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I’m incredibly blessed to have parents who bravely support all my idealistic endeavors. “Do what you love first,” they’ve always told me. “The money will follow.”

That is such an easy mantra to believe when living in the sheltered and–frankly–privileged bubble that I currently find myself in. I’ve never really experienced the humble beginnings my father and grandmother did while living in the provinces of the Philippines. Growing up, I’ve listened to all the mischievous fun my dad and my aunts and uncles got up to while living on little. In a way, I was–and still kind of am–jealous. Though I am immensely grateful for the hard work my parents have done in order to make my life as comfortable as possible, there are just some experiences material things cannot and will not ever be able to give.

“Poverty is a blessing,” my grandma once told me on one of our frequent story-telling sessions. From what I’ve heard about the life of my dad and how he is such an amazing man today, I sure as hell believe it. Now, that doesn’t mean they lived without hardships. I don’t think anyone has. But my grandma has instilled in all her children the innate quality of being grateful for everything and recognizing that often it is the little things that make the hugest impacts.

The people in my family are fighters. I like fighters. They fight for their children, for their beliefs, for themselves, and for their dreams. My grandma fought for her kids, and my parents fight for my brother and me–even when they don’t know how our fight is going to end.

It is this immense support that leads me to be highly optimistic about my future as a musician. I know it’s going to be hard, though I don’t think I’ll be able to grasp how hard it will be until I get there. And this is what scares me.

I’ve always identified myself as an idealist, as you might have read before. With that being said, I find it sort of devastating when my expectations are not met. My head tells me that I’m going to have to work my butt off to get where I want to be. And I won’t mind that at all, as long as my work is something that I love doing. But at the same time, there’s a part of me that is quietly whispering my worries of failing. Yeah, it’s whispering, but constantly. And when you’re mind is silent, you are left with nothing else to listen to but the haunting murmurs of your anxiety.

This journey of mine isn’t going to be a sleigh ride; to quote one of my favorite books of all time (The Fault In Our Stars by the wonderful and beautifully amazing John Green), “the world is not a wish-granting factory.” But it has to be worth it. I come from a lineage of fighters. I have to fight for something.

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