Who am I?
This is actually a question one asks himself in some point of his life. It may seem to be such a simple question but probably one of the most important questions one might ask himself. We might think we know the answer but then later on we realize that there is still so much to learn.
Before, I didn’t know how it’s like to survive in the real world. I didn’t know how to live independently; I was so reluctant to stand on my own feet; I did not have the confidence to make my own decisions. Before, I didn’t know how to take risks. I felt like I’ve been stuck, always in the safe zone; I was so afraid to trust; I was so afraid to take chances. Before, I didn’t know who I really am. I was so afraid to know who I really am and who I can be.
It was in 2010 when we left the place where I grew up, Cavite. We took our chances and finally took the risk of expanding our horizons. We transferred to Makati. Initially, It’s just to make our lives easier. It’s closer to my mom and dad’s work places and it’s closer to our new church and most importantly to our new schools. For some it may be just that, but for me, it was really something big. I had to give up a lot. I had to give up my 5 years in my old school, my friends, my classmates, my teachers: everyone I grew up with. I had to give up our old place, the yard, the playground, and the village: everything that had always been there as I was growing up. I had to give up being part of the student council, being feature’s editor in my school paper, things that I have established and most especially my comfort zone.
Ironically, I remember the experience as not very emotional. It was like I was holding back everything. I was just hoping for something good to happen. It was like all the emotions were just hanging, it’s quite hard to explain. At tat stage, I didn’t make any objections or non-conforming remarks, because I knew in my heart that my parents only wanted the best for us.
I transferred school again, after the last time I transferred school about 6 years ago. And it is not just any other school; it is an exclusive school. Coming from a co-ed school, I find it very different. I was in 3rd year high school then when I was introduced to a lot of new things having been enrolled to an all girls school that had really been something new to me. A change of culture was very evident. Not just in terms of the difference of location but also in terms of the school system, not just in terms of the Cavite-Makati difference but also the co-ed-exclusive difference. It was a very different environment. In God’s grace, I have been able to immerse myself into that new culture, which I eventually found even more interesting and challenging. I had the opportunity to gradually get out of my cocoon and spread my wings. That school opened avenues for me to discover what I can be.
The new church, Victory Fort, one of the reasons why we transferred to Makati, was different as well. I felt more at ease with the way people do things. The pastors wear jeans and casual shirts as they preach God’s word in front of everyone, the singers sing conventional songs, not the usual hymnal songs in church, the people are mostly warm and accommodating. It is really fun and cool to be part of it, and I really thought it was really promising. My involvement in the music ministry led to a deeper understanding of myself, of what I can do to please God and make my life worth living.
So there it was, new house; new home, new school; new culture and environment, new church; new me?
Everything was new and everything was unfamiliar. And there I was, asking myself again, who am I and what can I be?
Going to Makati led to finding myself. It opened to a lot of possibilities. Being in a new place allowed me to take risks and expand my horizons. It was a brand new start, so it encouraged me to take chances. I discovered survival in the real world, because I used to be so sheltered back then, but as we’ve moved, things started to ease up. My mom even allowed me to do things that she never approved of back then, like going out with some friends after rehearsals and going home by myself occasionally when she can’t fetch me due to tight schedule. It is really nice to know that I can actually be more than who I used to be in the past.
It led to a deeper understanding of my passion. Well, people who knew me would have known that everything wouldn’t stop in Cavite. I’m very passionate about things that I love doing. I joined the school paper and I discovered I could also write for other sections of paper, not just in features and still it had good feedbacks. I also joined the high school choir in my senior year, where I was appointed to lead the Alto 2 section and I got to compete with the choir in prestigious inter-school competitions for the first time in my life. It was a very fulfilling experience. Also in my senior year, I took my chance to join the annual musical play, the fact that I did not have any acting background never held me back from doing so. I was really surprised when I got the lead part. I discovered so much of me that I didn’t know before we transferred to Makati. And I am so grateful for everything.
It led to a deeper understanding of my faith. Transferring to a new church that opened a lot of possibilities for its members is a very fulfilling experience. I volunteered in the music ministry where I learned I could serve God in whatever way I can. I got to know God deeper and I got to surrender my self whole-heartedly to God. I fully surrendered my life to Him and I also got to share His goodness to the people I care about and to the people I encounter through the life I live. Yet my involvement in the church also entailed challenges, because being in church doesn’t necessarily mean being away from worldly and superficial people. Dealing with circumstances brought about by people I expected more spiritually mature and more grounded in God’s word is also a purifying experience, leading me steps higher every time I would survive and hold on to my victorious Christian walk in God’s mercy and grace. Being out in the open, prone to all types of temptations and remaining victorious in God’s righteousness is a priceless and matchless experience.
It led to a deeper understanding of me. Having been able to explore more avenues to express my thoughts, my insights and my ideas, I have discovered more of myself. All the more when I have been given the opportunity to develop my God given gifts as I glorify Him in songs, and in the way I handle and manage responsibilities. As I get used to my new environment, my new friends and my new experiences, I realized how beautiful life really is and what I am created for. Just like any other. I have my own perspective of life that is why I am able to say that it is beautiful, but practically, I sometimes wonder why people have different social status and lifestyles, especially when I came to the point of immersion during my High school days. I have witnessed how others suffer and struggle just to be able to provide food on their tables, while others spend their resources on worthless things just for the heck of spending and showing off.
I am blessed to have parents who would do anything just to give us the best in life, I even feel guilty at times when I see them neglecting and setting aside their personal interests just to meet our needs. My mom always tell us that we are able to experience the life that we have not because we are rich, but through God’s grace, because they raise us without anyone’s help, but with God’s divine providence through their efforts. My parents settled down young, and they really have the drive and determination to raise a family on their own in the best way possible, that is why two years after getting married they were already able to acquire our Cavite home, Crown Asia pioneering project for middle market. They were also able to have their own car and raise both my younger brother and I. As years passed, they raised two more kids making us four; two boys and two girls. We had a very comfortable life back then until we moved to Makati and to our new schools, making our expenses double and some even triple. It had not been very comfortable at start, during the period of adjustment when my mom had to quit her regular job and just take a part time job to spend more time with us leaving my dad with all financial responsibilities. We had to cut on some usual activities such as travels and dine outs.
“No weapon formed against me shall prosper, all those who rise up against me shall fall, I will not fear what the devil may bring me, I am a servant of God” (Isiah 54:17)
And in Jeremiah, He also assured me of a bright future, that is why whatever comes along my way I remain confident of a good ending. My life is a gift from God, therefore, I must be able to bring back all glory to God, I am a child of God who must keep up to His expectations. My life must be a living bible that is available for everyone to read, that is why I am always accountable for my actions.
Who I really am and who I can really be is actually based on God’s design and plan. And I discover it little by little as I live life in accordance to His will.
My story. This is what makes me, me. I may have known a lot about myself but I am aware that I still have a lot of things to discover. I still have big questions in my life that I have yet to answer. I am nothing but humbled my all these experiences that I have collected and nothing but excited about what God has planned for me.