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Sweeter the Second Time Around

If you really want your dreams to come true, you have to work to make them do. Read about CoC 7's Ana Gonzales and getting into the Council on her second try.
photo by Dakila Angeles * makeup by Ces Guerrero * hair by Michael Bawa

Why you shouldn't give up on your dreams.

octcocana.jpgIt was just a year ago when my heart broke because I failed the very last step to my dream.

Although I already expected it because of the dead air that was my Council of Cool "interview dare," I was still hoping for a miracle. But I guess it just was not for me.

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So months passed, and I finally moved on. I was blessed that Candy gave me opportunities to work with them, even though I wasn't part of the Council. My story was even published for the Reality Bites section last January-February 2006 ish! I was also featured in Candy Candor, and other mini-features. Indeed, when one door closes, a window opens!

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But I wasn't ready to give up on my dream. So without much hesitation, I submitted another entry for this year, and was emailed to attend the first interview.

"Why did you decide to re-join the contest?"

This was—I should have guessed—my first interview question for the screening.

"Because being part of the Council is something I really want."

The famous Oprah Winfrey said, "You can have it all, but you can't have it all at one time."

After acing the first interview, my dreaded moment finally arrived. It was time to face the "interview dare" that shattered my heart a year ago.

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Even though I already thought of possible interview questions before entering the jurors’ room, I still stuttered when I was in front of them. I did my best this time. I also made sure I wrote good reviews and article ideas for our writing task just to make sure I'll pass this second part of the screening. Then I thought, may His will be done.

And as for the ending of my story—finally—I am now part of the Candy Council of Cool! I realized that if you put your heart into something you really want, it would be yours—but in God's time. He has so many plans for each of us! We just have to trust Him for the most perfect timing—of victory at its sweetest!

Work hard, pray hard, and don't give up on your dreams, Candy Girls! You can make it too! I just did.

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If you know me, and know me well, I am not the biggest fan of idyllic lifestyles. With a Type A personality, I act immediately upon whatever challenge that needs to be addressed. I actually enjoy keeping my mind preoccupied: doing university work in my favourite cafe then running errands around town, grocery shopping here, updating my accounts there, photocopying documents on the way down the street - all just in time before having a glass of champagne at the bar with my friends come evening.

And so, you could imagine my bewilderment when the next challenge to be faced was an extensive self-quarantine protocol. I didn’t know what to do when my greatest responsibility in this situation was to do nothing at all. My first few attempts to combat my consternation were very much rooted in distraction and imagination. My distractions involved conducting research, writing songs, calling family and friends, filming videos, and eating chocolate! My imaginations and fantasies were centred on travelling, shopping, even clubbing (which I rarely do) for when they find a cure to COVID-19. I did anything and everything that could be considered constructive in order to pass the time, mainly hoping I could just undertake the basic human necessities to survive - that is, eat and sleep the day through - until the next day comes, until the world is closer to becoming a better place, until quarantine ends, until my flight follows through, until I see my family and friends again.

Days in self-isolation and suspended flights turned to weeks and turned to months. By the third extension here in Spain where I study Fashion Business, I had to tell myself this shall be my new normal now, that I was blessed to be healthy, that I was tired of merely existing and missed what it was like to actually live - even if just within four walls. Little by little, I began to find significance in the simple occurrences of the day: the soft glare of the rising sun beaming golden streaks through my bedroom window upon waking up, the fragrance of freshly washed bed sheets that I had painstakingly hung to fit a relatively small clothes rack without crumpling them, the crunch and tanginess of warm toasted bread topped with raspberry marmalade, the buzzing sound of a phone call from home just waiting to be answered, to the caress of a fuzzy sweater to keep warm at night. I realised, “What pleasures to be enjoyed in the pause of slow living!” Through this continued pause, which I loathed at first, I began to appreciate each moment of the day rather than wish it would pass more swiftly, moments I had overlooked so often before the lockdown. I started to find that the challenge of self-isolation was never to pause both the regular routines of life as well as the positive emotions that came with these - as initially, I thought it meant to pause all happiness, so as to withstand a time of endurance in hopes for a better tomorrow, much like a form of delaying gratification. Life is just too fragile these days to delay gratification any further.

Life has paused, but it has not stopped. Believe that like any punctuation mark in a sentence, the pause will provide the right timing of things to take place. Till then, let us not waste our time waiting. Instead, we could be in the moment, seek substance in simplicity (that is, in what we already have), And enjoy the pleasure in pause. “Practice the Pause. When in doubt, pause. When angry, pause. When tired, pause. When stressed, pause. And when you pause, pray.”

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