Adulthood hit me hard in the face and before I fell also face flat on the ground, I swayed like a cocaine addict who’s too high to even realize what overdose meant and then hit the ground with a loud thud but didn’t completely pass out. Only groggy. It all looked dark.
Instead of getting back up, I stayed on the ground a little bit longer to observe not just my surroundings but more inside myself, how it all felt, how it changed my thought processes and the way I respond.
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I could have said stop but I didn’t. I couldn’t. I needed that fall to wake me up from sleeping with my eyes open.
Show my authentic self and my struggles
I have always been independent even as a child. If I would count how many times my mother sat with me to teach me how to read or make sure that I have done all my school and homework, I’d say only once when I was maybe seven.
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I didn’t have any issues with my academics even if I was juggling being a student and doing all the chores at home. The only problem was when I stopped going to school and lost every desire to stay in a classroom to get the degree my mother wanted me to have.
Nothing was interesting enough to hold my very short attention span. I always wanted to be around people, cut classes and see places.
I felt like I knew it all just because I was doing adult roles at home in the absence of my parents.
When my parents left to work overseas when I was 15, I started collected fashion magazines. In between its glossy pages were pages that talked about real life stuff.
Though it was such a small portion, more than a decade of religiously buying them, not having parents around, having money and the freedom to do as I pleased, left me feeling like I had it all together.
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I felt better than the other people around me, I made them see and feel that and I enjoyed it.
It changed me. They helped me gained confidence and liberation which got me asking, was that confidence given by the fact that I didn’t have parental guidance and could do whatever I liked? Was the liberty given by the excessive amount of money my parents have given me that the absence of money has also taken away every confidence that I used to have?
Didn’t I say that money doesn’t have any effect on me?
I wish I had used those money to invest on things that make more sense and will still be useful in the future. I wish I have taken the classes that I truly love and hone the gifts and talents that I have.
I wish I have continued pursuing my then passion of creating things then because now that I have decided to go after my passion, all the relationships and material things that I held dear in my life slipped away. I still ended up doing what I was then doing.
Enjoying the freedom of my thoughts and believing in the beauty of my daydreams.
Didn’t listen to other people’s discouragements: Societal pressure
I knew even when I was starting to come to my own senses that my parents didn’t know what is best for me but I still did what they said to make them happy even if I was lying not just to them but also to myself.
A half-Filipino comedian in the States said that “Filipino mothers pre-determine their children’s career” and in the future, their children are expected to work and support their parents. Most parents retire in their 40s or when their children started working. Average Filipinos at least.
Its music to our ears when our parents are proud of us and it makes us happy to give something back to them even if it means burden to us children.
I never questioned this until I couldn’t ignore my detereorating mental health any more. It has literally paralized me. There were days that I couldn’t get off bed and was just crying.
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I never questioned it until my host mother asked why in our culture, only one person must work for everyone. She has seen three generations of this situation and no one seemed to know the answer nor seemed to ask.
I couldn’t answer which was strange. I always manage to give answers even I was guessing.
I never knew the answer. I just let my guilt and my love for my own family give the answer for me but it was wrong at least for my own sake. It was okay if I was okay but I was not. I could have said no earlier.
I wish I had the courage to say no earlier and maybe that way, I didn’t need to waste all those years making myself believe that I was being a bad person for not being able to make other people happy even if I was dying in agony.
Admit that I needed help too (My inner child didn’t grow up)
I didn’t know where I got the kind of pride and ego that prevented me to admit that I am not okay and it is also okay. I didn’t know why it was so hard for me to not feel ashamed and to think that I am not a failure.
Maybe it was my fear of being seen as a failure when I declared that I have weaknesses too. Or maybe it was my fear of rejection. I thought that being ignored and rejected as a child has given me some kind of immunity from it but people in my circle has already taken that as a sign of being strong.
Nobody knew that behind that strong facade, a weak inner child has been hiding, crying and desperately needed attention and care too. I wish I had the balls to admit that I didn’t have all the answers and it was indeed okay not to always have the answers.
I know these all sounded like regret and if I could go back, I still wouldn’t. I am just reflecting and moving forward, to remind myself of the lessons that they taught me so I will not do them again.
I needed them to fill the emptiness and meaninglessness that I felt for such a long time. Without them, I will not be the same person I enjoy being today.
My new life has given me new set of rules and principles to live by.
- Don’t listen to people who have not done what I wanted to do.
- Toxic is toxic.
- Peace is more important.
- Every progress must be celebrated.
- Be present now. Be happy now. Focus on the first 24 hours.
- No hurry, no pause.
- Gratitude makes any burden lighter.
- Ethical opportunist.
- Forget hustling. Align.
- I deserve love and happiness too.