When I was 6 years old, I locked myself in the bathroom. I can’t see clearly, as tears ran down my cheeks. I said to myself, “I can’t take this anymore. I can’t stand the pain. I need to take my life”. I looked around, trying to figure out what to do so that I can kill myself. My gaze rested on the shampoo by the side rack. I grasped the shampoo tightly, opened the lid, took a deep breath and placed it on my lips. Mustering all my strength and whatever courage I have left, I tried to take sips…but failed. It seemed like an invisible force tried to push my hand away, making me pause and stop. I stared at the wall, unmoving, feeling weak. Finally, I took a deep breath, slowly opened the door and stepped out of the bathroom.
What prompted me to reach this point? I came from a normal Asian family growing up in the Philippines. I was the second from a brood of five children. My mother was a Christian, but not my father. Growing up, I always had that sense that I was the black sheep in the family. Everything I did was wrong. No matter how much I tried to be the “perfect daughter”, it always fell short of what is expected of me.
My older sister was confident and my parents were always proud of her. When I was born, it was a disappointment with my family since they wanted a boy. At that time, it is common to find a nanny to assist with baby care. Since my parents can’t find a nanny right away, they left me in the hospital for 4 months. Then after, they took me home.
Growing up in this household was hard. My parent’s words always haunt me, “You are lazy, lazy pig”. “Why are you so stupid?” “Why can’t you do anything right?” It is also common at that time to get spanked, which I got frequenctly. I never fully understood why, or what I did wrong. My parents never explained why I got punished. I can still remember a time when my mother used a feather duster and spanked me until the wooden handle broke. Or the time when we moved to our new home and I pulled a leaf off a plant because I was enthralled by it. I was slapped in the face really hard, for not “respecting” our new property.
Starving for affection, seeking my parent’s approval, trying to cover the pain of being an unwanted daughter, trying to figure out why I always make mistakes, dampening the pain of rejection….these might’ve led to the thoughts of suicide. What led to that fateful day when I almost took my life, I cannot fully remember. But I still fill the pain as if it happened yesterday.
Starting school was hard on me. I had a hard time making friends. I always thought that there was something wrong with me, that I shouldn’t have been born. I kept thinking that this was a mistake, that I was a mistake. There seems like no hope for somebody like me. But when I started first grade, I met a teacher who looked like a grandmother. She was strict and firm, but also very nurturing and nice. I was drawn to her, and I felt that I could actually learn and slowly improve. I worked hard to get good grades, to please my family. Maybe, just maybe, they might realize that I am not stupid at all.
One day, this same teacher talked to us about Jesus, who came to earth because He loves us. He died on the cross for everybody, because He loves us that much! No matter who we are, where we came from, what we can and can’t do, it does not matter. This is a free gift from Him, so that we can all go to heaven. After hearing this, I couldn’t believe it. God is so amazing to reach down to us! Right then and there, I accepted Jesus in my life as my Lord and Savior. I could almost feel a big burden lifted from my shoulder. I felt a joy and acceptance that I have never felt before. Wow! Somebody accepts me for who I am. Even though I might not be as talented or smart as my siblings, God still loves me just as I am.
I finally have hope for the future. It is not by chance that I was born into this world. I have a sense of purpose now. I know that God placed me here for a reason. After becoming a Christian, life in my family didn’t automatically become rosy. But I think my perspective in life changed. My relationship with my parents got better as well. I am a life that was changed because of Him.