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Mercy Jane Porquez Ballesteros

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A Girl's Journey

Alexandre Dumas once wrote, “He who has felt the greatest grief is best to experience supreme happiness.” It was July 2015, when an 18-year-old me turned the last page of Count of Monte Cristo. It is a book I have cherished ever since, and this quote made me realize that the agony I was feeling would eventually subside, giving way to be filled with bliss once more.

Truth be told, I stopped attending regular school since the age of thirteen. For most teenagers, high school life is the springtime of one’s lives – but that was not the case for me. From the very moment I learned to perceive, I became conscious of others. I had initially believed I could be better than what I was, but the opposite took place. I became the opposite of the person I wanted to become. Despite my perseverance, I kept failing, and I considered myself a failure for not reaching the position in life that I had crafted for my future. As of September 2010, and by thirteen, I had already been bullied, depressed, and had endured sickness. It was the darkest hour of my life. My adviser thought I was stupid; my classmates dubbed me an attention seeker—a mere distraction; and the friends I thought were my trusted well-wishers betrayed me, and the friendship we shared vanished in an instant. In the eight months that followed, I was officially a home-schooled student. I locked myself in my room, refusing to leave the one place where I could conceal myself to shed my tears of anguish. I was hurt by something most wouldn’t understand—it was too painful, and I didn’t have any esteem left.

In 2008, I was diagnosed with migraine. At fourteen, I developed anorexia and bulimia, which adversely affected my health further resulted in hypokalemia and hypoglycemia, confining me to hospitals and medication for several days. I could only just catch glimpses at students walking the streets – they seemed lively; and yet, here I was, miserable and nearly destroyed. In 2014, I found out I had developed epilepsy along with hyperthyroidism and polycystic ovaries. I accepted what God had destined for me and I knew it was time to carry my own cross. Then, I took a long look at myself in the mirror; I wanted to discover who I was and what I wanted to become, exactly who I wanted to be. I kept searching for what I wanted in life and swore never to give up until I had found what I desired the most. From that day onward, I began building my confidence, guts, and be the Mercy I was meant to be. I strove to keep pace with self-development lessons I had neglected paying heed to. Reading business magazines became my daily routine, and I would often ask my father to bring the modules I was supposed to complete to the hospital. Though I had to take ten medications a day, I viewed my illness as a challenge to be met rather than a suffering. I had dreams I wanted to achieve, and this drove me on every single day, which became my reason to move forward. And at the high school graduation for batch 2012–2013, with God’s grace shining on me, I graduated with excellent academic records—the gold medal I had always yearned for.

The next chapter of my life was yet to begin, and in April of the same year, I reached out to universities and institutions that could possibly provide individualized instruction. Most rejected my application, but the only school that believed in me and accepted me, when I was sixteen, was La Consolacion College, Bacolod (LCC). I first met the guidance counselor, Mrs. Rhea Linaja, and the Dean of Business Information Technology, Dr. Nenette Padilla. On May 25th, I received a phone call, informing me that the Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Ma. Mercedes A. Joson, wished to see me. A meeting was arranged the very next day, and we conversed about my medical condition and my situation at that point. At the end of the conversation, she uttered some words that I will never forget, words that completely changed my life: “Mercy, you have a lot of potential that must not to be wasted. La Consolacion will gladly accept you.” I nearly broke down—it was nothing short of a miracle that took place that day.

It has been five years since then, and with each passing day, I have made all the efforts that I could to thank LCC for this opportunity to grow and to make most of this chance to pursue higher studies. Through persistent determination, I realized, success can be achieved.

I became a stock market trader at eighteen and a foreign exchange trader the following year. I have three books published on Amazon: a novel and two collections of poems and short stories. Writing was my first love, though I never knew these skills would lead me to become a published author.

I have survived the storm. After five years, in 2017, I met the person who had bullied me the most, almost ruining my life at that point. The moment she came towards me, I realized that I had already forgiven her. She was not the strict teacher I used to know and had changed to a soft-spoken person. She held my arms, as though everything that had happened was deep in the past.

I have forgiven my adviser as well as my classmates. It was a tough time for me and my family, but I rose up from the dead and came back to life. At last, I have now understood what Alexandre Dumas meant. I now know the true meaning of happiness, and how I seek to define it.

Thank you!