This post is a part of EmpowerU Life Writing’s Final Exhibition: check out this post for more information!
My Teenage Life
written and performed by Saphine
My teenage life
Was very different from other
My friends enjoying their life,
Having fun, going to university.
Worked all day.
I needed to work hard
To help my father support
My three siblings to finish their studies.
At the age of 16,
I leave home in Tarlac City to work.
My mom is against it
But she doesn’t have any option.
I work as a cashier
In a convenience store.
On my duty hours first thing I do:
Inventory of all the items in the shop,
Clean the floor and the food stalls,
Then I just stand in front
Of the cashier waiting for customers.
On the corner there is
A mini coffee bar
Filling the shop with the
Aroma of freshly brewed coffee
And hot chocolate,
Playing in the background.
Once the wind chime rings,
"Good day, ma'am/sir, welcome to Shell
Shop" with a big smile as I greet them.
At 18 I change to a “better” job,
To a semiconductor factory in Pampanga.
Workers wearing bunny suits,
We look like astronauts,
Only eyes peeking out of the suit.
Before entering the production,
Everyone needs to pass through the
Air shower, the air blows so hard,
It's like the wind of typhoon 2 hits you
To clean all the dust particles.
Being a structural epoxy operator
Is boring and sad.
All you can hear is
The whooshing of the machines.
And the ringing of the oven,
Like a cell phone tone.
Looking at small computer chips
With a microscope for
Eight hours of duty is killing me.
When there is an opportunity
To leave this job, I grab it.
At a facial clinic in Manila,
I train for 6 months as a facial therapist,
I love this job so far,
From looking in the microscope
To looking at someone's face,
Cleaning it to make it glow,
Always a smile on my face.
The equipment is
The ring light, face steamer and
The laser used to close
The customer's pores.
The rooms and beds are white,
Music plays in the background
To make the customers relax
While I'm doing the treatment for them.
Then my parents ask me if
I can move back home
So that I can go home every day
No more instant noodles for dinner
Back to the safe province
So I find a new job in our hometown
In International Wiring System Company
To do harness wire taping.
This job is hard at first,
Following the conveyor belt, but
Afterwards I find it a challenge
To stay on my spot
To push myself to finish my work.
I have a frown on my face
At the end of my all night shift
Once I get back home,
My mom has prepared my breakfast
And warm water for bathing.
After taking a bath and eating
My fried rice and ham
I just sleep all day long.
My mom wakes me up at three o'clock,
My food and uniform
And warm water ready.
"You need to eat first before you
Go to work again, you haven't eaten
She tells me with her
Very concerned voice.
Due to my work I missed all
The gatherings and get togethers
With my friends, but the communication
With them still close.
Sometimes they would just
Find a time that
I was able to be with them.
And I don't regret missing
All those happy moments,
Because due to my hard work,
My siblings could each stand
On the stage with my parents,
Wearing a white graduation gown.
Joana is a licensed
English teacher in Taiwan.
Jodessa working in a
Private hospital as an assistant nurse.
Rj just finished his studies last year,
Majoring in general education.
Now I still need to work hard
As a domestic worker in Hong Kong
To support my daughter in her studies,
And give all she needs.
And this will be
Another journey that I can
Tell and share with others,
In the near future.