Dear girls of the world: you have a place in this world. If you can’t find it, create it
Dear girls of the world,
Probably one of the best and most memorable things my mother told me while growing up is that everyone has a place in this world.
For a teacher like her, it can be the classroom where she taught hundreds of pupils (for 30 years) become the best person they are today. That place can be a remote area for a volunteer who shares her medical knowledge to a marginalized sector. It may even be the kitchen, where a single lady works night and day to perfect her own cupcakes and brownies. Or it can be a small room where a virtual assistant finds happiness in making her clients satisfied with her work.
In a nutshell, to many passionate hearts out there who are doing the things they love, it can be anywhere in the world. Mama is witnessed to my endless dreams of becoming a writer. I dreamed of writing for the school paper, clinching a scholarship, landing a job in a daily, and seeing my byline in a magazine. Every plan I make, I always claim it, out loud that the universe conspires, with my parents being the first people hearing it.
They, too, are witness to my struggles. Of being a student journalist slapped with a libel case for a releasing a lampoon issue or getting my heart break over a relationship that is doomed to break-apart, of my health and my body, and of getting frustrated on work.
I remember mama told us, “You all have a place in this world. In God’s perfect time, you will find it.”
Four years ago, I moved out of my parents’ home. I hopped from one boarding house to another in the city, got gigs, travelled, read, met people, got my heart broken, drank a little, downed hundreds of coffee, and drank alcohol a little more till the wee hours, moved into another relationship, and realized that each day takes me to a clearer picture of what I really want to do. Of the place I really want to be.
But what I can add, throughout my journey after I moved out of my parents home was this—We all have a place in this world. And if you can’t find it, create it. By the will of God you will realize that the place you have been looking for is right where your heart really is.
And no, that place is not a mere establishment where you clock in, where you log in to your computer, face a dragging mammoth task each day, day dream of your next getaway, and probably sneak in some episodes from Netflix during breaks.
It’s more than a physical setting. For me, it is a state of being happy of where you are. Whether you are by the beach, working or blogging or just travelling. It can be in a zoo looking after neglected animals, a charity house for kids, a tribal community where you set your heart to volunteer English. Or at home working on a freelance job you are passionate about. It can be in coffee shop or a coworking space with individuals who share the same passion as you. It can be in your own room, in complete silence, while writing a poem or a chapter of your new novel.
My journey to finding that place did not come in a swift. And sure, a lot can relate to this. For years I have been struggling to decide if I keep my job or quit it. There have been instances before that I was getting frustrated on things I cannot accomplish, of things I can’t control. Months pass by and I felt I am not happy anymore—with the system, the lack of creative development, and frustrating feeling of juggling jobs you just can’t juggle in reality.
The thing is, what probably holds me back from quitting my job is the stable income. That’s it. And that’s not fair for me and the place I work with. Frustrations went into state of depression, which I thought was just the usual quarter life crises, until I can’t feel anymore. I feel numb. Until I accept the fact that “Hey, this is not for you! This isn’t where you can grow old with. It isn’t making you happy anymore. And no, you’re not just that spoiled-lazy-millenial they have been talking about. Wake up and dream bigger!”
And that’s it.
I started getting interested in other things which I see concrete results, these things are the things I can actually control. I am happy doing it. That’s when I realized I want to venture on my own. After three years, with a measly saving just enough to suffice me in the next six months, I quit my full time job. I wanted to go. I accepted the fact that the place I once taught would be “my place” is not just what it seemed to be. Interests may fade in time, but never are dreams.
Someone said it would be difficult outside. It will not be the same, and that the stability I have now will not be the same when I go out. Another said this feeling of being down is just a phase. Maybe once a year, maybe quarterly, but it’s just a phase, and it will pass. In short, stay and just deal with it.
But then again, how on earth will you let yourself get boxed in that feeling over and over again? Why waste time every year, dealing with that kind of uncertainty, drink a couple of bottles of beer, drink and smoke until you forget them, and go back again?
I laid out my plan for myself. I am finally creating the place I want. The place where I know I can be productive. The next years after, I am not sure, really. I honestly am not the person so certain and sure of life. What I hold on to is now and the volition to just keep on going. And that’s not even quitting. That’s merely realizing that there are battles you have to choose. And now I choose the battle I will fight for.
One once said that opportunities will not come if you do not ask for it. You need to look for it. Do not wait in vain. Set goals and achieve them. Take notes. Meet people. Play that song which makes you alive. Sing with it. Out loud. Hustle if you need to but never ever step on anyone. And girl, just go.
Struggles will come, we all know that for sure. Challenges will surely find a way to hold us back, but please vow it will not pin you down.
Have you found you place, my dear? It can be anywhere in the world, just as long as your heart is into it, then you finally found your place. And while you’re at it, appreciate people’s support. Your family. The patience of your mother. The advice of your father. Your sister’s encouraging words. Your brother’s constant bullying yet you know behind that is a caring, loving heart, wishing you all the best in the world. Your friends. Their non-ceasing teases. Their honest to goodness comment on your work, on your body, and the life you choose. And how they become happy when you are happy.
And if you are dating, be fair. Be with a man who will never have to change you for who you are. A man who will give you the freedom to do the things you want, lets you decide on things for your own sake (he may give his advice but in the end, it’s yours that matter), and a man who will never have to question where he is in your heart. A man who knows that you can still grow as a couple, while you both continue growing as individuals.
I wish every person in the world that they find the place they are looking for. And I wish every heart to continue beating with so much passion, the happy smiles in everyone’s face. The joy in every eye.