I’ve gained weight. From 45 to 47, and possibly towards 50kg, I’ve definitely gained weight – and it shows in my face, my waist, and my thighs. But I’m not complaining. I know I’m by no means fat – but I can’t help feeling like I should start working out, or embark on a juice cleanse, or go on a diet.
It’s got me thinking about beauty ideals and self-love and body image. I know I’m skinny, but I don’t feel skinny. My clothes feel a little tighter. My cheeks are a little fleshier. My jeans take a little more tugging on their way up. Even my belts don’t loop through the last holes. (ignore the innuendo.)
I guess I can say I’m in a struggle. I’m struggling to love myself, my body, my personality. I’m an ambivert, but sometimes even I don’t understand myself. My body is expanding in ways I don’t know if I’m okay with. I’m quiet around some people but boisterous around others. I fall asleep easily some nights, but spend others without a wink of rest. Some days I listen to songs that scream about suicide that I hear in my heart, other days I float on songs about heartbreak and love that never was. I want to experience life, but I don’t know where to find it. I’m an outcast, but not really – I have friends, and to say that I don’t would be an insult to their loyalty, dedication, and support.
Is this what an identity crisis feels like? Maybe a little. There must be people going through actual identity crisises who are scoffing as they read this. And that’s another point. Are my problems really as valid as the next person’s? There are so many motivational posts that shout, “Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle”, but that’s hard when it feels like we’re all being judged on the same scale, regardless of a whole host of variables: whether you’re quiet or outspoken, logical or creative, outgoing or a homebody.
So much awareness has been raised this year, on a whole spectrum of issues. Racism, sexism, feminism, LGBTQ+ rights, terrorism and subsequently gun control are just a few that constantly made headlines. I look up so much to people like Emma Watson and Malala Yousafzai, for their work against sexism and for girls’ education; Tim Cook and Laverne Cox, for their work in bring LGBTQ+ rights to light and for fighting for them. They’ve got a lot of work and a hell of help they need. Misty Copeland, for proving that racism and prejudice is on its way out, with her phenomenal hard work, success and for being an icon to all the little girls of any skin tone who are watching the world stage and finally seeing themselves represented in her. Diane von Furstenberg and Zendaya, for promoting female empowerment and not taking any shit from sexism, but also taking them down in the classiest ways possible. Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tom Hiddleston, Benedict Cumberbatch, Chris Pratt, and so many other Hollywood leading men, for helping us women out in the fight against sexism and for using their (very loud, very male) voices across platforms to further the #HeForShe work. Every time a man in Hollywood does that, a little candle is lit in my tiny little heart and it gives me hope for the future. There are, of course, so many more inspiring people who are doing great work in the world.
Special mention to my friend Yun Rong, for writing an excellent piece in The New Paper Sunday about LGBTQ+ individuals’ struggles in Singapore. Read it here.
I’ve definitely lost the plot – but this is just a narrative my brain came up with. The size of my waistline seems like such an negligible issue is the shadow of the rest of the problems the world has, but… that doesn’t make me feel any better.
“Self love is an ocean
and your heart is a vessel. Make it full,
and any excess will spill over
into the lives of the people
you hold dear. But you must come first.”
Beau Taplin || S e l f L o v e