Nobody makes me feel so much of a failure like her.

I'd think I've already stood up, that I've already recovered, that I've already done some good with my life, but then, here she comes with her poisonous and dagger-like criticisms.

And then I'd feel like the scum of the universe.

I am left with nothing.


She says it is to protect me from probing questions and malicious gossip. It is to protect me from people who wishes nothing but ill-will for our family. She will not let these people drag us down.

I wanted to say, "If you didn't put yourself so high up in your pedestal, then nobody would want to make you fall."


I did try to understand her.

She basks in other people's perception of her. People look up to her: she is an executive officer of a prestigious government bank, she just remodeled her house, her kids are studying in private schools in Katipunan... she has all the physical manifestations of "success".

And I have single-handedly destroyed that image of success.

I am that small black stain on her white blouse. It's small, unobtrusive, looks just fine, and can be worn during ordinary days. But when people are staring at her with a magnifying glass, the small black stain is trouble.


But why can't she understand?

I am not her, she is not me. We are different. Although it may reflect bad on her, she is not the one who carries the burden.

Did she feel the *tsk-tsk* stares while I was pregnant?

Did she feel it when I was pressured to make decisions that will ultimately spell out my daughter's future?

Did she feel my frustrations and my disappointments?

Didn't she see that I had to make a wall around myself so that I could ward off other people's perception of me, so that I won't get hurt by their gossipy talk, so that I will not let them get me down?

I had to make myself not care what people think of me.

But, still, all she cared about was what people would think of her.

The only thing important to her is what people will say: that the all-successful, all-knowing, all-good woman has a daughter with an illegitimate child, living together with a man.

Never mind that the daughter just wants to keep her family together. Never mind that the daughter is trying her best to stand up on her own after years of troubles. Never mind that the daughter is struggling to do things right for her, for her daughter and for her family.

Because the only thing that she could see, is that I am a woman with living an immoral life.

That I will always have my face down on the mud.

That I am a failure.


Nobody can make me feel so bad like my mother.

She broke down the wall and now I am defenseles. I feel vulnerable to other people's whispers. Every small failure brings my face back down on the mud as I am weak to go back up. I have no strength left to fight back.


I am a failure. And it is because I have failed myself.

I thought more of others, rather than think of myself first.

I became weak when I had to be strong.

And most of all, its because I let her get the best of me.


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