Wednesday, July 28, 2004


Have you ever wondered what life would be like if one aspect of you was changed? One of people’s biggest complaints about me (but not the only one) is the fact that I’m skinny and underweight. Which, of course, is true, but I’ve been that way for most of my life. I’ve known no other lifestyle except the one I’m currently living. For me, being skinny is normal. The Charles that you know wouldn’t be the same Charles if he wasn’t the skinny, underweight kid you knew.

For some strange reason, me and my immediate family are all skinny people, even if our cousins and other relatives are all big, fat, and probably weigh thrice as me. Not that my parents didn’t try to change that fact. If there was anyone who wasn’t content with who I was, it’s my parents. As early as three, they’d (or rather, the maids) fed me everything that was on the kitchen table. Even when I said I was already full, they didn’t believe me. So it really isn’t my fault when I vomited the food that I ate afterwards, and this would go on for five times a week. Because as early as three, my family never listens to me, even if I knew best.

When I was five years old, we transferred houses and I moved to a village where my neighbors actually had kids who played on the streets. I’d join them and would pass through their gates despite the bars. I thought that it was fun that I could sneak past their houses, and of course, this was possible because of my small size. Of course it was also at this time that I realized people pitying me didn’t only extend to my family but to everyone else. People who saw me would comment on how skinny I was and would offer me food, as if I wasn’t being fed at home.

If you want to survive the heat, try losing some weight. I was never a fan of electric fans of air conditioners, mainly because I didn’t feel hot. I obviously don’t have enough fat to generate heat for my body, but that isn’t a bad thing in a tropical country such as the Philippines. Unfortunately, I slept with my parents and they needed air-conditioning. I told them I was feeling cold (and actually had the snot and sneezes to prove it) but they still refused to believe me. Even during the days I was sick, I was nonetheless confined to an air-conditioned room. Never mind the fact that part of the reason I was sick was because I was freezing.

Several years later, I won partial independence from my family by moving out of my parent’s room and moving into the guest room, where I could live with neither electric fan nor air conditioner, and I could eat at the rate I wanted. I didn’t really need the three-meals a day which is average for most people, but I could subsist on two, and have some snacks in between. Life in high school consisted of eating breakfast at home, begging money from my classmates during lunchtime so I could purchase that P9.00 donut (approximately $0.20), and then going home to eat dinner. Did it work? Hey, I’m still alive right now aren’t I?

In college, one of my sports was running. I was a fast runner (although definitely not the fastest) despite my lack of previous experience or training. Of course part of it can be attributed to my weight. And even before that, I would walk several kilometers carrying my heavy bag in hopes of saving money (rather than pay for commuting). Now, when most friends think of me, they usually associate me with my big bag, and walking great distances to get to my destination. Oh, and they rarely see me eat as well.

I don’t see myself as disadvantaged. In fact, part of my strength is the fact that I’m underweight, and I’ve maximized that to my advantage. It’s not a handicap and I’ve lived my life no other way. If anyone has a complaint about my figure, they’re probably insecure. My weight doesn’t bother me so it really shouldn’t bother you.

No comments: