Monday, February 13, 2006

Ironic Victory

I had no expression in my face when I received my individual writing award during the Naga Press Conference. My mind was traveling far away, it was thinking about people people somewhere out there. I went back to my table with the thought still lingering in my mind, I was not able to really notice how many people came to congratulate me. I started texting people, my father, a few friends but my emotions remained numb. I decided to go back to my hotel room and as I went into the sink, my tears fell. I locked the door sat on the toilet bowl and began to weep. The feeling was not of joy but, ironically, of sadness. I was sad.

A few years ago, the Philippine Military Academy refused to readmit me as one of their cadets. I tried several times for three years but nothing seemed to happen. In that three years I learned several lessons and I promised myself I will be the best cadet once they admit me back. By some miracle, I found myself back at Fort Del Pilar wearing the cadet uniform once again. Not really certain of what to do but I was just optimistic and happy. It was a victory enduring three years of rejection, of hoping and finally, I should say, redemption. I had with me people who shared my dream, people who knew how much I wanted being there and who supported me all the way. By October 2004, I won an essay writing competition which was the key that allowed cadets, officers and civilian instructors alike to notice me in the way I write. I was always the first choice in writing important articles and I love the attention. I began writing a leadership series in the Corps Magazine, criticizing practices and putting labels on them to somehow change the perception on practices especially on leadership that I think are not correct -- I was successful. Despite of remarks from immature individuals who were not open to my ideas, it was a victory in itself. And then I wrote something about terrorism, not that important really as it was an assigned task by my editor but then people started coming to me praising me for the ideas that I presented. I went to Laguna again to write competitively, although not winning in the competition because of some accident, the message came across and for me that was enough. Finally I received my individual writing award in Naga to find myself weeping inside the comfort room because of sadness. Later I will be going back to PMA, this time hailed as heroes. Everyone wants to know what happened, from the Superintendent down to perhaps my classmates but then it isn't that surreal as many people would think. There are rumors that we just might receive military medals but I am not impressed, in fact I wonder if I can keep this up. Am I just being too sentimental?

The thing with me is I really do not care much about the attention. Although I enjoy it I see it more as a leverage to enjoy certain types of privileges like going to Naga for a week as if having a vacation. As long as I am good I will continue to go to places, meet people and have experiences that are very very different from my other classmates. There could be many reason why I do things but right now the attention is not just the one for me. My best friend in the world hates me because of something that I posted in this blog. Another girl that I really admire is just silent with me totally clueless if I am becoming annoying or that I should just kill myself and die. I realized that victories big or small will always be sad when it is not shared with people that we care for. When PMA then refused to let me in, people were just there. Comforting me and motivating me to pursue my dreams relentlessly. Now, as I look back, I would think the feeling back then was better compared to now when everyone just seems to praise you. As the Superintendent would put it "A proud day for PMA" and I add "a sad thing for me." At the end of it all when victories come, pursuits are successful and everyone is happy with what I did, I will just stare at blankness and weep. They will ask me about my experience and I will tell them beautiful stories. I will go on with my life and continue being me. Despite of the things that have happened, I will still have the same prayers each night, prayers of thanks for God's gift, for the experiences that I had, but more than that I will pray for people, for people to realize that I really do love them and that no amount of success can change the sadness I am feeling because they are just distant...

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