Friday, May 26, 2006

Due to unforeseen circumstances, I’ve been out of the blogging world for while. But now I’m back.

Since I turned in my thesis, I’ve been feeling pretty depressed. I’ve had thesis tunnel vision for a few months, which means I haven’t taken care of myself in many ways—mostly psychologically and physically. I feel like I’ve put on “thesis weight”. Sitting, typing, and eating out are not conducive to maintaining a fit lifestyle. Last week, I had a breakdown in my car. I felt disgusted w/ myself, repulsed even, all because of this damned thesis weight. I have never been filled w/ so much self-hate; it felt almost poisonous.

Some people know that my family is CRAZY about standards of beauty. These pressures come from both the women eand the men. In the past 10 years or so, I’ve really begun to notice it b/c I have many young female cousins. As young as the age of 4, the plump girls are critiqued by their parents, uncles, and aunts. I remember being super-body conscious at the age as well! I was tormented about my weight, admonished for hitting puberty early, yelled at for sitting in the sun and getting dark, and of course, bothered about not having the “double eyelid”.*

It wasn’t until I left for college that I realized how much better I felt about myself when I was away from most of my family. Sad, huh? I’ve definitely had moments of feeling gross, unattractive, etc but overall, I ended up with a pretty healthy body-image and avoided eating disorders. I feel pretty proud that I have been able to resist what my family, what Korean culture, what American culture has told me about my body and my worth. Thus, my mental breakdown in my car started w/ tears over my looks but ended up mixing w/ anguish over feeling that I had been defeated—that my will had been broken. It was extremely saddening.**

Lately, I’ve been feeling a bit better. Now that I’m done w/ school and only have work to worry about I have time for the gym, which is exciting. I think I will get back into shape and have more energy for a crazy summer w/ 200 high school kids, Also, I did realize this: People have told me I am beautiful, attractive, or even sexy. Although, I’m always a bit surprised when I hear this (and embarrassed b/c I don’t know how to accept compliments (Asian much?)), it is encouraging. Aside from being a small boost in self-esteem, it is a realization that I am one among many people who seek to or have redefined beauty in their minds. This is heartening

* my uncles actually used to chase me around my grandmother’s house w/ a pencil. If you have a single-fold eyelid and stick a pencil in the outer corner of your eyelid, it makes a temporary double-fold.) this story is actually kind of funny. I have many stories that are very sad and humiliating, especially for a young girl.

**Later that day, I got a request from a friend to call into her radio show to talk about having a positive body-image. That request made me feel even worse.

2 comments:

powerpolitics said...

I would try not to worry about it. Work on a hobby like cooking or watching reruns of Scrubs or take long walks. I'm sure that one part of your stress is that you are ending a pivotal period in your life, and all of these complex issues have become enmeshed together tightly.

Approach it like untangling yarn and take it slow but steady.

I've found that when I have most obsessed over my weight is when I have actually been the least healthy, physically and mentally.

Now I realize that I used to be anorexic because it was one of the few things that I felt I *could* control in a hectic world. Don't worry about body image, it's more important to be mentally fit!

Keep your chin up and stay strong.

James Fletcher Baxter said...

Each individual human being possesses a unique, highly
developed, and sensitive perception of diversity. Thus
aware, man is endowed with a natural capability for enact-
ing internal mental and external physical selectivity.
Quantitative and qualitative choice-making thus lends
itself as the superior basis of an active intelligence.

Human is earth's Choicemaker. His title describes
his definitive and typifying characteristic. Recall
that his other features are but vehicles of experi-
ence intent on the development of perceptive
awareness and the following acts of decision and
choice. Note that the products of man cannot define
him for they are the fruit of the discerning choice-
making process and include the cognition of self,
the utility of experience, the development of value-
measuring systems and language, and the accultur-
ation of civilization.

The arts and the sciences of man, as with his habits,
customs, and traditions, are the creative harvest of
his perceptive and selective powers. Creativity, the
creative process, is a choice-making process. His
articles, constructs, and commodities, however
marvelous to behold, deserve neither awe nor idol-
atry, for man, not his contrivance, is earth's own
highest expression of the creative process.

Human is earth's Choicemaker. The sublime and
significant act of choosing is, itself, the Archimedean
fulcrum upon which man levers and redirects the
forces of cause and effect to an elected level of qual-
ity and diversity. Further, it orients him toward a
natural environmental opportunity, freedom, and
bestows earth's title, The Choicemaker, on his
singular and plural brow.

Human is earth's Choicemaker. Psalm 25:12 He is by
nature and nature's God a creature of Choice - and of
Criteria. Psalm 119:30,173 His unique and definitive
characteristic is, and of Right ought to be, the natural
foundation of his environments, institutions, and re-
spectful relations to his fellow-man. Thus, he is orien-
ted to a Freedom whose roots are in the Order of the
universe.

- from The HUMAN PARADIGM

P.S. You are much more valuable than just 'a face' or 'a weight.' jfb