It’s Wednesday and I’ve been thinking of what to write when I noticed that most posted statuses today on Facebook were expressing “feelings of being blessed.”
I do believe God grants each and everyone of us countless blessings, great or small, that come in many different forms. And blessings do not necessarily come in ways that make us happy, joyful or feeling rich.
Picture this: a thin, brown-skinned girl, not exactly kayumangging kaligatan but darker and taller than most of the fairer mestiza kids in an exclusive all-girls school, with thick white-framed eyeglasses, black hair pulled into a neat ponytail pinned with a big blue or black silk ribbon on top.
This waif of a girl would also speak so softly almost like a hush that her teachers often coaxed her to raise her voice a decibel higher.
She didn’t wear boy shoes as most of the girls did, and which she too wanted, but always wore her black ‘Mary Janes’ to go with her bobby socks trimmed with lace.
In other words, she was the 1960s’ version of a school nerd — the odd girl out, so she thought.
Now don’t get me wrong – but my being conscious of my brown complexion was only when I did not know any better; my mother would often tell me my complexion was something to be proud of. As I grew up, I disliked using whitening lotions and the like.
And that was what made me so terribly shy in grade school. Dared I not join a group during breaks unless one classmate would call me in or was with me. And in the class, I’d often wait for the teacher to call on me to recite even though I knew the answers well.
Yet, in a strange way – my shyness would also lead me, at times, to venture out with courage to play all by myself in the school playground, or enjoy fun rides with schoolmates from other sections during our school fairs. Or to sign up for a drum and bugle class, a singing group, and a painting class in high school.
You see, I could never carry a tune ’til now, and I could only splash a mixture of colors on my drawing pad – my idea of being a future Picasso or Monet. But I still surged ahead with doing all these. Just because.
I remember the look of stunned disbelief of one particular talented young boy upon seeing me on our first day in the painting class, like he saw his dog or cat taking up the brush. I sensed a note of contempt as he asked me why? He seemed to think based on his self-righteous standard, I wasn’t meant to be there. SO… what?
The spirit of that young girl from way back still lives in me — as I pursue my passions with a mix of confidence, audacity and spunk. And that is what I love most about myself – because it’s what makes me unique, what gives me the courage to learn new things, cultivate new interests like blogging…a late bloomer in the field of writing.
That lakas ng apog was sparked by my Mom’s own passion for living, for she indeed was a woman oozing with confidence and grit, inspiring in me and my siblings to achieve our goals, test new waters and scale the heights.
And that is what I love most about her, my dearest Mom, even if she’s no longer with us. To her I will forever be grateful for this, and whatever I achieve, to God be the Glory!
I’ve just come across a news article reporting that Jack Ma, the founder of e-commerce giant Alibaba, has admitted in a US television interview that being so wealthy is actually causing him “great pain”.
Whew, it blew my mind because I was thinking if I were in his place, I’d be so thrilled as I’d no longer have much to worry about the things I’m anxious about at the moment.
That I’d have the freedom to be able to do what I’ve always hoped to, if I were just as financially wealthy as he is.
November has rolled in, so has NaBloPoMo 2014, for which I’ve signed up for the first time, yet here I am, one week behind, and getting cold feet. The prompts have been given out, yet I still have to answer to even just one. Seems my main challenge has always been finding the right mood, the perfect momentum, the best impetus for me to be able to write down anything. Times when words are already forming in my mind, yet it takes a long time for these to see print.
I think it’s time for me to summon willpower – not just the creative muses – for my November writing goals, most especially for NaBloPoMo!
My notebook follows me anywhere I go, the paper kind, – one that requires trees to be cut down – not exactly a ‘green’ idea – but I’m still fascinated with the scent and feel of paper. My present journal is one made of recycled smooth, slightly scented paper bounded in red cardboard; it has at most times induced the creative in me, letting me fill its pages so easily with no other thought than to simply express myself, or record to memory ideas, insights and events.
Though nowadays, I also have taken to drafting in my laptop – time to get hi-tech I believe – and so I maintain my so-called Writer Pad – my digital journal if you will where I type randomly — when the perfect “time” catches me. Yet, another challenge is silencing that critical voice up there, judging every word or phrase or sentence I jot down. Before I know it, time has flown, and the page before me still empty, leaving me frustrated.
But the desire to write is as strong as ever – am never one to give up easily. Besides, I’ve sort of made it my personal motto this particular quote by the novelist Harper Lee: “I would advise anyone who aspires to a writing career that before developing his talent he would be wise to develop a thick hide.” A thick hide, or face, indeed – an advice worth following for me, or else I rut.
I also remember one little girl, not yet 10-years old. Though shy she was in front of many people, she possessed a certain bravura and guts, unafraid to be different from her peers. She’d rather play alone in the school playground than be with classmates who’d only tease her; she’d rather have fun with other kids not her friends if that meant trying something daring, like riding the ferris wheel with them on college day fairs. That little girl was me.
So mustering my childhood self-confidence, regaining my newfound courage to share with the writing community of bloggers at BlogHer’s NaBloPoMo, and WP’s The Daily Post, and gathering all the willpower I can, I charge headlong into the rest of November’s writing challenges.
CHEERS to myself, and to all…
“Be daring, take on anything. Don’t labor over little cameo works in which every word is to be perfect. Technique holds a reader from sentence to sentence, but only content will stay in his mind.” – Joyce Carol Oates
In my time, (until today), most Filipino young girls dreamt of having a fabulous début, a special kind of party with all the splendid trimmings to mark their “grand entrance” into the world of adults, celebrated when they turn 18. A social rite of passage.
Just like many of my friends in school, I also had that kind of dream — yet as I was nearing my 10th birthday, somehow I felt a débutante’s ball would not be feasible, what with my mother about to give birth to the 9th and youngest in the family.
But surprise of all surprise, on my 13th birthday, my parents threw me a simple get-together with my friends at home. For me, that already corresponded to my dream of having a ‘coming out’ celebration, making me tickled pink, my heart overflowing with love and gratitude. My wish fulfilled.
Thus each birthday since, a début was no longer part of my girly wish for my special milestone because for a wallflower like me, except for the music, dancing and the like were not exactly my slice of cake. Having a boyfriend was more like it!
Yet, mine was a début like no other, for it was a simple day out with my mother as we ventured on a food trip out of town. So that meant riding on a commuter train. And being the 2nd time ever in my life, that sent me into visions of the train rolling luxuriously across the metro, with landscapes blurring past us.
Even so, the ride itself was not particularly impressive; more grown up now, since I first took the train when I was still a child, it just felt like being transported on a bus, not on a plane – so nothing really special about it at all.
Yet the thrill that filled me plus my fanciful musings were enough to kick off with much anticipation my bonding time with Mom on that day I turned 18. As the morning breezed into the late afternoon sun, and as we feasted on the variety of local foods from different regions of the country, the more I felt it was my best birthday ever – my tummy full, my heart overflowing with happiness, and it didn’t matter that I still felt like a little girl inside.
Time has flown into my golden age, my days will in a few more years become the colors of autumn, my beloved Mom now recently passed, yet – rather, especially because of her- the memory of my eighteenth birthday will forever be lovingly, hauntingly etched in my heart!
How about you, did you ever have a debut, or a ‘coming-of-age’ party? Tell me about it in the comment box below.