“Life is a journey.” I say, “to live is to survive. No life on this amazing Earth is spared from challenges. We become strong through challenges. It’s either to live or to not live.
At forty-one I am a survivor in my own right. I survived everything life throws at me, like facing failures and accepting them, working under a boss who continuously despise me, giving birth to two pretty boys by C section, making a marriage happy despite financial woes, accepting and working on my imperfect self, facing situation where I was at the edge of my emotional and mental capability. And the latest survival journey I had been through was facing my boss at our company’s annual gathering and performance evaluation. This I will share here how I managed to pull that one off because after that I became stronger tenfold.
On the second week of January 2015, I took a vacation leave from my work, the first I had after twelve years of working in the same company. During those years, I worked six days a week including holidays. I did have two maternity leaves. This was the first time I ever took a vacation leave because I had become sickly, and maybe, burnt out too. I notified our Chief Executive Assistant believing he would forward the information to our employer. I signed no papers because we did not have that kind of formality in the company. I then took the leave. Everything seemed to be working well. I was supposedly away for one week. Due to unfavorable weather conditions, I extended my leave. Because the Philippines is composed of islands, travelling island to island depends greatly on the weather conditions. Upon my return for work, my employer called and asked for me. Unexpectedly, she gave me a litany of not so beautiful words. She was so mad telling me why had I not informed her of my leave. I had the greatest shock of my life. I thought why had not she called me beginning from the time I did not report for work. She called have called me, or even asked my manager about my whereabouts and demanded that I be back the soonest. Okay, that was my very big fault. She told me to resign. I did not. I waited for her to fire me if ever that offense was a ground for doing so. But she did not. With embarrassment, fear and everything I went on with my work. To resign was an option I did not choose. I was not prepared for that yet. However, there is still one thing I need to survive – facing our boss at our company’s annual gathering which is to happen every December. Honestly, I always dread this gathering. We are always unappreciated and criticized then.
With everything that I had been through, I mustered all my strengths that my nerves would not give in. It seemed they would. I had been hospitalized twice the previous year due to stress and over fatigued. My kids are still small. So, I vowed to myself that this experience should never ever break me physically, emotionally and mentally. I followed the doctor’s advice and prescriptions (I already suffered acid reflux) perpetually. I did everything to get well. I meditated, practiced yoga and tai chi, took rest when needed, did home chores sparingly, and devoted much time in prayer. I was thankful then for my supportive family.
No one becomes perfect that easy. I did not. At least, I was progressively getting well again. There was still that big challenge – the annual gathering. In my worst moments, I could imagine myself collapsing out of tension just thinking of that big day because I knew I would be scolded again. Things always happen this way. This made me prayed even harder. I called on God ever so often. I prayed that my boss would not bring up the matter again. I prayed that God would give her a pacified heart. And I prayed that God would open her eyes that she may see me as a human being despite my frailties and imperfections, and that somehow she may realize that I am a human being who needs a little respect too.
The day that I dreaded and at the same time prepared for, came. In the morning we had two priests speakers. Everything turned out fine. In the afternoon the worst came. We had this branch evaluation. When it was our turn, my worst fear happened. There again were the scolding, humiliation and embarrassment. That was the first time I encountered the worst humiliation in my life in front of approximately seventy people. I felt I turned red all over my body. My initial reaction was – why God? I prayed hard for this. But then God answered me in a way He alone knew. Instead of feeling humiliated, I felt so peaceful inside. There seemed to be a light shining inside my heart. It seemed that God was telling me I would get through this victoriously. True enough, after that awkward moment, I felt I was not affected. I was treated worse, but that should not be a reason I would allow worst feelings to reside in me. That was my boss. That was how she saw me. But that was not me. She judged me out of her experiences. While God made me realize who I really was – beautiful, joyful and strong. So I went on with the gathering and the Christmas party with my very best self. My naughty mind told me, being joyful is the best revenge. Well, there was no need to act, I already am.
From that experience, I learned so many things. God always answer prayers; not in our ways but in His own right way. God would not give you what you ask for because He would give you something much better. God is not concerned on how people see you; rather on how you see yourself. God does not change situations, He changes people. And God would never leave you, as long as you hold on to him.
That event was one of the blessings in disguise for me. From there, I feel I am able to face every worst case scenario life may throw at me, as long as I keep on praying. I became stronger and more accepting of people as they are. But I do hope it would never happen again.
Have a purposeful day!