….. And I firmly believe the greatest that I can be in my whole lifetime is to be myself.

When I was a child and being the youngest of the brood of five, it was not surprising to be constantly compared with your other siblings. What they are and what they have achieved would always bear weight on important decisions to be made. I am blessed with really, really smart brothers and sisters. In fact, I am very proud of their achievements. I have a brother who is doing well in his business and comfortably off financially. I have a sister who is, I believe the smartest among all of us because of her tons of achievements.  Another sister is very blessed financially and a family that is almost perfect and a brother who is doing well with his own endeavors. I love all my siblings and I am very, very proud of them.

Looking back at my life would give me very few reasons to be proud of myself. I have always been struggling financially, physically and emotionally. Although I was an Accounting graduate in college, I hated this course and never even attempted to build a career out of it. Instead, I had no choice but to make my own living with the use of my God-given skills.

Physically, it has always been a struggle losing weight even when I was young.  I was made to believe (and hate) that I was fat and big framed.  Because of this, I never really loved myself and my body to the point that I eat excessively just for the heck of it.  However, as I ventured into my late 30s and a near-operation scare due to gallstones, I realized that I need to take hold of my health once and for all.

I grew up to be a dreamer.  I have always dreamed of meeting my handsome “Prince” and to be with him forever.  Yet, almost twelve years after, I found myself rudely awakened from this dream and was forced to face the harsh reality.  Since then, I have struggled with insecurities, doubts, a very low self-esteem and hatred — nothing to be proud of — This I know.

The other night, I found myself watching “Binibining Pilipinas”, a Filipino beauty pageant wherein the winner will be representing the Philippines in the upcoming Miss Universe pageant to be held in Sao Paolo, Brazil.  There was a question posted to one of the 15 finalists asking her “since no one is deemed perfect, if there is one thing you want to change within yourself–what would it be and why?”  With beaming confidence, the finalist simply answered, “If I am to change anything within myself, it would be nothing.  I believe that God made me who I am today.” Her answer was met with a loud applause from the judges and the audiences.

Reflection time has come upon me since that night and I have been wondering indeed, if I am given the chance to change anything about myself, what would it be? Thoughts of changing the decisions made, the course of actions and the many “faults” I keep finding within myself came to mind.  I could have been more insistent with following my dream to be a guidance counselor and a worker amongst special children. I could have been more patient and selfless before deciding to leave my ex-husband and I could have been more disciplined with the food that I eat and the exercise regimen that I seem to be always starting but never seeing it through. For sure if I did this, I would have ended up being more confident, and never the emotional and self-analytical person as I am now.  I know…. I would have been GREAT. My parents, my siblings and my children would have been very proud of me.

Yet I realized with these musings, I don’t want to be great.  All I ever want is just be Me.  I want to be the person I am now with all the fat and failures.  Why?  Because in all my weaknesses, I know that I am strong because of  the omnipresence of a God who keeps me going.  I couldn’t go on with this life on my own and never was I alone. Someone up there has always helped me see EVERYTHING through.  I may not be a successful accountant now but with my skills as a cook, I was able to support my family financially with the food business I started.  After its downfall, I was able to use my writing skill to work as a freelancer and God has never stopped giving me continuous work since day 1.  Despite the fact that I have always been struggling with insecurities and pain because of others, I hold on desperately for sanity and strength from God who never fails to supply me with HIS grace.  I have learned to accept that I will never be the thin, model-looking girl I have always dreamed of; instead beauty will always be within myself which is more lasting.

This is me.  I am not great but I am proud to say–I am and will always be ME.