All the expectations that you, and everyone else, have of yourself are repeated in your head. The path you took since you were young was meant to fulfill that expectation. You are undeniably good at it anyway, so it might be what you are destined to do… At least that’s what you believed in. But what if you finally admit to yourself that there is something else you want and, even without visible rewards and future, you see yourself constantly walking towards it? There is only one thing I learned the past year: be honest with yourself.
I have always loved telling stories and writing. When I graduated from college that one afternoon in April, I thought everything I would do from there on out couldn’t come for free. At some point before 2015, I looked for jobs that would pay me to write though my college degree (Public Administration) and professional experience (Operations Management) had nothing to do with it. I would desperately say that I was an Advanced English student in high school just to get something relevant on an application form. It didn’t work. Then I jokingly thought to myself “I would pay someone just to allow me to write!” That’s when it hit me – I don’t need to be paid to do that. So I bought a domain name and put up a blog. But what do I say?
After experiencing gender violence that shook my beliefs, I talked about gender inequality to my family, friends and, basically, anyone who would listen. I sucked in as much feminism as I could from books and music. I learned about the lives of advocates and what got them to where they are. There isn’t much about what a Pinay can do in the face and aftermath of gender violence online and on social media. What is gender violence, anyway? To answer that, I wrote an article for Cosmopolitan and I wrote some more on my blog. Soon after, I had the opportunity to talk to college kids about gender sensitivity for an NSTP class. I found what I deeply and honestly care about, albeit in the most unfortunate way of a firsthand experience.
If you ask me two years ago what I would want to learn more about, I would tell you what my father wanted (and still wants) for me. That would either be Business or Law because that attracts tons of money. But that was my only reason. When I shut that reason out, I took classes in writing, the fruits of which eventually got me a seat at TEDxDiliman: Paths Less Traveled. Now, I am planning on getting a degree in Women’s Studies. What do I do after? I don’t know but I found that doors open and things flow in naturally when you are honest with yourself about what you want to do, what you care about and what you want to know more of.
We find it most difficult to be honest with ourselves. This is why we need that one blunt friend who would tell it like it is. My friends did that with me when it came to me and writing. It took a while though for me to admit that it tickled me to see my words formed just the way I liked them. My prepositions are a mess, my punctuation marks are unsure and I am hardly an expert in the topic of gender at all. I am not being paid to write. My current occupation does not benefit from what I have done and what I plan to do. Then again, when you ask me what I accomplished so far, I don’t tell you my job title or how much I make every year. Instead, I tell you everything above. And I do that with a smile.