October 9, 2018

Yesterday was such a horrible day for me. It was my (dead) aunt’s birthday so everybody in my family was there. I was very reluctant about going, but since I have been out travelling for a year and I haven’t seen my family for so long, I went. As I was sitting in front of my relatives, I immediately thought that going was actually a mistake.

Let me give you a background; I’m 21, and I’m the oldest of all the cousins in my mom’s side. My aunts and uncles are either lawyers or businessmen. I don’t have any cousin that’s in the same wavelength as me because they’re all so very young and they haven’t been out in the ‘real world’ as much as I am. For them, living in comfort was enough.

As I walked in, the first thing that everybody said was, “Wow! What happened to you? You are so fat! You grew so dark!” I literally walked into the room and wanted to just turn around and never return. Mind you, I am not fat. I am 21 and I haven’t seen these people for so long, it’s normal that I don’t have my 16-year old body anymore! Also, I naturally have brown skin. What was I to do? It’s not my fault I don’t drown myself in skin whitening products like how they demand you to do on every single television channel in the Philippines. Because here, the basis of beauty depends on how white you are. Instead, I smiled and gave everybody a nod and/or a kiss on the cheek.

I sat down at the furthest corner, away from the judgmental eyes of my family. But who was I kidding? I couldn’t escape it. There was literally three questions that kept on popping that night;

  1. What’s your plan for your life?
  2. Are you still going back to America?
  3. Why don’t you go to Law School and stay in the Philippines?

These are questions that have been asked and I’ve answered so many times before. I was so sick of it. For your own family to look down on you like you’re some pathetic little loser who’s up to no good, it was so painful. I do have a plan and I’m working towards my goals. I’m learning how to be financially independent just living on my own in a ‘big and bad city’ like New York. I’m learning how to be physically independent just living on what means I can and not overspending because I know how hard it is to earn your own money. I’ve honestly been everywhere, and I’ve been to more places than all of my entire family combined. Yet, all they see is this lost and stupid little girl who thinks life is just about running. They were wrong.

I am going back to America–or anywhere, for that matter. I don’t really want to stay in the Philippines. I don’t even think that there’s anything wrong with that. I just don’t think that this is my home. I’ve felt more at home with strangers sitting on a beach in a secluded island in Thailand, than sitting in this dining room with people I’ve known all my life. I’ve never felt so uncomfortable that all I wanted to do is go out and cry because it made my heart so full. I’ve never met so many judgmental people who look down on a specific person just because they’re living and working remotely, and are not being dictated by the society that they live in. It hurts me more to say this but I’m finding my family so toxic, and I just want to cut myself away from them as far away as possible.

This whole shebang had me lost for words. Aren’t your family is supposed to be the first ones who defend and love you and tell you that you are worth it? Aren’t families supposed to have each other’s backs? I thought they were gonna be my safe place, but I guess that just wasn’t the case for me. I also feel more at peace with people I’ve met along the way because I feel their warmth, their passion, and the truthfulness in their eyes. That’s when I realised that family doesn’t always have to be blood related. You can choose your family, and it’s up to you to hold it together.

I know that this is just a rant post, but I just had the urge to write what I’m feeling right now because if not, I feel like I could explode.

I also know that it’s alright to find your own place in this world because it’s your life, and nobody can dictate what you can and can’t do with it. You have to live your life to the fullest and not look back on things that are disappointing, hurting and holding you back. Life is meant to be lived. Life is a gift from God above, and it is to be cherished. Life is, indeed, beautiful. I’m going to live my life wherever I want to, and it doesn’t matter if I’m all alone or if my family approves or not. Because at the end of the day, what’s going to matter is how I lived my life, and how happy I felt at the end of it.

“Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”

John 14:21 NIV

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