10 years ago, I was in a car with my mom and my sister going to megamall in what might have been just my 2nd or 3rd trip to Manila. My sister was ecstatic. I, however, couldn't take my mind off the fact that for the 2nd year in a row, I lost the first level of the campus journalism competition.
This was the memory that had played over and over; during high school, when I won my very first (very minor) writing award, when I was aboard a bus in makati on my way to AFP office to submit my intern application, and then on that chanced volleyball story that gave me my first ever byline.
10 years ago, I had sulked on the back of a car looking up the tall buildings of Manila and thinking, will I ever get to be here?
It was a struggle. From failing the Flame exam. From getting a low grade in Business Journ, a grade said to represent a "why are you taking up Journ?" ranking. From being rejected several times the first 6 months after graduation. To being told, and the exact phrase, "Saan ka pupulutin?"
I was ready to move to London, to leave my friends here, and make living with my family my new dream. I was prepared never to become a writer, or work in media. I was ready to make that move, and I was sure it was the right decision. But my best friend told me, 'it's not a solution, it's an escape."
So I decided that if I was to make it my battle, I would have to fight much much harder. So I did.
10 years ago, I was at the corner table of our school hall desperately waiting to hear my article title to be called but never did. In the last 6 months of 2011, I was able to write, thanks to the faith of the editors and support of my boss, stories that shared a considerable amount of spotlight in the Internet.
2 years ago, I was in the loft room of my friend and group mate writing the script for our final broad Journ project and thinking, am I good enough? Before the year ended, I wrote and produced a segment that aired on my favorite newscast.
3 years ago, I had my picture taken in front of the company I'm now working for, thinking at the time, someday maybe....Last New year's eve, I was watching Cesar Apolinario from the newsroom, admiring his quirky 'sugod bahay' walkthrough espesyal, and thinking of ways to introduce my self and tell him I enjoyed it. As we counted down to 2O12, I was also in the newsroom, with Direk Cesar himself, bouncing off (but mostly him sharing) ideas and envisioning stories for the year ahead.
There are colleagues my age who have achieved so much more; who are talented in a way that blows my mind and picks on my insecurities; whom I admire and hope to be like. The road is long, and I'm trailing in the race, but 2011 has put me on track, and I'm running and I don't, in the least bit, feel that I should stop.
It is a constant struggle, of confidence, of grit, of stamina, and of self-belief but when I remember the 11 year old version of myself, I'm reminded that this is the struggle I can consider a gift.
Thanks to people who pulled for me and the universe that conspired, from a skeptic, defeated, demoralized girl in 2010, the past year weaved its magic to restore my faith and bring back the girl who believes that dreams can come true.
For when they do, even in small fractions, you get to look that 10 year old shadow in her asking eyes and say, "See, I told you," and she will smile, and you'll know you're not gonna fail her. You just have to chase some more.
So here's to 2012, to more chasing, and to the hope, that we never, ever, get tired :)
"May the odds be ever in your favor."