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if-you-can-dream“Dreams are born in the heart and mind and only there can these ever die.” I’ve been holding on to this belief since time immemorial. Such is the core reason for my rather pensive nature – I’ve never stopped dreaming. And if truth be told, the feeling of having a dream come true cannot quite be translated into words.

It was more than twelve years ago when I first knew how it was to dream. Like every little girl, I grew up with stories of princesses with their princess living happily ever after. But it wasn’t the princess who I wanted to become. I particularly preferred being the fairy godmother – one who dramatically transforms a simple maiden’s life into a crowned princess living in a splendid castle with the man she so deeply loves. At that time, I didn’t know how such post got me interested. Maybe I was awed by the way fairy godmothers maneuver their wands while exhibiting feminine grace. Maybe I wanted to possess magical prowess. Or maybe– this might sound exceedingly humanitarian for someone so young– I just liked the idea of touching people’s lives. Whatever reason I had then, I couldn’t be more certain. This childish reverie, however, did not last for long.

All of a sudden, out of nowhere, I just blurted out to my parents that I wanted to be an agriculturist. I was then eight years of age. Recovering from the initial shock of my announcement, my dad sympathetically patted my head and smiled while, contradictingly, my mom’s arched brows went into thin line. Next was a clash of ideas– a battle of wills– featuring me as the stubborn daughter insisting on what I wanted and mom as the antagonist who opposed every word I said. This was with the distinct participation of my dad as the non-partisan caught between crossfire. So began World War III. Authority prevailed. Mom won.

It was a good thing though that we had those arguments. I realized later on that I didn’t really want to be an agriculturist. I was just drawn to it because it was something different. And that was what I had always wanted– to be different.

For me, it was about taking risks. It meant saying no when everyone nods their heads and says yes. It signified optimism against all mishaps. It implied taking a stand when the rest seemed passive. It raises one’s spirit when numerous people remain frail. Above all, it was about going through the road less traveled.

When I advanced to the fourth grade, I promised to be a dancer. But the promise was immediately broken when I started giving awful remembrances to my dance partners– sore feet!

The pursuit for that ideal dream seemed so elusive. It took three years before I began to seriously contemplate on grown-up aspirations. I decided to be a surgeon. Suffice it to say that I was blinded by the prestige and financial gain the profession brings. My parents would be jumping in delight, I even reckoned. It was that line of work which they wanted me to grab hold of. Such career path was like an established norm that I ought to follow. It could be because it was what I thought I wanted. Or it could be because it was what my parents wanted more. I just compelled myself to believe that it was what I should really pursue.

I’ve proven that being a surgeon was genuinely less to my liking when our biology teacher required us to dissect a frog. We were asked to submit specific parts of the dissected frog. (I guess this was compulsory in almost every sophomore high school student’s life.) Que horror! I couldn’t even stand a minute holding its lumpy body. Staring at its protruding eyes made me hold back in pity. It might even be incredulous that I felt like the poor creature was pleading for my sympathy. The result? It took me as generous amount of effort before I was able to comply with the project– care of a specimen stall at Divisoria.

With such incident, who would still want to be a surgeon?

For another two years, I was too lethargic to even think about what I would be in the future. I was restless and felt like I couldn’t bring myself to care anymore. But this didn’t mean that I became totally unreceptive about things. My nostrils were often flaring with annoyance because the government hadn’t done much to make our country progressive. The masses were still struggling to eat three full meals in a day, still patiently lining up at agencies just to get a job. Then again, I realized that I had no right to get mad when I myself hadn’t changed much. I was like in the uncertain stage in my life– more often lost than found.

After secondary school graduation, I didn’t really know what to do. My classmates were going to the country’s most prestigious universities while I was still undecided where to take up college and clueless about the course that I truly want.

However, people more or less had an idea what would suit me well. My teachers and comrades had been saying that I better go for something coherent with writing. Well, I couldn’t blame them. They all knew that writing had become sort of a hobby. But I had never really considered it as a profession. It was something I do for fun.

After some deliberate thinking, I finally decided to take a noble line of study with fairly magnanimous causes. Far from memorizing its intricate and rather lengthy definition, it was a course which I learned to love and still learning to love in a myriad of ways.

It was where I met people who don’t lose hope in times of adversities, who value friendship, who sacrifice for their families, who help other people despite their meager budget, who assist others with their studies while prioritizing their own, who go to mall in groups just to window shop, who know how to have fun with twenty pesos, who catalyze change and above all, who pray and stand by the word of God. With such high regards, this is where I am devoting what little wisdom and energy I have.

Currently, I am in the process of discovering my Personal Legend, the continuous search for my life’s purpose and fulfillment of a yet to be distinguished dream. Whatever that is, I still have no idea. What I have are residues of childhood dreams and the will to carry on, to fight life’s tough battles. Dauntlessly, I’ll keep on fighting. And of course, I’ll never stop dreaming!

The search for that dream no. n has begun and for sure, its realization will come later.

by Anjenelle Amante

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