I have been ambitious for as long as I can remember. Heck, I wanted to be the Mayor of our town when I was like three. I even remembered saying that I want to be the President of the Philippines in gradeschool. I wanted to soar as high as I can and be the best in what I do. That is how full blown ambitious I was.
But of course that was just the little girl in me talking. I just want to emphasize how being ambitious was ingrained in my DNA. I have been its epitome way before I understood what that word means. I just laugh when I remember all those things I’ve said. And then I grew up.
I started to get scared of the world. I began watching the news and became anxious to death about almost everything. I became afraid even in walking alone, being embarassed, and making a mistake. I became fearful even of the good things ever since I got exposed to the dark side. The fire died. It was like someone poured a huge bucket of water to the blazing fire in my heart. Sometimes it still flickered, but most of the time it died.
Thankfully, this world has angels. They gave me the space, the extra nudge, to be who I was meant to be. They pushed and inspired me to be the game changer that I truly believe I am. Now, I can say that it’s back, and although I’m not as fierce as I used to, I am now more stable and calm. The fire knows when to burn so high, when to slow down, and most importantly how to get the fire back up.
Let me just dedicate this blog post to the people who gave me the permission to be unapologetically myself, to grow, heal, survive, and thrive.
1. My second grade teacher: You are smart.
Thank you ma’am, for opening the door to learning. You are beyond amazing. Because of you, I discovered and believed that I am smart. You opened me to the world of short stories, cultural music, public speaking, and dance. You made me feel seen and heard. You were the first one to ask me to host a school event. Because of you I just felt so seen. I believed that I was special because you had your way of making kids feel like that. Until now, I’m still ever curious and inquisitive. I still love music. I still love learning. For the doors you opened, I’ll forever be grateful.
2. My bestfriend C: Be creative and bold.
Oh wow, the road we travelled C. I can’t imagine life without you as my partner in crime. You influenced me to be creative and bold. You were my playmate, the person I told hilarious stories to, the one who influenced me to be so imaginative, my mentor and inspiration. We dreamed of a lot of things together. We’ve been through so much together. Because you are so brave, I felt and still am feeling that I can give birth to the great things that I am dreaming of because you inspire me to be bold and relentless in my passion. Thank you for being my sister from another mother. Thank you for the listening ear, for teaching me Buddhist principles, for treating me as family. I am so excited about what we are going to accomplish in this life.
3. My siblings: Love
Thank you for being the fuel of my engine, the wind beneath my wings, and the reason that I am still living. You are my army and my foundation. You teach me love, patience, and bravery. Because of you, I want to do so much good in this world. I want to be a good example to you my younger siblings. I want to be in a good financial standing so that I can provide your needs. I want to take you to Disneyland. Know that I am forever grateful for you five. I love you so much.
4. Mommy Oprah: Heal and live with a purpose
Ever since I watched your Harvard graduation speech, everything has changed. I was blown out by how amazing you are. You have gone through a traumatic childhood but you never let that experience beat you. Thank you for telling your story. You made us feel that even if there are so many challenges in your life, you can still heal and thrive. Because of your teachings, I managed to find my way to healing and be in alignment with who I am. You are the mother that I never had but thankfully there’s youtube and social media. I now can say that I am living my life on purpose and you played a big role on that.
5. My partner: Kindness, patience and unconditional love
Hi boyfriend. Although we see each other almost everyday I just want to flex you in this blog. You were a big part of my healing. Your presence consistently taught me that being kind and loving is not just something you feel and say, it’s something you work on every single day. I learned to be more kind and gentle even in really challenging situations. I also am learning about this partnership thing that we have. With you, I realIzed that love is a choice, and that we are teammates even if sometimes we are so pissed with each other. Thank you for reminding me that having patience is a must, and that it takes time for good things to come into fruition. I truly believe that you are God’s gift for every good that I did in my life.
6. Beyonce, Ashley Graham and all the curvy girls out there: Beauty
If I could have dime for every instance that I said, “You are fat and ugly,” to myself, I’d probably be a millionaire. Like, seriously, I hated looking at myself in the mirror because of society’s flawed beauty standards. I grew up thinking that I need to be skinny to be loved and called beautiful. You can even check my 2015 blog posts about that. But when I saw Beyonce and Ashley Graham slaying, I knew that my body is just not being represented a lot more in media. Thank you queens for representing us curvy girls. Now, I feel more free and confident to wear what I want to. I am proud of every curves and edges and I am now being kind to my body. I take care of it and speak kind words to it. We are all beautiful. We don’t have to be tall, skinny, and white to radiate that beauty. It starts with our heart.
7. Papa: Passion and Bravery
Hi Papa. You and basketball are two peas in a pod. I knew what passion looks like through seeing you play and teach basketball. I knew what genuine love looks like because you consistently showed that to us when you were alive. I know that every step needs bravery, even when you have to make unpopular choices. I understood being passionate and brave at a young age, so thanks for that Papa. I am who I am because you were such a good example to us. Now, I am so dedicated to my goal because it’s very clear to me that service is my passion.
I wouldn’t be where I am and who I am without these people who gave me permission. How about you? Who are your heroes and how did they influence you?