Living and Loving as an Introvert

Introverts Unite!!

dorkymum

good advice

*stands up*

*shuffles nervously*

*clears throat*

Hello. My name’s Ruth and I am an introvert.

Would you believe that it has taken me 31 years to say that?

Most of those years have been taken up with saying other things. No, I’m not anti-social. No, I’m not shy. No, it’s not that I hate people, or that I hate you, or that I’m a badly brought up Awkward Annie.

I’m just an introvert.

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Fat!

It has always been weird for me when people I haven’t seen for quite some time or people I am not particularly close to greet me with something like “Tumaba ka, ah. (You got fat.)” I have never known how to properly respond to this and just go to my default reaction of smiling then trying to change the subject. I find this insulting and it makes me wonder if these people have any sense of basic good manners (aside from the fat comments I also have to contend with questions of why I am not married yet but this is a different matter altogether and would require several pages of indignant ranting on my part). Most people would not even have the decency to open the conversation with a polite “Kamusta ka na? (How are you?)” and would just go straight to pointing out that I got fat.

For the record, I am 59 kg (130 lbs), 5’3 ft (161.54 cm) and my BMI is 23 (normal BMI is 18.5-24.9) and this has been the highest on the BMI scale that I have ever been. Considering that I have passed my recent PFTs and have not been sick for quite some time, I could say that I am a healthy individual. Most mornings, I would look in the mirror and like what I see, curves and all. But people chose to focus on my weight as if it is something negative. Honestly, the comments started to get to me.

When I was a cadet, my BMI went as low as 18 since I only weighed 47 kg. But those were cadet days. I could eat anything and everything I wanted, how much and when I wanted without gaining a pound because of all the physical activities we had to do. My life is so much different now. My metabolism is not the same as it was 6 years ago. It made me wonder if people really want me to look like an emaciated twig. I have no ambition of being a model or a movie star so why am I being subjected to the same twisted standards that the shallow public holds for their shallow celebrities? Do I have to live up to other people’s standards?

On March 11, 2014, I posted a Facebook status: “People, if I need you opinion about my career, my love life, or even my weight, I will ask you. Otherwise, shut your traps and shove your opinions up your ass.” I just got fed up already. I am so done.

Let me clarify that I do not condone being fat. I strongly believe that it is an individual responsibility to stay fit and healthy. My profession requires that I maintain a certain standard of fitness. I swim and scuba dive because I love the feeling of being in the water. I run and walk my dogs because I know the importance of staying active. I sometimes do my Turbo workouts because they are fun even though my best friend calls it my “chicken dance”. I do yoga because it is my constant reminder to just keep breathing and it is ok if you cannot touch your toes.

I will exercise because I love to eat. That is the truth and I am not ashamed to say it. Food has always been central to my family and it would always be that way for me even if I left our home more than 10 years ago. I always try to eat healthy but I will not beat myself up for eating junk foods. I believe that ice cream is a food group. As is lechon. I will never be willing to give up rice and bread. Wine and beer makes me happy. How Nigella Lawson looks at 50 is the only proof I need that I have nothing to be afraid of when I eat midnight snacks. I would rather be happy.

I remember a conversation with a guy and he was giving me advise that I should lose weight since men start looking for “someone else” when their girlfriends or wives start to get fat. It was a really an awkward conversation for me. I felt insulted because he is basically saying that women are only acceptable if we are stick thin. I pity him for being shallow, but I pity his wife even more for being with a guy like him.

I am NOT fat. I am much more than that word which you chose to describe me. I have done so much with my life already to allow anybody to demean me. I can tell you so much about myself and my adventures if you can be a decent person and see beyond my “weight gain”. I can tell you about the books I have read and the movies I have seen. I can tell you about how I survived cadet training and being in the Army. I can tell you the mountains I have climbed and the seas that I have scuba dived in. I can tell you about how I opened a business from scratch without any experience or background whatsoever. I can tell you about the beauty and extreme poverty in some of the places I have been to and how gratifying it is to be able to do something for the people living there. I can tell you about my family, my friends and the people that have influenced me along the way. I have my mind and my heart and my soul. I refuse to be called fat just as I refuse to demean anyone by labeling them as “fat”.

My weight, if it does not offend you or negatively affect you in any way, should be none of your business.

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Dive!

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Camera shy

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Beautiful corrals

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Observing the divers observing him

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With my dive buddy and a bunch of fishies

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Loading the tanks and gears

Diving at V. Sagun, Zamboanga del Sur, Philippines. One of my favorite places to dive because of the laidback atmosphere,  clear and calm waters and abundance and variety of marine life.

Starting Was a Bitch

(This is the post that I mentioned on Starting Over. I posted this last November 5, 2012 but I accidentally erased it. Thank God for clipboard.)

So after more than a year of procrastinating, here I am with my first ever post. More than a year ago,  I created my wordpress account but then I was stumped on what my blog will be all about. Of course I wanted it to revolved around things important to me and what interest me but then I thought that that would be too broad. My brain is scattered as it already is and I wanted a blog that would be as organized as I should be considering that I am a Virgo. I am now trying to summon my almost nonexistent sense of focus and yet I must still ask for my readers’ indulgence as I am a scatterbrain in the truest sense of the word.

So I am now listing down things that would probably be a topic in my blog: Family,  military life,  complicated matters of the heart,  food,  and scuba diving which usually coincided with my travels.

Okay, that sounds simple enough. Let the imprinting of the crazy wavelengths of my brain in the electronic chaos of blogsphere begin.

Nerd

I am proud to call myself a nerd. I may have given up wearing eyeglasses for 11 years thanks to an expensive LASIK surgery that I got before but in my heart I have always seen myself as the socially awkward introvert with thick eyeglasses.

My love affair with books started when I was really young. I started as most children would. My parents taught me the ABCs and I learned to read sentences in school. I always volunteered to read in front of the class. When I discovered how easy it was to visualize in my head what the words meant, there was no stopping me.

I got into Filipino comic books. They were kick ass back then and the writers were celebrities in their own rights. I saved up my allowance to buy those comic books from the old lady that sold them near the jeepney terminal. I read them so many times poring over the words and images. Most were probably not appropriate for my age that time particularly the horror genre ones that made me deathly afraid and believe that ghosts and elementals exist.

I read my sister’s copy of Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo when I was in Grade 5. It was that time that I decided my hero is Andres Bonifacio and not Jose Rizal. I do not think that “the pen is mightier than the sword” is always applicable. Andres Bonifacio kicked more ass that Rizal.

Then came Filipino novelette. My father does not approved of those and calls them trash but it was my first venture into reading without pictures and drawings. Then came tween/teen novels like Sweet Valley High and Goosebumps and Are You Afraid of the Dark? series that infiltrated our tiny high school.

I was a high school sophomore when we went to a classmate’s house to practice for a play as part of a homework given to us. I saw her mom’s collection of books and I was mesmerized. They were thick and had pictures of couples on the cover. I borrowed one and read it in three days. It was definitely an R-18 book and I “discovered” a lot of things that I shouldn’t have at that age. I didn’t return the book. I read it maybe five times more over the course of several years. It started me to really get into reading fiction. It has too much sentimental value so I kept it.

I read during classes. It happened a lot of times that I would get caught by the teacher and given a warning. I read during recess and lunch breaks in our very busy canteen. I didn’t mind the noise. I was in my own world while reading. It was even described in our yearbook as a bookworm. For me, to be called a bookworm is a compliment. I am that kind of nerd.

I felt there were too many books that I want to read and there was so little time. I became a power reader. I could read a thick book in three days stopping only to eat, sleep and the occasional bathroom breaks. It drove my parents crazy because I would neglect my household chores or sleep really late. I lost track of time. I would often stay up reading and only stop when the sun starts to light up the morning sky.

Reading fast and absorbing what I have read was a big advantage when I took up BS Political Science at the Colegio de San Juan de Letran. We couldn’t afford the expensive textbooks so I would borrow from my classmates and read before class starts. Even though we were assigned pages and pages to read for our assignment, I could finish reading in a few minutes and be prepared for recitation during class.

When I entered the military, I changed my preference from long, boring adult novels to children and young adult (YA) literature. I face to much reality with my line of work already. YA literature was an escape. A different world filled with heroic youths overcoming all odds and saving the world. Utopia and dystopia became a mainstay in my vocabulary. I love the fantastical and the magical. They are dealing with adult problems but the way they were written was light to read so it would never lay too heavily on the reader.

I worship Lord of the Rings. I discovered it way before all the hype it got from the movie. I found a really old book at the back of the college library covered in dust and totally forgotten. It was a really old edition that it was in one book unlike the newer editions that they divided it into three. It doesn’t even have it’s own barcode so the librarian cannot scan it and save it to my name. She just wrote my name down so I had no choice but to return it eventually.

Then came Chronicles of Narnia, Harry Potter, Disc World, The Kane Chronicles, Percy Jackson, Ender’s Game and Ender’s Saga, Hunger Games, The Maze Runner, a lot of vampire and werewolf stories on the side. I still read the occasional PG-13 books especially those written by Anne Rice, James Patterson, Dan Brown, George RR Martin, etc.

I will never stop reading. I may have turned to e-books and probably damaging my eyes more but I will never stop. I actually have to wear eyeglasses again now although that was expected according to my ophthalmologist. And if I lose my eyesight, I will learn how to read braille and read and read and read.

I am a nerd and I am proud of it.