Like Water for Heart Medicine

This is going to be a text-only blog post for now; I just need to get all these things off my chest, and I apologize for the bleak tone of this entry. More fun entries – including a few food posts – will resume later.

I just watched Silver Linings Playbook last weekend, and – while there’s no doubt that it’s an excellent movie, in my opinion – I had to admit that the first half of the movie was one of the scariest things I’ve ever seen on film, with Bradley Cooper trying to stay “positive” while having fits of anger and rattling the house by looking for things he doesn’t have to find. It’s scary, of course; not because it’s true (and I’ve seen loved ones go through all of this), but because the danger in those scenes are left unspoken, unacknowledged in a way that nobody would catch it if they’d concentrated too much on the mental-illness aspect of the story.

I admit that I see myself in all of this. I try to stay positive all the time, but that doesn’t mean that I put my fears aside where I can’t reach them.

One of the biggest examples of fear that I have in my life comes from my health. Usually I don’t hate going to the doctor, but these last two years have made me wonder about all the things that could kill me. Don’t get me wrong, I drink a lot of water, do a lot of walking around the campus, and don’t even ask for that extra cup of rice. I’ve even learned how to make a few awesome salads and sandwiches that I can make by myself in this no-cook dorm. But the way doctors talk about my “numbers” makes me wonder if I’m going to die before I reach my 40th birthday. At this rate, if I keep listening, all that’s left for me to eat are water, fern leaves, and heart medicine.

That should never be the case.

To make matters worse, I’ve gained weight again, which means that my bitter, irritable self is threatening to come back as well. I know for sure that there are people who like me better when I’m fat, and get freaked out whenever they see pictures of me losing weight. And yet I actually like myself better after I’ve lost a few, which means that it’s easier for me – and others around me – to have a good day. This has nothing to do with dress size (though I cannot stand the fact that I don’t have much in the butt department as we speak) but it’s more about the lightness that comes with it, the knowledge that I can always count on my friends instead of eating my way through anger and loneliness. Just walking outside and looking at the faces of people going about their day makes me happier.

I would like to think that this summer is going to be the one where I “bring sexy back,” but who am I kidding? I just want my happier self back.

Love, Stella

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Stella Torres

is the author of the adult contemporary romances Save the Cake, Crushingly Close, and Nine Years Away, as well as the short story “Be Creative” in the anthology Kids These Days: Stories from Luna East Vol. 1.

In her previous life, she has worked in public relations, taught English as a second language, and even attended graduate school (twice!). She has lived in Indonesia, Honolulu, and Quezon City before moving back to her hometown of Los Banos, a few hours’ drive (with traffic) from the heart of Manila.

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