finally escaped his personalized hell right here.

Do I miss him? Like hell, and it hurts worse every second.

But right now, I know he’s off fulfilling his dreams. Somewhere.

A Day In the Life: Update

B is dead.

I don’t think I’ve stopped crying since I got the news. And I don’t think I ever will, on the inside at least.

This has never happened to me before, and I pray to the God I don’t believe in that it never will ever again. To blow off some of these aching and broken up feelings, I write a letter that will never be sent:

To B’s parents;

I hope you’re happy. I really, truly hope you’re happy.

Before you found out your son’s unfavorable sexual orientation, he was a beautiful, happy, HEALTHY teenage boy. He was brilliant, talented, passionate you name it. Congratulations; for a while, you had a perfect child.

But then, uh oh, you found out he was feeling things Jesus didn’t want him to feel. So what did you do? You tried to pray the gay away. You took him out of school, away from his friends and support, took away his phone and Facebook, and secluded him from the world. And you drove him crazy. The language you used though, excellent. “Fag” was the nickname you gave him, right? Because he’s never heard that before. Good one. School counselors (from a school he no longer attends) call you and beg you to reconsider your decision. Bring him back to school, it’s what’s best for him. But nope, that homosexual school is gonna send your baby boy straight to the devil right?

Well he got there just a little faster than he should have. A lot fucking faster than he should have. As I type these words, tears fall on the keyboard and I just can’t type fast enough to get my thought out in coherent sentences. Thinking of all the hopes and dreams he had, thinking of all the optimism and enthusiasm he felt. What did you do? What did you FUCKING do? What did you do to that angel of a frightened kid? Yes, that angel. That mother fucking angel.

While you were busy talking to those angels up there, you were killing the only one down here. And now he’s gone.

I hope you’re miserable. I hope that God you love so much — the one your son didn’t believe in — is giving you comfort and holding your hands. Because in 20-30 years, he’s giving you an express ride downstairs.

I don’t know where B is right now, but I know it’s better than the place you gave him. Hell is a better place than the fucking place you gave him.

Your son hated you. I don’t know how you felt about him, but I don’t think you hated him. I think you wanted to help him. But it was your old-fashioned beliefs and stick-up-the-ass attitude that did exactly the opposite.

Ever heard of DeathNote? It’s a story about a boy that finds a special book, and when you write a name in it that person dies.

I watched that movie with B and he loved it. As soon as it ended he grabbed some paper and made his own makeshift DeathNote. You know what he did with it? He wrote your names in it. He wrote down all of your names and hoped it would come true. Do you understand? He fucking took out sheets of paper and wished for your deaths. But it never worked.

Right now I see all these condolences and expression of sorrows and prayer being extended to your family. I feel no sympathy towards you. None. People often don’t mourn with the murderers. B’s blood is on your hands, and you’ll live with it stabbing at your hearts every day for the rest of your lives.

I only hope that this has taught you a lesson. To stop being such assholes.

I hope you have a nice, long life. The one your son will never live.

A Day In the Life.

Wish you would step back from that ledge my friend.
You could cut ties with all the lies that you’ve been living with.
If you never want to see me again, I would understand.

(Jumper by Third Blind Eye)

I spent half of today crying. I couldn’t focus on my school work and had to stay in my counselor’s office for a long time. But I’ll start from the beginning.

I walked in to my anatomy class dreading a test. I sit down, and my friends look at me and ask “How’s your friend [let’s call him “B”] been doing?” My heart stops.

Some background: B is one of my best friends. B lives in the most religious household I’ve ever encountered in my entire life. B is gay. B is home-schooled because his parents think the school made him gay. B is verbally abused every day. B has tried to kill himself three times.

“No,” I replied, scared of what they were about to say. I’ve been trying to text him for weeks but he hasn’t replied. I assumed his parents took his phone away. Again. They gave each other a really solemn and hesitant look.

After a while, one of them finally says it. “B is in the intensive care unit at the hospital. He tried to commit suicide.”

She didn’t even have to finish her sentence before I burst into tears. It’s been so long since I talked to him, I was worried this would happen again.

The gruesome background: B cuts himself. He has those horizontal bumpy slashes all along his wrists. He’s tried to jump off the bleachers at school. He wouldn’t even tell me what he did his first two attempts, and honestly I don’t want to know. I won’t even say how he did it this time, because it’s just too much.

I lost it. I stayed with my counselor for a long time. When his parents filed to pull him from school, she was one of the faculty members that tried to convince them otherwise. I told her what happened, and she said she knew. Apparently the administrators still get updates on him (which calms me, but barely).

More background: B always smiles. Always. I swear on my life I’ve never seem him with a less than pleasant expression on his face. And he’s the most talented person I know. He taught himself sign language, piano, Japanese, and Korean. He writes songs. He sings. I guess you have that kind of free time when you’re home-schooled.

His laugh brightens hearts, which matches his eyes that sparkle. He’s the sweetest and most remarkable person I know.

I love him to pieces, I do. And as angry as I am, I’ll never be able to blame him for what he did. I can’t imagine what kind of turmoil he lives with every day, and he just keeps smiling. Smiling. He had plans to become fluent in Korean, move to Korea and start a new life there after college. He had such optimistic plans. And he keeps trying to throw it all away.

My heart is breaking because this is his fourth attempt. That tells me that he won’t stop trying until he succeeds. If B has failed at anything, it’s quitting.

This isn’t a post about religion or homosexuality. It’s about a friend that’s falling apart. It’s about someone that’s miserable, who needs help. And I don’t know what to do. But I’m desperate, and so is he.

Everybody’s got to find a reason,
Everyone’s got to face down the demons,
Maybe today you can put the past away.

The Seasons of Heartbreak.

It’s a sad fact, but while Valentine’s Day acts as a day to get together, the days preceding it are popular days to separate. The common reason is “they didn’t want to get a boyfriend / girlfriend level present if they knew it wasn’t gonna work out”.

This situation was brought to my attention by media and my brokenhearted friend. It’s okay T, and this is for you.

So now, JustAnEmber presents “The Seasons of Heartbreak: A Guide to Catharsis During This Rough Period”!!

Fall

Fall is the age of wising up, reaching a climax and heading towards decline.

Most breakups are predictable, you must admit. In hindsight, there was always some little cloud of impending doom looming overhead. The fall is a time of uneasiness and worry, wondering what’s going to come next. Whatever must happen will happen.

When a couple breaks up, often there’s one more hurt than the other. Let me explain with a metaphor:

Let’s say in a relationship, you share an apartment. When a person is feeling it’s not working out, they think about it. They don’t move out altogether, but they start moving boxes out a bit at a time. When they decide it’s really over, they have less baggage to carry. The other person has all their stuff scattered around the place and things are unorganized and messy. They’re nowhere near ready to move out yet.

Then they have to start clearing the room.

heartbreak

Winter

The archetype of death. In this case, the death of love.

I’m a teenager. In high school. A senior no less. I’ve had my heart toyed with and beaten several times, had my flame ignited and snuffed out. I know the feeling.

And that’s why I can say with 100% confidence that it gets better in time. People, especially teenagers, often overestimate the effect of an emotional situation, and definitely overestimate the time it takes to get better. Time does heal all wounds: a lot faster than you think.

During this winter, it feels like everything is falling apart. All you can think about is what went wrong, how things could’ve changed and turned out differently. You’re pained by all the memories you shared and wanted to make, and you’re tired from trying to get your baggage out as fast as you can. But you can’t.

One of my favorite lyrics of all time is “Nights filled with longer hours” (if you’re into The Main Drag, or if you like winter, def. listen to A Jagged Gorgeous Winter). Don’t spend those long hours in the dark letting the darkness consume you. Sleep it off.

Take it box by box. Going too slow will leave you in a rut, going too fast will break your back.

The point: You’re not dying. Your feelings towards that lost love are dying. And so is that part of your life.

But when one door closes, another one opens.

Spring

The time of rebirth and rejuvenation.

After all that sadness passes and all the fits are through, and you’ve taken the time to mentally sort things out, things just get better. You can’t really plan it or understand, but it just happens. Literally. I literally can’t think of a better way to explain it. Your spring cleaning is complete, and the apartment has been cleared.

I suppose it’s like you’ve finally let go of that part of your life that you’ve been holding on to. You just let it fall to the bottom of the ocean with the Titanic and forgot about it. Is it still there? Sure. Are you going to look for it? You better not.

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It took her forever, but she let it go. Don’t wait until you’re 103 like her though.

Summer

The time of vitality and maturity.

Congratulations! You’ve moved on! In this summer time, you’re free. You’ve shed every piece of winter clothing and lost all those cold thoughts and you’re on to better and brighter things. Do you remember winter? Yes. Will it come back? Hey, every up has its downs.

Point to remember: Summer has more hours of sunshine. Make use of them.

As I said in a previous post: “Single” is not synonymous with “alone”. So smile! Because I know you can.

I reiterate: Every end is a new beginning. This is the first step towards something better.

I hope everyone makes plans (provided you’re not a swamped student) and has a happy Valentine’s Day.

Red Fish, Blue Fish, Gay Fish, Straight Fish.

The most liberating thing happened to me last night.

I was having a huge fight with my mom. It had been going on in pieces all day and I was going crazy. It was about 10 PM and I still had so much homework to do. She comes in and starts it all over again, and we go back and forth for a while. Lots of things were said, and I can’t remember how we got to it, but somehow I ended up confessing to her that I’m bisexual and agnostic at the same time.

The bisexual pride ribbon.

The bisexual pride ribbon.

Those were the two facts about myself that I’ve been hiding from my family for so many years. My super religious, Filipino, Roman Catholic family that opposes gay marriages and abortion.

Once it was out I started crying because I couldn’t believe what I had just done. I was expecting one of two things: a fit or rage, or a cold silence.

There was silence, but what came after wasn’t cold. It was warm. It was a hug. My mom sat next to me and said, “It’s okay. There is nothing you can ever do that will make me dislike you, so stop crying. Because it’s okay.” The biggest weight that I’d been holding on my shoulders for so many years had finally been lifted.

But just a little.

Of course afterwards she asked me how I knew those things about me and if I was sure, asked me what I do believe in and tried talking to me about God, all that. I expected it though. But when her questions were through and all comments were made, she said it’s fine. She’s not “happy” about it, but she’s fine with it.

Sure she told me to not tell any of my super duper even more frighteningly conservative family members, but you know. Okay.

Some weird things about my family:

They’re Filipino. And they’re intense Catholics. They have all those conservative and religious beliefs. But despite that, they all accept and love gay people. I actually have lots of gay cousins (wondering where those genes came from), and one of them is even married with an adopted son who I love very much. Even though they accept them, they just don’t think they should get married because it’s not what God wants.

…there’s a bit of a disconnect here…

So my family acknowledges that homosexuality is natural and that gays can’t control it. They can be together and stuff, but they just shouldn’t get married…

-sighs for the rest of eternity while face-palming-

But considering that gays in the Philippines get hunted down and hazed and murdered and whatnot, my family is a step in the right direction.

The most important thing to understand is that we’re all just fish in the sea. Though we may all look different and act different and just be different, we’re actually the same. Glub glub.