Beyond the Jokes

“You’re just fat.”

I was embarrassed about other people’s comments when I was younger, especially from those whom I have just met for the first time. There was rarely a social gathering I attended without being subjected to others calling me chubby, fat, or overweight. But what honestly pained me were the responses of laughter and being compared to others.

I tried to brush it off during my elementary years. Still, deep down, I knew the shadows of insecurities kept growing as I fed myself into what others consider as acceptable before their eyes. Despite my parents explaining that those remarks were to encourage me to be healthier, it bruised my emotional state, especially during my teen years.

“You need to lose weight, or else you may not have a boyfriend.”

The ridicules again were demeaning that at one point in my life, I just avoided going to social events. For those times I needed to go, I try to become the “comedian,” trying to make fun of myself such as my weight. I thought that I would rather say the “fat joke” myself rather than hearing it from others- somewhat like a defense mechanism.

“I reckon you overeat, which is why you are fat.”

Honestly, I don’t eat that much. I would have replied to the lady in front of me getting food from the buffet, but I didn’t. She did not know how I felt seeing her consuming a plate filled with food and was still slim. I wondered why I did not have that privilege of eating whatever I wanted and be thin.

That was it. I was so desperate that I made an unhealthy decision of only eating a meal a day or nothing for weeks when I was starting college. Unfortunately, I still have not lost weight but instead developed epigastric pain from probably developing ulcers due to skipping meals. I could not also concentrate well in class, and had terrible headaches which I did not mention to anyone. I hated myself because I could not be what others looked like- I felt ugly.

It was when I attended a program called Encounter God Retreat (EGR) with my church group that I felt a release from the lurking shadows of insecurities. It was then I understood more of the power of spoken words to my life, how it crippled my emotional well being and twisted my self-esteem to thinking I was never enough. Through the EGR, I was reminded of how God created us in His image (Gen 1:27).

Also, I could not explain the feeling of being free from the grudges against those who hurt me. I could not believe that l recalled everyone who embarrassed me since I was in elementary. That was how deep the roots of bitterness was, and I thank God that he delivered me and helped me forgive.

On the other side, I admit that I also said hurtful words towards others, even if I did not intend to. As I joked a lot around people when I was younger, I blurted out what was on my mind, not able to discriminate what “crossing the line” meant. It took a long period of time before I learned to accept I was wrong and that saying sorry did not mean I was a loser. I knew how it was being made fun of, and I should have known better not to do the same. Indeed, being bullied did not give me the right to bully others as well. As my father once said, taste your words first before speaking.

I believe that we can express our genuine concern towards others more positively and be sensitive about how others feel. I appreciate my friends who talk to me in private when they want to correct me or point out something I need to improve on.

I am still working towards losing weight not because of pleasing others but for health reasons. Also, I know I have to watch my character- to develop it day by day. I hope to be remembered because of the positive impact I made on others.

Ephesians 4:29 (NLT)
Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.

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This cause was inspired by a young lad, Abner A. Ibag, who has passed away after 18 precious years of existence. He has left a legacy of positivity and have become an inspiration to his family circle, friends and his acquaintances; a beaming beacon who has shared selfless acts of kindness, emanating an aura of joy with a contagious spirit of bringing smiles and laughter. Continuing this feat, from a period of hiatus, I aspire to continue sharing a heart of caring through social media- with stories and encouraging updates, and connecting people with the same mindset. Everyday stresses may become overwhelming, but know that you are not alone going through this. Would you like to join us? Feel free to send us your messages, inquiries and suggestions. Let's brighten up the world. Keep smiling!

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