Ever since I can remember, I have always dreamed of being a novelist. I started reading at 2 years old and thus, my love affair with books began. When I was 8, I started devouring books daily. I started with the Bobbsey Twins, then Nancy Drew, to Sweet Valley, R.L. Stine, then Stephen King. For years, in elementary school, I would be at the library every morning even before the librarian opens the door. At 10, I would write a daily short story that was circulated among the children and adults who were part of my daily commute to and from school. By the time I was 14, I had already read Gone with the Wind (over 1,000 pages) at least 3 times. I was a published author at 16, when an op-ed I wrote about colonialism made it to the leading English language newspaper in the Philippines. It was my ultimate dream to get my novel published by the time I was 25 years old.
That seems so long ago now.
For all my life, I have prided myself in being very positive, optimistic, and full of joy. I always have a smile and a hug for everyone and I love to have fun and laugh. I never showed any weakness or asked for help when I needed it because I thought that was what being strong was all about.
I also never really learned how to feel and process my emotions or learn to be vulnerable. No matter how I was feeling inside, I kept a bright, smiling facade that I always showed the world. I kept myself so busy, jam-packing my schedule with work, meetings, projects, events, dinners, nights out, parties, and dates. I surrounded myself with people and had no time to really listen to myself and know how I truly feel.
During the past year, because of the drastic changes that have occurred in my life, I decided to start seriously working on myself: finding out what I want on my own, what gives me joy, what I want to cut out of my life, what I like, how to be vulnerable, how I want my life to unfold, where I see myself in the future, and the impact that I want to leave on the world.
Then COVID hit.