For our 25th anniversary reunion - Silver - we produced a souvenir program where I wrote one of the articles.
I just want to share it here...
I am a writer. I have been a professional writer for so many years so this shouldn’t be hard, right? But it is. It is hard to collect my thoughts and even harder to put them on paper. Teacher Lorna said that I should write prose as befitting my other life as a romance writer. Yes, I am an arts manager, events producer by day (and certain nights) and romance writer any time in between the calls of duty for the day job.
So, should I begin with the classic opening to all fairy tales? After all, those tales were the first romantic stories we knew.
Once upon a time in a Kingdom far away…
Once upon a time we were sixteen. We lived in a sheltered fairyland called Canossa College surrounded by beautiful trees and freshly painted blue walls and a quiet chapel where the nuns who took care of us prayed in silence or taught us religion and reflection.
And then, the wolf came and blew away the roofs and the walls of our fairy tale house of dreams until it’s just us and the big sky and the world and something bigger than we all have imagined – REALITY. We found out that there isn’t always a prince to come to our rescue. So we learned. And we grew stronger. And we grew more confident that no wolf could eat us because we have fortified our walls with something stronger than straw or wood or even concrete and it is called courage.
I never thought I would be a single mother. I thought I was too smart for that. But at age twenty four, while working my way up the career ladder at a semi-dizzying pace, I found out I was pregnant. The world stopped. Not a few people thought I was crazy to decide to refuse to marry (or allow the father to refuse to marry me depending on whose perspective) and raise a child on my own. I had enough savings to stop working at month 6 and up, for maternity and maybe 2-3 months of after-birth expenses. But that was all. That and the love of a family who supported my decision. After the mandatory rest, I stood and picked myself up from where the world stopped and started working again.
Sixteen years later, my son is in college, I enjoy a modest popularity as Angel Bautista the romance writer and I am a Program Director at one of the top theater companies in the Philippines. I must say, I am better than ever. On one hand, I am proud of those things. On the other, please believe that I say this with so much humility because the past 25 years have been filled with one lesson in humility after another. I won’t tell you the details because you might cry and it would make my heart bleed again. For it has been a series of bloody battles I’ve been through. I didn’t win them all though I promise I will eventually win the war. After all, I am the heroine of my own life.
So are you.
We are all heroines in our own life stories.
A bad example of a heroine is one whose character remains the same throughout an entire novel. She is passive and uninteresting but she gets the boy in the end so we can cheer her for her good luck. A better heroine would be someone who emerges from nothing and wins it all in the end, including the love of the proverbial Prince Charming. The greater heroine is someone who once had everything, loses it and finds it again. She creates a better dramatic arch. She is the Princess who fell from grace and rose again. She is the sheltered but feisty girl who gets her fragile heart beaten so many times but instead of dying or sleeping for years, would choose to be strong to take on all the challenges that came her way with flourish and grace.
The second heroine started out with nothing much to lose but the third one knows what’s at stake, what she needs to protect so she doesn’t lose them again. Reading her would be like a roller coaster ride – one moment on top of the world and the next crashing down and then up again. What the romance novels don’t tell us is that the best heroine of all is the one who knew that she can find her happy ever after with or without (and maybe sometime better without) that handsome heroic alpha male of yore. Happiness, after all, is a choice.
A heroine of my soon to be published book in a series called THE REALITY SHOW, said this. “I used to define perfection by everything beautiful and right in my life. But now I know, perfection is in knowing that life isn't perfect but knowing too that you can live and be happy and continue to grow despite that. Perfection is the human capacity to heal despite the pain, to smile and find joy again despite the moments of sorrows, and to love despite imperfections.”
You are the heroine of your life. What’s your spin?
In book signing events or writers’ talk, I would invariably get asked: Where do you get your inspiration?
My response will always be this simple: from living and loving, and ultimately in deciding to find inspiration in everything that life and love has to offer.
Happy Silver Anniversary to us beautiful heroines of Batch ’88!