Feels Like First

I was asked to do a speech after my name was announced. I don't exactly have an affinity for speaking, let alone an impromptu one. Usually, the words I compose in my head are not the same words that come out of my mouth. I only wanted to be grateful but instead, I uttered:

"I wrote my entry without the intention to win."

And that was only half the truth.

You see, when I decided to join the blogging competition, I would be a hypocrite if I say I didn't want to win. I wrote my piece with the Php30,000 prize money on my mind. Well, that's almost half of Rhett's tuition fee balance. Who wouldn't want that?

So I started brainstorming for topics only to be confronted by the fact that I do not have a story to tell. I do know I have the writing prowess, pero hindi ko talaga kayang tapatan ang kwento ng iba. My story pales in comparison with others. Yes, it was a mistake to read other entries before starting with mine. But I wrote anyway because I wanted to challenge myself to write something inspiring out of the ordinary. The last time I did this, my article inadvertently went viral. Sort of. Not that I'm trying to do the same thing. 

It took me at least twenty revisions and a hundred self doubts before I published my entry. And truthfully, by the time I submitted my piece a day before the deadline, I had no intention of winning. What I just wanted to do was share what I feel and make a difference—to myself at least.

The last time I joined this competition, there were 70+ entries and I did not make it to the top 20. I thought of the same thing when I learned there were 108 blog entries this season. Being part of the top 40 was good enough. And while I only hoped to win from any of the raffle draws during the virtual awarding (unfortunately, there wasn't any), I unexpectedly bagged 5th place.

Honestly, among all the writing competitions I have won, this one felt like the biggest win (hence, the blog post). The feeling is just amazing when you least expect it. It feels like winning first. It was a real surprise. Unexpected. But I know it is well-deserved.

What else can I say? If you want to achieve your dreams and aspirations, you have to do it for yourself. Not for the glory and certainly not for others. If you free yourself from expectations, that's when you will realize how unstoppable you can be. 

As for me, more than the ego boost, becoming Php10,000 richer, and helping WWF-Philippines, this experience strengthened my dream of writing for the Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards. Sure, winning might be out of the question here. But if I muster the courage to write and submit what seem to be a daunting 10-page typewritten essay, then that means I've already won.

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