By Lj T. Salceda
I love success stories! The rags-to-riches, true-to-life, self-made people and their tales of survival and triumphs make me believe in the possibility of the impossible. If they can why can’t I?
I do know a different success story. Memorized and played it in my head countless of times. I know all the twists and turns, the characters, the highs, the lows and the in-between-ins- well except for the finale. It is my own story. My journey.
Unlike Manny Villar- I don’t have millions in the bank or a conglomeration of businesses or a prestigious seat in the government. No, I am not as rich or as powerful as Mr. Presidential. I am a daily-rate radio announcer. My 28-inch SONY TV is the most expensive item I’ve ever purchased. And I have a microphone, the airwaves and the written word as my platforms.
Unlike Manny Pacquiao- I don’t earn thousands of dollars per punch (or word in my case). I don’t grace the cover of international magazines like TIME or Reader’s Digest. Neither do I get visits from Hollywood stars. No, I’m not as well-known or as influential as the PACMAN. I do have a full time job and two part-time jobs, yet I will never earn even a quarter of what this renowned sports figure earns per fight. I usually write articles for local magazines. I often beg celebrities/important people to be on my shows.
Unlike Sarah Geronimo- I don’t have blockbuster movies, platinum albums, sold out concerts and endorsements of almost every type of product there is. No, I’m not as recognizable and adorable, er talented as the Philippines' Pop Princess. I did play a small role in an episode of 700 Club dramatized testimonies. I get free books, concert tickets and CD’s from our partner companies. I play and listen to thousands of songs from a wide range of artists on my musical show and I’m hoping my listeners are not only entertained, but also inspired by what I do.
I’m no way near the fortune they make, not even close to their fame and NO, I’m not endorsing any of them. I do admire their talents, achievements and work ethics. My SUCCESS story is quite different from theirs though.
As an active girl scout of the Philippines from elementary to high school, I’ve attended dozens of camps, participated in various projects and have been awarded GSP of the year in secondary school. Yet, I’ve never had my own GSP uniform, my Mom could barely afford our baon, and I have always been a sickly young girl. How did I do it? Lots of hard work and determination! I sold ice candies; baby sat my cousins and solicited from politicians and businessmen for financial assistance. Our yard and our neighbors’ backyard have been our local pharmacy.
As a consistent honor student, I’ve walked the stage to receive my awards wearing borrowed dresses and shoes. We barely had the money for tennis shoes for my PE class! I lived on borrowed things- from jogging pants to back packs to books. When JS prom came, I was torn. The P250 registration fee was heavy enough for my mother to pay for a night of dancing and drinking (soda); not to mention the dress, make up and transportation. Would poverty stop me from experiencing a milestone (for some teenagers) in high school? Of course not! My solution? I went to the prom wearing my aunt’s Sunday dress, my black school shoes (the same pair I wore when I trekked Mount Mayon) and asked a family friend to help me apply some of her inexpensive make-up at the warehouse where she was working at that time. For the transpo, I hitched with my classmate who has an owner type jeep- 4 of us stacked at the back seat.
I worked my way through college, graduated Cum Laude and landed my dream job after being a volunteer for eight months. I’ve been in media for ten years now however, I still live in a dorm, travel via public transportation and from time to time avail of loans in our cooperative for big, unexpected expenses.
But I do consider myself a SUCCESS. Why? Just to give you a few reasons.
1. I was able to finish a degree without getting in debt.
2. I can eat three, sometimes more square meals a day. With my choice food.
3. I can buy any clothes or shoes I want for whatever occasion.
4. I have been to some of my dream destinations like Palawan and Boracay before I turned 30.
5. My Ma is as healthy and as active as anyone her age (59). My brother is getting better after battling depression.
6. I have a decent amount saved for medical emergencies or a Master’s degree or even missionary work. I don’t have a credit card. I’ve applied thrice, been rejected thrice. What a relief (or was it a shame?)!
7. I am ALIVE and HEALTHY! A little stressed out from working too much, but I don’t have any serious health conditions that I’m aware of.
8. My articles have been featured in various magazines, newspapers and books. I am currently writing a book.
9. I’ve worked with and gotten to know some of the most beautiful, powerful and well-known people in business, politics, entertainment and other fields.
10. I can dream and work harder, even fight for the rest of my dreams that are still waiting for fulfillment.
Mr. Good old dictionary defines success as “the achievement of something desired, planned, or attempted.” I’ve certainly accomplished some of the things I’ve only dreamed of when I was younger, however I still have a looong way to go. Let me brag, I mean, savor the fruits of my labor for now.
Yes, I am a success! How about you?