Yes, you! You go by many names… Mommy Ruby, Mommy Rubz, Pinay Mommy… yes, you!
I know that life hasn’t been kind to you lately, but let me remind you that you have been here many times and more. Guess what? You are still standing strong. Or… you might have probably forgotten with all the chaos going on in your life and around the world.
So, allow me to remind you…
Let’s forget about your failed marriage… how you succumb to oblivion for two years and not wanting to live. The time you are as sleep during day time because you want to avoid all people at all cost. When you are awake at night and just cry until your eyes hurt.
Let’s forget about the time you were broke… penniless… and left with debt from your failed marriage. When creditors call you… you burst into cold sweats and start to puke because of fear and nervousness.
Let’s forget about that and let me remind you of something from recent years.
Life Begins at 40. (2019)
Let’s start in 2019. You welcomed it with excitement. It was the year you were turning 40 years old and you were so sold out with the idea – “Life begins at 40!” Yes… your heart was so full when the year started. You were excited to cross out a lot from your bucket list…
- Travel solo in a foreign country.
- Go and visit Boracay.
- Practice your teaching profession in the Philippines by the age of 40.
Then, before you turned 40 years old… you were in a vehicular accident. And when that happened, no one knew about it because you didn’t post it on Facebook. Only your closest friends knew, not even your parents knew even until now (or if they read this, they’ll know… hahaha). You didn’t go home and stayed overnight at an inn and in your friend’s place. You had a pretty good excuse back then since you don’t have an internet connection at your new rented home. That was the first time you have ridden an ambulance as a patient. It was sort of a miracle that you survived unscratched but was dealing with terrible pain and trauma. Even until now, you are still not comfortable riding anything.
After the accident, you were still hopeful. You are going to Taiwan by yourself and you were very excited and happy. Though you had a hard time controlling your anxiety when you ride a car, a plane, a bus, etc. But hey, you survived… you went to Taipei and enjoyed crossing out “traveling solo in a foreign country.”
Then, when you returned home, a teaching job was waiting for you. Your goal to practice teaching in the Philippines by the age of 40 became a reality.
Then by the next month, you were able to go to Boracay and enjoyed the white sand though it rained a lot.
You were so giddy but things started to go downhill after you traveled to Manila. When you returned, you were hit with Bells Palsy. That started your financial struggles since you need to take medicines and go to physical therapy for a month. You were caught off guard and money was drained. You started using your credit card for medicines and fees. You have to travel to the hospital on a daily basis.
After that, your children started to get sick. Your eldest was hospitalized again. We called 911 for the first time because we lived so far from the city that getting a taxi was impossible. You rode the ambulance again for the second time that year. Next, your son got sick, he was not hospitalized but he was taken to the ER. Then your youngest, too. It was getting out of hand, but you all managed to go through it. You cried a lot.
From there, your money got drained. You were not able to work properly, both with offline and online work. Finances were dwindling and you kept using your credit card again and again.
When It Rains, It Pours. (2020)
2019 wasn’t your best year. It was the year that pushed you so down in the gutter that you had a hard time balancing already. Your credit card bills have skyrocketed in 2019 yet you were still hopeful when 2020 came. You always kept saying everything will be better this year.
But then again the COVID-19 pandemic came, it changed not only your world but everyone else’s. It changed the very fabric of human existence. And to top of it all, you lost your main job online. The job that is responsible for about 90% of your family’s needs! When you thought that 2019 was the worst, 2020 has become a recurring nightmare that you wouldn’t think of sleeping again. You can’t help but cry.
You lost your job during the pandemic while summer break was on its way. So that means no income for summer because you were teaching in a private school. You were entering 2020 financially challenged.
And because you had no income, you depleted your savings account. You failed a lot of payment dues. Your credit cards started to close one by one. Your house rent is overdue for many months. Your electricity bill was left unpaid. Food eventually became a luxury. You started crying again.
So yes… when it rains, it pours. This made you think how far you have fallen… from a middle-income earner to practically a zero-income solo parent to three kids. You tried looking for a job, but you weren’t able to get one. You were so pressed that you can’t do anything but cry.
2020 became livable because a lot of people helped you. Aside from the help you got from the government, several friends helped you out. People from church sent help. None of your kids and family members got hungry because help came.
Well, you were not eating like you used to before, but you didn’t get hungry. You still ate every day and drank coffee with milk. A sip of coffee with milk was a luxury that it made you cry.
Then the school opening in the new normal came. You had a teaching job again. Though the income wasn’t enough to pay for our other needs, you were happy because you can buy rice and groceries now. Your worries were lessened. And besides, teaching is your passion and it makes you happy. Instead of focusing on failed job applications, you decided to learn how to teach effectively online… in the new normal. You tried to upgrade your skills. You encountered a lot of struggles, but you had fun teaching. Your weekly meeting with your co-teachers have become an avenue to express your emotions and it made things easy for you.
Being Challenged in Life is Inevitable, Being Defeated is Optional. (2021)
2021 came. The reality of your financial obligations came with it. Credit card companies started to call you on a daily basis. Asking for payments in the amount you can’t give. Then you started to receive a disconnection notice for your electricity bill. Eventually, your oldest postpaid line was cut off. Then received rude text messages and emails about you not paying your debt. At first, you were able to handle it, but then it started to get you – cold sweats are back.
But you don’t want to just wallow in your problems, depression was not an option. You are a mom of three kids, a breadwinner! You can’t do that! So, you didn’t want to get distracted and you continued teaching online while finding other side jobs that can keep your family afloat. You need to go fighting! “Being challenged in life is inevitable, being defeated is optional.”
Good thing, your blog is still alive, you get campaigns and guest postings that pay. You were able to pay some immediate debts from these gigs. It is keeping you alive and sane, too!
Then an online tutoring gig came in. A friend recommended you to her cousin in South Korea to teach their children English. That was a game-changer for you. You have a consistent income to buy your family a sack of rice each month and an LPG refill! You were so happy and you cried!!!
The school year ended. You enjoyed that school year. You were blessed with an amazing advisory class and very cooperative parents. Online learning was awesome. But at the back of your mind was… summer is coming! No income again! But guess what! You didn’t expect that a few students will enroll for summer under you. It made you very happy and again, you cried! Hahaha… Crybaby!
Then a friend messaged you, to apply as an English teacher in a private school in Myanmar. The pay is good but you still need to pass their hiring process. So, you did. You weren’t confident with your skills because you lacked experience, you are not an English major, you have no graduate certificates, and you are over 40 years old! You thought you have the recipe for disaster. At the back of your mind, you kept thinking that you might not pass because of this… but just like that… you were wrong! You summited the plainest curriculum vitae with all you have done in your working years, but you still landed the job! As usual, you were happy and then you cried again… congratulations, by the way!
Now, you just finished one of your two months probationary periods. You are still not sure if you will be renewed for the rest of the year. You are not sure if you will be able to pay all your debts (the amount is ridiculously big and you still get those phone calls and emails). Your struggle has not ended. Your story is not yet finished, but you need to pat yourself on the back for surviving all these years. And not to mention, you are battling your physical infirmities. You can’t address them just now because you need to prioritize the most basic of all basic needs – food for your family! You didn’t even have the time to worry about COVID-19 because food was a priority for your family to survive!
Despite all these… you are a survivor and still surviving till this very day. You deserve a hug for that!
With Much Love,
DEAR READERS, THIS WARRIOR IS A CHILD
I don’t want to end this post without addressing my readers. I just want you to know that I survived and am still surviving to this day because this warrior is a child. I get my help and my strength from the Lord. He is the ultimate source of everything. Every time I am sad, I am happy, I am desperate, I cry. I cry them all out to the Lord just like a child cries. Whenever I am lost and weary, I just cry it all out to Him.
And I also thank Him for sending good people into my life. They may brought me happiness or grief, but I still call them good because their life has a reason and whatever the case may be… I am thankful.
To all the people who helped me, you are not mentioned in this post, but rest assured, my heart is filled with gratitude for you all. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
This story is an entry to ComCo Southeast Asia’s “Write to Ignite Blogging Project Season 2: Dear Survivor”. The initiative continues to respond to the need of our times, as every story comes a long way during this period of crisis. The initiative aims to pull and collate powerful stories from the Philippine blogging communities to inspire the nation to rise and move forward amidst the difficult situation. The “Write to Ignite Blogging Project” Season 2 is made possible by ComCo Southeast Asia, with Eastern Communications and Jobstreet as co-presenters, with AirAsia and Xiaomi as major sponsors, and with Teleperformance as a sponsor.