Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Reelizations: On Movies That Define Me

One look into my laptop's movie folder and my collection of less-than-legal DVDs will tell you that I'm nothing of a film buff. I do like watching movies; I regard them as one of my favorite leisure activities. Often though, I find that I'm not willing to part with the time and money involved in watching films. As a result, I'm more of an HBO viewer, or else I tend to watch movies on the basis of my friends' recommendations and coercions. This passively affectionate relationship I have with movies makes it difficult for me to name particular ones that define me, so I've decided to do it by categories.

Except for one, that is. I might as well start with the exception. I've recently watched Lisa Cholodenko's The Kids Are All Right, and it struck me mostly because lesbian couple movies are rare. Also, it reminded me of me and my girlfriend, with a slight twist. While I'm (quite obviously) the soft butch one with the Ellen Degerenes clothing preferences, she's the more accomplished and slightly workaholic one. And while I’m pretty self-directed (unlike Julianne Moore’s character), I’m the one who got delayed because of shifting; besides, seeing my girlfriend’s diligence can make anyone feel like a slacker. She’d cancel or turn down some dates or meet-ups for the sake of her thesis or org activities. Admittedly, it’s caused endless issues between us, but we work it out and we’re otherwise very happy—which is why we’ve lasted this long. (In fact, every time I tell people we’ve been together on and off for seven years, I’m greeted with either respectful awe or slight alarm, depending on how fearful of homosexuality and/or commitment they happen to be.) I’m too young to think about settling down and having a big old lesbian family like the one they have on the film (minus the cheating and all), but I hope that when both the time and person for it comes around, my family and other people dear to me would be accepting, or respectful at the very least.

Next up are chick flicks/love stories, which would tell you that I am a sap. Yes, there’s just no use in denying the fact. Love Actually is one of my current favorites, particularly the subplot about the best man (Mark) who is secretly in love with his best friend’s bride. He surprises her on Christmas and tells her how he feels, even when he knows there’s nothing else that can be done about it. I guess the hopeless romantic in me can relate. Among many others, I liked 500 Days of Summer, a non-love story; Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, a love story where each character tries very hard, and yet fails, to not be in love with the other; and Forgetting Sarah Marshall, which I rather liked, despite unnecessary displays of Jason Segel’s…err…private parts. In hindsight, I seem to like bittersweet love stories, which I guess makes me an “emo” sap. Actually, it makes sense, seeing how I like to watch chick flicks whenever I’m depressed. Sometimes I just like to shut myself in my room, surrounded by comfort food, lamenting over the fact that—unlike most of the movie characters—I would probably die loveless and alone.

Last on my list are reality-bending movies such as The Truman Show. I only ever saw it once, as a kid, but the concept of creating an entire environment—an entire life—for a person really stuck. Then there’s Inception, the mind-bending film which also happened to be the first one I watched in a movie theater all by myself. I’m enchanted with the idea of subtly altering people’s perceptions. One of my ultimate dreams used to be to change the world—but with the jadedness that comes with growing up, I’ve settled for changing at least one person’s life, or even just a couple of people’s minds. Also, I love these types of films because they distract me completely, and take me away from the overwhelming monotony of everyday. 

After all, isn’t that why we watch movies in the first place? Escapism is a tricky thing, though. At the end of the day, all the films we watch and remember are reality-benders. Truly, we choose movies to take us away. But then, I think it’s about time we choose how much of them we take in, too.

[This was an assigned essay for my Audio-Visual Communication class.]

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Skinny Bitch: On The Narrower End of Weight Issues

Ever since the age of ten, when I discovered the amount of time and money that one could save from not eating proper meals, I started growing thin. I grew thinner and thinner until I earned (along with unbearable amounts of ulcer-ish pain) the envy of my diet-crazy friends, and the concern of nurses and doctors whenever they reminded me of my woefully below average body mass index. I started eating properly again, but I just couldn't gain the weight anymore. Well, not until recently. I'm glad to report that my BMI just (barely) made it to normal levels, and all I need to do is maintain the weight.

Still, that's work for me. Yes, I am an effortlessly skinny bitch. To most, it may seem like a blessing. That's probably because you haven't experienced being underweight. It only ever comes in handy when:

  • You're involved in those team-building activities where group members need to carry or lift their team mates. I usually get passed around like half a sack of potatoes.
  • You're a trained ballet dancer. I was forced into ballet by my high school PE program, and it was one of the most awkward and embarrassing moments of my young life. Needless to say, I am not—and will never be—a trained ballet dancer.
  • Your carpool gets very crowded and sitting on each others' laps becomes a necessity. This is rather unfortunate for the person you have to sit on—in my case, my sister who's four years younger. Ha ha.
  • You're in the running towards becoming America's Next Top Model. Sadly, not only did I use to have the weight of half a potato sack, I also happen to share its level of fashion knowledge.

On the other hand, here are some challenges I've encountered as a skinny bitch:

  • There's a reason it's called underweight. Just like being overweight and being obese, being underweight is medically not normal. 
  • You can't donate blood. The last time I tried, I came up short by half a kilo, I think. And it's something I've always wanted to do, too.
  • You're something of a weakling. Especially since my arms seem to gain no fat nor muscle, I could never lift things. Those carry-your-team-over-the-web activities? I proved pretty useless once I got to the other side because I couldn't lift my other team mates.
  • You get trapped outside with a signal #4 storm. Seriously, I've tried. I happened to be walking on a slanted surface during a really windy storm. I could feel my balance being affected. I imagine it would have made for a really bad Mary Poppins knock-off.
  • You're not even tall and you get mistaken for a kid. Which always, always happens to me. Either that or people mistake me for a prepubescent boy, which isn't comforting either. Damn it people! Do I have to wear my birth certificate on a chain around my neck?

But really, this is all for fun. To normal-weighing people who go crazy about dieting (especially by unhealthy means), please don't stone me to death. And please, stop trying to be those starved skeletons you see on the Internet.

Weight is just a number. Whether you have a little too much, or too less of it, should not run nor ruin your life. If you're really trying to gain or lose some pounds, you should do it for yourself, and not for those critical significant others, relatives, neighbors, or friends. 

And if you happen to be a self-imposed weight critic, please do the world a favor and STFU. You know what everyone hates more than a skinny bitch? A nosy one, I'm sure.


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