Many not even realize it’s happening to you

Many people read fairytales to remove themselves from the hardships of their personal lives. Quite unknowingly, authors write fairytales as just a supernatural cocktail version of real life experiences. Readers thumb through their life every single time they crack open a storybook, except what they read is just a little more magical than their own stories. That’s why reading is interesting, why the characters are relatable, and why self-proclaimed bookworms, myself included, feel inspired by each story their minds devour. Unlike in these fairytales, however, we are unable to pinpoint any life-changing events that come our way until we’re asked directly about them. When it comes to our own experiences, it’s not something we read but something we think very deeply about. To be completely honest, this may be the reason why I am writing my essay less than a week before the deadline.
You see, Dorothy ended up in the Land of Oz because of a tornado that swept her house to a magical place. Alice followed a White Rabbit, out of sheer curiosity, into a hole that leads to Underland. Wendy Darling flew to Neverland through Peter Pan’s persuasion. Some things happen by chance, others by curiosity or motivation. In life, you get to experience all three and not even realize it’s happening to you until you sit down and think about it. But how they get into the new world is only the start of what defines their characters as the characters we know and love. In my opinion, it’s never just one thing that makes you who you are, it’s the process of how you get to where you are that truly defines you.
My magical Land of Oz was the hospital. You could say that, like Dorothy, I was swept away by the tornado that is my father’s illness to white, dull hospital rooms all over Luzon where I spent a large percent of my childhood being in. I’ve found that the route from my school to the hospital was my yellow brick road, counting the steps of all four kilometers. I’ve met people along the way, men and women with the desire for wisdom, affection, and courage. I’ve realized that the reason I got along with them was because I was just as hungry to procure these things as they were.
The school I currently am studying in is kind of like an Underland for me where I only applied because I was curious. It was, and still is, a strange place. In it I’ve faced witches and slain dragons. It had so many doors you could open. I once chose a door that led me to a Regional Competition hosted by The University of the Philippines and, with bottled milk tea resting in my hand, I beat twelve other school competitors for the 1st place. Another door landed me in a position on the school’s editorial board as Literary Editor and there was never a year in my entire high school life where I chose a door away from being in a position of power. Being a girl in a high ranking position gives me the power to let other girls see that the teachers who told them that the hard jobs were only for boys were wrong, very wrong. I’ve always idolized my father for being a leader and leading out of the pure desire to make everything better. A lot of these accomplishments were done out of curiosity and sometimes that was a better initiator than courage. But of course, having grit was what pushed this curiosity into becoming the list of virtues I now have and can offer any university that decides to take me in.
I had my Neverland as well. I call it Bicol Memorial Park; this is where my father is buried. Here’s the sad part but I encourage you not to pity me for this because it is the biggest experience which led me to my GROWTH, the one thing I know Ateneo treasures most. On August 8, 2015, the day my sister came home from Ateneo, my father had several medical complications and had to be rushed by my mother and our ex-Marine neighbor to the nearest hospital. He died that day and suddenly I was surrounded by people who were crying. All I could think about was, “How can we afford to live without him? How is my sister going to cope when she goes back to Ateneo? How is my mother going to live on without the love of her life?” I didn’t cry at first because waves of thoughts were crashing against my brain. I didn’t cry until it hit me, “I don’t have a dad anymore.”
Going back, I consider Bicol Memorial Park as my Neverland because when I’m in front of my father’s grave, I revert back into my ten-year-old self, chubby cheeks and all. In the moments I choose to settle a rose atop his headstone, I become a Lost Boy in Neverland with my thoughts being a figurative manifestation of Captain Hook. That’s what defined me most of all, the experience of utterly heart-crushing grief. From the very moment I let go of my father’s lifeless hand that grainy, murky night, I’ve realized that there will be many firsts: first family day without a dad, first vacation without a dad, first everything without the man I love most.
Even to this very day, I think and dream about him. He, along with my mother, is my inspiration to every single thing I do. He is the reason for all my accomplishments and one of the biggest reasons I aspire to be an Atenista. From my literary features in international web articles to commendable classroom journals and even to research papers, I bring him to the center of it all. He was my rock and now he’s a statue that resides in the depths of my heart giving me strength when I feel I’ve run out of stock.
Many people think that daddy issues are personified through abusive fathers or fathers who chose to leave their families and withdraw their roles as father figures, and the same people also think that it will only bear “broken” children distracting themselves with vices that are supposedly destroying their future. Well, I think my “daddy issues” came from a loving, supportive father that departed from the plane of the living way too soon. And these “daddy issues” made me an independent perfectionist with the desire to always be a better person. There are no known euphemisms for daddy issues but whatever people may call it, I claim it. It is a real thing and it isn’t always an excuse for those who felt that they have failed. Sometimes it’s a motivation for those who keep trying to holistically be better.
I am a passionate person, so passionate that there isn’t even a word I can muster up that has more impact than “passionate.” I write from the heart and I serve from the spirit. My kindness may not appear at first sight due to my incredibly fierce face and sophisticated stance, but it exists and it has garnered me many good relationships. I have danced my way into the stage and, with elegant longhand, I have written my way into engraving my name as a young poet in people’s minds.
This day, three years ago I was cursing God because He took my dad away and left a seat unoccupied in our dining table. Today I thank Him for helping me regain my composure and become the woman that I am. I thank Him for the opportunity to feel my father’s presence in every seat I decide to take. I may not be the most religious person, nor am I the best example of a young Christian girl, but I know that my father is up there with Him. They give me the drive to carry on.
My fairytale has not ended yet. I still walk the yellow brick road meeting different people from all walks of life and still endure challenging ways to fit into doors filled with all kinds of opportunities. Admittedly, I also visit Neverland in times when I feel that being a responsible adult is just too much to handle. I am Patricia Yzabelle Reverente and my name may not be as catchy as Dorothy, Alice, or Wendy, but my story matters just as much.


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