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My Healing, My Responsibility

Many people today face different abuses, traumas, difficult experiences or mental health issues. Well, who doesn’t experience any of these?

As a child, I experienced a difficult time when my mom died. I was only 6 then. Growing up, I was bullied. As an adult, I was sexually abused and went through a mental health issue. It was never easy. But I knew I should never just stop there. At some point, yes, I lingered with everything that happened to me. I saw myself as a victim of unfortunate events. But something has to be done. I shouldn’t keep myself from growing and seeing the light. I should stop being sorry for myself. So one by one, I started to address my issues.

To fill the void in my heart of not having a real mom beside me growing up, I found myself family to my friends. I remember calling some of my closest teachers in high school and college “mom”, and “dad” and treating my friends like my real siblings.

(These are some of my high school friends that I keep until now. My siblings from another mother. Family since 2007)

To fight the resounding voices telling me I am stupid, or not enough, I treasured the words of affirmation I get, especially when it comes from my dad. I also learned to read my Bible and get encouragement from there. It has been my solid rock, growing up. I especially loved Proverbs in the time when I always think of ‘suicide’ and unforgiveness.

In facing trauma, after a year, I decided to open up and tell my dad. I also had counseling sessions with one of our guidance counselors in school. I am already a teacher then and I just really grabbed the available resource that I had around me. I also got involved with small groups in the church where I learned to not be ashamed of what happened rather be brave.

After knowing that I have Generalized Anxiety with Depression, I sought help. Honestly, I was hesitant to get help at first. I just want to be alone. I shut people down and locked myself in the room but thankfully, I have been given a supportive stepmom who introduced me to a psychotherapist to get help. I attended therapeutic counseling sessions (I still do) to address and acknowledge my feelings and everything I went through.

And all those things happened because I decided. I decided not to lose myself. I decided to continue despite the hardships. I decided to see an opportunity in the ugly because I believe, my healing is my responsibility. I can always decide to just sit there and cry all day and night. I can disappear and die if I wish to. I can always blame the people around me for abusing me. I can have a heart full of unforgiveness and anger and carry the burden every single day. I can do all those but I chose not to. No one can ever be responsible for my healing. Even my parents, doctors, and psychotherapists, they cannot be responsible for it. No matter how professional and good they are, if I don’t want to be healed, and help myself, I will not be healed. I can only decide and take actions for it.

I remember a friend asked me, “Are you fully healed from all these?”

Yes, I believe so. Though there are times that I can hear a resounding voice in my head, reminding me of all the things happened in the past, I no longer let them dominate me. I always remind myself that the ugly things happen and I am not alone. There are people who went through the same thing or sometimes worst than that. But this thinking was not to ease myself but to remind me that we are all going through difficult times. From thinking this way, I started to see a new light and purpose, my healing can be an inspiration too for someone to heal.

I remember reading, “When a Good God Allows Rape” by Joy Tan-Chi Mendoza. That really helped me to go through tough times. It caused me to really depend on God in healing. I also talked to people who have similar experiences with me and it really brought me to seek healing. This made me realized that if some people inspired me to heal, I can do the same thing to others. I can be an advocate or help to people in need of healing in the areas I am healed.

So if you went through difficult times too or still going through it, I hope you find your way to the light. I hope you don’t stay where you are. I pray that you will be given courage, heart, and bravery to overcome. I pray that you will be strengthened and empowered to get up. I pray for peace, love, and joy to be renewed in your heart. God bless you.

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What Does It Mean to Fail

Tonight, I stumbled into this shared post. And I remember thinking the same way when I was a bit younger. It’s like failure is a name tag attached to you once you fail. But who doesn’t fail? Everyone does. As my father always says, “People fail because people fail.” We are imperfect creatures. (Tho this is not an excuse to always fail.)

The huge part of my life where I was so conscious of failing is when I was in college. It was a crucial time for me to prove myself especially I was taking up Education. Teachers ought to be excellent. (But that doesn’t end there.)

When I was in college, I enjoyed being recognized in class for doing a great job on my subjects. Well, I really did study that time but due to some reasons, I still failed a subject and it’s one of my favorites that was related to reading. I was so frustrated with myself. And yes, it’s like there was a resounding voice calling me a failure! And another yes, I cried for some time. Good thing, I still continued my journey to be a teacher because I realized many things when I was already in the teaching field.

What are my realizations?

  1. Failing humbles people. Knowing my capabilities and talents, I can be boastful at times. I remember being engaged with too many debates before (tho sometimes, it’s for learning purposes) and ended up with so many enemies just because I always thought I was right. When I became a teacher, it has always been my starting point to never boast my achievements but always put a story of hope and humility in my failings.
  2. Failing is a mean to connect. When I was already teaching, the most challenging subject I taught was Philosophy. Most of my students have no idea or interest in Philosophy. On my first day of class, most of them dismissed the idea that it would be fun and they always assume it’s boring. And due to this kind of mindset, many of them had difficulty to pass my class. There, it reminded me of my failing subject. And this didn’t remind me of the pain but the reason. So I tried to reach out to my students and see their difficulties in the subject and even at home. This was how I knew and understood my students more. And that’s how I also realized that being a teacher isn’t just about knowledge and passion. It is also about love and compassion towards your students.
  3. Failing bridges us to change. If something didn’t work out, something has to be done — change. I remember giving my students too many reading assignments and essays for Philosophy. (Well, that’s really the traditional and best way to assess them.) And I found myself stressed with a two-sentence paragraph with nothing related to the readings I sent them, or having caught them sleeping in my actual class! There, I knew something has to be done. Failing challenged me. For a change, I remember using “hugot” lines to many of my activities to help them see through objects which landed on the ‘Philosophy of Things’. We also did some role plays, storytelling and games in my class to make it fun and easy to learn. Failing makes us innovative and creative, I must say.
  4. Failing is not a label, it’s an experience. People are easy to call people or themselves a ‘failure’. No, you are not. Failings happen and what we need to do is to change our perspective towards it. I believe we cannot just move forward after falling. It would take us some time to think and acknowledge our feelings and that’s totally fine. But you don’t have to be stocked there. After failing, reflect and see if there’s something else that you can do to make it better then see it as something that you can learn from. Sometimes, it’s a matter of how we see things. Remember, your failings don’t define you. YOU ARE NOT A FAILURE.

And at times that I still hear that resounding voice calling me a ‘failure’, I read something from the scriptures.