Ideas. There are times when I’d come close to convincing myself that I’ll never run out of them. They’re incredibly handy when I need to get creative with promos, captions, and write-ups, but they can also be a huge nuisance when all I want to do is to laze around and silence my head.

And they become especially cruel when they’re not mine and I don’t like them, and they’re inadvertently ingrained to my consciousness. I have a lot of cruel ideas that shaped the way I see myself, and it’s a difficult ongoing fight. Because of them, I struggle to lift myself up and have, in the process, almost given up in doing so.

Ideas can have good intentions but can still come out so wrong. I have always been subject to many people’s scrutiny because of my body type. Before I even had any idea what a body type is, aunts, uncles, and nosy neighbors have already ingrained it in my head that I was fat. Even after losing a lot of weight over the years, their predicament didn’t change; after all, that’s still how I would look when standing beside the delicately built, 100-lb mother and sister. It was almost as if I am predisposed to believe I was fat, and even less of a person, all my life. And since I never lacked reminders, that’s what happened.

Years upon years of being told that I was fat, and hearing how my mom is forever slim and how my sister is pretty, took a huge toll on me, mentally and emotionally. This, I believe, marked the start of the downward spiral of my self-esteem, if I even had any to begin with.I overcompensated and was under constant pressure to prove myself. If I wasn’t pretty, I could be smart. Or talented. Or kind. I was everything I thought people wanted me to be, as I fell into the habit of learning to morph into what was expected of me.

Of course, that wasn’t enough to keep the fat remarks from coming, or the bullies from backstabbing. And so it went, from when I was eleven, until I hit my early twenties, that people will expect, and I will over-deliver, only to learn later on that it will never be enough. 

I was miserable for many, many years; my default mode is stressed. At the back of my head, I hear those remarks about my weight, or what could be comments about my work, and feel the need to always be doing something. Otherwise, I feel guilty for slacking off again. Whenever I attempt to talk about my long-standing issues, I feel that some confidantes may be too busy to listen. And I, myself, would think that maybe I’m just overthinking. Sure, I feel awful deep inside. I developed a hatred for family reunions. During the earliest months of Paisley Purpose, I refused to show my face in any of the entries. For a time, I even decided to discontinue it because I’m not pretty like other bloggers. It felt so bad. But I function oh so well. And I’m fat. I look anything but sick or in need of any help. 

But I knew I do. So I asked for it. Last week, April 27, I had my first counseling session at our university’s center for psychological services. I have layers upon layers of personal issues I want to address, to enable myself to live the life I want.

I’m young and I want to empower myself to realize the life I have always dreamed of. I want to enjoy a career of my choice, trips alone, and maybe, God willing, a happy and fulfilling relationship one day. But most of all, I just want a shot at being happy with myself, at living life without having to consider what is expected of me, so I can just focus on what is authentic to me. 

It’s too early to say that the session has been helpful, but it has, at least, been able to establish a definite cause for the way I have thought of myself. I’m not over a lot of things yet, but I’m strong enough to have lived through them. 

Seeking professional help, for me, is more a fight to live fully and happily, rather than a fight to choose life over death. I’m relieved to have finally chosen to embark on it. I am hopeful that I’ll overcome the cruel idea of fat, and all the other shallow misgivings, with a newfound love for and sense of self. 

What began with fat, will, hopefully, end with an unconditional love for myself that will empower me to live life to the fullest. Fighting the fight. Keeping the faith.