We’ve all seen them in suspense and horror movies. They are usually the ones being chased with pitchforks and torches. They are the ones shunned by society and deemed unfit to live amongst the “normal” people or villagers. They live deep in the woods, swamps, dungeons, abandoned and rundown buildings. They are usually the spawn of unification of evil entities; an experiment gone wrong, an escapee from hell, sinister alien bent on destroying mankind, or a carny lunatic suffering from psychotic episodes. Then, there are people like me.
I am a monster.
No, not the “devouring-the flesh, hell-bent-on-assisting-the-demise-of-humanity” kind, but I am a monster of society. I am the creation of other peoples’ heartless choices. Someone bred from a broken relationship, then grew up in physical, sexual, emotional and spiritual abuse. Fortified but scarred by a life of petty crime and drug use, led to be educated by poisonous relationships, heart breaks and promiscuity. This was me. Was.
I grew up in a third world country where life wasn’t really as bad as projected by all. Not until my Mom had to migrate to the United States of America when I was very young. It was a time when I was developing social consciousness and discovering the world. But because of this turn of life event when all hell broke loose. My Mom left us – I, together with my brother and sister, left us in the care of our relatives and sad to say, sometimes strangers are a lot nicer than our own kin. We suffered malnourishment and hunger that would go on for weeks of not eating, being moved from one aunt to another repeatedly. We suffered beating, humiliation and degradation. We felt unwanted. These traumatic experiences would be the reason for our emotional distance from one another, as well as our strained relationships with our Mom and Dads. Or so I would come to realize later on.
So by the age of 14, I knew what drugs and other various vices were, how to use it, where to get it, how to sell it and why people use it. Not only was I suffering from extreme hunger, I’ve also mastered the feelings of being stripped of pride and dignity, developed fear of abandonment which led to severe depression and emotional distancing. And because I’ve befriended drugs, I learned the power of extortion and manipulation. I eventually broke into people’s homes and cars. All these affected my life tremendously. Right that very moment, I don’t feel God. I was Godless. After all that I’ve gone through, I came to the conclusion that there was no GOD. I rejoiced to the fact He did not exist. And for many years, I savored this so-called “truth” and even promoted this “truth” to all.
That is one way to create a Monster.
For many years I’ve lived a life void of any higher guidance. Least to say, I lived according to my own understanding and beliefs based on what I’ve learned from the world. I didn’t realize it then that I was on my way to a shattering, downward spiral into the dark unknown, and it would take years and a strong divine intervention for me to put all the pieces of myself back together. I have hurt a lot of people that I truly cared about, lost most of them and scorched many bridges.
But that was then. I’m a very different person now than who I was several years ago. During that dark time in my life, I began a search. I searched for who I really am. Something deep inside me kept telling me that I was more than who I was. It took me several long years to fully get a hold of myself, mistakes after mistakes, a lot of hurt and healing, endless realizations and dashboard confessions. There were times when I even find myself talking in a mirror, teaching the reflection from the other end on forgiveness and repentance. But above all, I searched for HIM. I longed for Jesus. When I found him, I discovered the true meaning of Love. I discovered how it felt to be truly and genuinely loved without judgment. It’s that kind of love that turns Monsters back into Human Beings.
“Every Saint has a past, Every Sinner has a future.”
-from a homily by Father Paolo Del Carmen-
If you are at a point in your life where you feel like nothing is ever going to be ok and your heart is shattered into a million broken pieces, and felt like the solution is at the bottom of the barrel of a gun, just please wait. Sleep and wait for the morning to come. Once the sun hits your face, it signals a new day, a blank and clean slate where you can begin all over again. You can either choose to live the way you were living, or begin the change by searching for who you really are. You can’t expect to change anything in your life if you keep doing the same things over and over again. Ask forgiveness and offer forgiveness to yourself. Acknowledge that there is a higher power, a greater consciousness than your own. Accept the monster that you were and begin to shed that skin. Make a conscious effort to better yourself. Your surroundings will not change unless you, yourself, change first. The journey is going to be long and painful and I tell you now that it will not be easy. But I assure you that it will be worth it. All it takes is that first step, a clear decisive thought and one brave move from you.
I am both a victim and perpetrator. I have been both Victor Frankenstein and his creation. I have been the Monster and I have made many monsters, and sadly, those monsters created their own. It’s time we stop. Our actions, words and attitude affect others. If we cannot treat everyone around us with love and respect, the least we can do is treat them like human beings. It’s time to choose change. Let us choose hope, be respectful and above all, chose a higher form of Love.
Photo By: Patrick Ligeralde
Edited By: Sari Yoingco