04.02.07; Sober Sunday; 04:21

Amount of pressure to make this year a productive one: Great. Plans to launch this year: 1.) My own business; 2.) My long overdue exodus; 3.) Purchase of laptop; 4.) My entry to the circle of curators. How ambitious! Plans I sadly need to drop this year: 1.) The lighthouse project; 2.) The comeback of the Turistang Hilaw™; 3.) Consistent attendance in therapeutic spots like saGuijo.

Dear Niwee,

Have you seen the documentary entitled "The Vanishing Lotus"? It was one of the films we viewed in my Anthropology class. It was about the final generation of Chinese women who had their feet bound in spite of the government’s ban around 1912. Before the Americans reached China and openly dismissed the mentioned paractice as barbaric, Chinese kids as young as 4 were eager to have their feet bound. In their culture, a small pair of feet pronounces beauty and ensures a woman of marriage marketability. In my eyes, tainted by the modern times, it is an act of surrendering one’s mobility to be fully dependent on one’s husband. It’s like, forget rotting flesh, ligament tears and fractured bones! All we need is love blah blah blah.  Stupidity, it is!

After watching this, I suddenly gained pride for my 10" flat feet. I text barraged everyone about this realization, the description of how lotus feet look like and raised the question, "How come women had to undergo excruciating pain to be considered beautiful? How come men do not experience the same amount of pressure?".

Let’s think of the women with coiled necks. At an early age, they’d place a spring of metal around their necks to comply with their culture’s concept of beauty and to be considered wife material. When they commit concubinage, this coil would be removed and would render them bedridden for life. Do they have the same punishment for unfaithful husbands?

How about the women with big mounths? They insert a wooden (I guess) plate in one’s mouth and -voila!- instant beauty! Let’s not forget African women who faced female genital mutilation without any pain killers. Imagine that pain then the deprivation of sexual satisfaction through the clitoris for the rest of their lives. Honestly, I can’t even begin to imagine.

Going back, a sex historian (sounds like a cool job) explained bound feet make the vagina tighter. In short, heaven for men, hell for women. That should explain the Chinese population, eh?

Things haven’t changed that much. Women are still expected to look beautiful at these times. Otherwise, you’d be shunned or ridiculed (remember Betty La Fea?) or panned for dating and/or marriage. Aren’t we guilty of worshipping stilettos even if it spells discomfort? Aren’t we panic buyers of whitening creams and tablets? Aren’t we slaves to underwire bras? Aren’t we happy until our mane is silky straight? Aren’t we obsessed about losing unwanted bulges?

– – –

For the longest time, I have been comfortable with my own body size. Real women have curves, as one movie title went. I consider it my edge that I’m huggable and the type of friend anyone can drag to buffets or feasts without displaying violent reaction. Missing my waist was never a major concern.

Until I finally reached the acceptance stage that I am obese. For the past years, I saw myself only as a chubby. That I can still carry sexy outfits and don’t look like an eye pollution. I never cared about the number, never measured my waistline or weighed in. Each time I wrapped my fingers around my wrist and witness that my thumb and index finger stopped touching the other, I blindly decided it’s just OK. I was wrong.

Late last year, I was devastated to realize that my urge for retail therapy was becoming harder to appease. It became virtually impossible to find my size. I resorted to buying men’s t-shirts which I subsequently had to alter since I have neckline issues. Mind you, the amount I spend for altering each is like buying another top! I was mortified to realize that I have stopped raiding my Mom’s closet and begun raiding my brothers’. I felt like I’m wearing the same stuff over and over which was true since I can’t don the same things I used to with enough self-respect. In fact, my self-gifting adventures upon receiving my 13th month pay all ended up to shoe shopping. This accidental imeldific purchased 9 pairs of shoes in just a matter of 6 weeks. After all, my shoe size does not fluctuate as often as the stock market.

And when I remember this fact, I conclude my shopping with an unhealthy amount of emotional eating. I can’t afford to sob in public. I’m too drained too type my thoughts away. I only have food as my outlet. The vicious cycle continues.

Now that I have learned my glucose is on the polar end of normal range, I imagine my history of overindulgence is on its way to be an ancient practice. I am doing this for my great anticipation for the exciting future that awaits me. I am doing this for self-love. I am doing this.

I do not wish to sneer at legions of women who fall prey to the pressures of the society. I could only hope that we all aim for the best with our own welfare on mind.