Monthly Archives: June 2011
As I looked at the vast horizon, I vision myself as an eagle soaring high with so much hope, dreams and aspirations. Each time I flapped my wings, I can feel the strong wind underneath bringing me higher and higher until I can almost touch the sky…. And almost as fast I went up, I suddenly felt myself falling, struggling for control and losing balance! The exhilaration of being up there changed into dread and fear as I fell fast. Just as I was about to lose everything, the wind blew strong and suddenly I felt myself being lifted high. My father, my hero, is the wind beneath my wings.
Allow me to share how my dad shaped and inspired me to be the person I am today:
My dad was my first tutor in school.
Summertime while growing up was never a time to laze around. Every day I had to get up, recite the multiplication table in Chinese and perfect it that I can instantaneously give the answer to 6 x 9 or 8 x 9. I had to write two pages of Chinese words in the morning and in the afternoon before I can even think of playing. Although I grew up not really liking math as it was never my cup of tea, I won several Chinese Calligraphy contests in school.
Ever since I was in grade one, I never understood why I was always chosen to represent our class in speech contests. I was declaiming in English, Filipino and Chinese. My dad would practice me everyday unceasingly until I master my oratorical speech. What I learned: practice is the key to build confidence. Practice and practice up to the point of mastery even while asleep. I mostly won the contests I was in.
My dad taught me to drive.
I can still remember those days when my dad used to give driving lessons to my siblings. I would sit at the back and enjoy the joy ride. I was eleven years old when it was my turn to learn. Since I cannot reach the gas pedal, my dad let me sit on a ream of bond paper. For the next year or so, my driving lessons were moving the car forward and backward. That’s it. There were times I felt so bored and so impatient! I wanted to learn more and go out where the other cars were. Yet, he told me to master the very basic of driving a stick-shift car before anything else and I did. I got my learner’s permit when I was 14 years old and have been driving for almost 30 years now.
My dad taught me to cook.
Yes, I am the cook I am because of my dad. The first time he taught me to cook was back when I was in 4th or 5th grade in school. He taught me how to cook noodles. Every Chinese girl should know how to cook noodles—that’s what he used to say. And so noodles it was and more. He taught me all the secrets of marinating, stir-frying and even marketing and storing of food. All these lessons came in handy and shaped me as a cook.
I love playing tennis because my dad is a tennis player.
Although I learned the sport at age 24, since then, tennis has been a very important part of my life. I’ve been competing locally if the opportunity presents itself. Hopefully, I can still play tennis as I reach my dad’s age. At 80, he still plays a game of tennis every day.
My dad taught me important lessons in life.
• Be a good wife to your husband by taking care of his needs above all else. From simply making him a cup of coffee during a hard day or getting ready his clothes while he is in the bath , constantly be around to support him in all his endeavors.
• Learn to be content with what you have. Do not compete with others because it will cause you to be dissatisfied with life.
• Always and at all times be frugal in spending. If you are earning Php100, spend only 80% and keep the 20%. With my dad, he spent only 50% of his earnings and kept the other half. This is the reason why even though he was not able to finish school, all five of us were able to go to good colleges (my siblings hold Master’s and doctorate degrees) and have a career.
• “Always finish what you started.” Starting a project, plan or lesson to learn should always have an ending. Despite how difficult it can be, always be determined to finish it.
Most of all, my dad taught me to stand up every time I fall. He possesses strength that all of us look up to. My father used to be very, very strict during our growing up years but underneath all the toughness, there were gentleness and love. He is a traditional Chinese man and typically, Chinese people are not demonstrative of their love. My dad used to tell me I was his “most precious” daughter…. He says this to my other sisters as well. It is his way of telling us how much he loves us. With him, there was no “favorite” son or daughter. We were all loved and brought up equally.
My dad is my strength. Although I don’t hear it from his words but he is constantly proud of my simple achievements in life. He never fails to ask me if I won the tournament or not. He used to love the Chinese steamed buns I used to make and never failed to tell me how good it tasted. He is interested in my work as a freelance writer although I am not sure if he totally understood the technicality of it. Once he saw me crying because of the pain I had to endure with not seeing my daughters, he encouraged me to move on.
I love you papa….so, so much. I know I have failed you many times but you never gave up on me. You have always been my strength…my wind beneath my wings. Happy Father’s Day.
“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket- safe, dark, motionless, airless–it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, and irredeemable.” C. S. Lewis
“I understand now that the vulnerability I’ve always felt is the greatest strength a person can have. You can’t experience life without feeling life. What I’ve learned is that being vulnerable to somebody you love is not a weakness, its strength.“
- Elisabeth Shue
I have a vulnerable heart.
My heart has been broken, crushed and trampled to millions of pieces so many times that I feel it will never survive another major disaster in life. This scares me all the more considering at almost 41 years and God-willing, I may live another 40 years more. Nothing can assure me that from this moment on to the last of my dying breath, my heart will never be broken again. Because of this, I constantly feel fear that any time soon; this heart will have to face another catastrophe again. It pains me to think how can I survive? This is how vulnerable I am at this moment.
Somebody wisely said, to truly love someone means opening your heart to the pain. It is vulnerability. However because of past experiences being terribly hurt tremendously by the person you love, it is normal that you are constantly wary and fearful. It seems you are building an invisible wall in your heart trying to protect it from being hurt again. Every little doubtful situation will cause your heart to pound with distress as you feel yourself being sucked up by bad memories causing you to be very suspicious. The walls surrounding your heart are up a hundred fold to keep it from breaking into pieces again. Because of your obvious distress, your eyes are physically and emotionally dimmed to the point of being temporarily blind; you don’t and won’t listen to anything sensible because all you feel is the fear that it is going to happen again.
It’s been a year. Yes, I can say I have physically and emotionally moved on. Although I have not gone far but I am glad to say I was able to move several feet away from all the ugliness. Yet, being vulnerable makes it truly difficult to continue with the progress especially when your trust has been broken and you have to suffer the crushing of your self esteem. Many times I am frustrated with myself because I know I wasn’t like this before. I never looked at myself in the mirror disdainfully despite my flabs and fats. Yes, I have my dark moods while growing up being a melancholic but I knew I was able to overcome this through my achievements that built self confidence. Yet today, I feel I’m back to square one with no more strength to build myself up once more.
In my vulnerability, I realized I cannot do this on my own. While I may not be young anymore and my heart is doubly tired, I feel in my weakness God is my strength. While on my knees in deep prayer with my usual ramblings to Him, He gently reminded me that He is still the Lord of my life. It is just like bungee jumping from the top of the Eiffel Tower. I felt myself plunging fast to my impending doom when suddenly a strong and elastic cord on my heel broke my fall. God is my elastic cord. I should trust Him that He will not let go of me.
Human as I am, every time I feel being thrust towards the nightmare, I would ask for assurance not to be hurt once more. Yet, I realized I am putting my trust and faith towards someone who is as human as I am. This is the reason why, I can still feel an impending doom hovering. I do not have the inner peace I am searching for. I cannot continually move on and I am trapped. I felt the only way for me to be shielded from being hurt is to put my heart in a casket—safe from everything and everyone. Yet, I know this is a cowardly way of moving on.
Trust in God ONLY. Yes, this is what I have learned; what I am continually trying to embrace each day of my life. This is the only time vulnerability becomes strength.
For someone like me who has been working pretty hard these past months, I consider my family and I truly blessed to be given the chance to visit a wonderful place in the south, Cebu City.
Even several decades back when I was a teen, Cebu was already considered a very progressive city outside Metro Manila (the capital city of the Philippines). In the Philippine history, Cebu, particularly Mactan island played a very significant role as being the very first place in the Philippines discovered by Magellan, a Spanish conquistador. During the administration of Pres. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Cebu was considered the “Malacañang of the South”. The reason for putting up this office was due to the fact that the ex-President wanted to show the Filipino people that the government does not only focus to the wants and needs of people from Luzon but also people living in Visayas and Mindanao.
The trip was happy and a much-needed time to relax and unwind.
It’s been awhile since I last blogged which is quite unusual for me.
The month of May passed like a blur with me being stressed at work. I also had to work extra to pay for the sky-high school expenses as I get my son Josh ready for another school year. Sigh. Summer days are over. Time to wake up early, fix breakfast and bring my son to school before 7am once more. This school year marks another milestone for him since he is starting grade school. It simply means whole-day classes from Monday to Friday and tutoring classes for an hour every afternoon. Sadly, I don’t have the patience and time to tutor him myself because of work. Other than this, my husband’s grandmother passed away recently and it was tough for we had to go back to my husband’s hometown for the wake and burial.
Without much adieu, May is gone in a flash and now it’s the middle of the year. I wonder what is in stored for me this month?
Hopefully, it will be an easy transition time not only for my son but also for us as Josh starts grade school. I have to put in more time of work to make up for the days that I wasn’t around too. I do wish I could earn more so I can finally pay off some of my bills this month and be financially stable by the end of the year.
I don’t know why but I just feel melancholy at this moment. Sigh….
I need to focus and get back on track.