Skinny

Have you been eating lately?

Whew, you are slim.
Wait, not slim,
Skinny.
Thin
As a tooth pick.
Did you eat today?
Skin and bones.
What size do you wear? 28?
Can’t be a 30.
Are you sure you’re okay?
You’re too skinny to be masculine.
If you gained about 15 pounds
you’d be perfect.

I didn’t start to hate my body until I turned 22. Not until I was well into adulthood immersed in a new culture: hey D.C. It was in light chocolate city that I realized how you look actually meant something.

Despite all of the colors of the rainbow, “acceptance” into the community depends on the weight you hold. Throughout my years in D.C., I had been reminded explicitly that I didn’t weigh enough. With gentle care and directness, there were people who wanted to express their concern for how skinny I appeared in comparison to them. These jabs to my rib cage, made me stare longer in the mirror than I used to. Each day, I looked at myself to determine was I too skinny?

This very question led me to overdosing on chocolate whey for the hell of it. No results came of it because I was obsessed with results. I’d hope these results would lead me to the acceptance I’d been hoping for.

The label I tried to give myself didn’t matter because labels are meant for other people to give to you not, for you to give yourself. I gave up labeling myself and just loved myself for who I was.

I stopped trying to gain weight and I’m trying to just gain consistency on a healthy lifestyle. Luckily, living in Doha, there’s access to fresh fruits and vegetables from across the world and less opportunities to drink alcohol and consume fast food. I’m also very grateful for smooth skin, slick eyebrows, oval eyes, chubby-cheeks, and a kool-aid smile from my parents and ancestors. I’m grateful for a proportional body. Things line up as as they should and the parts that don’t only amp my charm.

Buck 50, soaking wet.

I’ve made a vow to myself to never internalize anybody’s approval or disapproval of my body. My mind changes rapidly, what I look like trying to keep up with thousands of people’s changing minds too? I’ve also come to accept that people like what they like and that might or might not be me. More so, I have had more people to accept and love me for who I am than I give credit for.

I don’t want to lose myself trying to resemble a look. I’m shooting for happiness. There’s more to life than two scoops of whey and weight. Especially for those of us who are a brunch and two missed days at the gym from missing “the look” completely.

-PH

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