This is one overdue post. I usually pen my gratitude list come New Year’s but back in January, I didn’t have the courage to lay my cards on the table, see my life bare, and search for silver linings. In my heart I know I needed more time to allow the chaos that is my mind to settle into a more tranquil and open state. Now seems like the opportune time.
At twenty-seven, I am grateful for the following:
1. Complete and healthy family – I live in Toronto with my mom and brother while my father and sister stay in the Philippines. We are never physically together but knowing that my parents and siblings are well guarantee my peaceful sleep each night.
2. Capacity to share a little – I started working when I was eighteen and despite having double jobs when I was still in Manila, money always seemed scarce. I always worried about my dad’s medicines or paying rent. I kept working despite the burn-out and stress and ironically never accumulated savings.
If there is anything migrating to Canada has truly helped me with, it’s in easing up on my finances. It’s a miracle how my minimum wage job has enabled me to afford sending some money to my father back home. I’m grateful that though times are hard, I can share a little to my precious family.
3. Having a job – For a while, I felt resentful towards the life I have here in Canada. It’s just completely different from the one I had and this resentment primarily stems from the fact that I don’t have the job I studied and worked hard to earn. It would take some time before I could teach here, would entail going back to university and spending tons on tuition. Looking back, however, I feel glad for the career shifts I have had. I got to wear different hats—that of an office assistant, a retail store employee, a cleaner, a cashier, a production worker, a secretary, and a store supervisor—in a span of two years. Imagine that? Cried buckets and went through all that in order to become a more experienced, better adjusted, and deeply humbled version of myself. Actually, I feel like I can be anything now; I just have to decide what I want to become and be that.
4. Having met difficult people – Never in my life have I met the most number of horrible people than in the past two years. There was a time I felt so fed up, forgot about the good people and friends I still have, and almost lived like a hermit. I limited contact and disengaged myself from people, even from my friends. I was convinced that I am a magnet for abusers, control freaks, crazies and the like; and that maybe, I’m one of them which is why I attract them easily. Thank goodness my real friends talked me out of my dismal mentality. They restored my faith in humanity by providing the many reasons people are still worth my affection and respect. And they were right; I just have to deal with the bad eggs and not turn myself into one like them.
All in all, I’m just really thankful for the persons who caused me hell and wreaked havoc to my self-worth and confidence. Without them, I would have not figured out who my real friends are from the fakes. Without them, I would have not realized the kind of person I never want to become and the life I never want to lead. Moreover, they helped test and expand my patience to its utmost ability, to extents I had no idea existed. I still can’t wrap my head around the root of their evil but at least I am resolved it’s not my fault they act and live that way. I can finally stop blaming and feeling sorry for myself for having been the object of their hate. Above all, I have learned not to care about what they think of me. Thank you, horrible people, thank you. Applause!!!
5. Little steps – Often times, I feel disappointed about the lack of milestones in my life. I feel like I am a slacking, underperforming, underachieving piece of shit. But in my better days I see the good in my baby steps. I realize how hard I could be on myself, how I discount the little achievements of every day. I still don’t have the killer abs I dream of but I have shed off ten pounds since I started trying to get fit. I am yet to go back to university but I have already saved a substantial amount towards it. I managed to walk in heels whole day long. I walked to and from Bathurst Station. I am no awesome cook but I can now command the kitchen. I have made Bicol Express, Chicken Arrozcaldo, Baked Cheesy Potatoes, Carbonara, Pork Steak etc! I do make-up better now; someone even complimented my beginner skills. I have started calligraphy writing and had some success in greeting cards and letters. I write, as much as I can, and feel like I am my blog; that my writing is the atmosphere I can thrive in. My relationship with my mom and brother has improved greatly. I like Toronto, I can say that now with full certainty. I like the city, and I like that I am a part of it.
Baby steps are be big leaps too, in the grand scheme of things. Instead of considering myself a disappointment, I should focus on seeing me as a beautiful work in progress and take delight in my small but meaningful triumphs.
6. Being single – I am twenty-seven, single and not dating at the moment. People say I should be anxious for remaining single at this age but I don’t. I am certain I don’t want to be with anyone right now. I am certain that being with someone else isn’t the one-way ticket to my happiness. I am certain I don’t need anyone to complete me and strengthen me. I am certain I don’t want to settle for the next available guy. I am most certain that in the right time, my future partner will come. I just know. And besides, it’s nice to be single in this city. It’s just that I don’t have dating as a priority right now. My personal goals come first and not finding someone to share my life with just yet. Not yet.
7. My Mistakes – Math errors, spelling, pronunciation and vocabulary lapses, inconsistencies, and more. I think I have made all possible mistakes the past two years and I have felt incredibly ashamed of myself for them. But I should be thankful for them too, everything considered. Now I know I can’t rest on any laurel, particularly the ones I held comfortably in the past. It takes great courage to spring back from making a total dumb ass of one’s self and I can proudly say that I have risen to the occasion amazingly each time. I have gathered so much courage and lessons from the mistakes I had. I can even laugh at the wrongest wrongs I’ve made now. I have learned that hard work is key, that I have to keep on practicing and perfecting whatever skill is required to get the job done well. And that I have to forgive myself when I fail to succeed. There’s just no point beating myself up for my errors. I would just have to live to tell the tale, carry on and try harder whilst attempting to shrug off the embarrassment.
8. My Faithful God – I can honestly tell you that in the past couple of years, I have turned away from God numerous times when life got difficult but not once did He abandon me. I have realized that I can always play pretend and act like there is no God but I will always be lambasted out of that belief over and over until I stop running away. I’m just grateful that during testing times when my mind is closed to faith and my heart is devoid of hope, Jesus never gave up on me. He reminds me to try and be a good person daily. I can hate on myself and the world and He would still speak of love to me. It’s just amazing how that works, how many times He pulled me from the darkness. I am blessed, and I can’t forget that. Ever. I should never fail to remember it.
9. Knowing Yen – You know that feeling when you are doubtful of who you are, what you are capable of, and you second guess your personality? Always comparing yourself with others and finding yourself lacking and failing miserably in comparison? Thank God I am past it. I see Yen, know Maree, and strive for the best Angeline I could ever be. I feel like I don’t have to pretend in any way anymore. I don’t have to worry about my facial moles, my atopic dermatitis or my stretch marks. I don’t have to seem interesting and funny and smart. I don’t have to be anyone I am not. People can just take me for who they think I am and I won’t sweat it proving them right or wrong. I’m just happy that I get to see me in many lights and hues and still be able to accept the person that I am, flaws and all. I can proudly say that this person is worth knowing and loving and I am very, very proud of her. I am rooting for her, for me, for I am worth casting faith in. I am all I’ve got and I’ll give me my best shot at happiness. I never knew this period would come, when I can say that I like me and where my life is heading despite all the cause for worry.
I am just very, very grateful to be alive. Beautiful beginnings await.
Best of luck, Yen. Best of luck, everyone!!!