A few months ago during a Wear Your Voice Mag (WYV) meeting, it was brought up that articles with personal narratives that included cultural experiences were some that our readership really responded to. When it came time to do pitches, I immediately thought of what it was like growing up as a chubby pinay. It was really the only thing I could think of to write about regarding personal narratives about my Filipino upbringing. As I started jotting down notes, I found it to be very hard and painful to write. Digging up all these horrific moments from the depths of my memory put me in panic mode and guilt ridden, so I put off writing it for quite a bit. I didn’t go into full detail about everything I had gone through though in my final draft as I had to consider my word count, and also that I was focusing on how my culture in particular had effected me — not how my peers did. That could be another article all together. It’s just really hard growing up on the heavier side of the scale because it makes you the automatic target of ridicule.
I saw that it was posted last Wednesday, but I made no plans to share it because all this anxiety began to build within me. I started to worry about what people would think. The Filipino community is always depicted as being an extremely friendly and happy bunch, yet I wrote about how in that culture it seems perfectly acceptable to make blunt comments on someone’s appearance — particularly whether someone is too fat or too skinny. So basically, in my article it sounds like I’m saying Filipinos can be extremely insensitive bags of dicks. I’ve only been to the Philippines twice, the last time was 11 years ago when I had just turned 19. A relative we stayed with called a month after we came back home and while I talked to her on the phone, she casually asked, “Have you lost any weight?” Where did that even come from? A couple years after that, I opted out of going back there for a month with my mom, dad, sister, youngest cousin, and my aunt because I didn’t want to have to deal with being told I was fat everyday for a month straight. My mom came back with a couple of stories that would’ve made me cry a damn ocean — she told me about how she talked to a local and they asked her if she was American, and she joked “Yes! Can you tell by my accent?” Their response? “No. It’s because you’re fat.” She also told me that when her, my cousin, and my dad got into a taxi the driver went out to check on the back tires to make sure their weight didn’t bring them down. Like… what the fuck?
I was also worried about sharing this article because it’s so personal. I briefly talk about attempting suicide, and of course, my family. I worried (or, I am still worried as I have not shared it with them yet) about what they’d think of it. Would I hurt their feelings? Would I upset them? Anger them? Offend them? Would this cause drama? I was seriously not planning on sharing it, and was thinking it would fly under the radar anyway since my articles on WYV don’t create that much of a buzz. But that changed on Tuesday. My article was shared on their Facebook page, and someone had left a comment on one of my Instagram pictures telling me they had just read my article and how they related to it. I woke up the next morning to a message on Facebook. Someone else had thanked me and said the article resonated with them, and how they could see their daughters getting effected by the same type of comments I grew up with. Instagram notifications showed other people commented that they had read my article. I looked at my post on WYV’s Facebook — it’s been shared 30 times so far, and the comments I’ve seen people make throughout the day have been nothing but supportive.
If you’d like to read it, you can find it here:
Thank you to all who’ve reached out, commented on WYV’s page, and shared the article. It means so much that my words were able to resonate with some of you and let you know that you’re not alone. <3