"Wear pink... Don't do that.... Be a lady... Wear a dress... That shirt's awful, take that off!"
It's never easy when people decide things for you. I'll admit it... despite belonging to the generation of Pinays who has the freedom and the power to make a choice, I still am an old world Pinay where the choice isn't always left for me to decide. Don't get me wrong... I'm no British royalty, nor am I from a very traditional Chinoy family. Ironically, I come from a typical middle class Pinoy family with heavy Spanish influence but with a hint of American liberal mindedness. I mean, afterall, my family was already open to new world ideas and the whole MTV invasion and they're left with no choice but to accept certain changes brought by the times. To others, women who come from this type of family has all the freedom in the world to be who they want to be. Well not me though...
Even when I was a little girl, my decision solely depends on the approval of the higher authorities (i.e. my parents and my older sibs) or the second in command (which was, ironically, my yaya), down to the choice of clothes I make. I couldn't even make a choice on what to eat because food is already laid on the table. You pick something else and all you get is a harangue about being contented with what you have and yadda yadda... So much for free speech. Hence, I grew up having people decide my fate for me.
"84 is not a grade!!! I don't have an idiot for a daughter... Smoking is good... try it sometimes... Be a lady... Don't smoke... Black is good... Wear black... Black is for tambays... Don't wear black..."
Life wasn't any easier when I was in highschool. What, with the pressure you get from having siblings who lament about having an 85 for a grade while you jump for joy for atleast getting 84.9 while peer pressure dictates otherwise, things suddenly seemed to take a toll on my self esteem, enough to drive me to take a knife and cut my wrist. Without knowing it, I became one of the first, few Emos to exist during that time well, sans the bangs and the black eyeliner. (Back then, you are either a teeny bopper, an eastcoast or westcoast hiphop or a punkrocker...)
"you're too much of a lady to be a vet... why not try psychology? how about law school? Take Masscom..."
Come highschool graduation, I was ready to take a big leap towards college. I have decided to take vet med, but then again, my decisions are always contradicted. Mom thought vet med wouldn't be a good idea, I mean, considering I've been a city a girl for the past 16 years of my life, a change of scenery to a more rustic one might not be such a good choice. Besides, Veterinary Medicine has always been thought as aman's job... A girl couldn't take down a full grown cow and inject vaccines of some sort. That's what they thought... and that's what I believed back then.... Hence, I was again faced with limited options like, Psychology and Economics as a pre-law course. And finally, Dad decided I should take Mass Comm. Having no choice again, I decided to give it a shot. Luckily, I enjoyed it as it spawned a new love for me: writing. Somehow, I excelled in subjects that require alot of writing.
" Stick with the plan... Take law school... work can wait..."
I've always thought when I graduated college, I was automatically entitled to unlimited freedom. Guess that was again, a myth. They again decided that law school was suitable for me. After about a year of hesitating, I gave in to their whims and decided to take law school. Added to the insurmountable pressure of passing, there was also this pressure from my relatives and family friends as I'd be the first from our entire clan to be a lawyer, considering I do pass the bar exam. And I could imagine their disappointment when after several sleepless nights, I decided to quit lawschool. I guess, that was the first decision I made in my entire life... And i wasn't even sure if it was the right thing to do... but it felt good finally having the last say...
"Now, where do I go from here..."
These days, my parents no longer contested with my plans to search for a job... Even when it meant taking a shot in a call center (which was the last thing on my mind). I must admit, I don't make the smartest choices and I tend to change my mind at the last minute. But looking back, I have learned one of the greatest lesson in life... DO WHAT YOU WANT TO DO...