Everyone deserves to be loved. And for me, it all began in Coffee Bean.
Some of us grow up with broken families, insensitive parents, mean schoolmates, among others. Not many realize that these experiences can greatly affect and even break a child, carrying on to affect even their adult life. I was one of those people. I grew up to be socially insensitive, too assertive, insecure, and messed up. I was called and labeled stupid and worthless– and I believed them. This had a bearing on my interpersonal relationships that it took years before I opened up to others and started to have friends. Because of this, I never thought I would find love. And I never thought I would find happiness. But that all changed when I became closer to a schoolmate from elementary right before graduating college.
Our story started in Coffee Bean, Salcedo. It was just like any other day during the summer of 2013. As we were spending more and more time together a few weeks before that, I had invited her to go there. We began conversing and I started testing the waters by asking her if she liked anyone. She kept on saying no but I knew she did. This gave me the courage to pursue her.
Some time later, I knew she was the one. One day, I invited her to go to Coffee Bean, Ayala Triangle, with me after we had dinner. And in the tree right in front of the store I asked if she would accept me with all my flaws, my faults, my issues, my insecurities, and the wounds that my past had inflicted on me which I was still struggling to heal from. She said yes. And from then on we promised to stay together.
She was the best thing that ever happened to me. She helped me realize that everyone deserves to be loved, and everyone can change to become better versions of their pasts. She showed me that to heal from our past is a choice. We can’t keep making excuses for ourselves. We have to choose to overcome our wounds and act.
Some days I struggle, I fail, but on other days I succeed. I tell you: your failures do not define who you are. What defines you is your choice whether to stand up or not after you fail. It can be difficult. It can be exhausting. But it can be the most rewarding and wonderful feeling to look back and realize that YOU healed yourself. And on those days when you no longer have the strength to fight your demons, gather the strength to get up from the people by your side who love you.
I can never express how grateful I am to her for changing my life and for making me realize that I can control what I do, think, and feel. Most of all, for cheering me on during the times I lost faith in myself.
To this day, we spend most of our days in Coffee Bean. In fact, Coffee Bean has been the venue of many of our happy, sad, and exhausting moments. I would never have found the courage to ask her to be with me if it wasn’t for that one day in Salcedo.
To all those who are still battling the demons of their past, fight them. To those who have been told that you are stupid, that you will never amount to anything, overcome those voices. To those who are so broken that they think they do not deserve love, you do. Everyone deserves to be given a chance, to feel the happiness you feel when you wake up next to the person you hold most dear in the world, to hold the hand of the person you want to spend the rest of your life with, to feel the embrace that tells you “I still have faith in you” when you have lost that in yourself, and to see, in their eyes: “I still love you” when you can’t even look at yourself in the mirror. I know, because I once felt that way and sometimes I still feel it. But fight it. Choose to fight it. And open yourself up to the all the love that the world wants to give you. Because when you find the one person worth fighting your demons for, it will all be worth it.