There is more to this Portugi thing than just religion (just religion, as if it isn’t about the only thing I talk about it…) This Portugi in me has some strange ideas about the way the world is and should be; ideas that don’t fit with this world and therefore remove me from it.
This morning I watched Spanglish. Yes, again. My morning movie watching ritual has become a bit redundant as of late, mainly because I have not spent time or money investing in finding something new to watch (a problem I plan to fix by subscribing to netflix).
So this is the quote that got me thinking, "American women, I believe, actually the feel the same as Hispanic women about weight: a desire for the comfort of fullness. And when that desire is suppressed for style and deprivation allowed to rule, dieting, exercising American women become afraid of everything associated with being curvaceous: such as wantonness, lustfulness, sex, food, motherhood; all that is best in life. "
The most odd thing for me is that while I find this quote to be true in the general sense, it is not true as my life. Weight is of utmost concern to my entirely Portuguese Grandfather. He wants us all to be trim, attractive, and fiercely beautiful. He claims that he is concerned for our health, and while I believe that he believes this, I also know that he is at least a little concerned that we won’t be beautiful enough to look at. Although he finds curves to be necessary for childbirth, he wants “thin curves”. I will admit that he has valid reason for the health concerns. PCOD is eating all of us alive. And every one of us has had an eating disorder, or at least an unhealthy weight problem.
Weight on my mother’s side is not a main concern. These women are more concerned with control and strength. The men could care less as long as the women are sassy, sarcastic, and tough. These men never like their women too thin. However, their lack of concern about weight means that eating disorders have never been a problem on this side of the family. These hardworking women are either naturally thin from physical labor, or willing to put in the hard work to lose what they don’t want/what the doctors tell them to lose. Or they will just put up with the weight because life is more important.
Where do I fall on the issue? Well I have PCOD. It is eating me alive. Or rather eating my unborn children… I didn’t eat in 8th or 9th grade, until my mother stepped in and made me. However, I am willing to work hard. I love physical labor. I am all about strength and control. I am unnaturally unconcerned about my size, because my brothers made very sure that I knew at a very young age just exactly how gorgeous I am. However, I do worry that when I walk into my grandfather’s house, the only reason I am his favorite is because obedience is my forte. I want him to know that I am beautiful. I want him to recognize that I have got this disease well on the way to under control. I want him to say to me, “You are looking thinner.” Because I am… but I still need his recognition. Just like every other woman in our family. I am, I think, a Portugi through and through. I want to be like my mother’s family. I want to be like those women… but I am not so much.
I am proud of my Portuguese culture. I cling to it. I define myself by it. But today, I am thinking maybe it’s okay to be a Scot-Irish/Norwegian Portugi instead.