Not Feeling Alone
After listening to your podcast, I felt relieved to know that I was not the only one struggling with body image and family issues. I felt (and still do currently) as though these issues are not outwardly spoken about especially in the Asian American community. I have been battling with body image throughout most of life (about 17 years) and now I’m 27.
It started when I was in 5th grade where I would sometimes deprive myself of eating lunch just because of the pressure to be thin. It never got to the point where I would have an eating disorder, but I would deprive myself of eating certain things as well as monitor the quantity. These pressures were mostly attributed to my family on my mom’s side, where the first thing they would say to me when they would come visit is about my weight. I was praised if I lost weight and I would be criticized if I gained weight. It got to the point where my grandmother would repeatedly tell me I was fat while my mother stood next to her without defending me and telling me I was beautiful. And that part was really hard for me to deal with knowing my mom wouldn’t even defend me. While I understood where my mom was coming from (the tradition of respecting your elders), it was extremely difficult for me to accept how she couldn’t support me knowing how much those words hurt.
While I’ve remained thin all my life, I was never really told that I was beautiful and smart, except from my sister. And that was hard for me, since I guess I’m the kind of person who needs that reassurance. So my self-esteem has always been fairly low as well. To make matters worse, I would butt heads with my parents since pretty much everyone in my family doesn’t communicate about their feelings and I do. I have always been communicative, but my parents didn’t know how to handle that. Instead, they put me in the middle of their fights and forced me to mediate their relationship, which growing up - even as a little kid - was traumatizing. My parents’ relationship has always been rocky and sometimes physically abusive. I promised myself even as a little kid that I would try my best to never have the relationship my parents had to make sure that my husband or boyfriend would know how much I love them. And that’s what I did with my first/only boyfriend so far. However, he broke up with me 3 months ago in a pretty nasty way. He broke up with me after it was my first time/our first time. And that traumatized me to the utmost as a woman, feeling disrespected. I felt as though he broke up with me because of my body. Since then, I have been healing and dealing with that issue however it still doesn’t take way the pain. I immediately went to see a therapist after the breakup which truly helped. I’ve been seeing a therapist for the past 4 years.
In a nutshell, I just want to thank you for providing this blog and also for being outspoken about these issues. It helps me knowing that I’m not the only Asian-American female struggling with body images and I’m sure it will help others.
Hsiao Chi | Massachusetts | U.S.A.