One of the most traumatic memories that I’ve had was dealing with a Nun. Honestly? I don’t even remember her name anymore. But I cannot forget the interaction and the things that she told me that day that for the most part of my life has haunted me. You see, I often got in trouble as a kid and that I do not like being bullied. Most of the time I fight back and in most fights, I win the fist fights so I ended up being sent to the Guidance Counselor’s office which is part of the Philippine Educational system for elementary and tertiary schools.
Let’s call her Sister Stella. She didn’t look angelic, if you ask me. As a kid, I actually felt that she was mean. I don’t even remember the kids even talking nicely about her. But she did mention that me constantly moving about from one place to another has caused me to “uproot” myself and has disturbed my concept of “identity” . She said this in light of the fact that I was constantly quarreling with the others kids, that I did not get along well and that I wasn’t even trying hard enough. In my defense, I really do not understand why I should get along with everyone. Just because I do not talk to someone does not mean I do not like them. I just wanted to be left to my own devices. And I wasn’t in school to socialize as most children my age thought school was for. I was there to learn. If I wanted to socialize, I would go out and play with my neighbors who were much nicer and weren’t mean at all.
When I look on my life, I have been constantly on the move. I moved from one country to another. I went to Manila to study college. And during and after college I moved from one residence to another. So when I think real hard about what she said, Sister Stella does have a point that I do not have a sense of rootedness.
Over the years, I’ve learned to discover where I am rooted and where my sense of identity lies. And it has nothing to do with geographic or geopolitical affiliations. I have learned that a sense of rootedness is best defined in knowing one’s purpose in life and understanding that our purpose defines who we are and how we will face adversities. I’ve learned that one’s purpose can keep evolving and changing over a lifetime and it may not necessarily stick to just one job description either. I have learned that there are people who are more in tune with seeing our own uniqueness and these people have good intentions of helping us reach our sense of purpose in life. I have learned to befriend pain as something normal and even important to my personal development.
So what exactly is my purpose in life? One blog post is not enough to share about it. But let’s just say that one thing I’ve known about me is that I am an initiator. I love startups, whether it be ideas, meetings or parties. I love getting involved in new things and seeing things happen and moving on to a new thing right after that. And the same principle applies to how I treat people and relationships. My family finds it strange how I get to meet new friends such as the local gym that I workout, at the airport and even at coffee shops by sharing a seat. Dwengster is an excellent cook and a good friend that I’ve known for two years now. And guess where we met? We met at a coffee shop in Batangas City and I just couldn’t help but in when they mentioned my alma mater in their conversations. You see what I mean?
I no longer believe in the concept of rootedness as a geopolitical thing. My sense of rootedness lies in knowing what God wants me to do in my life and that he has given me a set of skills that is as unique that could touch the lives of other people around me. And now that I know this better, I can dig my roots even deeper which allows me to literally and figuratively weather the storms of life. I no longer feel like a tree constantly uprooted. I now feel like a mobile household plant that accompanies people in their journey in life from one apartment to the next and I’m there to help brighten their day and remind them that there’s more to life than clocking in endless hours of the day at the office. And as a runner, it is an apt illustration too because trees offer the best shades from the heat of the noonday sun. And as the sun moves along from one point to another while the earth moves, it will also shift shadows…. and let my shadow prove the sunshine.