Wednesday, September 12, 2012

tippi delarosa

notes by tippi delarosa

dreams & destiny

my first ambition was to be a nurse. when i was growing up, i was fascinated with the white uniform nurses were wearing. i was to learn later that if there was one thing i liked least of all, it was the sight of blood and gore. besides, just thinking of a needle pricking my skin sends shivers down my spine. need i explain more why until now i don't know what my blood type is?

          having grown up amid parents who were both educators, i also once wished to become a teacher. my favorite game when i was a child was ordering my little brother to read books so i could give him a quiz. the books would come from my parents' extensive collection, and my brother hated me for it. later, i realized reading tolstoy and dante was not fun for a four year old. i was 23 when i tried it and i still didn't like the classics, much to nanay's chagrin.

          i was still a child when i met this woman who, upon looking at me, told nanay (with a sneer-like smile, or so i thought) that she hoped one day i would become a nun like her. i didn't know what a nun was at that time, but i didn't like the way she measured me from head to toe. at 22, i met her again at my uncle's birthday party. when told that i was lydia's daughter, she gave me that 'look' again and reminded me, "so, you don't really want to enter the convent?" i never saw my uncle guffawed that heartily again in his whole life. the nun, i was to learn later, was a grandmother... with two brothers who were priests. although i used to like playing the role of a priest (because i liked the 'communion part' when priests have to eat the bread and drink the wine), i never dreamed -- not even once -- of wearing the claustrophobic habit.

         on the other hand, i have always wanted to write. when i was small, i would spend a huge part of my free days imagi-ning things and writing about them. i had piles and piles of notebooks where i scribbled my thoughts and doodled shapes of any kind. i guess i gravitated towards the artistic side of life. i wove stories and loved writing letters to my friends. i even used to fill my pad of papers (to the consternation of my parents) with comic strips...complete with horror stories of witches and ghosts. i do remember this succinctly.

          my fascination with writing was strengthened when i finally understood my uncle's work. he was a (news) stringer for agence france press. i used to tag along with him when i was a child and i loved the way his typewriter sounded whenever he needed to write something for afp. and oh, i loved the smell of paper. i always have! this was the reason why i worked hard to be editor in chief of my high school publication: i wanted to be surrounded with the smell, sound...and power...of words on paper.

          fast forward. i am now working for the government in the agriculture sector, stationed in a foreign land. who would have thought i'd end up here? not i. i couldn't even remember seeing "two roads diverging" (my apologies to robert frost), so why am i where i am now?

          in college, i took up mass communication but had to be dissuaded by my adviser from taking up journalism as a major because "there's no money there." he convinced me to take up communication research as a field of study, instead. i feel that was the beginning of the end of my love affair with newswriting. like star-crossed lovers, our paths diverged at that point without my being aware of it. let me tell you that in u.p. i still harbored the ambition of covering war-torn areas in search of  human-interest stories. i dreamed of writing banner headlines and weaving life-changing editorials. that, i resolved, was going to be my career.

          i graduated, worked as a research associate in a non-governmental organization (because my thesis adviser asked me to join her in a project), dragged myself back into media work via employment in a film-producing company....and had the time of my life. in the mid of all the fun, nanay kept pestering me to go into public service for its security of tenure. you see, according to her, i was already "enjoying life too much" i seemed to have forgotten about the future. she was right: i loved the glitter and glamour of showbusiness as well as the odd hours, stress and hard work it entailed.

          one day, i woke up saying goodbye to the job that will always be dear to me and embarked on a seemingly uninteresting journey into the heart of public service. fortunately, it was to the credit of my government work that i was able to literally go around the philippines and appreciate its beauty.

          when i got trifle bored with my job, i decided to take up a master's degree in economics at tokyo's sophia university. after graduating, i went back to work and was transfered to our mother office. i got rigorously trained in agri-trade and policy work in a span of three years until i was unilaterally ordered to handle an overseas post thereafter.

          to make the very long story short, i did not become what i wanted to be. oh yes, i still write every now and then. i still dream of having my own book published (my brother beat me to it, fyi). sometimes i still marvel at events as they unfold before my eyes. but instead of covering war-torn areas, i am now immersed in boiling issues that have nothing to do with bombs and bullets.

          still, i don't complain.  after all that i have gone through, i have learned to dance to destiny's tune. in my rebellious moments (and they now come few and far-between), i still try to wrestle with fate but these tussles tire me needlessly. in the end, i have chosen to be more settled and attuned to the universe.

          this is the story of my career, and i have learned to give the same level of acquiescence to my love life. even if i  still believe in happy-ever-after endings, i am now convinced that sometimes the shreks are more loveable and easier to live with than the matter how charming they get. then again, this is just me...

        ...and this is my life.

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