Beyond the shell

When I was 17 and first year of college, I visited a speech club together with my co-officers to observe. I brought my book so I can read it if I get bored. At first, I thought they will argue about stuff and what happened was the very opposite. They were so good and inspiring speakers. That was when I decided I should join this club because I belong here. But I was still seventeen and members should be eighteen and above. I got busy that year and forgot about Toastmasters. So I didn’t pay much attention to the fact I can’t join the club yet. Earlier this summer, I came back and was prepared to be a member. Just this August, I had the time to give my first speech.

This is my story and my first speech in Queencity Toastmasters’ Club and the title is, Beyond the Shell.

Photo courtesy: Joy Pastorfide- Roman
Photo courtesy: Joy Pastorfide- Roman

Beyond the Shell

Please look beyond the shell!

“Good morning everyone! I’m Mona-“

“Are you Japanese?”

“Are you Chinese?”

“Are you Black Chinese?”

“Uhmm, Again Good morning I’m Monabelle C. Timosa”

“I am from Mindanao-“

“So you are a moslem?”

“Do you have guns?”

“Are you a war freak?”

Come on people! Let me finish! I shouted inside my head that time. The first introduction I had during my first day of class in Cebu. People were so participative. Everyone was butting in. But I don’t know if that was a good thing or a bad thing. Because honestly, they were ruining my goal to make the best first impression because newbies always want to have that especially when you are from afar and first impression always lasts. My heart was aching that that’s what happened. Aside for the first impression destroyed also because of the three things I realized then.

First, others will always STEREOTYPE people coming from Mindanao.

Second, it will be a hard semester to prove my worth.

Third, again go back to my first point: others will always STEREOTYPE people coming from Mindanao because stereotyping is rampant here in Cebu. That was my first observation – no offense. Though it was hard to adjust at first, I learned to love Cebu and its people in the long run.

Instead of creating an impression, Cebu created an impression on me. I finished my self-introduction that time and somehow, it reflected my life.People had always judged me. The way I stutter when I talk in public, the way I look and my height. I always tend to be different from everyone and even in the family I already was. Those are some of the facts I can’t escape. So Instead, I must use my experiences and flaws. No one can have a perfect life like Taylor Swift. There will always be lapses in everyone’s stories. “Nobody is perfect” the famous quote says and even Taylor had a lot of flings before finding Calvin Harris.

Then going back to my self-introduction:

“Am I Japanese? No but a lot of people mistook me as one and even the Japanese.

Am I Chinese? Yes, I kinda have a bit of Chinese blood from my father’s side but that won’t be enough to make me chinese

Am I Black Chinese? Ofcourse not. Come on people”

Not everyone in Mindanao are moslems! not everyone can afford to have guns! And not everyone’s a war-freak there. I am not gonna bite you or anything. Have you hunt down after this but let me tell you something : you should never ever jump into conclusions unless stated or experienced.”

That was one of the days I’ll surely treasure because it’s funny and very worth-it to tell to my future grandchildren. I am Monabelle Cabrales Timosa – the only chinky-eyed tan person in a family of Spanish descent. Where  being beautiful and handsome are requirements to be part of the clan. My lola is half Spanish and my Lolo is just handsome. Just imagine Imelda Marcos and Fernando Poe Junior having children. Then look at me- welcome to my life!

I have always asked if I am really part of the family because it’s like they don’t notice me at all. I was raised by my grandparents because my Mom had me immediately after graduating college. She looked for greener pasture and now had another family. I was a mistake she said before and those were the words I would never forget. I never had a father figure and there were times I look for one. Whenever someone mentions the word, “father” it stings me and try to imagine mine but it would always be a question mark for I never had any picture of him or any idea if he’s tall or not. (It’s a very complicate family) I grew up and realized that if I don’t have a father then I will be a father to myself. Besides, I get ten times love from my grandparents.

It’s okay to have a very complicated life just don’t complicate it more by whining , “my life sucks or my lovelife is boring!” but instead accept that there will be bad days and good days and that it’s not a bad life. Be happy but don’t force yourself to be one. If you are sad then be sad because you can be sad, too. You all have the right to be. Nobody’s perfect! Accept the things you can not change, move on and live your life.

With that side of my story, I learned just to forget that it’s a sad one but rather it’s inspiring because there are bigger problems like the displacement of Syrian refugees. So what I did, I created a bigger world for myself to look for opportunities towards finding my identity.

And here are the three things I learned so far:

  1. Looks can deceive- it’s true but your life doesn’t have to depend on it. You should be MORE than you look and it’s always a great thing to surprise people. Surprise them with your attitude, hobbies, goals, advocacies or whatever that will naturally reveal as you establish your relationship with a person. Don’t brag because it makes you lesser.
  2. Accept it. Own it. Use it as an advantage
  1. Why do we always judge from the outside? Or why do we judge in the first place? Does it have to be that way because we are rational beings? Can’t we just accept the fact that there will always be people who are better or lesser than you. Isn’t that the beauty of life: living in diversity?

PLEASE JUST TRY TO LOOK BEYOND THE SHELL!

I only finished my speech two hours before performing it and I was so glad that I didn’t stutter or anything at all. I was even scared that my evaluator that time was Miss Des, she is the current president of the club and my idol as well. She is ingenious and very inspiring that I got so flattered when she said that my speech was beyond the mundane. I can’t wait for my second speech.

Here is my new family:

Photo courtesy: Joy Pastorfide- Roman
Photo courtesy: Joy Pastorfide- Roman
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Beyond the shell

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