“I don’t really want to die of course! I just need to kill the old me, and build a new girl.”-Johanna Morrigan in How to Build a Girl by Caitlin Moran
What if you’re like me who’s:
first: too proud to seek professional help,
second: couldn’t afford to hire a life coach and
third: too clueless about the spiritual stuff in life A.K.A meaning and purpose
first: desperate for a change,
second: too eager to learn,
third: too emotionally sensitive to handle criticism and
forth: too stubborn to listen to the parents?
I didn’t like my life.
I thought I was already on my way to being what society would call stable and what my family would say good upbringing that would make them declare a good retirement where they could say they could rest and be content with a quiet and peaceful life but lo and behold: they couldn’t. At least, not yet.
I couldn’t continue living with such pain in my heart and confusion in my head.
I had unanswered questions and I couldn’t seem to answer them while doing a job I didn’t like. I couldn’t multitask anymore. I needed a full stop.
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I wanted a new life. I wanted a new me and I was more than willing to kill the old me.
The Death errrr The Break
The decision to take this break was the most beautiful thing I have ever done no matter how ironic it may sound.
My favorite travel blogger said she quit her job to travel the world so why can’t I? I always get what I wanted, right? Why would a very important life matter be an exemption?
I made a decision and I stuck to it like my life depended on it because, well, it did.
I wouldn’t suggest that you do it like how I did it.
Without a concrete plan you’ll struggle.
Without definite goals, you’ll be all over the place aiming for something unknown, unseen and unheard of. But if you are willing, you will learn not just how to crawl, to dive, to float and to even fly.
You will learn how to teach yourself to survive and you’ll come out of it stronger than you ever think you can. The Universe rewards the brave they say.
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When I didn’t behave like how my mother wanted me to, she would scold me from head to toe. She would tell me how hard-headed I am and would even hit me if I try to explain myself because in our culture, it is disrespectful to talk back to the parents even if it’s just a simple attempt of explaining your side of the story.
In our culture, it is normal to hit kids. Sometimes I think that this makes parents so proud because it get to show who is the boss in the house.
I guess that gave me enough strength and motivation. My mother knows for a fact that I am not like other girls in our country who would just say yes to what they are told to do even if they don’t like it.
She knows that I have a mind of my own and I always question things which provokes heated discussions so I know that it is not going to be a big surprise for her that I’d be going out to get what I want especially if I know that I am not doing anything wrong.
Isn’t this how it should be like? Aren’t we all given free will and to do things according to it as long as we are not stepping on anyone?
Are we not blessed with options in this life? Are we not allowed to take the ones that we think are the ones we strongly like without being condemned and even shamed for doing it?
Or does this thing only exist in my country?
This break that lead me to hit rock bottom which is the same reason for my old life to end which is the goal.
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In the last three years, I’d still get surprised to think how I have been managing to support myself and even my family during this quest. I found myself teaching English, babysitting, looking after old people, house-sitting, house-cleaning, cat-sitting and gardening to my parents’ fury. They said they didn’t send me to the most expensive schools to do this.
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But if I will make my parents’ happiness a priority, I would be back fighting with our banking customers over 0.00000000001 cent again or worse, a job that would make me feel like a machine. If I felt dead during those early years of my career, going back will even make me feel like digging my own grave.
This blog is the result of my self exploration.
I said I wanted to be a writer but what will I write about? I think the Universe said, “Hmmmm… you want to be a writer. Let me give you something to write about.”
He didn’t tell me that I will struggle but I have been taking everything that has been happening as a test for my strength and a subject to write about.
I’ve had my share of travel and I moved abroad twice.
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Every place I have been to, every country I live in made me a person I can hardly recognize.
The more that I explored, the more that I discover something new about myself, the people around me and the way of life.
I have doubts. Self-doubts. I have fears. But I stopped collecting my fears and turning them into my god. This blog is a result of how I overcame my fear of being criticized and my fear of being out there.
This blog is a proof that all my fears have no basis. All my self doubts melted. And if they resurface, I reread every single entry here and I would somehow be ready for the next battle again.
Unleashing the wanderess in me left me homeless in so many occasions but it also made me feel that I can be at home anywhere in this world.
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Unleashing the wanderess in me felt like a part of me died but it has actually proven me that it is just a start of something new with better understanding.
People and Untold Stories
My role as a language student, babysitter, caregiver, household help and English teacher didn’t just literally open so many doors for me.
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I was given the chance to hover, listen, observe and learn in how people with different cultures live their lives. I always make sure to bring my invisible pen and paper to take notes of my observations.
I sifted through my notes and started applying them to myself.
I am a product of all these stories and cultures.
Everyday I have the chance to start again.
I am given the chance to see different versions of truth about life and how to live it.
The Role of a Mentor and a Life Coach
During the early stage of this break, I still mindlessly spent my time.
I didn’t realize earlier that I didn’t take this break just to take a break and then go back to my old life.
This break must mean something. I took this break because I was lost but somehow, somewhere I got lost again in the process.
I was behaving like a headless chicken. I started applying for jobs that I know I didn’t like hoping that having one will take me out of the dark hole I was in.
My cousin indirectly called me out of it. He said something about being mindful, about heart’s desire, about authenticity, about the use of time and about how I can use my writing in finding what my life purpose is.
He didn’t tell me all these in one sitting though.
I have already been warned that my cousin is behaving quite different from the rest of the “normal” people.
I listened to him without paying hundred percent attention.
I found myself not believing in what he is saying. Is he crazy? We both know that there is no money in art. At least none if we don’t have some kind of connections. I need a real job and money. Maybe the break that I had then was already enough so it’s high time to face reality again.
Somehow my cousin might have said something that really hit home because suddenly everything started making sense. I even noticed his bookshelf which I have seen so many times but never touched nor bothered to ask about them. They looked so corny so I just continued reading romance.
He offered to be my spiritual coach but this coaching didn’t happen due to our other responsibilities.
I started looking forward to my conversations with my host-mother as mentorship. I listen to every word she says. These words are full of wisdom. I didn’t plan on having a mentor but the Universe gave me two.
Both of them saw the writer in me and this blog is a product of their faith in me.
Personal Development Journey
I can’t remember how my first personal development book landed on my lap but it didn’t stop and I don’t intend it to end neither.
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My reading addiction played a huge part in my pursuit of self reinvention and that no matter how much I am struggling financially, I will never scrimp on buying books.
Reading made me explore successful people’s minds. Reading showed me how they struggled and succeeded.
Reading allowed me to believe that everything is possible even in killing the old me creating a new one.
Power of Silence
I used to hate and dread silence. I used to see it as awkward and boring so I made it a point to to always crack someone up. I made it a point to induce verbal diarrhea. I would even research on new jokes to throw. Such a waste of energy and time.
Without realizing that this disrespected others’ peace and sacred moments of solitude. I didn’t realize that they might have needed the silence to focus and to clear their heads. I have invaded their magical moments of having a conversation with themselves. I might have killed their daydreams.
In Germany, the first thing that I have noticed was the deafening silence. This silence was piercing my eardrums in a very disturbing way.
I found out later too that Germans will actually give you the look of death if you’re being too loud and will actually tell you to keep it low. They will even call the police if it’s after 10 pm and you’d have a very good explaining to do.
I used to find this really annoying. It is killing my mojos. I then started applying for jobs so I could make my exit fast.
This, however, later on gave me a realization how much I couldn’t stand my own thoughts and my own self. I didn’t like silence because it gives me time to deal with myself and because I didn’t like myself so much that’s why I hated silence.
My cousin told me that if I am not happy here, I will never be happy anywhere else. I realized that moving to a different country again will not be of help.
Silence allows me to connect to my authentic self and listen to what nature is telling me. I use silence to choose which thoughts can linger in my head.
The Courage to be Myself
I didn’t know that it is so hard to be true to myself and that I had to fight so hard for it.
To listen to my heart, to ignore what my pocket says and to shrug off what my family wants for me meant breaking down every single day.
Waking up one day becoming the recipient of the famous Filipino culture’s breadwinner crown made me go berserk. There was nothing that I could do but tolerate our toxic tradition of financial dependency. Our culture suggests that we close our eyes while letting our physically-abled strong siblings and family members pretend that they are physically challenged. We let them feast on the fruit of one’s hard labor just because one makes more.
We fail to let everyone exert the same effort. We refuse to break the chain that makes us chase our own tails that make us forever poor especially in the mentality department.
The decision to break free, end a never ending cycle and do something more logical and reasonable is not easy but it is an act of self-love even if I’d be branded a horrible person.
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I didn’t go all the way out in finding myself just to lose it again for this kind of poor way of thinking.
I know this whole finding myself thing looks like works of evil in my culture but why would I listen to it?
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There is only one me and I am not sure until there will be. I just can’t waste more time anymore.
The process of killing the old me required saying goodbye to meaningless connections and so most of the time, I found myself alone.
I have learned to change topics that I am not happy about and learned to be really selective in the quantity and quality of people I now allow in my new life.
This is so different in my old life where I befriended and tried so hard to please everyone. For what? I realized that every little something I gave to someone is a little something I stole from my already old empty self to the point of exhaustion.
My newfound honesty and straightforwardness left me with just few people in my life but it’s actually better than staying attached to more but slowly kill myself inside.
“Disappearing for a while to get your life together is okay. Resurfacing in a foreign country ten years later with a new name is okay. It’s called self-love.”
I am very lucky to be given the chance to experience rebirth but I realized that it will not happen had I not allowed the old me to die.
My realization that I didn’t like the old me didn’t happen overnight.
It took me years and years of constantly asking myself and observing other people’s behavior to declare that I was not on the right path in life.
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I thought I was sick in the head.
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Being born again made me feel no shame in admitting how much I took our village, our eternal tropical weather and vast land as signs of poverty. Of how much I convinced myself that city life, material things and “cool people” to hang out with will give me happiness.
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My search for meaning brought me back to fond memories of my childhood running under the rain, playing with mud and doing household chores.
It is quite surprising that my new definition of success and new life mean chasing a slow life.
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