I was having lunch with my fiance the other day when I overheard a bunch of happy Filipinos (sitting right next to our table) talking about work stuff. Filipinos are known to be loud when speaking so I couldn’t drown out the noise (as much as I tried, I just couldn’t). No one was arguing with each other but to the people around who don’t know how to speak Tagalog, I’m sure it sounded as if some kind of fight was about to start. I was sitting there, trying so hard to focus on what’s on the menu and I tried to have a conversation with my fiance but even he can’t drown out the noise coming from the table next to us.
Just after we had our starters, a Filipino woman from the happy Filipino table started talking to her friends about me.
‘Ganda ng eyelashes niya. Maganda siya.’ (She has beautiful eyelashes. She’s beautiful.)
‘Sino? Yan?’ (Who? That girl?) pointing to our table
‘Oo yung may kasamang puti.’ (Yes, the one with the white guy.)
‘Fake yan. Fake.’ another replied. (They’re fake. Fake.)
‘Anong fake yung eyelashes o siya mismo?’ (Which one, the lashes or the girl?’)
They both laughed.
I started to feel a little self- conscious and awkward. I was sitting there thinking, ‘Did that really just happen?’ I had to pinch myself just in case I was dreaming, but unfortunately, I wasn’t.
The conversation carried on…
‘Taga saan kaya yan siya?’ (I wonder where she’s from.)
Baka Thailand? (Maybe Thailand.)
I really tried to drown out the conversation at this point and my fiance and I started talking about our plans for the rest of the week.
When our desserts were served, I took a bite of my chocolate cake and ice cream and that was when I started to feel really frustrated. They started talking about me again.
‘O, ayan na, nag chocolate na siya.’ (Oh, she’s eating chocolates now.)
‘Ang dami na niya nakain.’ (She has eaten so much already.)
‘Oo nga pero payat siya.’ (Yeah , but she’s thin.)
Baka sinusuka niya pagkatapos kumain? (Maybe she throws up after eating?)
I was shocked by their comments so I had to take a pause and gather my thoughts for a few minutes.
I didn’t feel angry because I know what they’re saying is not true. I felt disappointed by their actions. Sometimes, I forget that bullying and gossiping aren’t limited to childhood and adolescence. I felt sad that they openly judged someone’s eating habits and came to a baseless conclusion that a thin woman like me must have an eating disorder.
After I finished eating, I sat back, relaxed and realised that their conversation is none of my business. What other people think about me is none of my business.
People will always talk about us behind our backs no matter what we do. It doesn’t matter what language they use. It doesn’t matter what they say.
I read a quote somewhere,
‘You can be the ripest and juiciest peach in the world but there will always be someone out there who hates peaches.’
We can’t control other people but we are in control of our emotions and actions.
So, I chose to let it all go.
My heart filled with peace.