I don’t feel “small” anymore. The word small is of course used figuratively ūüėÄ This I found during this trip back to my hometown.

This is the first time I’d be going home via plane. I’ve bought the tickets last year during a seat sale. Otherwise, I would be taking the bus. It’s more convenient. If booked a year before the trip, it’s actually cheaper than taking the bus. But that’s not this post’s about.

Growing up in a family at the bottom of the lower middle class conditions one to be a lot of things. It builds on patience, perseverance, humility, and silence. It also introduces you to longing (thank goodness it wasn’t envy that we got to know), helplessness,¬†being subordinate, and the acceptance that this is how things are and will be. (No one’s to blame and no one else is responsible for all these things but me.)

One cannot ¬†demand. Wants¬†are luxury. Make do with what you have (or have been given). What’s given is what you deserve. One needs to work hard to earn recognition. Learn to wait.¬†Worth is recognition gained (and can never be demanded). One needs to be patient in seeking assistance. Make sure to be familiar with the rules (as you’d never be the exception). Apologize to the people you’ve wronged. Know your strengths and your weaknesses. And in everything in your life, you have the sole accountability.

I wasn’t explicitly taught any of these but they were ingrained is us and these lessons made got me through college – and after. So did that feeling of being¬†small¬†because of the family’s limited finances.

Feeling small is having wake up at four in the morning to prepare the day’s batch of banana cupcakes to be sold by the aunt that day or coming to school with a Tupperware-full of peeled Indian mangoes that I’d sell to my grade two classmates for Php 2 a piece. One learns to be small while waiting in a series of long lines for a slot in high school scholarship. There were more lines – longer lines – as I got to college to apply and maintain a scholarship. Small is having to explain why one would need financial support for education – repeatedly, and in a way that would cause no offense to anybody.

Small is not being able to go to the dentist for aesthetic purposes. It’s being unfamiliar with restaurants or airports or hotels or resorts. Small is being intimidated by price.

Small is that feeling of being out-of-place, of being inadequate.

I found that feeling small is good. It provides good grounding. In my case, it was finances. People learn through different limitations.

This particular day, I felt anything but small – and I’m deeply grateful.


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