Friday, August 3, 2018

The Giant Wakes Up

Today, a sleeping giant woke up following a 3-year hiatus. Not to devour what's on her path...Not to harm anyone (she's not made for that)...But to re-live the life she forgot.

I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up -- to voraciously write about anything: poetry, songs, news, features, publicity stories, misalettes (yes), speeches (uh-huh) and at one point  I started a young love novel (Not Shakespearean at all, only meant for paperbacks) written manually  on sheets of recycled paper. As of this writing, this manuscript is now a tummy-filler for a colony of termies living inside our house. Either that or blown away through an open window.

Simple enough. NOT!!!

Fast forward to making presentations to my internal team, my gamut of clients and sometimes, in classes of teaching buddies. For someone who's an introvert, there was nothing to it. Practice makes perfect, er near perfect is more like it.

Then came a series of misfortunes: finding out that a series of migraines, vertigo and passing out resulted in a brain tumour that had to be taken out, at least almost. A thin layer could not be forcibly taken out for safety issues. So I had an annual mri that seemed to sleep on its own: no growth, no progression, deadma. After the 4th MRI, some other issue stole centerstage: aneurysm.

A new what?!?!

What was surreal just went berserk! This only happens in teleseryes! WT-!

Faster forward to end of July three years ago. It was an ordinary soccer weekend. My son and his team is playing for a festival at the Blue Pitch. Being a turf, the heat was magnified ten times more. Early morning started out scorching hot. And then broke out into non-stop torrents and escalated into an all out flooding to the shin. Of course the games were cancelled and we all went home. Now I have more time to get ready for a party. And I did not get to do my hair and my make up. I took a quick shower, felt unusual, threw up and slept from the first of August, and woke up in the recovery room of the hospital days after.  I lost 4 days of my life, in spite of claims that I was up and about and bitched about everything. But there's nothing to remember. By this time, another hole was stiched up on my head-- apparently the new-rism popped ever so slowly that gave my boys enough time to bring me to 2 hospitals and in the able hands of the surgeon that touched my head (not Belo).

And the week I stayed there recovering, I went from "As I was saying" to Kuya Cesar slurring talk: slow and incomprehensible. I think it was better to write!

And a thought dawned on me...if I can't talk properly after this month-long speech therapy, what happens to my career?!?!

At this point I got super scared. It was like an early retirement. What to do indeed...?

Still I was blessed. It brought me to another company (and another) that was fun for a while. But opted to nurse my disability so as not to go through the same ordeal: work, eat stress, pray, repeat. It wasn't worth it. 

After today, the old me is still in me, intact and buried deep inside. I was still scared and practices like crazy before speaking in front of a large audience (done a thousand so this should be a breeze). I had my loyal and supportive fans in tow: my best friend to take photos and my husband as my personal tech guy. How can they not bring out the energised in me? One was grinning like looney and the other one was sending me heart signals from the audience.

To further boost the diva in me, I had a chance to talk to other fellow speakers who spoke before me. One gave me a warning: you'll laugh at being nervous because as soon as you get the microphone, you might not want give it back. And so it goes, as soon as I got on stage I owned it, with a few funny adlibs while getting technical glitches. I went to every corner of the stage, giving my videographer a hard time getting me on cam, looking at both the live and oncam versions... #whereintheworldisgrasha

And one final but of advise that I took to heart is from another friend for life--that to begin my talk, I should start with sheer honesty...that it's best to admit to what I find frightening, not to set expectations, but to declare and claim the victory of doing whatbi thought was not possible since winning over aneurysm (again, a new whut?!?).

With utmost sincerity and honesty, I did feel blessed to be with them that day. Scared, but bestowed with the opportunity to speak again in a big crowd from surviving what most never come out triumphant--a life-threatening stroke. I was brimming with tears that wouldn't fall down (sayang ang make up). What floored me was a round of clapping from the audience and it felt like an ovation. My voice seemed louder in the hour that followed, and while it was the last portion of Day 1 of the conference, the gracious people listened and participated in my interactive talk. I was on top of the world! I reckon the giant in me Will have a hard time sleeping tonight.

When they gave me the certificate of appreciation, my inner diva wanted to give back the mic i was holding, singing (more like shouting) to Keala Seattle's This is Me:

Look out 'cause here I come
And I'm marching on to the beat I drum
I'm not scared to be seen
I make no apologies, this is me!

I am Grace, and I am grateful.

Friday, April 27, 2018

That Time of Year

So once a year  we get to reflect on what's working and what's not. Revelations came breaking down my door on a very plain, raw beach where camping is the life-slash-resort which is a surprising find of a good friend. Made me think about many many things....

The Beach

Walking on the shore maybe twice a day made me think of the Footprints on the Sand because it was all we could see. No frills...just plain beach and the simplest fishng boats and huts you can imagine. It's raw. With no internet and without electricity it might have been the time when our parents would try to secretly meet up. Life here is that simple.

So back to the Footprints...the beach has many of it. With prints on the sand are tracks of ATV's , making an imprint more ephemeral than usual. Coming closer to the shore, I make better imprints on the sand but the surf-ready waves washed them away quickly. What do I make of this? No matter how heavy I get to make a deeper imprint does not make a mark permanent. Like an eraser to a pencil, it can be undone. Reset and reboot.

#nothingiscastinstone #especiallyyourdestiny 

Bring it On

I find answers on what to do when you get into situations where you have no where to move around let alone squeeze out of. Here's a story I kept from a new friend. Had I known this way back I would have bounced back better. I love his resilience and presence of mind. #chilldonkey

Shake It Off

One of my favorite stories is about a farmer's donkey that fell into a dry well. The animal cried pitifully for hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do for his poor donkey. Finally, he concluded that the well was too deep, and it really needed to be covered up anyway. Besides, the donkey was old, and it would be a lot of trouble to get him out of the pit. The farmer decided that it was not worth trying to retrieve the animal, so he asked his neighbors to help him fill in the well and bury the donkey.

They all grabbed shovels and began to toss dirt into the well. The donkey immediately realized what was happening, and he began to bray horribly. Crying would be our normal response if somebody was mistreating us this badly, so this donkey was responding the same way we would at first, but then he got real quiet. A few shovel loads of dirt later, the farmer looked down the well and was astonished at what he saw. With every shovel of dirt that hit the donkey's back, the donkey would shake it off and step on top of it.

As the neighbors and the farmer continued to shovel dirt on top of the animal, he continued to shake it off and take a step up. Pretty soon the donkey shook off the last shovel full of dirt, took a step up, and walked right out of the well. We can learn so much from this story. When trouble comes, if we will get still and listen, God will tell us what to do.

By the grace and mercy of God, I was able to shake off a lot of things in my life, a lot of hurt feelings, a lot of mistreatment, a lot of abuse, a lot of unfair, unjust, unkind things. Just like the donkey, in order to keep pressing on and have victory in our lives, we are going to have to learn to shake off the troubles that come our way.

Credits due: From the book New Day, New You by Joyce Meyer. Copyright 2007 by Joyce Meyer. Published by FaithWords. All rights reserved.