When I came back to the Philippines in September 2009, my show in Jack TV had been cancelled. I never really found out why, no one really had a clear answer. I tried getting my job back in NU but by then the roster was set with a team of talented and responsible DJs who all deserved to be there. (By then, it would also be the third time that I had resigned and came running back so I can understand the management’s decision to gently and finally say no).
Without the radio and the TV career, the hosting jobs became fewer and farther in between. I had little savings in my pocket, for the cash that I earned as a “personality” was quickly gobbled up by my appetite for extravagant spending. I turned to the classifieds and got a job as sales and marketing agent in a production house.
The job was fun, the people were amazing and the pay was good. But there can never be a hole so great and so disturbing as the one that gnaws on a person who is not fulfilling his intended purpose on earth. I was mechanical in my actions and often tried to compensate by outdoing myself in my tasks, over-performing and again trying to gain approval from my colleagues, my superiors, the crew, everybody.
Though there were smiles and there were parties, and a lot of good times in the office, I felt alienated. I felt stretched and tired and yet scared to face up to the truth. I did not belong in production, that was not what I wanted to do. It was not what I was made to do. But it paid the bills and it filled my days so I kept at it, once again turning to man, to alcohol, to empty evenings for comfort. I was afraid it was going to be a never ending cycle.
One day changed my life.
On the way back to the office after a meeting with a client in the city, I passed a tattoo shop on Makati Ave. Something told me to go inside. It was P&P Tattoo, a beautiful shop with impressive equipment and as I soon found out, occupied by three big and tough-looking tattoo artists. Propelled by an otherworldly courage, I asked one of them if I can apprentice at their shop. His name was Ron, one of the owners and who turned out to be very friendly and accommodating. At that very moment, I made a decision: I was going to resign from my sales and marketing position and pursue my dream. I was going to become a tattoo apprentice. To mark the occasion, Ron tattooed the om symbol on my right wrist.
I resigned from my sales position in August 2010 and began my apprenticeship in P&P. I made real friends, with people who were interested in the same things that I was. The place was enveloped in a positive vibe, filled with kind and gentle spirits who helped and encouraged one another. I was humbled. For once in all of my 28 years, I didn’t feel the need to prove myself, to be overly eager or to outdo myself at every turn.
I learned to quiet down and spend hours in deep concentration as I worked the machine or sketched a design. It was precisely during these intense moments of silence that I began to hear a light knocking in my heart and in the very depths of my soul. On some days, it was a whisper, a gentle voice. I couldn’t place my finger on what it was except that it was new and strangely beguiling.
Perhaps, when I learned to be still, the Lord finally found an opening to get through to me.
I believe that it was during this period that God began to reveal Himself to me quietly, patiently and gently…
It would be the beginning of the first and most beautiful courtship that I have ever encountered in my life.
‘Then I will give them a heart to know Me, that I am the LORD; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God, for they shall return to Me with their whole heart.”
– Jeremiah 24:7 (NKJV)