Bullying, discrimination and poverty were the reasons why I learned early that I would rise above the negative things people had said about me and my family.
I was called “ugly” by some of my teachers in high school due to my lack of nice clothes and my open bite. I was called degrading names such as “corpse”, “malnourished” and “stick” by my peers due to my extremely (yet naturally) thin figure.
In elementary, I was often targeted by some teachers and classmates because I was different. I was usually excluded from after-school plays. For several times, I was publicly humiliated by two teachers, for what felt like hours, for the amusement of the entire class and onlookers.
All these broke my self-confidence and self-esteem to pieces as a young girl and as a teenager.
Whatever random praises I received from my parents — for being the reliable eldest of their six children who was made responsible for all the house chores and babysitting — plus our constantly moving places every school year, didn´t help fix my ruined self-confidence and self-esteem. From elementary until my first two years in high school, I was awkward and extremely shy around the opposite sex.
However, there was something my bullies failed to break — my will to prove them wrong.
So, being the socially outcast that I was, I buried myself in my studies. I was an achiever. In high school I became active in literary extracurriculars — oration, declamation and pantomime. I won every declamation contests that I joined. When on stage, I was entirely a different person.
While still very insecure of my looks and self-worth, I became confident of my brain.
During third year of high school, I found the courage to empower my classmates who were marginalized and outcasts. Those students were generally overlooked by teachers either because they were poor or shy. I grouped them together and I became their leader. I encouraged them to participate in class discussions, I built up their confidence, and I taught them to stand up against the bullies. Who were the bullies? They were the mean girls, the teachers with favoritism, and the super confident “brightest” students in class.
My best revenge was … and still is … proving the bullies wrong.
For our English class that third year, we were told to group into three. We were to perform a play and it would serve as our final exam. The popular and the brightest students in our class formed two groups. They picked whoever they wanted to join their groups. When they were done choosing, I gathered all the leftovers and we formed the third group.
I told my members that we were to be the best group. Why? Because they were the most talented students in our class and I was excited to coach them how to act. They believed me.
While the other two groups chose Cinderella and Romeo & Juliet for their play and had teachers help them prepare, I chose something they haven´t heard of before — The Taming of the Shrew.
Now mind you, we had no fancy library at the time, no Shakespeare books, and no internet. It was a public high school in a suburb in the Philippines in the 90s.
But I knew a pantomime version of the play by heart. So I rewrote that pantomime into a drama version because I wanted to give each and everyone in my team their chance to fame. I added extra characters and gave each of them dialogues because I wanted the crowd to see them perform and speak.
I tapped every talent in my group, and they surpassed my expectation. When the day for the presentation came, no one expected what we had to present — in terms of the play itself, the acting, and the stage props and decors — we simply did our best.
Who did I assign to take charge of the stage decorations, makeup and costumes? Our male classmate who was gay and whom, up until that day, no one took him seriously.
The crowd laughed and cheered throughout our play. Our school principal was very impressed. The other two groups and their backup teachers were stunned. We won hands-down.
My team members were so happy and proud of themselves. They celebrated for weeks!
As I quietly observed my group members celebrate their new-found confidence, my desire to empower others was growing in me. Unbeknownst to that fourteen-year-old girl, her coaching journey has begun.
Due to my outstanding grades in high school, I won a scholarship to a university for a teaching degree. The scholarship included free tuition and stipend allowances. But I was required to complete the five-year-degree in four years and three summer classes.
I Became Popular!
I worked hard to maintain the required G.P.A for my scholarship (summers being the toughest) for should I lose my scholarship, I would have no way to complete my degree on time. I chose to major Mathematics.
While in university I became active in student politics, in theater and in debate. I helped found a student party which aimed to protect the rights of the students and oppose school policies that we deemed corrupt. Quickly our party became popular among the students. However, while in third year I noticed that our political party had morphed into an activist group and was picked up by a powerful politician in our province.
When I helped found the party from the ground up, my main objective was purely to serve the students. I was not interested in being used by some politicians for their schemy campaign tactics.
It was also around that time when I was being excluded from the inner circle, and my relationship with the president of the party, who was also my classmate and close male friend, and with whom I worked side by side when we were still starting up, deteriorated.
So I left the party.
Another male friend, a very intelligent and creative English major, asked me to help him found a theater group for our department. At the time, there was no active theater groups or organizations in our university. He and another classmate had recently completed writing the script for what would become the first BIG stage play ever performed in our campus.
Of course, I said “yes”! Not only did I take care of the nitty gritty of setting up a new theater group, I also starred as a supporting actress in that play.
Interestingly, my two male friends — one in politics and one in theater — were also members of our debate club for the Ed Department. We represented the College of Education to several intercollegiate debate tournaments. In one tournament, I won “Best Debater” award.
The four years and three summers in university flew by quickly. I was popular in the campus, I was confident and stylish (thanks to my stipend allowance I could buy nice clothes), and I maintained my scholarship! I was no longer shy around men, in fact, I was surrounded by close male friends, but I never learned to deal with men in an intimate level.
A guy, who became my first love, friendzoned me. Some other young men who were clearly attracted to me never asked me out, and even though I was also attracted to them, I never knew how to let them know. My non-smiling, non-friendly demeanor towards my admirers sent off a snobby vibe.
As a result, despite being surrounded by beautiful and smart young men, I walked through the stage for my diploma without ever having a boyfriend.
Transitioning to the Real World
After graduation my Alma Matter hired me to become a junior Math instructor in the university. During the two years that I worked there, there was a shift on the kind of men that I attracted.
Several brave men finally asked me out, but they were the couch-potato kind of men whose career consisted only of drinking and partying. Given my no-nonsense approach, their braveness were quickly put to a halt with this infamous line, “I´ve no desire to support your lazy ass.”
I was still working on my masters when I decided it was time to try my luck abroad. There were two reasons to this — I needed to make more money to support my three siblings who were simultaneously going to university, and that because of my boldness and rebellious spirit I was always in the hot seat at work.
I was twenty-two when I moved to Bangkok, Thailand, all by myself — with no friends or family to help me navigate the place — to seek a teaching position.
Thankfully, I got a job in an international school as a high school Math teacher. It was an Indian international school. Majority of the students were Indians while minority were Thai and Koreans.
When I took the job I had two goals — 1.) I wanted to be indispensable, and 2.) I wanted to be able to negotiate an even higher pay for the years to come.
So I went ahead and setup a debate club for the school. I told the principal that I would make the school popular in the debate society in Thailand.
I chose the students whom I wanted to train and coach for debate. Most of the students I chose were already known to be achievers, but some I picked due to their potentials.
I received a tremendous amount of opposition from the principal, teachers and parents. They said that some of the students I picked were not dependable, not confident, or just not smart enough.
Either due to bureaucracy or parent-pleasing reasons, they wanted me to train instead the students of their choice.
But I stood my ground. I`d be the one to teach them the skill of debating, I´d be the one to coach them how to be analytical, confident, resourceful, and smart. And I´d be the one to stand by their side throughout all the tournaments. It was my call.
I`m good in identifying potentials in students (and in people). I followed my guts.
True enough, I was able to help my debaters find confidence in themselves. They blossomed from being shy, or being not reliable, or full of self-doubt, to being powerful, confident debaters + speakers who were not afraid to debate with anyone. Those debaters who initially had superiority complex, I tamed those complexes and taught them to never underestimate an opponent.
As I promised, my school catapulted from being nobody to being popular in the debate society in the country. Our school became known for its powerful debaters. Whichever social or business affairs my principal went, she was commended for her outstanding debaters.
I always sent two teams to every national intercollegiate debate tournaments and my teams would often finish first and second in the high school category. In one tournament my junior team ended up debating opposite the best team of the No. 1 university in Thailand.
At the end of the debate, the more experienced debaters had only great things to say about my protegees.
I was at the top of my career, the victories of my teams earned me an even higher paycheck, but I was lonely.
Saved a few close friends whom I considered family, I was alone in a foreign land. Up until that time, almost in my middle twenties, I still never had a boyfriend.
I was achieving extraordinary things in my career but my personal life was far from extraordinary.
I was getting what I had set my mind to achieve, but aside from my work there was little joy in my life.
I became a workaholic. I went to work at seven in the morning, went home late at nine, and then worked on my side projects until midnight.
Weekends were spent going to church, doing laundry and cleaning my apartment, then preparing for the next week. Come weekdays and it´s rinse repeat.
I had no life outside work. My social life was nonexistent. My love life was zero.
Bullied, Yet Again
Just when you think you´re done with the bullies, you´ll realize that some bullies never truly mature, they just turn into adult bullies.
What I found interesting is that, these adult bullies who wanted to put me down by attacking my love life, or my lack of it, were women. One was a much older woman, a colleague, who made sure that whenever some single young men would approach me or would be introduced to me and she´s around, she would rush to butt in and announce to the men that I was the breadwinner for my family.
Other adult bullies who also enjoyed attacking my non-existent love life were women just a few years older than I was. They were adult versions of high school mean girls. You know, a gang of four women with a Queen Bee. The Queen Bee was really good with what she does best — back fighting and bullying.
She designed a plan to set me up with a man who was said to be attracted to me. While the man was nice, we were just not on the same wavelength, and he knew it. There was no courtship between us, we were just friends.
The female bullies couldn´t respect it, especially the Queen Bee. She resorted to making fun of me and telling me that I had no right to be choosy. I should be thankful that someone paid me attention at all. She bet that no quality man would ever be attracted to me, anyway.
As I mentioned earlier, my best revenge is proving the bullies wrong!
(Note: It´s important to mention that the adult bullies who were putting me down were also my people. They were Filipino women working in Thailand.)
I Prioritized Finding Love
The mocking and bullying that I received urged me to actually do a self-inventory. “What is SO wrong with me that I couldn´t attract quality men whom I´m also attracted with?”
I set out to learn everything I could about attracting men, dating, love and relationship. I read many books on these topics more than I could ever count. I read many newsletters from many love experts.
I wanted to know more about me, why I behaved that way? I wanted to know more about people, why they behaved that way towards me? I wanted to understand more about men, how do they think?
As an educator, I have a rich background in psychology. But because of my quest to understand the science and art of love, I became even more interested in psychology. So I spent all my free time reading and researching.
I did these in a span of two years.
The result? A massive transformation.
I came to understand why none of my attempts on online dating worked. I understood why men hardly approached me.
I realized that I had to heal all my past wounds. I had to be forgiving of myself and of people who wronged me.
I had to learn to love myself first, before any man could truly love me.
I had to see the beautiful woman that I am. I learned to believe I am beautiful. It´s only when I know and believe that I am beautiful will men see me as beautiful.
It´s only when I learn to communicate my being high value will men see me as a quality, high value woman.
But most importantly, I had to learn to be happy with myself, even before I find my man.
See: How to Be Happy Alone: 15 Happiness Habits for Single Women
For years I wished a man would love me, but I didn´t love myself.
I used to long to be in a relationship because I was unhappy. But quality men are attracted only to happy women. So I worked on my happiness.
The transformation that was happening inside me immediately radiated to the outside. Shortly thereafter I started attracting quality men — men who were smart, healthy, professionally accomplished and ready to commit.
I was twenty-five at the time. In my timeline I was only two years shy of the age I wanted to get married.
Thankfully, I was already equipped with the skills in attracting and capturing quality men that when I met “the one”, he was so enamored and captivated by my beauty and personality. I got engaged within a year after meeting him.
A year after our engagement, I got married! Thank you, Oh Lord! It´s the best thing that ever happened to me.
I married a handsome, tall and attractive man with sculpted muscles (he´s a dancer and basketball player) who´s also very loving, a true gentleman, professionally + financially accomplished, and most importantly, who´s head-over-heels in love with me!
I was twenty-seven when I got married. Exactly my timeline.
It´s almost ten years now since I met my husband, and almost eight years since we said “I do”, and we´re still as in love as ever.
God blessed me with a wonderful husband. He also blessed us with a wonderful baby boy.
Helping Single Women Find Love
I always knew I wanted to empower others. I knew I am called to do great things. But my “ultimate calling” had been elusive.
I was impacting the lives of my students in ways I could never measure but deep down, I wasn´t fulfilled in my job. I had been a classroom teacher and debate coach for eight years, and while I knew I did a great job, something was always missing.
When I moved to join my husband in Germany, I retired from teaching.
I have always loved fashion and style since I was a little girl. I love dressing up. We were not so hard up financially when I was in elementary than when I was in high school, during that time I had nice clothes and pretty dresses.
My love for styling compounded when I started earning. I had an adventurous journey to discovering and polishing my personal style.
I decided to launch a fashion blog. In 2011, I became a full-time fashion blogger. I was enjoying being my own boss, playing dress up and dolling up for photo shoots. My blog was successful.
I became an expert in women´s fashion and style. I helped many women improve their personal style. But then something in me was still not fulfilled.
What is it exactly that I must do? How can I impact the world in a bigger way that will make me happy and fulfilled?
Once again I found myself soul-searching.
I realized that while my job in the past seven years has been in the fashion niche, I´ve accumulated way more books in love, dating, relationship and self-help than in personal styling.
The dating blog that I launched sometime in 2012 as a hobby organically grew.
And then it hit me, “Wait a minute, this is the one thing that I can´t shut up about! Finding love.”
I am meant to help other single women find love. Deep down this is something I wanted to do. Empowering women, helping them have healthy self-esteem and self-confidence, and helping them find love.
I have all the skills, knowledge and experience to help single women find the love of their life.
And so here I am … leading my tribe.
If you haven´t yet, make sure to Join the Glee Tribe.