In front of me is the beautiful view of the ocean as I write this letter.
I had just finished running one of my yoga retreats out here on the beautiful coast by the sea. I am filled with overwhelming gratitude. It has always been my dream to help and inspire others by running my own yoga retreat company. There are days just like today that I can’t hardly contain my humble gratitude for the grace in which I stand for having the opportunity to live the dream I had set out to do. Today, I remember you. For I am who I am because of the demonstration of your love for me.
I am who I am because of the demonstration of your love for me.
Me growing up as an LGBT was not easy for us. The world can be a harsh and cruel place for someone like me. I can only imagine how scared and concerned you were for my well-being. The school told me that who I am was a sin, the Church said that I was an abomination, my classmates continuously bullied me for being different.
Without seeking to change me and how I presented myself to the world, you were my first demonstration of what unconditional love truly means.
Those were some of the most challenging moments in my life. I could not figure out how to deal with the truth of who I was when everyone kept saying that who I was was wrong. You saw my struggle with wanting to fit in and trying my best to be like everybody else. But when any of that didn’t work, there was nothing left to do but for you to keep loving me, supporting me, and eventually accept me for who I am. Without seeking to change me and how I presented myself to the world, you were my first demonstration of what unconditional love truly means. A kind of love that asks nothing in return; A kind of love that didn’t care what the world said; A kind of love that gave me permission to be my truest self.
You have always been my hero. My fondest memories with you were all the times we spent as a family traveling and celebrating all your basketball game wins. You were such an inspiration to me in how you took seemingly impossible tasks and led teams to victories many times in your career. You took risks whole heartedly. Your winning spirit taught me how to keep chasing after my dreams.
You taught me how to succeed in life, and succeeding doesn’t mean winning every game, but having the grit to bounce back from every loss and learning everything that needed to be learnt.
But, perhaps, the biggest lesson I learned was not from seeing you win your championships, but from seeing how you handle losing your games. Just like in life, we can’t keep winning them all. So, it was in those vulnerable moments in your defeat that revealed to me your true character. I realized that defeat is the true mirror in which one may honestly view one’s real self and it is not our losses that define who we are, but how we respond and relate to it that truly matters.
You taught me that it’s not about winning or losing, but having the courage to show up when you can’t control the outcome.
Even when the whole world was seemingly against you in your defeat, your response to failure as nothing but an educational episode had such a huge impact on me. You taught me how to succeed in life, and succeeding doesn’t mean winning every game, but having the grit to bounce back from every loss and learning everything that needed to be learnt. Instead of trying to protect me from losing in life, your example equipped me with the ability to deal with any challenge life throws at me. Winning is great, sure, but I learnt that if you are really going to do something in life, the secret is learning how to lose.
And this is why I am a happy person. This is why I continue to have the courage to keep living my dreams. You taught me how not to fear failure. You taught me that it’s not about winning or losing, but having the courage to show up when you can’t control the outcome. So when the world begins to seem like a harsh and cruel place, I do not let them define who I am. How others treat me is their path, and how I react is mine. Your unconditional love fills me up. And the best way I can pay you back is to do my best to become an inspiration for others, the way you have been for me. Thank you for loving me for all that I am, and for all that I am not.
Happy Father’s Day, Dad! I love you so much!