Sunday, April 10, 2011

You Were Tanya Titong Weren't You?

On the basis of an interesting episode of Modern Family and a recent conversation between mutual friends, I've decided to write this post.

In the episode of Modern Family, Claire tells the camera that daughters should never, ever, know who their mother were before they had their kids. As far as kids should know, their moms are saintly, pure and wise. Coincidentally a bunch girlfriends had gotten around to talking about me at a friend's shower. And two of them mentioned how they liked to follow my status messages on Facebook, but they never felt quite sure if the person they were following was me, because I sounded so different from the girl they knew back in college.

Well, I'm not ashamed to admit that I have changed. The wild, carefree, careless, chain-smoking, perpetually drunk rejection junkie I used to be has been replaced by the soccer mom from hell. I personally feel that most of the change has been for the good, but every so often I (and some friends of mine) miss the old me.

She was crazy but she sure was fun.

Will my girls ever get to know the person I was before I was their mom? Hell. No. Hahaha!

As much as I would like my kids to know that I was once a cool and fun person, I would rather just let them think that I was born.... Mother. Bossy, conservative, caring, loving, not necessarily fun but full of life lessons and worthy of respect.

I wouldn't change the life I've led. Not.One.Bit. I think that I am wiser for all the experiences I've had. And I'd like to share whatever wisdom I have with my kids. They just don't need to know how I "learned" these life lessons. I don't think I merit much respect in the way I learned a few lessons like:

1. I once tried to "dive"... into a Jacuzzi. I was very drunk at the time and am just basing this story on the anecdotes of friends, and the bizarre collection of cuts, scrapes, bumps and bruises I had the next morning which I don't remember getting. Lesson learned: drink in moderation. And never around bodies of water.

2. I took a week off from work (unknown to my boss and parents) to learn how to scuba dive. Mostly because I had a crush on my scuba diving partner. And that same guy was the reason why I went on a 3 day dive trip with 6 guys I didn't know because he invited me.... and didn't show up. Lesson learned: Never let a guy dictate what you do or where you go. Learn to do your own thing.

3. To maintain my weight of 96 lbs. I spent 4 years drinking diet coke and smoking cigarettes for lunch and dinner (aka the Kate Moss diet). Lesson learned: Yes there is such a thing as too skinny. And never believe that line that "nothing tastes as good as being thin feels". Because there is, and it's called carbs. Learn to love the body that God gave you. Take care of it.

4. I bungee jumped on a dare. I accepted this dare while drunk. Which taught me the lesson of never accepting dares while drunk. Actually, never accept anything while drunk.

5. I went parasailing in South Africa. While it was winter. On a dare. Which I accepted while I was drunk. Which taught me that some lessons are hard to learn and I am also very hard to teach.

6. I was the blind date queen of the Philippines. While single, I went on 22 blind dates over the course of 3 years. Because I believed in being open to the universe and the possibility of finding love in the strangest places. It taught me that true love can sometimes be right beside you (or in my case 3 cubicles away). It also taught me to never accept a blind date set up by Steve Crisologo.

I smoke. I drank. I cussed a lot. I was a bit of a cutthroat bitch in the workplace because I was ambitious. I dated a lot of guys. Loved a few. I did whatever made me happy, and I never let anyone tell me what to do. I lived my youth to its fullest and I believe this is something every one should do. (Jesus, I'm starting to rhyme). May be not in the same way I did (God I hope my girls don't), but the important thing is to live it on your terms. To do things that you want, to live with no regrets, and to take each experience and turn it into something that enriches your life. Good or bad.

Which is why I'm so different now. Because I've been that person, learned the lessons that that person's life offered and because of those lessons I've grown into the person that I am today. I wouldn't have wanted to stay Tanya Titong. As fun as she was, she was also oftentimes very lonely, scared and insecure. She had a lot of growing up to do.

And she had to grow up the hard way. Had her heart broken. Betrayed a friend. Lost a father. Struggled with infertility. Lost 3 children.

But along that way was also blessed with: True Love. Faithful friends. Solid siblings. A great life. And 2 beautiful kids.

I'm happy to be Tanya Medina now. 50 lbs heavier. Goes to bed at 10 pm. Gets up at 5 am. Doesn't smoke anymore. Rarely drinks. Talks incessantly about her kids, her husband and cooking.

I live a new life now, shaping the ones that God has blessed me with.

Now I just sit back and watch the show that is my kids' lives unfolding. And I'm glad I've got front row seats.