Written by Chisato Hotta, DSW, LPCC, LMFT
Growing up as a short, Asian female, it was normal for me to be patted on the head, and to be called “cute” and “tiny.”
At 18 years old, I developed an eating disorder. I did not quite fit into the “tiny Asian girl” stereotype and I hated myself for that. Every time I looked in the mirror, I felt fat and wrong.
At one point, I was less than 90 pounds at 5’2 and still felt fat.
My boyfriend at the time would call me a “chubby hamster” because I had a round face-something that never changed, whatever weight I was.
One day, I was talking to a friend, who was also struggling with self esteem issues, when I said to her, “I wonder, who told us that we have to be a certain way?” This prompted a reflection within me… Why did I have to be a certain weight to be good? Why did I have to talk a certain way, look a certain way, be a certain way- to be accepted? Who said that was the right way?
It took me years to get to the point where I can say “who cares who said that? No one has the right to tell me how or who I should be.” Now, many pounds heavier, with my still-round face, I can truly feel and know that my value is more than my weight.
Loving yourself is a revolution, when so many things tell us that we have to be a certain way to be loved. We are told that we have to be tall or short, but not too tall or short.. To be thin or curvy, but not too thin or too curvy. To be smart or airheaded, but not too smart or airheaded. To dress revealingly, but not too revealing. And so on. It is so exhausting, isn’t it?
In a world that tells us that we are never enough, being able to say, “actually… Yes, I am,” is a revolution. It is a revolution against stereotypes, against the nay-sayers, against the racists, sexists and all other “ists” that exist in the world. It is a revolution against hate. Because if we hate ourselves, we are allowing all of those things that are going against us to win.
So… Will you join the revolution? How can you love you?
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