Everything changes....it's a universal truth. Just as the way the sun rises in the morning and sets every evening, the way freshly dewed flowers blossoms and withered after a day, and to be more precise, the way we humans slip from infancy to adolescence,from adolescence to early adulthood...
Looking back three decades ago, my transition from adolescence to early adulthood abruptly ended and began. It was a bitter-sweet seesaw of looking up things beyond the up and down rhythm of life. Yet despite succumbing to the negativity of those ironic situations, I am proud enough to say that I came out unscatched and more positively strong in many ways.
Wayback in my primary years as a student, I have realized the importance of education at a tender age and came to know the edge of having a bachelor's degree. You see, I was born as the eldest with two younger sisters whom we got each a five years gap. My father was a pedicab driver and mother was left behind to tend the house and us. Life was never too much for our family yet it was already enough as we share laughter and pure joy over a sweet potato every meal, which Mama harvested from our backyard, paired with a single dried salted fish. Ohhh how happy we already are and satiated as we munched with our fingers noisily.
I went to a public school nearby in our town where my classmates were sons and daughters of the town's store owner, rice miller, the policemen, pharmacists and most of them were the children of our own teachers. There was still no private school in our town Calubian during those days that rich kids and impoverish one like me just happened to mingle in one school. I was always eager to attend classes to learned new things everyday and since my grandma, my mama's mother was a retired teacher, I developed the love of reading as young as the age of five. It was a habitual instinct that I developed until now. A day without a good read for me is an empty and boring day. I owed Lola, my passion for books since she used to asked me to memorized poems, and still vividly can remember and recite by heart "Solomon Grundy" and "All Things Bright and Beautiful." We also have spelling exercises where I learned to write correctly already some difficult words. She used to read to me some legends and fairytale stories too, which I later came to learned to read all by my own. In school, I was competitive and made my way to the honor list over my most favored classmates yet I never got myself in the top one and just always ending up third or fifth. The first place was always occupied by the principal's kid.
I graduated highschool with flying colors as an honor student yet I was a bit frustrated when it was only tge top one who was given the chance to take UPCAT exam where passers are admitted for free at my dream school University of the Philippines. Well to cut it short, that top one didn't passed the exam and ended up going to an expensive university which they very well can afford.
I myself, went to a prestigious university in Tacloban City with my grandma's meager pension and papa's extra meager salary as a security guard in our place. It was in Leyte Normal University where I passed an admission to take up Bachelor in Elementary and Secondary Education. It was a four-year course with three summers thus leaving me in school even during summer months. It was here that I have seen the world in a broader perspective. My strong desire to go out of that university with a piece of paper which will serve as an evidence of my hardwork was a burning passion that I worked and prayed for each day. I even promised myself to never cut my hair until I got myself a degree. I made myself a school scholar for I made myself a member of the Supreme Student Council as well as an active choir member of our school gleeclub. I am only paying my bed space rent and food where I usually have the means of providing for it through doing the projects of my classmates and boardmates who asked me to draw, research and write for them since I let them know that I am capable in good artwork too.
A year passed, three, until I was already practice teaching and being a consistent dean lister, I was absorbed and hired right away in St.Paul's School Inc., in Ormoc City. I taught pre-schoolers in the morning and high school students in the afternoon. In the evening, I gave tutorial sessions to the city mayor's daughter. It lasted for a year, until I decided to transfer teaching to a public school in our own town for stability purposes.
As an elderly duty, I loaned and paid off long-time debts of my parents and sent my younger sister next to me, to college. I loaned again and built a more concrete house for my family. As a solo provider, the tasked of providing everything fell solely on me. Until it dawned on me that I am left with a meager salary already every month.
It was then I met the father of my three children now. A professor of mine in my graduate studies who know him too introduced us. He went to my hometown and instantly fall head over heels for me when he saw me as the crowned Miss Calubian during our town fiesta pageant. Everything happened fast and ended up being a whirl wind romance. After two months of being sweethearts, I was already pregnant with our eldest child. My parents consented right away for us to get married with the fact that he is also a professional. He's a police officer. That was how, at the age of twenty my LIFE begins.
He was my first and last boyfriend. And the short span of time that we were together was not enough for us to know each other deeply. It was then I came into the realization of how he can be dominant and abusive over our relationship. He was an only son in his family, with a doting mother who always come to his rescue everytime that we were having an argument. His mother who used to call me foul words such as "whore, no breeding, etc." She was very much blinded with what her son was capable in doing to me everytime that he gets angry and provoked. He used to slapped, yanked my hair, grip my arm vice-like, choked me and grappled with me as if I'm one those criminals that he used to handcuffed with. It was not all rainy, and there was a rainbow always after it. He used to sweet talked me again after those incidents and eventually those moments bore our second and third child. I thought it was already over but those abuses became more and more frequent excuses for him to inflict emotional, physical, mental and financial abuses, leaving me with bruises and a scarred soul. It was the time then that I told myself that enough is enough. All along, I have three counts of VAWC cases against him and I always end up withdrawing it for the thought of giving him one more chance.
Presently, our case was already in the hands of DSWD personnels. We had trials last year and we both came up into a mutual agreement of tending to our kids separately though we are still legally married. It works well with me. It was the ultimate chance of inner peace that I am now cherishing together with my three kids. He still has visitation rights over them and he is giving them financial support too.
Never did at this moment I felt too good and empowered. I came to realized and once again put into use the God given talents that I put behind all those years. I recently finished my masters degree in Guidance and Counselling. I made myself active as a VAWC advocate where I used to donate and asked my co-teachers some preloved clothes for the women and children in the DSWD shelter. I used to visit, play and read stories too to the little children there. I am affliated with a local Waray Artists Group where we exhibit our paintings and give 70% of our proceeds for some orphans and children cancer patients here in the city. During my spare time, I conduct free speaking engagement for women in the shelter about Personality Development and Grooming, as well as about Gender Sensitivity and Personal Rights.
Indeed there's always a rainbow after a storm, I have overcome life's struggles and ended up being more challenge and undeterred. Instead, it paved way for me to unleash all those vibrant capabilities that I have long kept. Dusting off the rust, now, I am ever ready to face the world squarely in the face and say these words out loud, " Come and give me more challenge! I am with no fear because I know the Lord is always with me, and with Him, everything is possible."❤
Now, my sisters all around the globe, please hear my story and be my source of inspiration to give more than what I have for those who necessarily need it. May those sisters of ours who tend to live in fear and loathe have the courage as well to raise a voice and fight for their rights. We too are children under one God, and it's only to Him, we submit our selves.
PEACE TO US ALL!!!