What are the most liberating or empowering decisions you have made in life? In celebration of Women’s Month this March, I listed five things I consider to have empowered me as a woman in ways I can neither count nor imagine.
Quitting a toxic job. Actually, it’s not really very toxic, it’s just that, coming out fresh in college, I was a bit dazed by the corporate world. Or maybe, hindi ko lang talaga feel ang ginagawa ko. I remember being sick every month. I would commute to work every morning feeling very tired and lazy. No enthusiasm or even the slightest motivation, whatsoever. I would endure the traffic in EDSA (two-hour or more commute) every night and when I get home, I’d skip dinner and immediately doze off in our living room. To be honest, kahiyaan na’to, sometimes I won’t even wash-up or brush my teeth anymore because of too much exhaustion from work and commute. I’d just wake up the next day and head on to the office. Perhaps, my body and mind weren’t ready for that lifestyle.
Exactly after a year, I resigned from my work even without a replacement job. I’d say that was brave of me. I decided to quit because I knew it was not doing me any good, physically, emotionally and spiritually. I decided to slow down before embarking on a new path. Actually, nag-prepare naman ako for the coming drought. I saved as much as I could so that my cash flow won’t be affected drastically. Nevertheless, it was liberating to start all over again, from scratch ika nga. To be empty financially, to worry as your savings were slowly depleting and to wait patiently for the next career move, in complete and total surrender to God. It made me realize that in my life as an adult, I’d inevitably fall down on my knees but I am also capable of standing up, bouncing back and soaring higher.
Living abroad. If you’re reading this blog, you’d probably guess where is this heading. In 2009, I tried to migrate to New Zealand. I’ve never been away from my family. My mom did not permit me to go to UP (kasi raw malayo or baka delikado) or school boarding houses despite my pleas. In fact, she never permitted any of us (my sisters) to leave the house even after graduating. It’s safe to say that my sisters and I grew up guarded by my parents, especially my mom. No complaints, though. But, it was indeed surprising that she supported my decision to try my luck abroad.
When I tried to live abroad, totally independent and away from my family, it made me discover so many things about myself. The experience revealed both my weaknesses and my strengths, my limitations and capabilities and my values and principles. It taught me a lot about pakikisama and pagtitiis. It strengthened my faith too. I learned so much about love and independence, about the power I have to make or break my destiny and the power to decide for my life and to stand by my choices or amend them if necessary. I experienced scarcity, racism, inadequacy and other such things I would not have experienced had I not spread my wings and left my considerably sheltered life, had I chickened out from a once in a lifetime opportunity. I guess it’s true what they say, “what won’t kill you will only make you stronger”. I matured and grew up to be a more responsible woman. I became more confident believing I can survive all tides of life provided I hold on to my faith.
Ending a relationship. I had a more than two years relationship before I met my husband. It was not a bad relationship. No big issues. When it reached the 2nd year, I knew something inside me was already changing. I had doubts, tons of it. I was unsure. It felt like I was only dragging the relationship for history’s sake, hoping my uncertainties were nothing but products of overthinking and overanalyzing and that they would soon stop bugging my mind. But then, the voice I tried to shut down became persistent and spoke louder.
Finally one day, I had the courage to do what I believe was right and fair for us. I ended a more than two years of steady relationship because the doubts I had were too obvious to ignore. Had I kept quiet and dragged the relationship longer, we’d either end up unhappily together or we’d break-up in a more hurtful manner. Sabi nga sa movie, One More Chance, “She (me) was the only one brave enough to admit there was something wrong in the relationship”. True enough, I met the love of my life soon after and sabi nga sa movie 500 Days of Summer, “I woke up one morning and I knew, what I was not sure of with you”. Do not settle just because nanghihinayang ka sa panahon at memories. Settle when you feel that unexplainable certainty, when you see yourself growing old with him, when your world lights up and when problems seem to be temporary rather than perpetual.
Self-explore. Self-improve. I admit I’m an innately clingy person. Kasi nga diba I was not raised to be independent. But hey, it’s never too late to empower yourself. Thankfully, aside from wrinkles, slower metabolism, sagging and age spots, aging has brought me to the wonderful world of self-exploration and self-improvement. What have I done exactly? I have fairly traveled our country, enough to say that I’ve been to the most popular destinations. I followed my heart and started blogging again. I took short courses and I’m planning to study full time soon, God willing. Nagkaroon ako ng pakialam sa profession ko. I suddenly want to update, upgrade and harness my skills and knowledge. I was never the career-oriented type and maybe until now hindi pa rin but I want to learn more, and more! I just finished taking a licensure exam for real estate service. (The Real Estate Broker exam results for 2016 will be out this week. Pray for me!) In the unfortunate event that I fail the exam, I’d still tell you more about it here, including my experience attending the review since October last year. That’s 4 months of attending classes at AIM Conference Center in Makati. Also, I joined several writing contests to which I lost, but that’s okay. (I won a consolation prize once, by the way!). I plan to do so much more this year and as I plan and execute, I truly feel empowered. Exploring new adventures and trying to be the better/best version of myself every day is one of the most empowering things to do in this world.
Motherhood. Last but not the least, of course, is motherhood. To love others unconditionally, to think of your kids’ welfare before your own, that’s empowering. To carry a life for nine months, to go through labor pains while giving birth, to care for them for the rest of your life and to carry them forever in your heart, if those won’t empower you, I don’t know what else will. I became more confident, surer of myself, more gutsy and stronger ever since I became a mother, because I have children to protect and care for and I have children who would look up to me and try to be like me, so I had to be someone I want them to be. That’s what’s liberating the most about being a mother.
As of today, I still have so much on my plate when it comes to empowering myself. The most important of which is to empower myself through faith in God. Long way to go in this department, though. Like I told you, I’m also thinking of getting a master’s degree once I get what I’m currently aiming for (another secret!). The other ideas that I have that I think would empower me more as a woman are starting a business, doing a talk or presentation in front of a formidable audience and to travel solo.
The hardest decisions to make are more often than not the most empowering ones. The decision may be wrong sometimes but almost always it works out for the best! How about you? What is your idea for self-empowerment? In celebration of Women’s Month this March, share your bright and big ideas, beautiful ladies!