“Hey! I’ve got a story to tell.”
Usually, if someone tells me this, I would listen. And if they ask me if I’ve got a story to tell in return, I again listen – why – because I’ve got no story to tell. I just keep my mouth shut because I think I am just a boy who has not achieved much to share.
One Friday, in the office, three girls arrived and said, “Hey! I’ve got a story to tell. ‘Lumusong kami sa baha!’(We walked into the flood waters.)”
The bouncy one said: “Oh, my God! You know what – because I could not find any cab, I rode a pedicab; and you know what – the flood waters splashed my butt.”
The short one said: “Oh, my God! You know what – I had to tiptoe walking myself through the flood otherwise – you know what – I would have drowned.”
The slim one said: “Oh, my God! You know what – I had to pay two men to walk me through the flood across the other side – and you know what – I was swaying side by side while the flood waters were splashing my thigh side to side.”
Then our manager asked me, “Chris, how did you get home last night? ‘Lumusong ka din ba?’ Did you walk in floodwaters, too?”
I proudly answered, “Normally, my travel time is just 15 to 30 minutes; but that night, it took me 3 hours. But you know what – ‘NEVER AKO LUMUSONG SA BAHA’. I’d never walked into the flood waters.”
“While people and cars were stuck in street intersections and no cab around to ride on, I had to strategize. Thinking that Vito Cruz side is higher than Buendia side, I walked along Osmena Highway from the corner of Buendia to Vito Cruz point.”
“From there, I found a jeepney to ride on, then a tricycle to sit my butt on, and then another jeepney, and finally a tricycle going home.”
“Despite the long walk I had, I managed to go home amidst the flood waters without getting my feet wet into them.”
Surprisingly, in that instance, I had opened my mouth. I never thought I had a story to tell. The best part is that I stood out over the crowd. While everyone had their “LUMUSONG AKO SA BAHA” story, I had my “NEVER AKO LUMUSONG SA BAHA” story.
I was amazed by myself that while everyone had walked into the depths of flood waters, I came home keeping my feet dry and protected. Just like the song of Barry Manilow that goes, “I made it through the rain, I kept my world protected,” I have my own version that goes, “I made it through the flood, I kept my feet protected.”
I don’t normally tell stories even to my family and friends. People say that I am so silent and reserved. Normally, when I am asked about myself, I just answer a few lines and shut my mouth up. This was because when I was a little boy, I have told myself, “I am just a poor boy with nothing to say and nothing to share.”
I have told myself, “I am not yet open to share because I have no big achievements to talk about. Maybe I will after I achieve something in the future. Until then, I won’t have a story to tell.”
Years passed, I have come to achieve several accomplishments but still I was not that open to share my stories. I’d always thought that I am just a small one. I told myself, “Let me achieve more in the future. Until then, I won’t have a story to tell.”
More years passed and even up to now, I am not yet open to share my stories. I may have shared some but it was always a struggle to start opening my mouth and talk about my life. I have been telling myself, “Let me achieve more in the future. Until then I won’t have a story to tell.”
In my first speech in Toastmasters called the Ice Breaker, while my evaluator appreciated my content, delivery, organization, and choice of words, he asked me to tell more of my story. Apparently, when I delivered my Ice Breaker speech, I still have the difficulty of sharing my stories. I have limited my way of sharing myself to others because I have I told myself, “I just don’t have a great story to tell.”
When I encountered the flood waters that Thursday night, I was in the brink of contemplating what to say in this speech project; and when I shared my flood story in the office, I realized that I have stories to tell. Be it great or small, these stories are meant to be shared; and when shared, it makes us think on what and how to perform more.
Allow me then, to share you a bit of me. Aside from my first floodwaters encounter, I have some other little stories to tell.
I was born in a poor family in the far flung municipality of Kibungan surrounded by the boondocks of Benguet in the Cordillera mountain ranges.
My parents were farmers. Yes. We had farms but not hectares of farms. We till small farms to have just enough rice on our tables each and every single day.
In school, my elementary days have been filled with twists and challenges. I would walk to school with my slippers that are already used up having holes that kept my sole land directly on the ground, and sometimes, on rocks. It was really bad. However, what’s good in it was that when the rain comes and makes our paths muddy and slippery, my sole would grab the soil and stick to it. If my slippers were new, I would have slipped.
My high schools days were not that filled either with ease. In contrast to the others whose favourite subject is recess, it was never my favourite. Unlike anybody else, I had no penny to buy a snack. I would just embrace my growling stomach as I watch my classmates grab their knick-knacks.
Dismissal was not a time I look forward to unlike everyone else. After classes, I won’t be on the playground as I have to go home straight to pound rice and cook this for dinner that night.
Saturday was not a day I look forward to either. On Saturdays, we have to set out to the fields to till the soil, plant rice, or harvest rice and carry them on our back from the foot of the river where the rice fields are and climb through risky trails up home to the mountain top.
People commented that we are so hardworking and industrious but as for me, we just did it for ourselves. It was a choice we took with no other options. They didn’t know that there were several times that I have gone lazy and I tried to escape from pounding rice or from going to the fields. Expectedly, the consequence was a scolding or admonishment by my mother and father that lasted for thirty minutes to one hour.
During those times, I have often told myself “How I wish we are rich. How I wish we have enough. How I wish we live in abundance and prosperity.” But as I grew up, I had realized that these have happened for a reason. What if I had all that I wanted when I was a child, I do not know what I might have turned to be. I might be here or somewhere else.
There are just some things that I am thankful:
Because I had experienced scarcity, I learned how to value the things around me. Because of our economic level, I had worked hard and pursued well my studies. I have graduated with honors and have passed the tough examinations of the board. Because of difficult experiences, I had dreamed of a life that is better and pursued this as I live through my days and years.
At present, I may not have much and have not attained all my big dreams yet. But for one who lived a childhood like mine, graduating in school – elementary, high school and college – with honors is something great. Passing one of the country’s difficult exams is something good. Worked with one of the respected accountancy firms is something nice. And many more to mention… Small yet relatively great!
Now, what would be my story tomorrow? Well, I have a lot of dreams for myself and for the society. I have small and gigantic dreams yet to be achieved but I won’t worry what could be its actuality. I won’t wait for the future to share my story. For today, every story that I have, every experience that I have, and every achievement that I have – be it great or small – is worth sharing and remembering.
That morning, when I answered my manager’s question how did I get home in that Thursday afternoon, I have realized that simple stories can be something and can lead to a huge realization. Things like when ‘you have kept your feet protected amidst the troubled flood waters’ remind you how you keep yourself protected amidst difficulties, discouragements and distractions.
It is in sharing that we get to know ourselves more, and motivate ourselves more. I now tell myself that every day, I have a story to tell – be it great or small.
Whatever achievements we have, those are worthy of sharing and worthy of thanksgiving. Somehow, as you share you story to others, you inspire yourself to do more.
Each day, give yourself a pat on the shoulder and give thanks to the Father.
Friend, tell your story more and perform more.
Have that story to tell!
This is my launching post for www.chrisdaoanis.com. Expect more to come, with the aim of empowering every young mind through inspirational posts, plus personal development and financial literacy articles!
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