Last night, or more accurately, early this morning I was still wide-awake from a party. So was this lady I met in the gym, who also attended the party. We were chatting on Facebook messenger at past one in the morning. When she told me in Tagalog-English, “You have this confidence na walang makakabasag.” It loosely translates to: You have an unwavering confidence that no one can break. Then she said, “I wish my daughter will grow up like you.” This new friend is referring to her adorable 4-year old daughter. I immediately replied, “Don’t ask for trouble. I’m a handful. Don’t wish that on your daughter.” I warned her.
She was adamant. “Nooooo! Don’t say that. It’s you. It’s a gift you have. Embrace that. I stand by my wants. I want my daughter to grow up, same like you. Your parents did a good job.” She then told me she has been noticing me in Zumba and Definitions (weight training) class. Before meeting me, she was observing my crazy banter in the corner of the room with the teacher. She concluded three things: 1.She likes me (not romantically) 2. She wishes I would talk to her. 3. I have a pure heart.
I was overwhelmed that someone I barely know wants her daughter to have my confidence. Say what???!! I thanked her for seeing that in me. I was both honored and humbled. I wanted to tell her, “Look, I am one crazy person. Do you really want your daughter to be like me?” I wondered if after witnessing all my madness and quirkiness would she still wish it on her daughter? I’m not sure I have that confidence she speaks of. But this much I know, I am authentically Maida Pineda. This is all I know to be. I speak my mind. It takes much effort for me to keep still. I jump from story to story. When I like something or someone, I like it all the way. But if I don’t, you can’t force me to like it. I can’t fake it. I am true to who I am. I struggle with heels and don’t know how to apply make-up. I struggle with being neat and orderly. I am a loyal friend, but when you hurt me deeply it is tough to get my trust again. I have a gift for telling stories. I can get a person to open up in a few minutes and tell me their life story. I can’t be anyone else. And I don’t want to be anyone else. All I know is to be me.
But this lady is right about one thing: my parents raised me right. They gave me the confidence to be me. They let be authentically be me. I may do crazy things my parents won’t dare do. I may think differently from them, but they let me. They love me and they trust me. Hats off to my mom for patiently listening to my non-stop talking from New Manila to Antipolo. I would hold my hand as if I were holding a microphone pretending to interview her and my sister. Kudos goes to my dad for feeding my curious mind. My father, a doctor and geek, would answer all my questions on why and what as a young child.
I also have two dear amazing women in my life. They have been my friends for many years, one for 17 years and the other for 32 years. These women love me no matter what. They’ve seen the good, bad, and ugly in me, yet they still love me. Yet, they still see a beautiful person inside and out. Because they do, I feel brave and free to be me.
I told this new friend, “Pray that your daughter becomes the authentic person she truly is.”
At forty, this much I am sure. You are on this earth to be the best version of yourself, not another person. Life is too short to live it otherwise. Be you. Be authentically you!
I’m sharing a song that has been an anthem of sorts for me the past year. It’s Ryan Tedder’s “I’ve Gotta Be Me”, an uplifting song reminding me to be authentically me! Read the lyrics and let the words seep through your being.
Late Post Written: 12.7.2015. 6:19pm