Editor's note: Ace is blogging about being a dad trying to rebound from the coronaivrus pandemic at My Rebound by FOX 17. He desired for his son to feel both pride in and connection to his Filipino heritage, so he founded the Grand Rapids Asian-Pacific Festival in 2016. Also a banker, he recently resigned from his position – now staying full-time with his 6-year-old son. He and his wife, son and dog live in Plainfield Township.
Since I am not working, I find myself lacking the discipline to get up as early as I used to get up — at 5:00 am. I am also not as particular with food.
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Did you know, one large meat lover's stuffed-crust pizza with extra bacon feeds more than one person? Push-ups are also more comfortable when I am sitting on my couch, too. My son Redd and I have been eating a lot of lazy, quick breakfast food.
After a few weeks without a paycheck, I quickly realized I better get my focus back. So I started setting my clock for 4:45 am, which instantly backfired, as I kept hitting the snooze button like there was no tomorrow. I started reading pages of a book in the morning but that was slowly replaced by social media feeds that showcased our current dire situation. I was not my usual happy self, not that you would know that, but I used to enjoy my mornings.
Alas, enough is enough, so I am determined to get back in shape and make this body the most efficient ever. As I look in the mirror and flex my noodle arms, I ask Redd, "What you think, little bro?" And he laughs and says that I have one ab muscle.
The other day, as Redd got out of the shower, he looked in that same mirror. He said, "Dad, I am fat," and lowered his head in disappointment. What have I done? My constant worrying about my looks set a ridiculous example to my son about body image, perception and loving one's self.
I paused for a while before I talked to him about why Daddy is worried about looking great. My explanation is that we are all born and are gifted all with amazing bodies. I apologized to him that Daddy is being influenced by what others think of what beauty is. I said, "What Daddy needs to tell you is that he wants to look slimmer, because Daddy has diabetes."
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Since I want to live a long, healthy life, I want to be more active in reducing my risk of health complications. Redd’s grandma, my mom, passed away from diabetes complications, and the day after her funeral was when we found out we were going to be parents.
I think I am the one who benefits from this talk. For me, when I say I want to look good, that is my need to feel accepted by others. Feeling good consists of taking care of my body to maintain good overall health and feeling confident in my own skin. I still have a lot of work to do.
I want to set an excellent example for Redd, so he will live a healthy lifestyle and not waste energy putting so much pressure on himself to look a certain way. I influence his every move, so I need to love my body as I want him to love his. We are beautifully made.
Redd, look at yourself again in the mirror. The world around us might show us what beautiful people look like. It will be as hard for Redd as it is for me to shut down body image issues. We see the so-called beautiful people get admiration that may temporarily make them feel good. However, when you look at yourself in the mirror and see your handsome self, there is nothing more precious and lasting than being happy with who you are.