We Are Not Dead Ends

When I was in third year high school, I thought that it was the end of the world. Well, my world at least. I was summoned to the principal’s office for the nth time and was about to be stripped of my DOST privileges because, other than I was not attending my classes, my grades in all of my subjects (except PE)plummeted to a mark below passing. My parents were required to make an appearance and guess what, no one appeared on my defense.

On that fateful day, I fidgeted with my green backpack which was adorned by all kinds of profanities and marched inside the principal’s office alone. It was the scariest time of my life. I couldn’t get hold of my father and my mother was no where close. When I was asked where my parents were, all I could say was , “I don’t know.” I didn’t see the need to lie anymore and I reserved the last ounce of strength to explain why I was always cutting classes, why I got involved in gang riots, why I was seen hanging out (sometimes caught smoking and drinking) with the wrong sort during wee hours of a school day, and why my grades were very low. I knew I was in trouble and I had one last chance to make things right.

I need not to write here what I said. One thing I can share, my knees were shaking and my voice was barely a whisper which I remembered one teacher repeatedly instructing me to speak louder because they could not hear me. To cut this sad story short, in the end, I was given one more chance. I like to think that maybe they really thought that I was special but now that I’m older, I knew that was not entirely true. I think they gave me another chance for putting up a brave front that day in defending myself. I think they felt sorry for me. Anyway, whatever their reasons were, I will always be thankful.

After that day, I started to prove people wrong. I was not a dead end. I said to myself, I’m going somewhere. I don’t know where, but definitely not nowhere. I was certain of it. I realized then that if I destroyed myself, no one else was going to suffer but me.

FxCam_1379845976575My college ID. I used my high school graduation photo as a reminder of what I have been through and how I almost destroyed my future. This was my reason for insisting to use the red ID even though we have been told by the UP administration to use the electronic ID. I didn’t have issues paying for the electronic ID, the red ID just had sentimental value which I obviously could not part with.

People said I was not going to graduate high school. They were wrong. People said that I was going to be one of those teenage mothers. They were wrong. People said that I was going to be just like my mother, bound to destroy myself. They were wrong. People only started changing their minds when I was in the university testing waters. In fact, up until my sophomore year in the University of the Philippines, people were still scratching their heads as to how I got in. (CLUE: UPCAT!)

People can be so cruel. Even friends and family can be cruel. It’s heartbreaking when they dump a shitload of discouragement on your head, but the best thing to do when this happens is to take a fucking shower and cool off. It would be wonderful to kick them in the face before that shower but then the effort would not be worth it. After the shower, remember what you’re capable of. If you think you can do it, then do it. If you think it’s not worth pursuing anymore, then stop. You don’t need other people to tell you what you can and cannot do. You don’t need to convince them of your reasons. It’s your life, not theirs.

grad UP

Sometimes, other people have nothing to do with it. Sometimes, it’s your own demons taunting you to break. Some days you give in, some days you put your fist up and fight. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes you just give up but it doesn’t mean that you have lost. I don’t think giving up after exhausting everything is losing. It’s just you, carrying on with your life minus the burden that may have been eating too much space.

The point is, life is filled with boundless possibilities. Each person has his or her possibilities. It’s unique for each one of us. You know your possibilities. You know how far you can go, how much you can carry, and how long you can last. Use me as an example. I got so used to people telling me that I was not going anywhere in high school that I never thought that I would move to the northernmost city of the Philippines for college after living sixteen years of my life in the South. I dreamed of it but I never thought that it will come true and it did. I thought that travelling overseas was only for those who can afford it and I have succumbed to my fate of listening to other people narrate their stories of life abroad. Now, I have stories to share about life in foreign countries.

BAHRAIN My first travel abroad. Life in Bahrain, 2005.

Many people said that it was impossible, at my age, to own and build my own house. Heck, my ex-boyfriend (who was still my boyfriend then) was one of those who discouraged me about the house project that I was entertaining back in 2008. He really was an asshole. I don’t know what I saw in that guy. Anyway, I proved them wrong by building my own house in Mandaue, Cebu. I sold it when I left the city for good but the point is, I made it happen.

my first houseThat little house was a labor of love. I actively participated in the construction of every inch of that house. I cried when I last saw it and with a heavy heart, surrendered the house keys to the new owners.

No one else was going to make it happen for you. I don’t know what it will take – sheer determination, hard work, or money, but you have to be the one to do it. Try, see what happens, then re-evaluate after experimenting. There’s nothing wrong with changing your mind. Take courage by the balls and squeeze every drop of bravery you can muster. You’re not crazy. If you are, then that makes two of us. 🙂

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  1. I feel you Den! First year pa lang pinatawag na parents namin ni Pia. KAsi daw ang dami naming friends sa higher level. Malamang mabubuntis daw kami ng maaga. Being in the NODE class, we were expected to just bury our faces in the pages of those science and math books. I hated it. Our own classmates judged us for being too friendly. My attention was called again in 4th year because I was spending too much time at the Davao Wave’s office. I have forgiven them. Those who were so sure what my life would be like in the future. They were wrong.

    • @Ate Via: I guess some people judged us too soon but hey, it’s good to know that we have proven them wrong. 🙂 . What happened to Ate Pia na pala? I haven’t seen her since high school. I think I saw her a few years after I graduated from college but I wasn’t entirely sure if it was her (or maybe that was her)…and because I was uncertain, I ended acting like an idiot. Well, I hope that wasn’t her. I’d love for us to catch up one day and just talk about everything. Maybe, when I get to your lot in the world, I’ll give you a call. lol

  2. cheche pagaran says

    Den, you have strong spirit, gutsy and has a good heart and looking at what you have achieved so far, i know that you will go the distance..you have all the tools and the heart to achieve what you want in life..im proud of you roomy

    • hey che…it’s been a long time! thanks for the comforting words…we should catch up the next time i’m home. 🙂

  3. cheche pagaran says

    Sureness!!! Just let me know ahead of time…see yah next time..goodluck den to everything you do…

  4. so proud of you! love you, den!