On Beauty

Dear Portia,

Here’s an interesting factoid about this slob you call mom. She is a perpetual starter. Never a finisher. That, she has yet to learn. Precisely why I made two entries for you today. Because I just couldn’t help my giddiness at the thought that you might actually read this someday. I thought about writing you real letters, broken penmanship and all. But disorganized as I am, I’ll probably just lose them. So, I’d rather be content with your letters being placed here, stuck in cyberspace, waiting for you to read it 15 or 20 years from now.

No surprise. You did not sleep longer. In fact, you slept shorter than usual. You woke up to the sound of the Julie’s jingle which your ‘suki’ plays as soon as he reaches the house to announce his coming. He’s a wise man, that Jules. I don’t actually know his real name. I just dubbed him Jules because well, he looks like a Jules. Everytime you come with me to buy bread, we always end up buying more than what’s necessary. You always choose crinkles and donut, and then proceed to sampling one on each hand. This is the department where I didn’t have to worry about you. You have always been a voracious eater. So far today, you’ve eaten everything from fish to pasta to cookies, and the day isn’t over yet. I wish I were as confident about food as you. Your relationship with it is simple. You like it because it nourishes you. It nourishes you because you like it. Whereas mine, understatedly speaking, has always been rocky. You see, it started when my father, your grandfather, told me I was fat when I was seven. Not chubby, not cute. But fat. And ever since then, I’ve never really come to terms with food being an ally. Even when I was pregnant with you, I never had any problems with overeating because it just didn’t feel right.

Someday, somebody will say the same thing to you. They will tell you you’re too fat, too skinny, too tall or too awkward for your body. They will tell you to reupholster it, put more embellishments, and make it sleeker without taking the concept of comfort in mind. Don’t believe most of them. Only trust judgment from the ones who love you, and make sure they’re the very same ones who use constructive criticism as a frame. That’s me included. As your mother, an opinion from me will serve as double-edged sword. On one hand, I will always consider you as beautiful eternally, inevitably. On the other hand, I feel I owe you the truth when I feel like you’re ready to take it. Whichever I use, always remember I have you, the whole of you in mind.

I will not say beauty is not important. But I will say that to someone out there, you are beautiful in all the ways that matter. Hold on to just that.



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