Learning to love my insecurities
Happy Valentine’s Day!
I originally had a birthday post queued up for last Thursday, but something MESSED UP MY DRAFT, and I couldn’t post it.
But it’s all good because it was a short post saying I’m out having a blast at Disney World.
Today’s topic is not going to be the usual let’s-talk-about-romantic-love-aka-my-love-life that most people will talk about today.
Since I’m focusing on my blog about self-love, we’ll bring up some real tough topics for me…
Hang tight, because this is a long one. If you’re reading this through my newsletter, read this during your commute or lunch break 😅
I think one of the most iconic things about me is my laugh.
It’s loud. It is obnoxious. It unfortunately developed into the "Tita Cackle".
Funny how I thought the Tita Cackle was annoying growing up, but now I’m at the Tita age and had fallen under the curse of adopting the cursed cackle.
Honestly, I’ve always thought my laugh was fun, but I only started to get self-conscious about it around college when some friends teased or pointed it out.
My ex even mentioned how it’s too loud sometimes. I thought he was being dramatic, but one time at the movies, the guy next to me jumped.
So ever since then, I’ve been a bit embarrassed by it.
I’ve tried to suppress it but it’s hard to control the loudness of my laugh during an unexpectedly funny moment.
Funny that laughing is something that we all do and it brings us joy. So aren’t we all supposed to feel good when we laugh, and not feel shame?
It’s a weird struggle that I’m currently dealing with.
Luckily, it wasn’t until recently where I’ve started to catch up with old friends I haven’t seen in forever, my insecurity around it started to shift.
On two separate occasions from two different friend groups, two people have complimented me on my laugh.
Let me set the scene as both times, it went something like this:
*laughing at some old memory or someone said a joke*
Person: Oh man, that laugh.
Me: *immediately guarded and put my hand over my mouth*
Person: It's still the same!/Great laugh!
Me: *shocked and embarrassed* Uh, thanks 😊
On both occasions, I had to mentally pause and be in the moment.
I had to remind myself that other people appreciated this loud laugh of mine. It warmed my heart and felt a bit more relaxed about it.
Hearing those kind words from other people, it chipped away some of that insecurity.
In those moments, it clicked for me that I need to start surrounding myself with people who appreciate every part of me including my laugh. Not just tolerate it.
So yes, I’ll tone it down around some people, but I truly do hope my next partner will enjoy my laugh and we can be obnoxious together.
Oof, this one has been a struggle my entire life.
Like any typical millennial, I was told that I was ‘special’ or ‘gifted’ growing up. I was meant for great things for my future.
But honestly, you could say that I was a pretty average student. I would get A’s and B’s, but unfortunately, if I struggled in a class, then I would get super low grades.
I failed my very first class when I went to college which I think was my fault for picking a 300 sociology class in my first year (my sophomore year) at Hunter. (I didn't realize I was in a 300 class and it was too late for me to drop out without penalty)
To go a little further back, I think my confidence took a hit when I didn’t get into my first choice for high school and got waitlisted for my second choice. But hey, at least, I got in with my third choice.
Took another hit when I was transferring out of Dominican College in my freshman year and applied to a few schools. The responses were either ‘not accepted’ or ‘try again next semester’.
I was forced to take a semester break.
Don’t worry, I eventually got into Hunter College, but I’ll share that struggle story in another blog post.
Rejection sucks. You can’t help but feel a bit dumb.
I was one of those students that would study for days and stay up all night and still get a C.
But then you have those people that barely attended class and get A’s all the time.
I envied those people so much.
I didn’t know why I didn’t have the discipline or couldn’t retain the information that I needed to pass.
I know that I am smart. But I guess I wasn’t book smart.
It wasn’t until a few years ago while scrolling on goddamn TikTok during the pandemic that gave me my answer.
I have ADHD.
Every ADHD TikTok that I came across on my FYP feed, it provided more and more examples of symptoms and actions that I clearly did almost every day.
After some reflection, accepting my undiagnosed condition, I took the leap in taking a test to confirm if I have it.
And I do in fact have inattentive ADHD.
It was a huge relief to finally justify why all my study habits and way of thinking just wasn’t the same as everyone else.
Most undiagnosed ADHDers would describe themselves as “quirky”. And I 💯 did call myself that growing up.
But in reality, we were neurodivergent. Our brains just work a bit differently.
Unfortunately, I do still put myself down when I can’t pick up certain things or I don’t follow a topic that everyone is talking about.
But I still remind myself every day that it’s ok if it doesn’t interest me. There’s a lot of things that I’m interested in that most people aren’t and that’s where I would succeed. Even if it’s not on an academic level.
I am not slow or dumb as I think I am.
I am intelligent. Just in my own unique way.
Growing up, I was always an athlete.
I guess you could say that I did fall under the “dumb jock, great athlete” stereotype.
Even though I took pride that I wasn’t dumb like the ones you saw in TV or movies. But if you took a step back...
...fuck, I did fall under that stereotype.
So why bring up my weight into this?
Because after high school, I stopped doing physical activities. I stopped playing sports.
Sports was the thing that kept me fit and healthy.
But once I entered college, I became like any other college student.
Skipping a few classes. Eating a ton of greasy foods. Drinking until I couldn’t stand up. Unless you want to count partying and hooking up as physical activities, then sure, I was “active”.
However, I was blessed with high metabolism growing up.
I actually never had any insecurities about my weight because even if I did eat a ton of food, I never gained weight. I stayed at 90 lbs as long as I could remember. Even in college, I was a stick.
Whenever someone commented on how small or light I was, it didn’t bother me as much.
I couldn’t relate to a lot of the weight insecurities that most kids had during the 90s/2000s because I knew I wasn’t sick. I didn’t suffer from bulimia or anorexia despite the concerns other adults had of me.
However, it did bother me when the media would show super skinny girls and I was compared to those "super models". I knew I wasn't them and it was annoying to keep correcting others that I was fine and healthy.
And that was the truth. But everyone had their skepticism.
I knew that being naturally skinny was something that was a part of me and it hasn’t changed for nearly 25 years.
And then… I entered into my longest relationship ever. And the pandemic overlapped that.
It wasn’t until my goddamn 30s, I encountered my first physical weight change.
As most of us did during the pandemic, we barely put on any pants or jeans. Sweatpants all the way, every day.
I had bought new jeans some time in 2021, and wore them maybe once when I first got them.
My ex and I were getting ready to go out to do some food shopping, and I put on those same jeans. Or at least tried to.
I slipped through the legs and it stopped at my thighs.
The shocked feeling that I had will stay with me forever. (Is this what you guys went through when you experienced your first weight change??)
One side of me, I was thrilled because it meant that I was finally gaining weight and I was tired of receiving all the “oh mai gaash, ang payat mo” comments from my family.
However, the other side of me was angry because I HAD JUST BOUGHT THESE NEW JEANS.
With this new physical change, over time it created mixed feelings and thoughts that I never thought I would feel.
Fuck, you’ve gotten lazy
Oh, look at that belly when you look down.
Hey, maybe you finally got an ass… or maybe not.
Your face does look chubbier.
Have those arms been flabby before?
But this is probably happy weight. You’re finally in a good relationship.
Or this is the Pandemic 15 instead of the Freshman 15 that you never got.
Yup, I finally started to have those insecure weight thoughts. Thoughts that never crossed my mind in the 30+ years of my life.
So what did any other person in my shoes would do?
Started making more healthy conscious choices.
I don’t believe in diets, tracking calories, or any of those weight-loss trends.
I truly believe that everything is a balance and making the right decisions will lead you to a healthier life.
I knew I wasn’t ready to cut out fast foods or any of my favorite snacks cold turkey. But if I did crave them, I knew I had to discipline myself to only consume them maybe once or every other week. Or find an alternative snack like veggie straws or popcorn.
Of course, watching what I consume isn’t the only factor. I needed to get active again. So I picked up a few new physical activities:
- Kali/Arnis (Filipino martial arts)
And I want to do so much more.
I started doing Body Weight Workouts at this gym and I missed feeling the adrenaline. Weirdly enough, I miss being out of breath from a good workout. Feeling the sweat trickle from my forehead or seeing my body glisten from the high intense workout.
I know how to listen to my body, so I know when I could push myself to do one more rep or use a heavier dumbbell.
I am currently at 117 lbs and the highest I’ve ever seen was at 125 lbs. I've been fluctuating between those numbers since that fateful jean day.
Sure, these are numbers that I have never seen before in my life, but I’ve been feeling a lot better with my body.
I don’t feel lazy.
I’m drinking a lot more water.
The negative intrusive thoughts don’t pop into my head as often anymore.
I probably won’t ever be under 100 lbs again, nor do I want to. And I’ve finally accepted that this little belly will be there, but at least I’m getting active again.
Going out to clear my mind, releasing all the endorphins, and trying new things are truly impacting my mental and physical health in a positive way.
Embracing myself again
My laugh, my intelligence, and my weight are the biggest insecurities that I have right now.
But at least, I’m finally in a place where I’m acknowledging these negative thoughts or recognizing when I’m feeling triggered then practicing to calm myself down.
It’s truly a lot of work in developing new habits, changing your mindset, and being a happy person.
Every day is one step closer to feeling a bit more comfortable with myself again.
So if you’re struggling like me, just slow down, feel your feelings, but then try to turn it around in a more positive way.
These things aren’t flaws. They’re a part of you. Embrace the insecurities and love them again.
Thanks for reading this LOOONG ass post, but appreciate that you took the time to learn a little bit more about my life.
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