There are many things in life that are always left unnoticed. No matter how hard we try to look, we never see their value. As cliché as it already is, but we only realize the importance of something when it is no longer there. And sometimes, even in its absence, it stays the same—forgotten.

People who never saw me growing up or who do not really know me, see me as a person who is so sure of herself and has her life all figured out. I may not be described as confident, but they would never call me timid and shy.

I, however, am.

Majority of my college years was geared towards finding my own version of self-love. Like anyone else, the journey was definitely not an easy one. There were moments where I spent most of my time pressuring and questioning myself. “Am I good enough?” “Why do I look like this and they don’t?” “Maybe I’m not enough.” The list of self doubt thoughts and questions would go on, and the road to self-love was even farther than what I anticipated.

It was always the little things that ticked me off. The small mark on my arm, the pimple (or pimples) on my face, the stretch marks on my thighs, and the scar on my leg. It was always the small things, the petty things. I would feel insecure, but because of my pride, I would try so hard not to show my vulnerable side. I would use my loud and sometimes easy-going attitude as my security blanket. I tried to fake it until I make it.

But I didn’t.

I always blamed society’s “accepted” beauty standards. I blamed social media for promoting unrealistic beauty. I blamed anything or anyone else. It was only during my last months in college that I realized that I often pass the blame on anything or anyone because I could not accept the fact that the blame should be pointed towards me.

In high school, I dreamt of becoming a courtside reporter. I promised myself that I would audition once I got into college, but I never did.

Frustrated, during my freshman year, I applied to be part of Tomasian Cable Television (TOMCAT) – UST’s Circle of Talents. However, during the day of my audition and interview, I chickened out. Before I entered the room, I changed the position I applied for, from Circle of Talents to writer/scriptwriter.

Don’t get me wrong. I would have loved to be part of the organization as a writer, but it just didn’t feel right.

When I let my courtside reporter dreams go, and it was then when I found my home in college, the Flame.

Entering college, I knew I wanted one thing, to become a journalist. The Flame veered me away from all my insecurities and pushed me towards my goals. Joining the publication gave me a different kind of confidence, familiar and empowering.

It was during my time in the publication that I learned to shatter my walls and slowly remove my armor. It was during my stay where I learned to appreciate all the small things. Being part of a publication urges you to pay attention and give importance to all the details. It was one of the most basic rules, and it was something I knew I had to apply in real life.

There are a lot of things that I always leave unnoticed, but it is because of the Flame that I learned to open my eyes a little wider. A good article is never complete without the facts and details that were built around and from it. And just like myself, I am not who I am without all the details, the imperfections.
To my Flamily, my time working for the publication was one of the best, but without you in it, it would surely be dull. It has been a pleasure working with you.

To Mikkah, my katuwang sa Flame life, who would’ve thought we have made this far. I am beyond proud of the both of us. In the beginning, I always thought we always needed to prove ourselves, but it is only now that I realized, we didn’t have to. We had each other’s support (along with our Flamily, of course). We thrived and survived, and I thank you for sticking with me through everything.

To my mentors, you have always pushed me to my limits and allowed me commit my own mistakes. With that, I am grateful. I learned to be more persistent, careful, and wise.

To JG, no matter what we have been through and no matter which path we chose, I would forever be grateful I met such beautiful and empowered women.

To my high school friends, thank you for loving me for who I am. You have definitely shown me that I am more than my insecurities. Thank you for reminding me that whenever I miss home, I could always run to you, guys.

To my family, my real security blankets. You have loved and supported me more than any could and will. Thank you for always loving me especially during those times I couldn’t even love myself.

To God, You are simply the best.

To you, dear Artlet, adim liplipatan nan nagapuam. (Don’t ever forget where you came from.)

Agyamanak la unay kadakayo amin! (Thank you very much to everyone!) F

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