By Katarina Rodriguez | @katarinarodri on Instagram
My own mother lives halfway across the world, so my mother-figure has been my grandmother. Though I’ve always been inspired by her, in the last year or so I have felt even more so. Her name is Sonja, and she has four sons, no daughters. I’ve been living with her for the last five years. We clash often, but I have never met another woman as strong as she. I always think to myself—it’s such a shame that she did not have a daughter of her own because she has so much knowledge, wisdom, and stories to pass down. My grandmother and I—we fight on and off, but when I need a good cry (and that’s not often), she is the person I turn to.
I confess everything to her, and she knows my deepest secrets and deepest feelings. With 74 years of age behind her, she definitely has been through a whole lot. In fact, her own pieces of advice given to me were things I think she has taught herself firsthand throughout her entire life. Other than giving great advice, she also has reconnected me with God, and even gave me advice about boys. She has mended my heart when broken, and she has taught me the importance of knowing your self-worth and finding your inner strength. From the stories she has shared with me, I can say that her life has been vivid and colorful. Her eyes tell a different story though. I can see the nostalgia of the loneliest, emptiest feelings a mother could ever feel.
My grandmother told me to feel everything: To allow myself to accept every pain, to feel every single moment of happiness and confusion with an open heart. She’s also wondered why God never gave her daughters. Since I moved in with her, she now knows that it’s because daughters are so much scarier to raise up than boys. But she also understands now that she has dealt with her hardships to pass on to me how to move past so many of the darker moments in life and how to properly appreciate the brighter days.
Because of my grandmother, I understand now also, that everything happens for a reason, and sometimes the hardest experiences we go through are necessary so we can become stronger, braver and wiser for others. Maybe one day our own daughters, who’ll fools at first, will learn how to live with eyes wide open.
PMAP Talks is the official Lifestyle column of the Professional Models Association of the Philippines. Visit their website and follow them on Facebook and Instagram.
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Banner photograph from Katarina Rodriguez