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A Defining Phase of My Life

We all go through different phases and seasons in life. That’s all in one its magic, mystery, and inevitability. The difference is, how we respond to those phases and seasons. You see, I pride myself as a strong individual with seemingly unshakable confidence that I will always make it to the brighter side. And for everything I’ve been through, and every failures I

overcome, through out those moments, I have to fight to keep my head above water yet continue to show strength and keep a smiling face for those who depend on me to provide inspiration, hope, encouragement, and support for their own struggles. Am I unstoppable because I am extremely extraordinary compare to the rest of the world? Hell no! I just don’t know any other way and was given no other option but to fight, be brave and never give up not just for myself, but for those whom I felt my responsibility and those who bet and have faith in me.

At the age of 11, our Mom (sole parent and provider) suddenly passed away, leaving me with a less than year old infant and 2 years old toddler that I love so dearly. No life insurance, no inheritance, nor a financial fortune that was set aside to help us through. Not even a health insurance. But what was left on me was mega tons of responsibilities that at that young age, I don’t even know what to do. We’re fortunate that our grandparents chose to take us in the midst of life’s hardship and became our primary guardian. If there’s one thing I’m super grateful in this situation is having them that kept me and my siblings intact under one roof. We have no immediate Aunts or Uncles to come to rescue and help us out. Our mom was an only child. And the saddest part is, our grandparents barely even sustain their own financial needs and they’re way passed the retirement age that looking for a job to keep us afloat in a day to day basis, is close to impossible. In the culture where I came from, having 3 full meals a day is the norm. But in our household, having one full meal is a tremendous blessing. So at the age of 11, I was forced not by my grandparents, but my sense of responsibility to work and help out financially to alleviate the burden to my grandparents in raising me and my sisters. Back then, in the Philippines, there’s no such thing as government assistance to the poor. Much more to those who are in the lowest of the low poverty line like us. I learned to scrapped, clawed, and dug my way out in the most darkest situations for all of our survival.

Life was difficult for the young 11 years old version of me. But I will not do it any other way. Yes we never had help or opportunities - but that journey that often forced me on my knees helped me discover my strength in ways I never

thought was possible. I learned to forged my own tools in life, and created my own chances, and built my own way to the top. Life has tried to take everything so many times from me, from us that I begun to to expect nothing but less than the hard days and steep challenges day after day. Many times I was wondering if I can make it through another day. There were just those days that everything seemed to go wrong and in one flick of a finger, things can turn upside down. But those storms that tore me apart, and deemed my brightest spirit, I overcome them and it sharpened me to an unbendable sword I am today. And this is where mindset and perspective plays a massive role. I’ve not only weathered the hardest and heaviest downpours and survived the toughest times, I’ve started to to appreciate and learn to dance in the rain. This doesn’t mean that I no longer stumble and fall, but I’m now almost certain that when everything turns out bad, it not going to be the end of the word. I can push through anything if I put my mind and heart into it. And no, it’s not going to easy or painless, but I realize I’m so much stronger than I think, specially when being strong is my only option.

The take away to this message? “Do not chose to stay down when you fall, or let let life gets you, or letting the world gets the best of you”. You have the option! With all the life challenges and experiences, you are now braver, stronger, and wiser than you once were. And instead of dwelling on what went wrong, or lament your struggles, remember you are a remarkable warrior! You have a magnificently forged iron spirit that you have battled to become. So pat yourself in the back! I knew there were many times that you wanted to quit and didn’t think you’d make it through, but girl… every time, you did! Every time, you get stronger! And every time, you surprisingly made magic from your own mayhem. You are a PHOENIX! Life and the world may set to destroy you with fire, but you rise from the ashes, fiercer, stronger, and unstoppable.

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