As our 7th anniversary was fast approaching, I was tapped by Mommy Ruby of CDO Bloggers Group to participate in a campaign by a certain insurance company. It was about being stronger now despite whatever it is that we are struggling with. What came to mind was about being stronger than my demons because as I’ve mentioned before, my emotional and mental health haven’t been that well lately.
Below, I am sharing with you the original draft of what I wrote in that campaign which in a way helped me recognize my power, my strength, and sense of resilience.
And further down below, You can watch the entire video on how we spent our 7th anniversary despite the lockdown here in Oslob.
I am Jennie Vee, and I am #StrongerthanmyDemons
For more than 2 years now since my marriage had been annulled, my current partner and I have been having on and off fights about the reasons why we are not yet married. What’s holding us back? Why haven’t we crossed that bridge yet? Don’t we love each other for real? Is the life we’re living and the business and other side hustles we’ve built not enough for us to solidify our relationship? Are we still waiting for the next best thing? Maybe we didn’t really love each other. Maybe we are not yet each other’s “The One”. All these questions and doubts, personally, for me, started creeping into my subconscious. I was a worrywart and it affected my health, my energy levels (hence, the lack of updates here before in case you’ve noticed), my work, my everyday life to the point that we broke up a couple of times in those 2 years and I thought of leaving our son with him so I can go back to my former carefree life of work and travel.
Before I met him, I didn’t want to become a mom but I did it out of my love for him because he wanted to have a kid. Plus, I was getting old and if we wait for my annulment to be granted at that time, I might not be able to bear a child anymore considering that I was in my late 30’s and I’ve always been polycystic.
Fast forward to those horrible fights… we’d always patch things up after, kiss and make up so to speak, and here I am living in his hometown, in his own property. If our relationship doesn’t work out, it will be ONE BIG LOGISTICAL NIGHTMARE FOR ME TO GET OUT OF HERE! We own so much stuff together and our money’s intertwined!
From time to time, I can still feel that I am not fully comfortable with our situation. He calls me his wife but the fact that we are not yet married makes me feel like an outsider in his world here. You see, I grew up as a Catholic school girl who wanted to be a nun when I was in Grade 4. I never dated, only had 2 real boyfriends my whole life who were both my best friends for a long time. I may not look the part, but I am ultra conservative in my values. Those values got broken when I decided to love him in my late 30s. And now my decisions are haunting me. What right do I have living here? I am just the unwed mother of his child. It was easier to shield myself from this insecurity before when we used to live in my own house in Alabang, and when we lived by ourselves in Northern Mindanao. There, I didn’t feel like people were judging us. I also had this expectation before that should I come live with him in Cebu, it will be after we get married and not before. People here can be so judgmental that it’s really bad for any sane person’s mental health. Plus, one of his older sisters hate me, and who knows who else? I am super sensitive to these kinds of things that my art of deadma goes down the drain whenever I feel like people here are judging or hating me. Then my chest would start to hurt that I feel like I will die of a heart attack! Sometimes, I wish I’d just die just to stop all the demons from saying mean things in my head (“You are not worthy..” “You are such a failure at love..” “You don’t deserve to be happy..” “This is your karma..”) And I hated putting him in situations where he has to balance his blood relatives with our own family.
Then his mom died… then my grandfather died… and people in our circle started dying… These deaths affected me so much that it changed my life’s perspective. Life is too short, made even shorter by Covid-19, to be worrying about properties, marriage contracts, and legalities. More so now that we are living in this pandemic with seemingly no end in sight!
Maybe I was just too paranoid before and too guilty for “living in sin” for so long. So I just started focusing on me, my role as a mother, as his partner, my work, and earning a living so that when push comes to shove, if marriage is really not for us and I am not living a life true to my calling, then I won’t have a problem leaving him. It will just be another heartbreak that I will have to overcome just like before. I am a strong woman! I’ve done far scarier things than this before! I overcame poverty (I used to pick up bottles in our elementary school canteen just so I can exchange them for money so I can have food to eat), I was an academic scholar all my life (because my parents didn’t have the money to send me to a good school), I even paid for my own annulment and even got to own a beautiful home I am now renting out! I can do anything if I put my mind into it! I don’t need a marriage contract to feel loved, valued, and to increase my self worth. I should be enough. I am enough.
This campaign I joined in made me realize that each one of us struggles with something, whether big or small — it could be financial worries, broken marriages and relationships, grave debts, long-term illnesses, deaths, staying sane amidst this pandemic, other health problems, deep-seated insecurities, family squabbles, etc. But whatever it is, we have to accept that we are always stronger than we think and we can always figure out a way to come through it and be a better person.
To help me cope with my situation and thrive despite life’s uncertainties, I choose to focus on the present moment. I do my best to realistically stay positive and be grateful for all the little blessings that come my way, mindfully shutting down all these negative self-talk in my head, and just #celebrateliving. As the saying goes “What you focus on expands.” So I focus on feeling good about our life, on being abundant, on living a good life. I know it’s easier said than done and it takes a lot of hard, conscious work. But with God’s grace and guidance, it can be done and so I do it… Day in, and day out… Moment by moment… One day at a time. True enough, the more I focus on these things, the more I can see what a blessing it is to be able to live a simple life, near the beach, close to nature, with money coming in from our life’s work.
Now, I am stronger and more grateful than ever. I’ve come at a place of calm, happiness, and complete gratitude for everything I have that I rarely worry anymore about the things that I don’t have.
And so on our 7th anniversary, even if Mahal and I never really got to celebrate it coz the day it became us 7 years ago was also my grandfather’s 90th birthday who was supposed to turn 97 last August 14 but passed away last June (may his soul rest in peace). I had big plans for our anniv (was planning to visit Sumilon island for the nth time coz that’s where we first bonded as new friends & it’s only 15 mins away from Oslob) but the lockdown here made it hard. The resort requires a negative RT-PCR and antigen tests now which can only be gotten from Cebu City (3 hrs drive away from where we are). Just the same, we feel blessed we’ve come this far. We celebrate us, our family, our little life here in the province. Life is getting shorter and shorter with Covid around so we’re just making the most of our time, living the best way we know how — despite our ups and downs, we are full of forgiveness, respect and love. Happy 7th to us! May God continue to bless, guide, and protect us and our love and know that without him in our center, there will be no us. We owe everything to God. Happy 7th anniv to us! 🥰🙏❤
I vlogged about our day and you can watch it here below. Just a side note, the beach place is Mahal’s sister’s property. Nobody lives there now because his sister lives in Norway and most of the time, the property is quite a mess. We get to clean it up a bit when we’re there or whenever there are guests who would like to use it. We’re grateful to have this little sanctuary especially during this time of lockdowns and quarantines.
Thank you for reading and watching! Enjoy the rest of your week!