• Jasmine Mendiola

What I Deserve

040609 12:08am

I have never had to prove myself when I was younger because I have achieved academic excellence at a young age and have shown artistic talent, an early feat that I consider now as my burning stake.

The high expectations or the anticipation of my failure is probably due to the same standards I have set on myself. Smart. Strong. Proud. My innate sensitivity and fragility that only those close to me have well observed are inconceivable precisely because I have pushed myself to achieve beyond what is asked of me, be it in school, extra-curricular service and presentations in general.

Although more forgivable than criticism, it is the lack of forgiveness itself that I reflect on this holy week and on my son’s 5th birthday. And for those who I have known to know m feelings best, it is with humility that I succumb to my own family’s mercilessness. And for those who take time to read my thoughts, I hope that this much explains the truth of my heart in spite of how lightly I appear to handle it.

I am sorry I have failed you all. If Mio is a failure at all–him growing up to be an ordinary shy boy who loves robots, vegetables, drums, draws me love letters, remembers heroes, history, math and have shown reluctance to a father because I was enough. Why is it that since five years past I have had to endure endless criticism on my character? I know I should be more grateful that you have all accepted me and welcomed Mio with so much “love” but if I am going to have to be the center of ridicule each and every time I try hard to reach out and make up for the heartaches that I have caused, then your love is no different from any of the men I have introduced and you so despise because you break my heart each and every time.

I know we were built to be so judgmental and we find it amusing that we are so, but it hurts to realize that I am not amused, rather I am ashamed already. Why should I be let down when I am no different from our uncles and cousins who have children out of wedlock or cousins who have married because of early pregnancies only to fail at marriage? All these at one point are struggles and all of have strived to correct our mistakes, be better people amidst our circumstances and I was never ashamed of any of these loved ones. Is it because my character is strong and resilient or should you call it reckless and unsophisticated? Is this why I have to endure what we all actually deserve? Me, on behalf of all the shame that we have in this family?

I never thought that my uncles or deserved to be ridiculed or that my cousins had to concern themselves of what we would say about them, not just because they were older than me. But why do I remain to be a disappointment? Have I not been a good relative? Have I not made you proud at one point in my life? Ever? Have I not been tirelessly trying so hard to be a good mother? Do I even have to prove myself to you of all people at all? I am thankful that in spite of how you all really feel about my slip, you all love my son. But I really hope someday I can earn your respect even if I am not old enough to because with all this pain, I just might to last long enough to actually be old to deserve it.

I really think I do though. Remember me form when I was little and how you adored my because of my good grades or my humor; remember how I carry our name to be associated with talent every time you read of or watch me; remember me when I was the sweet bunso or when I volunteer to do as much as I can just to make up for a mistake I did not cause on you in the first place and just try to love and respect me again if you ever have at all.

Let me tell you that as much as you hope for me to find a man only so the  world can reverse the shame I have cast on our name, it begins with me. Not from another man and so no, I do not need to be with anyone if that is the only valid reason why I should want one. Or maybe it should start with you. I am not pitiful because I am a single mom. I am not irresponsible all my life because some idiot got me pregnant. I am not stupid because I choose to take risks. I am not proud to have to prove I can be a mother on my own but it is something I do because I know I have to raise a child and live up to a family like you. Some strangers even find it to be an achievement, what I have done so far. Don’t you realize though that the only approval I need from the world is yours because you guys matter the most?

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