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.