I have been writing since I was in elementary school.
My Mom and Dad would buy me books when I was a child, and my Mima – if I remember correctly – said that she would read to me sometimes when I was still in her womb. (The womb of a mother will always be a special place.)
I recall Disney books especially The Little Mermaid and Little Golden Books, with traces of crayon here and there. There is also my first paperback of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and Karen Hesse’s Out of the Dust from my Nanay and Tita Marissa. Reading, in its own big part, contributed to honing my skills in writing.
Of course, seven years of taking summer journalism classes under Sir Sergio Ontuca in OCNHS with my closest friends in elementary and high school and joining the DSPC yearly helped immensely. When I read my old writings, I can say that I still had a lot to improve then. I looked up to my friends who were exceptional in their own chosen categories. Ever since, I’ve been in the school paper, even in college. This was when I learned so much, not only in writing but also in taking note of what is important in life. It was a turning point in my life, and I am thankful for all the friends I’ve met there who have taught me indispensable lessons.
Besides this, I also started blogging back in Blogspot when I was 13 years old. I recall pouring over cute themes and using them afterwards to partner the content of my blog. It’s good that I remember one URL I used back in second year of high school – I read some of my entries, and it was so embarrassing! Oh well, we all went through that phase.
And before I knew it, I have been doing this blogging thing and changed addresses and transferred platforms, while I was growing up. I am about to turn 23 this year, and I am still at it, just as other people of my generation are. I’ve been from Blogger to WordPress to Tumblr, and here I am in WordPress again. (I’m still using my Tumblr for a specific purpose though, and I have met kind-hearted and thoughtful friends there!) I cannot count how many blogs I’ve kept in the nine years that I have been doing it, but the most I’ve written are in my Tumblr. When you read them, you’ll see some of my most important moments and how much I’ve changed. It’s like a time machine.
Let’s not talk about journals too which hold more personal matters compared to blogs.
Mima gave me as a pasalubong this Harry Potter journal that I have been using for seven years already. I don’t get to write their regularly, but when I have the time and if I need to put something down on paper, I write there. The interval sometimes would be a month, three months, or nine months, and I’d just be surprised to see how much I changed based on how I wrote and what I wrote about. These days, I just keep ending my entries with silent prayers.
Other notebooks would contain little snippets, reminders, quotes that point me to Christ, and drawings. One contains heartfelt and desperately written prayers, ideas, tips and advices in art, and a plethora of other random things.
Now that I am older and the age today has so many distractions telling us to do this and do that, I need to remind myself of why I still write. Either it’s on a blog or a personal journal, I need to keep myself in line with my faith, beliefs, and values as a person. A purpose bigger than myself now has to drive my writing.
I cannot say if I am a good writer – I know other people who are much more talented in this field and can write so beautifully. Some other time, I will share blogs of people I deeply admire for their heart and passion in this art. They are truly inspiring people, and I love how God’s love and light shine through them.
But there is one standard that I want to keep in mind when I am writing, and it is more important than following grammar or having a particular style. I would like to borrow the words that my superior at work told me one morning: “Write and draw with a heart.”
With a heart. I’d like to say that this is the same as write with love. And not just in writing – I want to do everything I do in love. I can be a good writer and follow all the rules, but if I do not put my heart, honesty, and love into it, I am nothing. The following verse from Corinthians puts it best:
“If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.” – 1 Corinthians 13:1
Whichever I do, if I do it without love, I am nothing. I’m thankful for my boss, humbled, that he had said that to me, because sometimes, I feel as though I sound insincere in my words. I get frustrated about it even, because I do not ever want to forget my heart. Maybe the best advice I could put here for myself is to just be ourselves. To let your own little quirks and ideas season your writing.
This afternoon (and all the days that passed), I thought about blogging with more substance, intention, and purpose in long-form now. I thought of stopping too, but I think the answer just rests on discipline and responsibility. This blog will not define me at all but rather serve a platform for me to share my own stories – stories which have helped shape the person I am today. We must not let ourselves be possessed by technology, by the internet, by our blogs, because firstly, our identity can never be found on these things. They will never satisfy, so never put your worth on these things. These are just channels for us to write, to express, to cultivate creativity, and to communicate with friends but never something to breed competition among the community. Here’s where responsibility and wise judgment come in, two things I admittedly still have to learn a lot about too.
Before, when I was young, I kept on writing because I wanted to preserve my life’s moments; this is so I could read and laugh about something when I get older. This has been the only reason I can remember from before (or maybe, I just never really put that much purpose or intention into it. It was just a natural thing to do, I guess, and it was required for school).
But as time passes by, we go through a lot in life, and it is when we are living in the moment that we get to derive something to write about. We change in many aspects: the way we write, what we write about, what we focus on, and how we react and perceive our experiences.
Though I still consider preserving special moments in my life as an important reason, there is something else beyond that reason now. Something bigger than myself.
Ever since God met me during a time in my life that I lost faith in myself, I found myself being molded gradually like a clay pot in the Potter’s hands. Although sometimes I feel like I’m wax melting so easily when faced with heat, I’d like to say otherwise that I am clay – that I become tougher because of what I have been through and the love that is transforming me. During these seasons of fear, shame, guilt, and doubt, God has taught me through my family, friends, and experiences about significant things that I wouldn’t have learned any other way. These are lessons that I do not want to keep just to myself, because somewhere in this country or world might need this particular lessons that God graciously shared to me.
I believe in vulnerability, in sharing our own weaknesses, in writing with a heart for others, in being honest, and in conveying what we wholeheartedly believe. I pray to put these into practice in the hopes that our stories that we have learned from God and the people we love and the people we encounter everyday can inspire and heal others along the way.
I blog, because I believe that God wants me to write about things that He has been teaching me. He gave me this gift to fulfill His purpose, so I need to discipline myself to have this mindset. I have not been given these opportunities to hone my skills so I could edify myself but to bring glory to the Gift Giver and to share His love through writing.
My heart is just so full with lessons and stories that I need to put down in words. Life is too short to not use the beautiful and creative gift of language and communication for expressing ourselves to help others too in our own small ways.
I have learned that we can know so much, and that’s good. But if we do not share these ideas, like what my superior said in work too, they are useless. It is not what we have learned that matters – it is what we have done with what we have learned that matters. Did we apply them? Did we share them to others, or did we just keep it to ourselves?
I do not want to forget the things that He and others have taught me through my own life, through my family and friends, through my travels, through the art I make, and the books and movies I have read and watched. It is in writing that I am able to channel my emotions besides drawing. It is in writing that I can clearly reflect on the happenings of everyday life, so that important things do not get mixed up with the rush of our daily routines.
Maya Angelou said that there is no greater agony than bearing an untold story within you. And so, we write!
She is right. Though I am limited and still young and quite immature at times, I will do my best with a full and grateful heart in giving myself through words to God and to the people He would want me to serve. To embrace correction and criticism when needed too. But the most important thing I have to keep in mind are these three words: “with a heart.”
This does not apply in writing only but in everything that I do.
To live with a heart. To give with a heart. To care with a heart.
For without love, I am nothing.
Without Christ, I am nothing.