I have always been called "tabachingching" when I was a child. Aside from being chubby, I think I am the only one in the family who is short and stout. The rest are tall and slim, with 24-inches-and-below waistlines. At 4'11", you won't call me tall. I would call myself "punggok" (little, elfin, tiny). I have been on the heavy side my whole life, except when I was still an infant and teething. In school, I would always squirm during the weighing in sessions at the clinic because I know that the weighing scale would somehow grimace at my heavy body. The only time I had a 24-inch waistline was probably when I was in grade four. I have thighs that can maim, crush and destroy. I have booties that one could use as a cover if there is a gun fight.
I grew up with older playmates, neighbors, titos and titas who saw all my baby fat and they would always tease me about it. When we would not see each other for a long time, their usual comments about me would be, "Ay ang taba taba ni Jaja, hindi na tumangkad." (Oh, Jaja is so fat. She never grew any taller.) That hurt a lot, especially when one is just a kid, who is starting to enjoy life and trying to understand why people talk to you that way. Sometimes, when I don't feel like I lost any pound at all, they would comment, "Uy, sexy ka ngayon ah." (Wow, you look sexy nowadays.) Was it sarcasm, or was it just optical illusion which made them say that? I wonder…
In college, I found friends who were really on the thin side. We would go out to the malls and look for clothes and they would be looking for the smallest size while I would try to squeeze myself in to a medium size just so I wouldn't feel too embarrassed that I would be looking for a large size. Add to that are the prying eyes of their relatives, and sometimes my friends themselves or classmates (I can still remember who you are, if you are reading this) would tease me about it. The comments and experience are all the same wherever I am. There would be colleagues in the university where I teach who would say first thing in the morning, "Ja, ang taba mo ngayon." (Ja, you look fat today.) Even the churchgoers, where I play the guitar for the choir during mass, would say things like that. As a retort, I once answered, "Bakit ka nagsasabi ng ganyan? Kapag pumapangit ka ba, sinasabihan ba kita na bakit ang pangit mo ngayon?" (Why do say things like that? When you seem uglier, do I tell you why do you look so ugly today?) And the poor person shut up. I regretted it, but I thought, enough of their comments. I don't care!
Sometimes, I feel bothered when people say that I am fat. But I am especially bothered by the fact that I get affected by those offensive comments. They made me feel ugly because I'm short and fat which should not be the case!The only concern I have regarding my body is not really the appearance but the clothes that fit me, and health, of course. It is hard to find clothes that would complement my bootylicious body. That makes me think about dieting, dieting and dieting. And after I convince myself to diet, I would lose a few pounds and gain it again in a few months. It has been a vicious cycle. Now I have enrolled in a gym, not to lose weight but to be be fit and healthy. And I wills tick by it, no matter what.
But I know, behind my imperfections, I have the brains to understand that I don't need to look good for these people. I just want them to realize that I am more than what they can see. I So in time, I have learned to accept myself and my killer thighs and booties. I excel in a lot of things, so long as I put my heart and mind to it. And so that's what I did. Now, I make money out of my profession as a lawyer and a professor and a trainer, I sell accessories that I personally make, I bake, I get paid for my singing abilities, I can do a lot more than one could ever imagine, I can give love as long as my heart could manage it and these don't require that I am at least five feet tall and less than 100 lbs. I love me!
It is a good thing that I have a family who loves me for who I am - a funny, comic person, who could invite hilarious laughs out of ordinary situations and stories. I am lucky I have a man who loves me, fats and all, and who drools over my booties that could make J. Lo run for her money. I am lucky I have dogs that likewise drool over me and consider me the best master in the world whenever I am with them. I feel lucky because although I am an inch short of five feet, in the courtroom, every counsel is treated equally. I feel blessed because in spite of my physical shortcomings, I AM BEAUTIFUL JUST AS GOD WANTS ME TO BE.