Reading might be one of the most cliched things to write on “What is your hobby?”. I mean, that’s what a lot of people would right in order to look more intelligent than they actually are. Writing, though, is something that you don’t see a lot as answer to that question. What kind of writing? Scribbling? News Writing? The Onion-style writing? People can get confuse and be like, “So… like calligraphy?” and you’re stuck shaking and scratching your head.
Growing up, I’ve always loved reading. Stories, poems, ads… you name it, I would read it. I was always scolded for reading while walking because apparently that messes up with your sight or reading in the dark. I don’t actually remember when I learned how to read. All I know was that I used to stand beside my grandma while she teaches her students how to read then I started helping her teach them how to read. Reading has given me a good way to exercise my imagination as well as broaden my vocabulary. I’ve always aced spelling exams as I knew a lot of words that were probably seen as way beyond my age. My family and friends have always encourage me to read more. My dad and his siblings had lots of books and comics collections which I was free to use (as long as I take care of them). My grandma gave me a list called “Basic Sight Words” which I had to read everyday to enhance my vocabulary.
As I grew older, reading still made me happy and then I found about writing. Or more specifically, journalism. I was in Grade 5 when I was invited to train to be part of the journalism team of my school. I enjoyed it a lot and could see myself doing this for a long time. I didn’t end up being part of the team of that year because my teacher legit sabotaged me (but I’m over it… I guess). The next year, I was chosen to be trained again to be part of the journalism team. This time, I made it. I was preparing to be a feature writer but ended up as the editorial writer.
Every time we would have some writing practices during the training, I was always told that my features were more editorial. I would always have some piece of my opinion injected onto them instead of featuring the topic. In the end, I was chosen as part of the school paper. On the paper, I was credited as a feature writer but I was the one who wrote the editorial. The editor-in-chief was the one who wrote the feature. After the weeklong initial training, we stayed later in the school to start preparing for the city-wide journalism competition. We were competing with most of the schools in the country. I didn’t win and that broke my heart. I took me back to when I was little and also failed to win at a reading contest. Two of my biggest passions and I failed at being the top bitch. Anyways, most of my teammates won the top prizes and our school won the over-all top prize for journalism in English (there was another one for Filipino).
When I entered high school, I was motivated to be part of the school paper. I applied and submitted some of my writings, old and new, to them. I’ve never heard from them that year and when the school paper came out, it was obvious that I didn’t make it. The next year, I applied again. But this time, I was less naive and more aware. I knew the type of people that they’ve accepted and I wasn’t part of that cut. However, I still applied half-knowing that I wouldn’t get into the club anyways. I told myself at that time that if I don’t get in, I would stop trying. I did not get in and I stopped trying.
That same year, I won the Tanaga poster making competition. I’ve beaten the writers from that club and I’ve never been happier. It was an unexpected win as I thought that I wouldn’t have a chance with it because I didn’t make up my mind on what to write until the last 20 minutes of my time. I walked up to my stage and picked up my medal.
A year later, a competition was sponsored by the alumni of our school. It was a writing competition and only the honors and semi-honors students were invited to join. Everyone else were cut off from joining and we had no idea that this existed until the winner was announced on a Monday morning. My friends and I looked at each other, aghast at this inequality. Up there is a guy reading his winning piece while majority of the school body had no idea about this competition. I was pretty sure I wasn’t the only one who felt betrayed and annoyed. Then, another competition sponsored by the same people was announced and this time, it was for everybody. My friends and I decided to join the preliminary part. About a week later, we were called to the Principal’s office to be personally congratulated as we were able to move on to the second and final round of the competition.
On the final round, our Principal gave this long pep talk which I missed most of it as I was late. However, I got to catch the last bit of it. I can never forget his words that up until now I still think about whenever I write something, “Don’t write about what they want to read, write about what you want to say”. With those words in my mind, I wrote what I thought was the most controversial piece of that competition. The topic was ‘I Beliefve…’ and it took me forever to think of what to finish this with. I wish for a better future? I wish to be rich? Then I thought, for all these year, I’ve seen intelligent and talented people in general sections not being given their limelight because the spotlight is always given to the honors’ and semi-honors’ sections. So the essence of my piece was that I believe that the school should not have any sections named as Semi, honors and General Section. As I looked around the room, I see members of the school journalism team and I thought, yikes, with this piece and these trained people, will I get a chance to win?
I won. Second place. Super unexpected and I didn’t exactly know how to react. Here’s a piece that I wrote on behalf of my general section friends. Here’s a piece that I thought they would just put on the side because of how it can be seen as an attack towards treatment of students by the school. As I walked across the stage, in front of the very people who rejected me into the school paper in favour of their peers, I felt a surge of pride. I still had it. I can still write and that rekindled my passion for writing. I knew that this was one path that I would want to walk on and pursue. But my parents had other plans.
I was going to be a nurse, like my mom. I cried and begged them no, but it was nursing or no school. I had no money and was dependent on my parents so I conceded. I took nursing for two miserable years. I can see myself becoming a nurse but I can also see myself not being happy. As years goes by, writing didn’t become my priority anymore and I’ve been abandoning my blog, one of my last connections towards my journalism dream.
As I look at this blog and my other blog (which I had when I was in high school), I could totally see when I started to lose the passion. When I started focusing more on my life and not on myself. Blogging and writing had always been my getaway. As I look at my drafts, I could see half-finished pieces, stories, how-to and memories. It saddens me that there was a time when idea just flow right through me and drafts were merely a way for me to save my progress so that I can finish a blog in a few hours. Now, the draft box has become a graveyard of my non-continuous ideas, writer’s block and loss of hope.
I don’t know if I’m still as passionate in writing as I was before. But writing has already been engraved in me and I couldn’t imagine losing the chance and the ability to write, to be able to convey my feelings. I think the one reason why interest in writing hasn’t been up there lately but because I haven’t been writing. I mean, some people would say that one of the easiest ways to rekindle a relationship is to bond with them again, right? I guess that’s what I have to do. To write more, blog more. Anything under the sun.