Manang Confessions

I realize that I have mostly turned into someone I vowed I would never become when I was a teenager.

I have such a manang wardrobe and I’m proud of it. My mother recently commented on my “new” choice of wardrobe. I couldn’t understand what she meant until she pointed out that I used to prefer small, tight-fitting clothes (shudder). That was maybe in high school, when I started to become style-conscious and began my (still ongoing haha!) struggle with fashion. Back then, I felt pressured to wear clothes that other girls wore because I wanted to look thin and cool. Today, although I still don’t have taste, I dress just for myself. It’s function over fashion for me. Before I buy anything, I make sure that it’s well-made and I can move freely in it without my unsightly flabs showing.

I care about my skin. I was in high school when I learned to enumerate all of my skin’s imperfections but didn’t have the patience to address them. I tried a few cleansers and when none produced a miracle, I quit and just accepted that I always had to stand at the back of the room, behind my pretty classmates. Now, although my skin still isn’t perfect, it does look better and I’ve come to terms with the maintenance work (I giggled a bit because “maintenance work” somehow reminds me of linemen and plumbers, but I’m not gonna change it.) needed for the remaining imperfections.

I appreciate my body. I used to feel terribly insecure about my waist and my thighs. I thought that 25 inches was the upper limit for women’s waistlines. I was constantly upset because I never (even today) achieved that. My thighs, on the other hand, could feed an entire country if cooked and would cause freak high tides whenever I got close enough to sea. Now, I don’t worry about my waist so much as how it looks in proportion to the rest of my body. I have no problem with my thighs anymore too, partly because all the walking that studying in UP forced into my daily routine had reduced their girth to a less hideous number, and partly because I have other, manang things to worry about.

My bags are getting bigger. During the few times I went out as a teenager, I always made it a point to just carry a purse that was as small and as light as possible. Today, going out without a lola bag that contains an entire studio apartment is unimaginable. I was going to say that I’m turning into my mom but ironically, she herself is surprised at my bag’s weight. I hate it too, but whenever I run through its contents, I always conclude that everything in it is Absolutely Necessary.

I want to be a good housekeeper. Growing up, I and my siblings got used to having help around the house all the time. My mother always made sure we had a kasambahay so we children could devote our time to our studies (I wouldn’t recommend that). It worked for me then, but motherhood just changed me. One day, I want my family to tell their friends that they want to go home to my cooking. I want everyone to seek my help finding things that are in plain sight. I want a household that stops functioning without me.

There should be more items on this list, but I can only endure so much embarrassment.

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