Discoveries during the Discovery Weekend

Photo by Ritchie Ferrer Linao

When my wife-to-be said we should join the Discovery Weekend, I was hesitant at first. Our relationship was okay. We already had the Pre-Cana Seminar, a requirement for the wedding. So, what’s the use of joining another seminar? Despite my battling thoughts, I quickly said yes to her request. She was so excited telling me about it and I didn’t want to hurt her feelings.

Secretly, I did my little investigation hoping to find something I could use to discourage her into joining. I ended up being “infected” by her excitement. All of the former participants said great things about it. After going through it, I would say that it is a must for couples to join the Discovery Weekend, especially if they are truly seriously serious about their relationship.

During the Discovery Weekend, I discovered a lot of things. Here are some of them:

Just because it appears trivial doesn’t mean it is not important. I think all couples would agree that most of the causes of fight are trivial in its context. Some couples would fight over how to squeeze the toothpaste tube or how to roll the tissue. I thought that mature people would never do that. I was 100% sure that it won’t happen to us because my partner and I are both mature and logical people. Lo and behold, we fought over little things, which I am now embarrassed to even think about it. And I have a feeling that it would still happen again in the future. But with what we’ve learned from the Discovery Weekend, I know we will handle it so much better than before.

There is more to our relationship than just the two of us. It’s more than just love. It’s more than just feelings and emotions. It’s more than just being logical. It’s more than just romance and bed of roses. It is complex. Yet, the complexity of marriage and relationship is wrapped with the simplest of things, which both may sometimes take for granted.

We don’t have to reinvent the wheel. There are no identical relationships. What works for one couple may not work for another. Experience is the best teacher. Though all these statements are true, it doesn’t mean we should start absolutely from scratch. We can learn a lot from other couples who had been through what we are about to go through. We can use their experiences as a guide. We may still need to figure out what works for our relationship. However, it would not be as hard as trying to operate a complicated machine without a user’s manual.

So many genuinely good people still exist in this world. I met some of them in the Discovery Weekend. They get tired, yet they find energy in helping others. They get embarrassed by their faults, yet they share the wisdom to bless others. They get hurt, yet they are open to initiate reconciliation. They are not paid, yet they are willing to give their all for those who need help.

Honestly, I was nervous that my partner and I would discover something that would make us decide to call off the wedding. But if we did, it would be for the best. It would save us both a lifetime of trouble. Apparently, we even discovered more reasons to get excited to start our life together.

Forever, my partner and I are grateful to be part of Discovery Weekend Cebu Batch 37!

I wish I took the first step years ago

A few years ago, while I was strolling at National Bookstore, I found the book "My Maid Invests in the Stock Market." That time, I wasn't really aware Bo Sanchez was the author of that book. The title simply caught my attention. Perhaps, the red cover added the factor as well. Plus, the book was thin and very cheap.

Perfect timing! I had been looking for books on stock market investing. And some of the books that I've read were "heavy" with terms, which made me even more scared of the stock market.

I finished reading it while inside the taxi. Traffic! I learned that his maid who earns a monthly salary less than mine has no more than P800,000 in the stock market!

Amazing, right? It was then that I learned about the Truly Rich Club.

But I just ignored it.

I thought I could learn stock market on my own. There are plenty of free information in the internet. Why would I subscribe to Truly Rich Club?

Little did I know that to master the stock market, one has to be full time in stock market. That was not possible in my case. I have a full-time job. I don't have the luxury to spend my whole day mastering the ins and outs of the market.

I needed a mentor but it took me a long time to accept that.

I wish I took the first step years ago.

When I finally became of Truly Rich Club, that's when I could sleep without worrying about my stocks.

Bo Sanchez, with his stock market mentor, coaches thousands of people like his maid about the DOs and DON'Ts in Stock Market Investing.

Ever since I joined the Club, I grew not only in my knowledge but more so, in my finances.

Do you want a vehicle towards financial freedom?

No matter where you're coming from, this can bring you to WHERE YOU WANT TO GO.

If you want Bo to be your personal financial coach, click the link below.

Mama, I Forgive You - What the book is all about and what it's not?

Hello Friends!

If you've read my first book "How to Survive Mondays," you might find my second book quite heavy and a bit dramatic. Just a bit! Promise!

The title of my second book is "Mama, I Forgive You." I know, it's too risky to share such personal journey to the public. Believe me, even before I submitted the manuscript to the editor, I still hesitated. What's the point of sharing your story to the public? What's there to learn about your story? What’s the point in healing from the wounds of the past? Nobody cares about your journey of healing! That’s why your mother abandoned you in the first place. I know! My worse de-motivator is my own mind

Book Design by

At first, I wanted to write a memoir. Halfway through writing it, I feared it might not serve its intended purpose. It might be misinterpreted as something to seek revenge for the past or portray myself a victim.

Though some sections of the book have a dramatic flair, my intention is to explore the past events from an observer’s point of view. Through this book, I wish to travel back down the memory lane, to understand what happened, and to explore my whole journey towards forgiveness. I wish to share the lessons I learned with others: the ultimate purpose in life is to make your life mess a message.

This book does not provide an absolute guide. I don’t think such books exist. What may work for one person may not work for another. The guides in this book are not fool-proof. In fact they are solely based on my personal experiences. I share them with the hope that there is one soul who could relate to it and apply the guides presented.

If you are a parent who thinks that your children are complicated, then this book is for you. 

If you are a child whose parents are complicated, then this book is for you also.

In the process of writing this book, I discovered a lot of things I did not see before.

Sometimes, knowing that you are not alone in your trials can be more helpful than receiving advice.

That is what I wish to achieve in this book.

If you wish to join with me in this journey, you can grab a copy of the book from Amazon Kindle. You may simply click the icon below:

But if you want a hard copy, I can have it delivered to you.

Pay via Bank Deposit

1 copy + ship­ping cost (110 pesos) within Philippines = Php 360

BPI Account Num­ber:  1139 0933 53
Account Name:  Franklin Vios

BDO Account Num­ber:  004 910 129 386
Account Name:  Franklin Vios


Please email your deposit slip to & the fol­low­ing:
Your Full Name:
Your Mobile Num­ber:
Your Com­plete Deliv­ery Address:

Thank you and God Bless!

Confession of a Zombie who became a Zumba Fan

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I was so skeptical about Zumba. When it was first announced, I said to myself “What a waste of my time! Why waste money to hire an instructor just to do some chicken dance? Anyone can do the chicken dance! I know I’m a dance-zombie and I have two left feet, but I’m sure I can do the chicken dance without the help of an instructor.”
Despite my battling thoughts, I gave Zumba a try. The company paid for it anyway. So, the only thing expected of me was to show up.
After my first reluctant attendance, I managed to keep on showing up whenever I could. Because I didn’t want anyone to see me looking like a chicken uncontrollably scratching my wings, either I positioned myself next to a pillar or on the far side of the crowd and never at the center.
After some time, I became more and more confident of the steps that most of the time, I found myself ahead of the beat. When I was hit by my “analysis paralysis syndrome”, I would stop and beam at myself feeling a little embarrassed. But then when I saw the other participants enjoying themselves, without minding how they would look like, I realized that nobody really cared if you missed a step or two. The participants were really enjoying while sweating. They were all flashing smiles, making silly moves. Who cares, we’re not here to take a perfect pose but to become healthier.
Sure, there are steps that I still couldn’t dare to do, but instead of tormenting myself, I would just keep moving on my place. Who cares if look like a drowned chicken flapping its wings, as long as I’m sweating. I learned from research that by sweating, you improve your cardiovascular muscles and you improve your mood. So, I continue flapping and wagging the rest of the session.
Photo courtesy:

Just when I thought I had almost perfected the steps, the instructor added new steps, which were faster and more complicated. Instead of revolting against it, I took it as a new challenge. Too much familiarity is boring. New step adds the element of surprise, which is exciting. Sure, I still look and feel silly doing the steps but I know my muscle coordination has improved.
Fast track to today, the company’s Zumba sessions became something that I look forward to every Friday. I don’t know how it happened but I seem to have enjoyed it already. Maybe it was because the instructor looks like a very energetic child you put on a platform to dance and once she started to dance, you can’t help yourself but bang your head, and then later on, you end up dancing with her, mimicking her every move.
Now, I think it’s a “waste” to miss the Zumba sessions. Aside from its health benefits, it is for free, which reminds me that some of the best things in life are free. So while it’s there, you have to seize the opportunity to grab it.

4 Gym Survival Tips for Beginners

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It started with a question that I asked myself in January. What if I’ll go to the gym? A few friends had been inviting me to try it. Some friends would flex and kiss their bulging arms as if telling me “sorry, you don’t have like this!” It took me a long time to try it. It was a personal dare to challenge myself. I decided to give it a try when I heard other friends talking about their New Year’s resolution. They were planning to go to the gym.
I thought after my first try, I would never go back to the gym. Two months later, I lost almost 3 kilos. I wrote a blog about it because I was excited to share it to others. To read about the detail, read my blog “I Lost 3 kilos in 2 Months.
Now, it’s been 6 months and I still continue to work out 3 times a week. And I plan to continue to allot time to sweat out at the gym. One obvious benefit I gained from sweating out is that I don’t easily get stressed. I became more energetic.
Someone asked me, how did you pass the first few days? I laughed at the question! I remember Googling about it. I always have poor muscular coordination. I wanted to prepare my mind how to make my first gym experience less awkward. And Boy, it was awkward. I felt awkward that I couldn’t look myself in the mirror while lifting the dumbbell. I wondered perhaps the tool was called a dumbbell because it made you feel dumb when you use it.
Looking back, I survived my first few dumb days in 4 ways.
1. Goal. Having a goal is very important. In whatever you do, you have to have a specific goal. If you don’t have a specific goal in mind, you would be clueless as to what you’re trying to achieve. My goal was to be healthier. I wanted to lose weight. People told me that I was never fat, so to them that was a crazy goal. I may not look fat but I was heavier than I look. I remember the instructor told me that perhaps I had plenty of excess water in my body. Three months after working out, he said that I was no longer “watery!”
2. Gauge. Before I became a gym enthusiast, I thought that it was only for the vain people. Why would there be huge mirrors there? Why would people love to stare at themselves? I realized that I was wrong! Until now, I still don’t stare at my reflection the whole time. Maybe, I just glance a little! To have a personal gauge is to assess yourself based on your own progress. Avoid comparing your performance with others. At first, I could barely lift a 5-pound dumbbell. I was never embarrassed about it because as Milo’s battle cry, great things start from small beginnings. After sometime, I began lifting 10 pounds, 15 pounds, and until recently 35 pounds. It does not make me a bodybuilder still. Anyway, that was never part of my goal. I still didn’t have the muscles as big as The Rock’s. But that is not the point of gauging my progress. It’s about comparing myself now from before. In a way, I made a little progress. And oh, just recently, I started lifting the barbell. A few months ago, I couldn’t even lift it an inch.
3. Yearning to learn. Even after 6 months, I still seek for assistance from the instructor. I still ask questions because I want to do what I do right. What should I do next? Am I doing it correctly? Can you be my spotter? Never assume that you know everything. Even if you have read the whole library about working out, but based on experience, actual application is still different. Before deciding to try working out, I already did my research on the proper shoes, proper posture, etc. It turned out that it was a lot “easier read than done.” You’ll learn only when you open yourself to ask questions. And oh! If you are not the instructor, don’t give others instruction on how to lift a dumbbell. If you can’t resist yourself and you feel that you would be a future gym instructor, then don’t just say how to do it. Show it!
4. Motivation. There are days when we prefer to just lay in bed than to go to the gym. Motivation ignites the fire in us. It helps me jump out of bed to wear my gym shoes. After work when I get exhausted and tempted to just sit and watch Youtube videos, I would push myself out and head straight to the gym. I make it a point to write every single day after work. I can’t write if I’m physically tired. Going to the gym has helped me restore my energy after work to hone my writing skill from 9 to 11 PM. Love is also another effective source of motivation. Though my wife-to-be told me that she was fine with my “watery” body, I still wanted to feel and look more attractive to her. And I think she already enjoys playing with my baby muscles!
These are based on my experience. You are free to experiment what works for you!
By the way, that man in the photo is not me, okay? I just want to be clear! Hehe

Excuses - Biggest Barrier

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The biggest barrier to achieving our dream is not the lack of resources, skill or time. It’s the never ending excuses.

Since I was a little kid, I knew I wanted to become an author someday. When I would wake up in the middle of a nightmare, I would grab a pen and piece of paper, then I would write and write, until I doze off to sleep with a pen in my hand.
Using our old typewriter, I would copy phrases from the Bible, greeting cards and old newspapers, then glue the papers together and scribble a nicely written name on the cover. Then, I became the youngest author in town.  I didn’t know, it was like piracy.
As I grew older, I realized that there were more urgent matters in life than writing. People told me that writers don’t have a career path and most of them are bound to suffer in vain and they die with bitter ashes in their mouth. So in college, I took Engineering.
Writing had to be put on hold because I got so busy with school. Maybe I’ll have time to write after college.
But after college, I became so busy with work. Then, there was Facebook. Plus I had Toastmasters. Maybe I’ll have time to write after my retirement.
I also learned that becoming a writer takes more than just the love of writing. It requires hard work, hard work and a lot of hard work, which means, writing is not always fun.
It also requires a lot of money, which means that I still can’t retire from my job.
It also requires skill. But looking back, my writing skill was never a favorite of my teachers.
When I was in Elementary, I wrote a reaction paper. "The air was crisp with coldness as I was awakened by the kids singing Jingle Bells in off key. I set forth to watch from the window, imagining myself beheading them and leaving their lifeless bodies bathed in cold blood."
After submitting that “reaction paper,” my teacher told me “I think you have a big problem!”
So perhaps, I was never meant to be a writer!
A year ago, while I was cleaning my room, I found the 5 chapters of the Harry Potter-inspired novel, which I wrote back in college. Because I was always so busy, I never finished writing it. While reading the manuscript, it brought back the thrill I had as a kid when I imagined myself as an author.

So, I decided to take another shot at writing. I bought books on how to write a book. I read books that are close to my writing style. I studied some videos on writing, editing and publishing. Then, I enrolled in a writing course where I met mentors and aspiring authors. One of my classmates had Parkinson’s Disease. She couldn’t write using a pen and she could barely type using a keyboard. But her desire to deliver a message was so strong that no disease could stop her.
As I reflected, I could say that the worst disease to stop me from achieving my dream is my excuses.

Slowly, with the support from my mentors, I managed to rekindle the burning desire to simply write one word at a time to finish a sentence, until it became a paragraph, then a chapter, until a few months later, my first book was finally available in online bookstores worldwide!
Now you may ask me, “Will it land in the best-seller list?” I don’t know. I hope so. That’s another story, but without that first book, there wouldn’t be any second or third or any future best-sellers!
We only have one shot at life. If you have a dream but you don’t do anything about it because you think you lack resources, skill, and you are always so busy, time will come when you say to yourself “I wish I did that before!”

Whatever it is that you dream of, big or small, the only way to find out if it’s even possible to achieve it is to try it. Work hard towards it. And most of all, stop making excuses.

Acceptance Speech - Club President 2016 - 2017

Toastmasters has become an important part of my life, both my professional and personal.
In our job, regardless of task, we need to be competent. According to ISO 9001:2015 Clause 7.2, competence is a demonstrated ability to apply knowledge and skill. While being competent is great, it is not enough. You have to share it to others. That is the ultimate goal in life.
Acquiring knowledge and skill requires hard work. While, demonstrating them requires patience, persistence and even faith.
Patience and persistence are quite obvious, but why is faith important in our job? It’s because sometimes, even when we have a career path in mind, there will always be humps, bumps and detours.. Even if we don’t like it we got plenty of those at work.
And sometimes, you get assigned to certain roles that require you to do tasks that you hate. It makes you ask yourself, “what’s the point of doing these things?”
That is where faith comes in. Faith makes you see what your eyes cannot see. I learned that from my mentors in toastmasters. From them, I learned how to find meaning and value in anything that I do, whether it’s in my job or in other aspects of life.
In my personal life, toastmasters helped me unleash my truest self-confidence. Growing up, my confidence was so-so. Before toastmasters, self-doubt was best friend.
For instance, in college, I was a dean’s lister this year. The next year, I was a failure. “But why bother getting good grades when my parents were always busy minding their own personal lives, that they missed to give time to validate my little achievements?” That was me talking to myself as a self-doubter.
In toastmasters, I’ve met people who constantly remind me that I am good at this or that. And yes, it gave boost to my self-confidence, BUT that is not what true confidence is all about. True confidence is having a strong will to help others without soliciting for any validation, without blowing one’s horn and without asking something in return.
Mahatma Gandhi once said that the best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others. That is where my confidence was honed.
Being an officer of any organization, regardless of position is an opportunity to lose yourself. Losing yourself means commitment. Commitment means sacrifice, with your time and sometimes resources. And despite all your sacrifices, you will still receive some soul-wrecking criticisms and objections. That’s part of the challenge. And even if you’ve done it before, it will always remain a fresh challenge.
With that I say, fellow toastmasters, I humbly take this challenge to serve you once again, as President of Pillars Toastmasters Club.

To paraphrase President Duterte's statement, I cannot do this alone. But together as officers and members, we can!

Book Launch Speech

"With my classmates and mentors"

 Sure I only do have one position title but the truth is that I joggle between being as a Project Engineer, an ISO Management Specialist, a Lead Auditor and an in-house Trainer. In short, my work requires a 4-in-1 employee. But I am paid for only one employee.
Have I ever considered quitting, you may ask? Oh yes! Not just once or twice but many times! But I remain to stay. Why? How? That's what I share in the book “How to Survive Mondays.”
Since I was a little kid, I knew I wanted to become an author someday. So when I grew older, I took a few small steps to make my dream come true, like learning how to write, learning how to publish and of course writing every day. But it is only when I joined the 90-Day Book Writing Challenge that I finally materialized my first book.
And I owe that to our mentor, Sha Nacino. The guides that she gave us make writing a book accessible to anyone, even if you have complicated work loads, like myself.
Through this course, I was blessed with a community of like-minded people, my classmates. We only meet virtually online and today is our first time to meet in person, but the bond we formed is very special to me. Because without them, without their contagious enthusiasm, without their encouragements, perhaps, I would not be able to survive writing “How to Survive Mondays.”
But why Mondays? Why not Tuesdays or Saturdays?
"It's a surreal feeling"
During my early years of employment, I despised Mondays! I would drag myself to work on a Monday morning. I would glance at the clock every other minute. I would groan to myself, I wish it was Friday again!
When three of my closest friends resigned from work on the same week, I was so devastated. I said to myself, “Why am I still here?”
I was jealous of them leaving the company. So I wrote a very emotional resignation letter.
But when you are at the height of emotions, you have to avoid making a big decision. Instead, you have to cool down. Sure, if I resigned, I would be free from work stress. I could do whatever I want. And perhaps I could change the world.
But at time, changing the world was not my number one priority. My two sisters were still in college. And a portion of my salary was allotted for their tuition. So if I quit, they would also have to quit school. That, I could not allow to happen.
So instead of submitting my resignation letter, I took a vacation leave. I said to my boss, “Sir, I need to cool down.”
That day, I went to Ormoc City, which is just 45 minutes away.
While inside the van, I took my tab and wrote the article “How to reignite your work-life excitement.” It’s just a short article to encourage myself.
When I submitted it for the company newsletter, a few people responded to it positively.
When I posted it on my blog and became my most viewed article, I was so thrilled. I wondered perhaps I was not alone after all. Perhaps many people could relate to my employment situation.
I read my blog over and over as if it were written by someone else. And I would say, somehow it worked! Because until now, I still work for the same company for 8 years. And I plan to stick around for a few years more.
Mondays also symbolize my first few years of employment, which was really a struggle. Because I needed money for the college education of my siblings, I decided to stay. But I had to find ways to make my stay worthwhile.
I prayed for mentors and I was blessed with plenty of them. I learned from them not only how to survive my Mondays but also how to enjoy my job and find meaning in doing what I do.
My simple wish is to share the lessons I learned from my mentors to those who easily get burned out at work, to those who lost the excitement in their job and to those who feel stuck in their career.
I hope that this book “How to Survive Mondays” will bless you in your job and in other aspects of your life.

"With fellow authors"

How to Beat Procrastination, Your Worst Enemy

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Imagine you are reading a book. Then, you realize you have to do something, so you put the book down and place it next to your bed. Then a week later, the book is still there unfinished. And it’s not alone. It’s got some company. All are half-read and are starting to pile up.
Last time I checked the chair next to my bed, I got only 4 non-fiction books, one Stephen King’s, two George RR Martin’s and two JRR Tolkien’s. By the way, e-books were not included. I used to say “Well, I can’t help it, I’m a voracious reader and I can read many books all in one time!
Last time I checked my yahoo email, I had more than 20 thousand PLUS unread messages. My Gmail had 1000 and my other Gmail 5000. Well I can’t help it, I’m a sentimental person! Even the SPAM emails, I collect and treasure them!
How’s the filing system on your table? How many idle papers are still there? How many non-working pens are still on your desks? I am proud to say that I have psychedelic piles on my table and a number of multi-colored pens there that I longer use. Well, I can’t help it! I love to see a messy table. It’s an abstract art! I am an artist.
The truth of the matter is that I am simply a procrastinator! But because someone is reading this blabber, I know I am definitely not alone in this dilemma! So, thank you fellas!
To paraphrase Mark Twain statement, our motto as procrastinators is to never put off until tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow.
And because we are all guilty about it, we simply laugh it off, accept it as a norm and then move on.
Procrastination is a very serious problem. Even with a new President, change is coming only if we, as his allies, would stop procrastinating. He said “I cannot do this alone!” And I agree with him. He needs each of our little contribution.
Of the many problems we are facing, both on the national level and personal, I believe that procrastination is our worst. It can spread like a virus and it can destroy life if you don’t control it.
Sometimes, people behave as if they we were oppressed by an unknown force. The truth is, they are just victims of their own procrastination.
Some people say they can work under pressure and they work best at the last minute of the deadline. But according to a Stanford philosopher John Perry, the author of the book The Art of Procrastination, it is a big lie!
When I was in 5th year college, I became a victim of my own procrastination. I took my undergrad thesis during the first semester so I had plenty of time to finish it. Because I believed in a lie that I was a superstar performer at the last minute of the deadline, I kept on postponing what needed to be done on the first day.
A month away from graduation, that’s when I started to realize that I needed to work on my thesis.
Haste makes wastes, they say. Murphy’s Law kicked in and all possible misfortunes came to me. Sleepless nights! I got sick. The materials we ordered from abroad were stopped by customs. The program we coded didn’t work.
Ending of the story: I had to extend another semester just to finish my thesis.
That’s the worst consequence of procrastination I ever have. And never would I allow it to happen ever again.
Lately, I have learned to beat procrastination using the 2-minute rule.
The principle behind it is very simple. If you have a task at hand, it doesn’t matter if it’s big or small, just try to do it in two minutes.
So I tried it. And I realized that for small things like cleaning my Inbox or arranging the files on my table only take less than two minutes to finish.
For bigger tasks like making a report or writing an article, even if I don’t feel like doing it, but if I just try to write for 2 minutes, I end up writing for two hours or longer.
The 2-minute rule is simply doing one little step at a time.
There are so many options available in the internet on how you can beat procrastination, but if you do that while you have other things to do, then you are already procrastinating.
A few weeks ago, I said to myself “I will make a speech on procrastination. I will memorize it. It will be my best speech ever. It will be perfect!
Last night, while watching Captain America - Civil War, I said to myself “Oh my god, I still have not written a speech!
But it’s not the end of the world. Everyday, we fall short of our expectations. But everyday, we can also avenge our failures of yesterday.
Because I want change, I am willing to change for the better. I believe that big changes and big tasks require only little steps to the finish line.
So starting today, I will fight procrastination. Because I want change, I’m willing to do my part.

Are you will willing to do yours?

As If I had Won - an Excerpt from "Ma, I Forgive You!"

This is an excerpt from "Ma, I Forgive You," my work in progress book.
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It happened in 2010 when I joined a speech contest. I informed my mother about it and coyly invited her to listen to it. Unexpectedly, she seemed excited about it and promised that she would cancel her other activities just to grant my wish and said she would make sure her phone was fully charged on that day.
My mother was on the phone listening while I was delivering my contest piece. She was not in the audience physically but it meant everything to me. I had never experienced having her watching me doing anything on stage since the day she left. She went to work abroad when I was 9.
“Ma, I forgot my lines! I hate myself,” I told my mother who was on the phone. Right after I shook hands with the host and disappeared from the audience, I wailed like a child having his tantrum. I felt so embarrassed of my error. I thought I had mastered my speech. But my mind betrayed me. How could I be so dumb?
“Really?” was mother’s only reply. While I got so devastated with what just happened, that’s how simple she could say? Didn’t she have any idea how frustrating it was when the words that I practiced were not the exact arrangement of words that came out of my mouth? How could she be so insensitive of my feelings? I was torn beyond words and all she could say was “Really?” Really!?
“I didn’t notice you forgot some words!”
While I was sobbing blocking out everything she was saying, I felt everything I had planned out became pointless. Maybe I’ll just accept the fact that my mother wasn’t really the kind of mother I was expecting her to be, like most mothers, who were sensitive enough to just listen and knew how to smooth out any bad situation. How could my own mother not understand my heartache at the moment? How could she be so heartless!
“I can’t believe you’re so good! ” she said.
I thought it was just in my mind, so I had to ask “What are you talking about?”
“You really are so good! Son, I am so proud of you!”
The phrase “I am so proud of you” echoed in my ears. My heart melted. It’s as if the whole place lit up so bright, like I was on top of the mountain. The warmth of air blew all the troubles of the day, including my embarrassing defeat.
Immediately, I left the venue without waiting for the result of the contest. I knew I would go home empty-handed but it didn’t bother me. My heart was overflowing with joy beyond words as if I had won the elusive contest.
For the first time in my life, I had received the most precious trophy - the most precious compliment! How sweet it felt in my ear, like a hallelujah song. For many years, I waited to hear that! I yearned to get a compliment like that not from anyone else but from my own mother.
I receive a few compliments from friends, teachers, and mentors, like “you’re good at this, you’re good at that, you’re quite charming (ahem!).” They give an extra boost in my self-confidence, which occupy a special place in my heart. I think it is an affirmation that somehow, I have done something worthy of praise or at least something that pleased a soul.
But to hear an appreciation from my mother for the first time in my life was beyond words.
I had won a few contests before but it was all for self-fulfillment, for fun. Every time I bring home a winning trophy, the feeling of cloud nine would only last for a day or two. While every time I remember those unexpected sweet words from my mother, I become a little kid who has found his carefree crib where he could lay all his worries away.
To be appreciated “You’re so good!” even if it wasn’t my best, even if I felt devastated of my error meant the whole universe to me. I was appreciated not because of what I did but because I was loved. I was loved not for what I had done, but for who I am.
“But I don’t understand most of the things you were saying. It’s in English. Nosebleed!” I was in the moment and my mother was ruining it! My mother was a potential humorist!
“By the way, son, I never abandoned you!”