The notion of possibility.
The very essence of being an educator or a leader is to instill the notion of possibility. If we could just make one more person believe… in themselves, in social change, in the greater good, in love… the world would be a very different place.
For myself, the first step is to exercise being conscious of struggle, language, inequality, and most importantly - envisioning a way to create a better reality. A reality that induces personal growth, positively affect my community, my country, cross oceans, and ultimately benefit my future family.
After graduation and all the insecurity I found myself in at the beginning of 2011, the classic advice of “follow your heart” lead me to spaces that reinvigorated my life. It’s finally hitting me, this feeling that the platform between possibility and reality is so close I can almost taste it.
Three recent stories I’ve witnessed struck a chord within me and inspired me at my very core. Their experiences, both personal and professional, got me dreaming again and are living proof that anything that’s possible begins with the belief in yourself…
Thefirstis an organization, OneFilipino, that I met at UniPro Summit in early June. The vision of OneFilipino reads:
To establish stronger representation of British-Filipinos in political and socio-economic affairs in the UK and in the Philippines. To create social enterprises and co-operatives that will satisfy the Filipino community’s needs all throughout the UK. To create a repository of consumer data and cultural data regarding the Filipinos in the UK. To create a generation of Filipino leaders that will serve our community and will protect the interests of the Filipino in the UK and beyond.
Beyond impressed, it was as if someone read my mind and simply articulated what I’ve been trying to define in my almost 10 years of community organizing. Their mission reads:
To create stronger participation of Filipinos in UK and Philippine affairs within political and socio-economic issues. To create easier access for Filipinos to community affairs and functions. To establish a data infrastructure for social research regarding the Filipinos in the UK. To provide young Filipinos with a platform to perform volunteerism and active youth participation in the Philippines and/or in the UK.
In communication theory, it is almost impossible for communicators to fully and completely transfer/assign the same meaning to exchanged symbols. So when it does happen, one can be overwhelmed with a great sense of relief - some may say, “you get me.” Well in this case, that’s exactly it. A mutual understanding of a shared tireless passion, drive, and hope.
Second, over the weekend I attended a going-away party for one of Angelo’s hometown friends who was recently accepted to the Graduate Business School at Columbia University in New York City. I have only known and interacted with Phil and Aileen through visits with Angelo - Kristine’s Wedding, their wedding, Paquiao fights, vacationing in New York City, and now sending them off to a new chapter in their story.
Right before Angelo and I left the party, Phil’s mom stopped us and requested that we stayed because she had a surprise cake and toast to conclude the celebration. As it turned out, Phil had a very well thought out and sentimental speech highlighting the trials and tribulations being from an immigrant family. Emotions were flying high…
With immense gratitude in his voice, he thanked his mother for working so hard, sacrificing, and not giving up on the “American Dream.” Otherwise, he wouldn’t have met his wife, help raise his sister, had the opportunity to work in London, and now pursue a degree at one of the top business schools in the U.S. Listening to him walk through his life up to that point made my own parents’ history flash through my mind and almost brought me to tears. It’s the untold story of unconditional support and deepest desire for your child to succeed - how indebted I feel for what they saw possible by leaving all that they knew and immigrating to a new country. It was a refresher that even though I may not always agree with my parents on political issues, or what they should/n’t do when they retire, but always have that underlying appreciation for the system they created that brought me to where I am today and destined to be.
Third, but certainly not least, are the adventures of Rizalyn Vargas. My longest friendship and the one that never ceases to amaze me. We’ve had our talks about family, our “plans” post-college, and all the growing pains that come with becoming an adult - yet despite the obstacles she’s presented, she has the courage to take on the world… literally. She left for Nepal and India a few days ago where she will be interning at community based medical clinics for the next two months. Rizalyn’s ability to persevere hits home. She knows my history and I’ve told her where I’d like to go, but at this very second she’s writing her story and that of others right now. Change at the very basis of humanity - giving the gift of life. (I’m so proud of you, Riz.)
As someone who usually processes thoughts through dialogue, this is a very long blog post. I feel a renewed enthusiasm to do work - what I do for a living and fulfill a refined sense of purpose. I think Nicki Minaj had the right idea… and I don’t want this feeling to end.
I fly with the stars in the skies,
I am no long trying to survive,
I believe that life is a prize,
but to live doesn’t mean you’re alive […]
No I’m not lucky, I’m blessed […]
But I couldn’t do it all lone, we […]
It’s a celebration every time we link up,
Greatness is what we’re on the brink of.
I wish I could have this moment for life.
[Be]cause in this moment I just feel so alive.