I’m a Chinese/Filipino, Black/Mexican “mutt”. My mom is the Blaxican half, dad is the Asian half. Mom is very much what you would imagine her to be: short, fit, naturally tan, and a giant butt that she is very proud of. Her thighs are about the same, and it’s always been a source of insecurity for her. Growing up she would look in the mirror and complain about it, saying how she wished her naturally six packed waistline could effect her “arroz con pollo” thighs. Not a day went by that she didn’t hit the gym in an effort to kill off the cellulite she cursed and stood in the mirror swearing about while I watched.
Until puberty struck I had the average skinny Asian girl body most do as a child. Then with the force of a truck, it slammed me. I shot up to 5'7, sprouted a set of 32DD’s, and my hips hit a solid 36 inches in the span of 3 years. To say I was devastated is putting it gently. A 12 year old with the body of a grown woman is going to catch hell from her peers without question!
I started the binge and purge cycle at 13. My grandmother (Chinese) would buy me diet teas and whatever else she could bring me back from Hong Kong, not knowing that I was hardly keeping anything in as it was. The pounds dropped and she praised me for my effort, but always said it was too bad that I “got my mother’s legs.”
That started my self hatred for being mixed. Oh, how desperately I wanted to look more Chinese! If only I looked more Chinese, I would have a more Chinese body, I wouldn’t have these awful thighs and these awful breasts that made me look so dumpy. My hips wouldn’t be so fat. The athletic, hourglass body I inherited from my mother had been dieted down but I still wanted more.
After battling with myself throughout high school and my freshman year of college, I finally stopped. The end of a serious relationship and a new intense job drove me into the arms of food. I gained weight and my grandmother lost it. How could I be so sloppy? My mother mourned the loss of my perfect figure. I binged more.
Eventually I met someone who convinced me that pursuing healthy exercise in the form of biking and Capoeira was what I needed. I got myself to a healthy and strong weight, feeling on top of the world.
About a year ago I was assaulted and it resulted in the pregnancy of my now two month old son. When I went to tell my father? His response was that at least my son would be mostly Chinese. Back to not feeling good enough yet again.
I spent my whole pregnancy on a bad binge and purge cycle that towards the end landed me in the hospital. My son is healthy, happy, and that’s what matters…but I’m afraid that I’m not. I’m lumpy and shapeless. Scarred and saggy. Binge after binge and it’s an uphill battle every day, but I know that I will get better. The doctor has given me the green light to exercise and I’m shopping to replace my old bike. Next month I will be signing up for Mommy and Me swim classes, even though it kills me to wear a one piece for the first time.
Above all else? I will remember that I am good enough. No matter what I weigh, how Chinese I look or don’t look, or how thunderous my thighs my be.
At least until I have my meet my soon to be, ultra old fashioned Korean in laws. Hey, I’m a work in progress.