Being the youngest and the only girl among three children, I have always been everybody’s ‘baby’, the spoiled one, the only who is so used to get what she wants IMMEDIATELY. When I was younger, hindi ako sanay nang hindi ako ‘yong center of attention, hindi ako sanay na hindi naibibigay sa’kin nang mabilis ang gusto ko. Alam ko naman, aminado naman ako. Akala n’yo, laging masaya? hindi. Because in reality, you don’t always get what you want, the way you want it, whenever you want it. And that is frustrating. At kapag na-frustrate ang mga spoiled brat na tulad ko, intentionally or not, napahihirapan ko ang mga tao sa paligid ko. Kapag beastmode, lahat damay! Noon, wala talaga akong pakialam kung sinong nakakakita sa pagtatantrums ko o nakakarinig sa mga rants ko. I was such a brat. Kahit ako naiinis sa sarili ko kapag naaalala ko ‘yong mga gano’ng eksena ko dati.
But anyway, growing up, little by little, I have learned my lessons. There are people that I have met along the way who were instrumental to teaching me how to become who I am now. I will write about them on my future posts. Sa buhay kasi talaga, may mga magiging turning points, experiences that will cause drastic changes. Hanggang sa namamalayan mo na lang na palayo ka na nang palayo do’n sa old self mo. But what’s funny is that, from time to time din, mahuhuli mo ‘yong sarili mo na bumabalik-balik pa rin sa old patterns mo.
On Social Media
Just like when posting on social media. Syempre dahil nga nanggaling ako sa pagiging self-centered, selfish brat, na gustong gusto ‘yong pinupuri, ‘yong lahat na lang ng bagay, tungkol sa’kin, it is always tempting to post stuff about myself. Selfies ko, mga naging achievements ko so far (na kung tutuusin, wala pa naman masyado), mga rants ko, ideas and opinions, etc. Just anything about myself. One might say, “that’s okay”, “there’s nothing wrong with it”. Wala naman talaga, kung hindi naman sobra. However, as time goes by, napaisip ako. Ano ba’ng napapala ng mga tao sa mga pinopost ko? Natutuwa pa ba sila sa mga pinopost ko? O kaya naman, may natututunan ba sila?
It’s like I’m in the middle of trying to please everyone with my posts and feeling that I need to make my posts (and the things I do) to be about something more meaningful, something that could be more beneficial and not just merely pleasing to others. Not to sound self-righteous, but I have been really feeling that prompting to change. Ang corny nito pero parang sa loob mo, may nagwewelga at nagsusumigaw ng “Tama na! Sobra na! Palitan na!” HAHAHAHA.. But seriously, that has been bugging me over and over. Para sa’kin, ‘yon na siguro ‘yung cue na kailangan ko nang mag grow up.
And growing up starts with baby steps. So yes. I believe that the Holy Spirit’s promptings for us to make some changes to our old ways, our bad habits, our distorted way of thinking starts with small or sometimes, seemingly irrelevant things. And because I consider myself as a ‘late-bloomer’ (hindi naman sa pagseself-pity), even in small things like posts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, I know that the Lord has been prompting me to post things more about Him. Why? Because it has always been our Lord’s intention to reach out to His people. I don’t have many followers, I don’t have a vast network or wide connections, but I am willing to be used by Him for His purposes, kahit sa mga simpleng paraan man.
I’m sorry if I sound like a preacher wanna-be, or like what my acquaintances would call me, “banal”–I mean, I would be honored to be considered as such, pero alam ko naman sa sarili kong hindi pa, I’m still a work in progress, and I still have a long way to go. But this is the purpose why I created a blog—to share how the Lord has been guiding me and directing me in my journey. Sana may mapulot kayo kahit papa’no.
So, ‘yun nga. I am still in the process of learning kung paano bawasan ‘yung pagiging self-centered at attention-seeker ko sa mga posts ko, hindi na lang sa social media ngayon pero dito na rin sa mga blog posts. I would still probably post about myself and mga pinaggagagawa ko, mga dinaramdam at hinaing sa buhay, mga pag-iinarte, pati syempre mga gala ko lalo na kapag umuuwi ako sa Pinas kasama si mother dear. But if you see a lot of Christian posts (articles, excerpts from books or novels that I read), the goal now is to spread God’s word through different ways and platforms.
In writing my autobiography
Last October 2018, I planned to attend a “Come-and-See” Retreat with the Carmelite Sisters dito sa L.A. I thought I want to attend the retreat as part of my discernment for my vocation. I reached out to them and I was given instructions as part of the registration. I was thinking that it was just like the usual registration process for retreats katulad no’ng mga pinuntahan kong silent retreats before. Only this time, part of the registration was to write a 2-4 page autobiography. I was thrilled (you know, excited na may kasamang kaba) that I will be writing my life story.
In this particular time, it was like the Holy Spirit reminded me to take this opportunity to highlight not who I am and what I have done, but rather emphasize who the Lord is in my life and what He has done and has been doing in my life. Looking at myself right now, kung sa sarili ko lang ako magfofocus, baka marami nga akong maisulat pero mababaw at baka halos wala masyadong substance ‘yung maging autobiography ko. Because, again, hindi sa pagseself-pity, pero kung sa pamantayan ng mundo, kung tutuusin wala pa naman akong masyadong nararating or mga major accomplishments. Wala pa naman akong maicoconsider as ‘great achievements’ sa career in particular. But if I focus on Jesus, king ano ‘yung mga itinuturo Niya at pinapa-realize Niya sa’kin as I am growing up, ‘yon! ‘yon marami… maraming substance at mas may quality ‘yung magiging autobiography ko.
In other words, if I focus on myself alone, it will never be enough, I will never be enough. But if I focus on the Lord, He is more than enough, and He has been doing so much in my life. And I think that this is the reason why the nuns asked me to write an autobiography. Hindi dahil gusto lang nilang makilala kung sino ako, but more than that, they want to see how the Lord has been working in my life, because that is what our purpose is–to be living witnesses to God’s goodness, to be the reflection of God’s beauty, to be the channel of His grace, to be the representatives of His kingdom, to be the warriors who are braving this world’s battles with His love.
Hindi iyon ang unang beses na sumulat ako ng autobiography. The first time was for my 18th birthday. Uso kasi noong panahong ‘yon nang isa-isang nagdedebut kaming magkakaklase, magkakabatch. Sa mga debut parties na naattendan ko, may mga pa-intro about the debutant, so ang lola n’yo, nakigaya! For my birthday party, medyo sariling sikap ako pagdating sa program. Kahit na gusto ko simple lang ang ganap, naggawa pa rin ako ng structure para sa magiging flow ng program. So ayun nga, nagsulat ako ng autobiography pero third person point of view para hindi halatang ako rin ‘yong gumawa! HAHAHAH.. Buti na lang, pinapabasa ko sa tatay ko ‘yong sinusulat ko. Akala ko, ipu-proofread lang niya. Pagkasauli niya sa’kin nung draft, ang daming corrctions! My father told me to change some things because he noticed that I was being way too hard on myself based sa mga isinulat kong pagdedescribe sa personality ko at sa buhay ko. Sobra raw akong nagseself-pity. Napakababa raw ng tingin ko sa sarili ko. Naiyak ako no’n mga beshy. HIndi dahil sa ang dami kong babaguhin do’n sa sinulat ko, but because I know my father did not want me to be so harsh to myself. Siguro nasasaktan din siya.
Just like our Heavenly Father, nasasaktan din ang Daddy’s Heart ni God kapag sobrang baba ng tingin natin sa sarili natin when we judge ourselves the way we think this world is judging us. Kadalasan nga mas malupit pa tayo magjudge sa sarili natin than other people would. Pare-pareho naman tayong mga walang karapatang magjudge sa sarili natin at sa isa’t isa pero mas malupit pa tayo kaysa sa Diyos kung manghusga. It’s only God who has all the right to do that. And yet, He chose not to.
Kaya naman no’ng mismong birthday party na, pagkatapos basahin ng emcee ‘yong sinulat kong ‘story of my life’, next part ng program was a speech/birthday message from my father. Ang Daddy ko kasi mahiyain ‘yan, may ‘stage fright’ daw siya. Pero dahil medyo nakainom na yata siya no’ng time na hiningan siya ng message for me, ang dami niyang nasabi! Elaborated version, pero mabuti na rin dahil tumimo talaga sa isip ko ‘yong message niya. Sabi niya, it is good to love myself, but when I love myself way too much in the sense na sarili ko na lang daw lagi ang iniintindi ko, masyado akong nakaconcentrate sa sarili ko (weaknesses ko, shortcomings, pains, needs) I forget to look at other people and I fail to see that they have sufferings too, that they have needs as well. Nakakalimutan ko raw intindihin din ang ibang tao, na may pangangailangan din sila, na may pinagdadaanan at may dinaramdam din sila.
Sabi pa ni Daddy, I should share the love in my heart to other people as well. Kapag naman daw shinare ang love sa iba, it doesn’t mean na hindi mo na mamahalin ang sarili mo, hindi naman daw nawawala o nababawasan ang pagmamahal kapag ibinabahagi. (Grabe talaga that moment mga besh, ang hirap magpigil ng luha, baka humulas ang makeup! Char!)
And seven years after, here I am, still trying to apply what my father told me, together with a lot more lessons that I am learning along the way.
And the never-ending reminder to myself is, “it’s not about me, it’s about Jesus.”.