23 Sep Meryll Soriano
Meryll Soriano is strong, independent and unabashedly honest. We remember meeting her at a Mom event years ago and were surprised to hear her admit that she’s been wanting and waiting to be invited to an event just like it. It was such a refreshing moment because more often than not, it isn’t something we’d openly own up too. Her enthusiasm for new experiences and her belief in the possibility of achieving anything you set your mind to has made us her forever fans. This multi-hyphenate of a woman (actor/photographer/visual artist) gets real with us in an unfiltered conversation about the struggles of being a single parent, loving yourself and living your life to the fullest.
First thing that entered your mind when you found out you were pregnant?
I don’t want. I’m not ready. I was in so much turmoil because I just realized that I made a mistake by getting married so early and now I was pregnant. I was a 23 year addict and had just decided to get help. My decision was still fresh and I was feeling vulnerable. I wasn’t okay. I said Lord, I don’t think I can do this. I cried and cried and cried. Buti nalang narninig ako ng Diyos. One of the reasons why my ex and I decided to get married was because it was our vow to each other to stop doing drugs so when I found out that he was back on drugs, it was the perfect excuse for me to get out. I packed my bags and I told my mom “I’m so sorry, I made a mistake.” Her only reply was “ Okay anak, ihahanda ko na yung kwarto mo.” I went back to my mom’s then did a solo trip to Palawan to think. On my fourth month, after my ultrasound, I finally accepted the fact that I was having a baby and said, I’m happy.
What’s the best thing about being a mom?
Every morning you have the chance try again and make things better.
What’s the hardest thing about being a mom?
Everyday is a journey for the both of you. Especially for me, a first time mom. I don’t know shit. I don’t know shit about anything. Whatever my mom imparted in me, its different from who I am or from the mom that I am. Our generation is different and our beliefs are different. I’m not my mother. So I constantly have to ask myself, am I doing the right thing?
When Elijah and I completely moved out of my mom’s house, that’s when I truly felt how hard it is to be a single parent because there is no good cop/bad cop. I have to be both. Eli is at the age where he needs discipline but at the same time, I am his mom and his source of comfort. Its so hard to be both. I have no one to consult with in terms of making the right decision parenting wise. That’s what I find challenging. Balancing both discipline and compassion as a parent.
Philosophy on motherhood.
I have to be an example to him. I have to live by example and that realization really straightens me out. Every time I feel like “Parang hindi ako okay today” I have to stop and and remember that I have someone fully dependent on my values and my morals. I always need to apply what I’m teaching him. I’m very strict about that. If I can’t live it, then I won’t preach it. He can tell if I’m being sincere or not. We should never under estimate our children, they’re very intelligent.
What is the legacy that you want to leave your son?
I want him to know that I was selfish and did everything for myself when I was young but when I became a mom, everything changed. I’ve become a better person because of him.
My wish for him is to live a full life because I have lived a full life. I’m now at a different chapter in my life but I have lived. I believe that its okay to make mistakes, to explore, and to discover things and I will never judge him for that. I traveled around, lived in an unfamiliar place where I wasn’t comfortable with the environment and I really strived and thrived in difficult situations. I was already 28 when I went away to college, I wanted to finish my education. I want him to always remember that it can be done. Whatever it is, try. There will never be an ideal time and its never going to be easy anyway.
Best advise your mom has given you?
Be Responsible. My mom is a very responsible mother, We, her children are her life. Me naman, I live a very vibrant life where I want to do everything. I want to do this, I want to that. She taught me that while I can pursue all my passions I cannot neglect my responsibilities as a mother.
What is your advice to your younger self?
To think more before springing into action. I’m really impulsive and I apply it to all aspects of my life. I’d like to tell my younger self to be more discerning, think about what you’re about to do first before acting on it. Think before you speak.
Characteristic you value most in people?
Compassion and respectfulness towards others are characteristics that I value most in people. You don’t see much of either anymore. I personally feel that people are so self-entitled nowadays. The rise of social media has also resulted in the rise of disrespect. Whenever I browse Instagram and come across a fellow actor’s page, I get so shocked with the comments of die-hard fans. There is zero respect for one another. I value respect very much. It’s a basic trait for every decent human being. Everything can be learned, so why not learn how to respect as well? Respect starts with the individual. If you cannot respect yourself, how can you be expected to respect others?
What lesson has your son taught you?
Eli has taught me to love myself more. Before I had him, I was already on that journey. I decided to stop taking drugs, I brought myself to the hospital and asked for help. I was getting there. But now, I really need to take care of myself because there is this one person who is completely dependent on me and needs all the love that I can possibly give. I have to love myself and make the right decisions because it isn’t just about me anymore, may kasama na ako sa consequences. I’m bipolar which is something I have to deal with for the rest of my life. I also went through depression when I was younger. So now, its really a conscious effort to be better because every morning, I have a reason to get up and go on.