To KatKat, my seven year old self

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Remember the old days? All you’ve ever dreamed of was to travel and read (you thought it was that humble and simple – you didn’t know it can mean that you had to be filthy rich to just do those things). Once you said you wanted to be a doctor because that’s a noble thing to do, but then you realized it was your mother’s dream, not yours. Then you said you wanted to be a painter, but later on decided that you wouldn’t want to take your first love seriously because you’re afraid it might not love you back. Then you said you wanted to become a nun, not because you’re religious, but only because nuns didn’t get married. Then you decided to be an entrepreneur. You’d run your own empire in your own stylish way. You could even visualize how you would look like as a successful, single, sophisticated and confident entrepreneur.

Two decades after, here I am. I haven’t become a doctor but I’ve been serving the people for quite some time now. I’ve learned how to do it first when I was in college, when I became an activist. Being with the urban poor masses taught me what it meant to really “Serve. The. People.”. I’ve learned who these “People” were, I’ve learned how they lived and struggled and what they needed. In fact, there are many ways to serve the people, and it’s not just by becoming a doctor. This time, too, I didn’t do it because my mother wanted to (in fact, she hated every single moment of it) but because I did. I chose that definite path of service.

Aha and I became a painter, too, just like what you wanted! It didn’t happen the way you imagined it would – going to art school and eventually holding solo exhibits in air-conditioned galleries. It happened during one of the lowest moments of my life. I was healing from depression. That’s when I started to paint.

I started free painting in Microsoft Paint. Then when I’ve realized I’ve already collected a bunch of works, I decided to paint on canvas cloth using the usual bookstore fabric paint. But instead of having my works framed and displayed, I turned them into bags (since I loved bags and I wanted to create things that would not just be displayed but would be useful to people, too). I made hand-painted canvas bags!

And yes, I was able to sell those hand-painted bags. There were people who were actually willing to pay for them! So the entrepreneur dream was born! The business was put in the back of my mind for a while. But now I’m planning to launch it again soon. This time with more ideas and a better sense of organization.

Aside from that I also became a production manager, researcher, stylist, fashion and travel photographer, now I’m in a non-profit organization pushing for drug policy change as a marketing officer. I’ve written poems that were published online and that were transformed into parts of a stage play by a very talented theater group.

KatKat, I’ve met amazing people! I’ve been to amazing places! I’ve fallen in love, gut stuck in the mud (yes, the two were related), fucked up so many times, learned and transformed myself so many times as well, got hurt, have hurt others, have forgiven others and myself, learned how life worked over and over and over again.

I still don’t want to get married and I don’t want to have my own kids. But I don’t need to be a nun now for me to able to do that. I just need to decide and follow that path even if that path might also lead me to somewhere I didn’t expect I would be.

I’ve finally learned how to take care of myself now, how to make myself feel good and look good. I’m comfortable now in my own skin and this includes being comfortable with all the changes that are taking place and that will soon take place. I’ve learned who to love and how to love. It took a lot of heartaches and tons of strength to be humble before I’ve reached this part. I’m still learning.

I was not able to fulfill your dreams in ways you would’ve wanted, only because God knows how we could best learn our lessons.

I’ve also learned how to stop comparing myself to others. Each of us has her/his own path. It took me years of insecurity and struggle but it’s worth it. I am relishing every minute of it now.

I still haven’t achieved your dream of a life of travel (and reading and not working for money’s sake) but I constantly travel for more or less three years now. I save up to travel. I look forward to my travels. I learn from my travels. The best thing is, I travel to places that assist me in my personal and spiritual growth and development and not just to places that are touristy. And I read a lot, too! Reading and traveling have both been part of my growth.
I’ve healed some really old and deep wounds as well. I’ve won over many of my most stubborn weaknesses and fears.
More than all the things I’ve accomplished, what I am most proud of are my battle scars. I’ve fought for who I was and who I’ve become.
I’m confident that I would be able to fight for who I want to become eventually (we are always in the process of becoming, after all). I may have disappointed you and the people who care about me in many ways, but here I am, I believe I’ve become who God thought I was supposed to be.
Ssshhhh, don’t say it. You don’t have to say anything. I’m fully grateful and empowered being in the present (I know you can see how satisfied I am).
I am a fighter and I am able to keep on fighting for a life of authenticity. I know you’re proud of me.
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