The Birth of Venus
Sandro Botticelli, 1848 – 46.
It’s strange to revisit some parts of my past, because I try to close and then lock the doors completely shut.
I tend to run away a lot.
Two days ago, a friend of mine reminded me via phone call to send him some tips to lose weight, and so here I am again – standing right in front of the door that, at first sight, seems to be shut, but is in reality ajar.
There’s the saying that time heals all wounds, and it truly does, but I never examined clearly and gave myself adequate closure. I don’t necessarily think that I need it now, but it’s still something that is quite liberating to have, even shy of a decade later.
I believe that I have an alternative way at interpreting “closure” other than the mere fact that it represents the conclusion, or the end, usually pertaining to issues, relationships, or a combination of both. I see it as an additional layer of acceptance and respect for reality and the events that unfolded with the occasional forgiveness attached.
I realize that we do not have the luxury to get that at all times.
Sometimes it’s because people deal with conflicts by avoiding them and hoping that they will somehow disappear into thin air and go away. Sometimes pride / ego get in the way. Sometimes it’s because it’s simply just too late.
There is an array of reasons that I don’t want to go into, as it is not the point today, nor any other day. It’s not that there are no regrets or sorrow on my side, but there are certain instances where I cannot do anything productive or beneficial to the situation at hand if the other person doesn’t reciprocate. I used to be upset over it – well, maybe past tense isn’t appropriate in this case – it still gets to me, especially with people I care about, but the silver lining I consistently remind myself over here is that my lack of reaction and / or silence is due to the respect and kindness I have towards that person.
And quite frankly, sometimes that is all I have. It might not be enough at times, but this knowledge is what I can hold on to dearly.
However – back from my tangent: today I’m opening the door wide open, wishfully for the last time, so that I can shut it tight for the first time.
There are a few remarks I’d like to make beforehand:
- I’ve written about my eating disorder before. I’ve started WordPress for less than two weeks during that time, so I wasn’t as familiarized with formatting. I should go back to my older posts and fix my posts up. I’d like to keep them the way they are, despite cringing at my style back then, as they reflect how I was back then and how much I’ve improved. I’m trying to look on the brighter side.
- Since I needed to revisit the recent and the distant past for this post – I realized that I’ve been blogging for eight months already! I started from zero followers to, well, 53 (and to add on: I actually surpassed the 50 mark on my birthday, so that was a pleasant surprise) today. I know, I know, that’s not a lot, but I’m not counting the lurkers over here. Small steps.
- I’m a lot more comfortable about sharing and revealing to my readers in my posts more about who I am now. I still respect anonymity, but I’m a bit more accepting when it comes to writing about parts of my day to day life or experiences now. I’d like to think it’s because of this newfound acceptance I manifested for myself for the past year.
- For those who are curious and actually want some advice, here is the plan (mainly lifestyle changes) I’ve formulated for my friend. I might add more if anything pops into my head.
- Honestly, how does Venus get those abs of hers? Botticelli somehow knew the trends of 2018. Fascinating.
I have frequent calls with a friend so he can kill some time while driving to work. I consider that quite a compliment, as it means that I’m intriguing and entertaining enough for him to want to talk to me often. It’s pretty much common sense over here.
Plus, truth be told, I’m only comfortable talking on the phone with a handful of people. There’s an extremely short list, so if I were to ever talk to you over the phone or send you voice notes in the present or past, it means that at the time, you matter to me.
Obviously, if I do it now, it signifies that I care.
If you happen to be one of the people in the past (who still thought of me one way or another, whether it’s out of sheer curiosity of “is she faring better without my existence in her life, because apparently not” or out of genuine care, only you’d know) – it doesn’t necessarily mean that I’ve ceased my affections towards you. It really depends, case by case.
It was probably bad timing and both of us wanting conflicting things that we couldn’t compromise at the time and we eventually had to breakaway from each other. There might be hurt back then from both sides, but I hold no resentment at all. My collective experiences, despite their magnitudes, made me who I am today and will continue to influence me tomorrow and years after. The lessons may induce pain, but they’ve all contributed to my growth nevertheless and will (hopefully) make me a better person. So, thank you. The most important factor to examine here is that at least we tried, perhaps our individual bests (or not), but we gave it a shot.
[Note: I’m aware that verbal communication over the computer, phone, tablet, and even the watch (seriously advocating the Apple Watch here for its occasional convenience) is ubiquitous, but I always feel like I can’t express myself precisely through speaking compared to writing. I have less time to think.]
He mentioned in one of our conversations about the day he brought a few bottles of red wine to my apartment in New York. I chimed in and added that it was a rainy night. It was a day that was worth reminiscing.
He then went straight to the point and said that during that day, I showed him my pictures prior to my weight loss and was in absolute disbelief; he then continued and asked me if I could kindly provide some diet tips for him and his girlfriend. I take that as an utmost compliment, despite the physical and mental sacrifices that I’ve made in the prior decade.
I was apologetic as I genuinely forgot about his request a couple of weeks ago, and told him I’d get to it as soon as possible. I also took the opportunity to gently warn him beforehand that despite him being a grown man and not an angst teenage girl, that weight loss and the potential gains / compliments can cause a distortion in his original intentions. At least it did in my case, and I’m still figuring out (but my path is a lot smoother present day) how to deal with it.
I took some time and wrote down some advice I have for him. When I started scribbling down tips yesterday, I wanted to tell him what I’ve gone through. The ups and downs didn’t simply just reflect on the scale – a lot of that were going through my mind as well.
Portrait of a Young Woman
Sandro Botticelli, 1480 – 85.
I relished myself in a lot of external validation and placed a huge chunk of my worth on my physical appearance. I know what I look like to myself, and how I present myself to others. I’m extremely aware of how others think of my looks (a special thanks to honest friends, all the direct messages I get through Facebook, random “hits” and occasional proposals on the street, and the abundance of matches and notifications on dating apps nowadays), and I can’t lie – I definitely am flattered even up to this point.
It’s a bit ironic as we all want what we do not have currently, and hindsight, detachment / objectivity along with the assistance of time reminds us that what we want does not necessarily equate to what we actually need.
Back then, I truly wanted and worked to look great. It didn’t matter if I were labeled as cute, hot, sexy, pretty, beautiful – I desired all of those. Anything that was remotely positive about my looks was eaten up and savored thoroughly (ha! Perhaps the only thing I’d consume without any issues back then).
The realization dawned on me as I grew more accustomed to my body type and style (fashion and makeup) that I didn’t care for these compliments as much as other ones. I’m exhausted from the objectification, catcalls, and assumptions of who I am as a person solely based on my physical appearances. Again, ironic, as I do use dating apps.
I crave for others to learn about me as a person – which happened a lot more often for those who stayed during my unattractive days. I long for others to ask about my favorite book or movie or how I drink my coffee and alcohol. I have an itch for others to ask me deeper and more profound questions that may or may not induce personal anecdotes or opinions.
I want someone to discover my mundane secrets, and for me to eventually become vulnerable with and share my deepest secrets and saddest stories – not to gain any sympathy, but just so I could carve out a safe place. It would be great if someone is willing to take the time to learn and discover my facets and peel all of my layers off and still appreciate me for who I am. I’d like to proudly call and introduce someone as my home, as that is where my heart is, which is with that person. I’d like to be proudly called as someone’s home, as that is where his heart is at, with me, too.
However, I cannot do that without accepting myself first – ranging from my histories, origins, events, relationships, decisions / choices, and memories that I possess, whether they are positive, neutral, or negative.
It’s incredibly difficult to do so or even to articulate about the hardships that we all have to go through, especially because our internal demons are catered to our biggest fears. Those keep our insecurities and inadequacies alive, and well, keep us up at three in the morning from time to time.
So here I am today, subtly reminded of my past because of an irrelevant and innocuous exchange with a friend.
Unlike my confessional post that needs formatting a little over seven months ago, this is one with acceptance. I managed to acknowledge one of the greatest hidden shames that I’ve held on and battled for so long, but I never truly expressed how I felt about it.
There were mainly downs (including my weight) during the decade long journey that I’ve embarked, but some ups (this also includes my weight) as well.
I’m here to express a heartfelt apology to my body for letting it go through all that physical turmoil for the past decade, and have been atoning and experiencing the repercussions for a while (not recently though, since I’ve been a lot more mindful about healthier habits).
I’m finally to a stable but not yet final destination after years of doubt fueled by people around me, my surroundings, and well, yours truly.
I’m here to admit that I have my weaknesses, and this is one of them. The first step of AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) is the act of acknowledgement. It’s not the same issue, but it can be seen in a somewhat similar viewpoint.
Weight and image have and will always be a personal flaw. It doesn’t make me less of a person to be completely candid about that. It doesn’t make me more of a person either.
It makes me who I am today, and I can honestly say that after an long hiatus (or non-existence) of self-respect and self-love, I’ve wholeheartedly accepted that this struggle has somewhat shaped and created this form of me right now.
I’ve stopped hiding due to the fear of feeling small, because I refuse to let this shame bury me anymore.
Now I can finally close that door for the first time in a decade.
Additional Note: If you are going through any eating disorders, please hang in there. If you feel some sort of resonance or belonging while reading this and would like to have someone to talk to about this or simply just read or listen, leave me a message. I will read it. I am here. Even though I’m some random person on the internet, I care and I understand what you are going through. I promise you will get better one day if you choose to get some help or to change your outlook.