I can’t believe that my last “poke” to a friend was way back year 2013. That is like, four years ago. Have I been that neglectful of my social connections? Was I really serious with the hiatus thing I decided on a couple of years back?

I guess I was serious.

When one is not confident about himself/herself, he/she tends to be ashamed. For this very reason, he/she hides with the hopes that nobody would notice his/her absence. “Out of sight, out of mind” the saying goes. This is true to a lot of people out there; some in denial, some owning up to it. In hiding, there is less possibility that he/she will be ridiculed or criticized.

Some safe ground.

I understand these people, and I do understand the preference to hide from the limelight. Why? I share this tendency.

I was a fat kid, and it wasn’t only the fat that made me appear rather large. This was coupled with my natural big-boniness. Fat or large kids don’t usually get the desired attention. Some get the attention, alright, but not in the way that’s favored. You know what I mean here. Insert, being bullied. Although not all fat or large kids get bullied, they get some sort of attention nonetheless – attention that is, more often than not, undesired. They are initially identified due to their massiveness. Readers may object to what I just said, but, I speak from a life-long experience. Remember, I was a fat kid with large-bones. I couldn’t be more redundant.

When I was in fourth grade, I remember being picked last to perform a dance on stage. I didn’t understand it at first. Why was I picked last when it was way too obvious that I was one of the best dancers from the pool of hopefuls? I didn’t quite get the blunt rejection as I raised my hands as high as I could reach, just to volunteer to be picked by the teacher. It wasn’t just a few times, nor several, but many times that I had to raise my hand whenever Mrs. B***** had to say “We still need one more dancer…” I got chosen eventually, after I shoved the person in front of me upon realizing that he was about to be the last pick of the day. I didn’t care whether I hurt that poor boy, though. I do know that I did what I had to do just so Mrs. B**** would notice me. It was all because I wanted to dance on stage to the tune of Time After Time.

As I look back on that day in my childhood, I figured that Mrs. B***** chose the dancers based on how they looked on stage. The dancers had to be ruddy-cheeked and cute – the ideal archetype of a fourth grader. Maybe I looked older to Mrs. B***, perhaps like a sixth grader. She had to pair me up with the largest boy in class, you see. According to her, each pair had to be “balanced”. In non-verbal translation, that implies same size and look. God knows how much that gesture hurt my fourth-grade self. But I’m a bit surprised now to realize that at a young age I demonstrated maturity and resilience: I kept my cool and did my best regardless.

From that time on, I was painfully aware that my “largeness” and “big-boniness” are attributed to me as a person. I cannot blame people for seeing how slightly different I am from the normal type. Most folks are aware of the old adage, Don’t judge the book by its cover, but in reality, first impressions are legit impressions. I just can’t take it against someone if he initially observes that I AM LARGE. He sees the obvious. Look at the sky and tell me what you see. You can’t deny that you see clouds right?

From then on, I felt like Adam and Eve – so aware of their nakedness that they hid from God. I became aware of my massiveness, yes, but I did not hide. I only cut my usual portion of two eggs to one. I went through a fitness journey and succeeded at it. By the time I was in college, I was “fit, strong, and sexy”. I was well-connected with people…oh, so sociable! It felt like I had the world at my fingertips. I loved life and everything that came with it – attention, enjoyment, influence… everything, even the times of foibles and flaws. Gone was the fat kid inside me. I was so caught up in the attention and courtesy that I received. Happiness and contentment mattered little.

One wonderful daughter after, and thirty pounds overweight. I felt like Adam and Eve and their nakedness again– embarrassingly aware of my massiveness – scratch that… hugeness, and this time, like A and E, I hid. I never felt so ashamed of myself. I was so disgusted of what I have become and what I allowed myself to look like. There was no way I could take the disappointment on people’s faces. I liked the appreciation of people towards me. I wasn’t prepared to see positive approbation leave their eyes and in place, aversion… repugnance…

That was three years ago. Much has happened. A second beautiful daughter after, and still thirty pounds overweight. For some reason I have grown more contented and at peace with life. The desire to look “fit and sexy” doesn’t have that strong pull over me anymore – not with a loving and supportive husband who gets it. With two daughters now, life has a new purpose. Looking good isn’t just a physical matter; it springs from the heart and then, out.

I’m now under obligation to stay at home more often. But I’m ready to go out of “hiding”. Four years after, I “poked” my closest friend in college.


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