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Awake

chaiI admit I am at a loss for words for a proper goodbye.

This column was already way past its deadline. For an unknown reason, I could not seem to find anything to share on my last chance to write this column. I could not choose what memory or lesson to highlight, so that I could share something relatable to our readers. If there is anything that I aim to do, it was to make my last entry remarkable.

My inbox notified with an urgent reminder from our managing editor, requesting me to pass my column already. My mind (which is used to “clutch gaming” or cramming) suddenly decided to get ahold of itself. I hope that the following paragraphs will resonate to every Artlet’s experience and that they would be able to get something out of it, to say the least.

I have a confession to make: I hated myself. It took me four painstaking years to be able to look at a mirror and actually like and love what I see.

I cannot remember when or how it started, but the feeling of hatred lingered up until I entered college. I felt ugly. I always thought less of myself. I doubted if I really had a talent or if I could be good at anything. I always apologized, even down to the smallest mistakes. People might have mistaken it for manners, but it was actually me being sorry I even existed. I kept comparing myself to others, checking my success with theirs, and it would leave me in tears.

Thoughts of uselessness and worthlessness circled above me like vultures mocking their prey before they devour. I would feel defeated every night, disappointed that I could not be the good student that I was, the daughter that my parents could be proud of, the friend that anyone could count on, and the person worthy of love, and loving.

I hid under the façade of being the timid lady who kept to herself until she was spoken to. I remember the time that I looked forward entering college. The allure of a fresh start got me motivated to think of ways on how I could reinvent myself and prove doubters wrong. When I was actually there, I got so overwhelmed that I retreated within me, not able to connect with people that much. I felt “fake” and I was bothered with the thought that I was being unfair to those people who were genuine with me.

However, in the next years that came, I took the leap of faith and got out of the façade I built.

I started pursuing the same passion again. I learned that I am not necessarily starting over, but I am moving up. I was forcing myself to try different roles, wherein I already found my niche in writing. Before, I only have a vague background of my program, but then I realize why I am here in college in the first place, I am here because I need to learn and understand the purpose of what I do best. I started asking myself: “Why do I write?” “To whom do I write for?” It gave me a sense of duty to deliver the best I could and a chance to help others as well. I started making the most out of every class that I attended. I was actually having fun learning something new each day. I learned to touch lives.

Next, I have come into terms that I should not focus on what others can do, it can only sow seeds of envy and prevent me to reach my goals. No one moves forward by looking at their sides. Our heads only face north. Each one of us has their own greatness. We have different things in which we are good at, and that is what makes us, us. Instead, I decided to focus my energy on beating my last track record. By challenging myself to be better than I was yesterday, I started to see myself in the eye, looking for something to improve. I am still a work in progress, just as any of us. It helped me regain my confidence and slowly break through the barrier that once kept me hidden.

Then, I started to accept the things I cannot change. I dealt with them with the undying hope that things would get better the next day. I started to be optimistic, despite being continuously dealt with the short end of the stick. These shortcomings made me want to change the course of the tide. In letting myself be challenged, I discovered the fighter in me. I learned so much from the experiences that I’ve had, making me wiser. It made me understand others too, the reasons why they acted as such, and offer my help whenever they need it.

In the course of four years, I started to love myself again. The liberating act of understanding, forgiving, and accepting–I was awakened. This set me to go further than before.

In college, we discover ourselves. Then, we reach out to others. Borrowing a line from one of the women I look up to, Ms. Pia Wurtzbach, there is nothing more fulfilling than knowing you have fully matured into someone who could be “confidently beautiful with a heart.”

***

I am forever grateful and indebted to my parents who always dare me to prove them wrong. I love you both!

A hug to my previous mentors (Ate Jenina, Kuya Abu, Kuya Arnel, and Ate Rose) for being stern with me. Without your “tough love,” I might not be the journo that I am today.

Hands down to the past and present Faces, you guys are very talented that it has been such an honor to work with you!

To my “powerhouse,” – Gaea, Kathryn, Charissa, no regrets in being with you all, throughout the years. We did it, at last!

To the Flame, who took me in and made my college life worthwhile, thank you so much for the good memories! All the love for everyone who is part of this publication. F

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