The Body “knows”: Self, Identity and Body Awareness

I do not remember the exact time that I became aware that I was a male but going back when I was really young, I thought that I looked more like my father, brother, uncles, etc. At some point, I was able to know that my sex organ was for males and females did not have it. That was probably the confirmation that I knew that I was a male but all I thought that time was that it was just a classification. Also, as a child, it did not take long before I had another sibling and it was a girl. Most of the time, babies are naked so I saw that she had a different sex organ or maybe at that time, I thought she did not even have one.

Growing up as a boy, it was different compared to my sisters. I mostly did chores at home with my brother and father while my mother did chores with my sisters. I also saw that some chores were exclusive for me and my brother and some were exclusive to my sisters. Most of the time, my father teaches me to repair anything from broken lights, cars, doorknobs, etc. I also saw how my cousins did chores and most of the time, they were similar to me and my siblings.

I realized that there was only a short time that my parents decide on most of what is happening with my life and my siblings. They decide what clothes we wear, our haircut, our attitude, etc. and they base it on how most people treat their children. But then there will come a time when our parents let the decisions come from us. From how we look and act and everything but there is also need for our roles. When my parents are not around, at least one from me and my brother should be at home. I would not know much about how my parents raised my sisters but for me, as a son, I began to understand how to be a man through my father and my brother and this was before I studied anything about genders.

Growing up to be a man, I thought that I should be tough, I should not talk much, I must be a gentleman. I used to get hurt a lot in my childhood because back then, playing with my friends, I trip, fall, slip, and all the accidents possible. I also hated losing to any game to the point that I cry every time I lose. I used to cry during those times but my dad and my uncles always told me to toughen up. I was afraid to look like a coward and I felt pressure during the times I cried because I wanted to be like them.  So eventually, I think I toughened up. Since then, I can say I don’t cry much compared to men in my age. Recently though, I realized that there was more to being a man than just being tough. Luckily for me and probably for everyone in my family, we were taught to respect women. It was not like my dad told me to do so but rather it was showing me that everybody’s equal. I never thought of women as being inferior to us men.

Being a teenager, I admit that I was once in that age when I questioned everything. For example, why should I always be the one to open the door for my family? Until now, it’s one of those roles that I have in my family. Whenever someone from my family comes home late at night, I am the one they call to open the door for them. I really do not mind about doing that but sometimes, when I’m tired and just want to rest, waking up at 3am to open a door, it’s just unfair to me. It was frustrating but then I thought, at some point, I caused some inconveniences to my family as well but I did not hear anyone complain. I may not be a teenager anymore but sometimes it still frustrates me that there are certain characteristics and roles that I have to own because I am a male. But, growing up, living my daily life and gaining experiences everyday are helping me grow as a person and as a man.

All my life, I have never been one of the bigger people. In my childhood, I was one of the smallest both in terms of height and also because I was very skinny. It was not until high school that I had normal weight. It was also during that time when I began to have an active lifestyle and it was because of that lifestyle I had normal weight. Working out made me feel tired, hungry, a lot of times. I was so active, I did not care about what I ate or drank. I even realized that I began to have a huge appetite. But, my lifestyle and some say also because of my body type that enabled me to maintain my weight. From high school until now, I loved the feeling of working out. I joined the Citizenship Advancement Training in high school and became an officer in my 4th year and during a two-year stretch, I had something similar to a military training. In college, I joined a varsity team with the DLSU Animo Squad as a drummer so for more than six years, I have had time training and working out 4-5 days a week. It was because of this lifestyle that I think has influenced my personality in relation to my body. During trainings and similar activities, I have learned that I should not try to impress other people surrounding me. There are those who are bigger and more muscular than me but there are also those who are more physically challenged. I do not care about what my body looks like and that has influenced me not to care about what other people think of me. I have also worked hard for my goals with my body. There was a time, I wanted to gain mass and weight, and it was tough because I should eat the right food, I should eat every 2-3 hours, and I must have enough sleep, which was impossible during college especially for a student-athlete. This made me learn about hard work, discipline, and time management. I should work hard in training and in my academics, discipline myself about eating healthy and studying instead of doing nonsense, and allocate time for sleep, academics, and training. The way I treat my body has influenced how I treat my life.

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