How HAPI Impacted Me (#7)
An essay series featuring retrospectives by HAPI members, staff, and leaders in celebration of its 8th Anniversary.
Throughout the years I have lived, whenever people come and talk to me about religion or my opinions about certain topics, I have always felt like I was alone. I felt like my opinions were irrelevant and my ideas of putting more work into caring for others and helping each other rather than beg a higher being to fix everything were insignificant.
It was not until I met people whom I would truly call friends (although they have only been with me for a couple of years) did I truly see that maybe I am not alone. Not only do these people share many of the same opinions as I, they still respect my opinions on those topics where we differ. They would also go to great lengths to educate me on things I would not normally know about.
Little did I know that I would also be part of something bigger than myself. I was recommended by someone to apply for a scholarship for Humanist Alliance Philippines, International (HAPI). Long story short, I went to the interview and passed — but at the time, I found myself questioning whether or not I truly was the right fit for HAPI. I thought that it was just another run-of-the-mill irreligious group like Atheist Republic. But then I found out that HAPI does plenty of things to change the Philippines for the better; that was when my eyes were opened and I began to see the organization in a new light. I gave it a chance. Slowly, I felt like my voice made an impact through the articles I write on the website. HAPI has truly honed my skills in writing; although I know I have a long way to go, I intend to become much better than I was before.
Through HAPI, my mental health has also gotten significantly better knowing that there are people out there who have the same stances as I do. These days, I don’t feel alone when it comes to believing in things that deviate from the ‘norm’.
A special thanks to Ms. M for the continuous support that she has given to not only me but to so many people, and a special thanks to HAPI as a whole for being the platform in which people such as myself can voice their opinions and bring facts to the masses.
– Edgar Louis de Gracia