My Mamerks, my hero a hundred times over
As we celebrate the 100th commemoration of International Women's Day, I remember all the women who moved my life in a calm or passionate way.
I remember the soothing words of Maya Angelou as if she's my own wise and reliable counselor, the ideals of Oprah manifested in the wealth of wisdom and nuggets of poetry and ideas in the back issues of Oprah magazine that I collect and read a thousand times, the heroism of Filipino hero Gabriela Silang who is the epitome of a Filipina warrior and leader moving me to believe that there is a warrior in me, the sacrifices of nameless and faceless women whose stories resonate and the women who left imprints in my soul - my friends, the fellows I met in Gummersbach, Germany, my classmates in the university, my neighbors, the poor, wise and happy mothers who have become my friends and the younger women who are wise beyond their age.
Most of all, I honor my mother today. My mother is my reason. She is my stronghold.
True, I learned countless lessons and gained new insights from the literature that I voraciously read, the movies that have moved me to tears, the classes that I have attended, the professors and speakers whose words breathe fire, the deeds of leaders who change histories and impact lives and the people, great souls that I have been privileged to meet.
But through all these years, it was my mother who was my safe harbor. She was that one person who I can always come home to, whose love is unconditional, who magically silences the noise in my head and calms the raging storms in my heart.
My mother is an extraordinary woman. She did not finish college due to poverty and had to work odd jobs to help feed a family of 12. She met my father when she was selling vegetables and root crops at the public market. When she was young, my mother had beautiful, long, black hair and her smile was radiant with her eyes which sparkled like stars on a clear dark blue sky and this was true to her name "Estrella."
But their love story was not kind. My father was not kind.
But in spite of rejection, pain and anger, my mother remained calm, patient and loving to us, her three children. Life was not easy and we had to depend on public schools for our education. What she cannot provide, she made up by being an excellent mother.
As of writing, I am staying at her place. I got sick the other day and she has been taking good care of me.
I have big dreams. While I am fighting for my dreams, I continue to uphold my ideals and contribute to the democratic movement in Asia as part of the Leadership Board of the World Youth Movement for Democracy.
I stand up for what is right and what is just...because I personally experienced fairness, tolerance and justice at home.
"I love you, Mamerks! I will live to justify your great love. I will fight for our dreams."