I prepare for battle at 4:50 AM on weekdays.

I wake up and begin my routine. I feel the wounds from yesterday’s fight as I take a bath. After this, I dress up. I wear my armour then I proceed to breakfast, always something heavy to endure the day. Then, I brush my teeth as I wince for I taste the blood in my mouth from its open cuts. I get my things and take my route to the battleground.

Looking Out

I take four jeepneys before I reach my destination.

This is how I get ready for school. I transferred to Quezon City last year from a small town you might have never even heard of and every day feels like a battle.

I grew up in a town somewhere in Bulacan where the biggest establishment is Jollibee. No malls, no cinemas, no theme parks. We’d have to travel two towns away just to see a movie we really want to watch. Buying Christmas party outfits? Same thing. I never really went out alone. I was driven to and picked up from school. I didn’t have to hustle. Life was simple – fresh. Trees are taller than buildings and fields are wider than the concrete roads.

Country Side

But I decided to move to the city – the polluted, overpopulated, fast-paced city where nobody really pays attention to anyone. I decided to move for senior high school because it didn’t feel right to stay in the town I grew up in because there’s no growth left for me there anymore.

I’m actually really familiar with the city even before I lived here. We usually go because my mom grew up here and some of our relatives reside in Quezon City. But actually living here is so different from just visiting.

Before leaving home, I was afraid to cross wide streets, ride the jeep alone and say, “Para po.” I didn’t like leaving the house alone. I didn’t have to spend money on commuting.

Student

But all of that drastically changed when I moved. I learned to cross streets, ride the jeep by myself and yell, “Para po!” when I’m about to miss my stop. I leave the house and go to places with no company and I save a specific amount every day just for my commute.

Everything is tougher here. Every day is a battle. In the city, the buildings are taller than trees. I realized that I am so small, a speck within a galaxy of stars. However, despite the hardships and the hustle, I constantly remind myself that that’s exactly the reason why I’m here – for growth.

I think I don’t realize how much smaller I was before moving and how much bigger I got holistically.

Change has always been scary but without it, we really will not develop as people.

Yes, every day here is a battle but there is no day that I haven’t won because as I wake up the next morning to prepare for war, I am nothing but a stronger and tougher version of myself.

I am a warrior and so are you.

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