It’s Saturday. It is the time of the week when I have my “me-time”. I woke up late and had coffee and watched makeup tutorial and vlogs. Then I started to worry for my upcoming advocacy event but decided today should be all for myself. As an introvert, a time alone is very sacred. So I paused and made my month-long reflections.
Looking back, my dream job had always been to be Ms. Saigon in West End production. My other dream was to be a Disney princess. I wanted to be the character voice of empowered women like Princess Jasmine and Mulan. Obviously I am a fan of Lea Salonga. The funny thing is I always thought that these childhood dreams can happen in my lifetime. Later on, I realized that these childhood dreams of becoming international (charot) were beyond my reach, I had downsized my dream from a Broadway star to a media personality/ TV reporter. Eventually, I took speech communication in college because I thought this was a step to fulfill my dreams.
Fast forward, none of these bizarre dreams ever made to reality. I had experienced the uncertainty of a fresh graduate, the mid 20s’ quarter life crisis, and my gradual transformation to adulthood. These have led me to where I am right now. I had experienced not just the quarter life crisis but existential crisis.
I did not become Ms. Saigon or a Disney Princess but what was clear to me I wanted have a purposeful life. If I had to un-filter my words, I wanted to do “something big.” This narcissism which is partly a mixture of self-love and self-loathing is one reason why it took me years to think like an adult.
I may have never become a performer in Broadway but I have found a stage where I can move an audience, influence their values, change their opinions, and even appeal to their feelings, just like a theater actress. Like Mulan, I have become an advocate for women empowerment. I am quite thankful that I have found a space where I can speak, share my principles, and fight for the rights of others.
Working in the development sector has provided me a platform to propose solutions on the issues faced by the vulnerable sector of the society, especially women. I get to advocate reproductive health, violence against women and other pressing issues faced by women and children.
When you read self-help books or hear motivational speeches, they always tell you that you should follow your passion. But the question is: “What is your passion?”
For me, I discovered that singing is not my passion (hehe). I thought it was. Acting is not my passion. (Akala ko rin haha) Writing is not exactly my passion, just a tool for my real passion. My passion is to serve others: to think of ways on how we can help those who are vulnerable, neglected, and forgotten in the society.
And my dream is no longer to be Ms. Saigon but to have a more caring society where everyone is treated with dignity and respect and every place is a safe place for women and children so that there will never have to be a real life Ms. Saigon, an Asian 17-year old girl who was forced to prostitution and ended her life eventually.
I remember when I was still working for a corporate, I tried to audition with a theater group, and eventually got accepted. I tried for three nights but I realized I just could not balance my regular job with my so-called passion. Then, our preacher said to me. “God will find a way to use your talent.” The next day I quit. And continued with my corporate job after a few years, I became interested with advocacy work.
How do you find passion? Passion from its original meaning is suffering. Find something that’s worth the suffering. At the same time, it should be rewarding. I love singing but singing did not love me back (hehe)
You can never go wrong with helping others as a motivation. My generation is always fond of recognition and accomplishment as a yardstick of their personal worth. If you put helping others as an inspiration in what you do, you are no longer living for yourself but living for others.
While writing this reflection, I know there are many people out there who are thinking about how to be productive and make meaningful lives.
Here I am saying it’s okay to be idealistic and to set high standards for yourself or to keep principles. I became an advocate because I strongly believe in justice, compassion, equality, and empowerment.
We are the authors of our lives. It is up to us to make it interesting, worthwhile and meaningful. Perhaps what I am trying to say there is a place for those who are idealistic and visionary. Go and find it.