As an avid follower of Youngblood since grade school, I promised myself a long time ago that I would submit my own article when I turned 18 years old. Now I am writing to fulfill that promise, and to share my story.
I don’t know why I waited until I turned 18 before writing for this column. Maybe years ago when I made the promise to myself, I thought that at 18 I would be a grown-up and feel more confident about writing something and having it published in a national newspaper. I thought my story would then be more interesting and more deserving of being read by people of all ages.
I started keeping a diary when I was 7 years old, and I knew almost instantly that I loved writing and that I could be good friends with Mr. Pen and Ms. Paper. It was fulfilling to find “friends” who wouldn’t fight with me. I was then an only child, and often times I was just playing by myself. I didn’t really have any close friends until I was in fourth grade. So while most children happily played tumbang preso and tagu-taguan, I was busy with my diary, my notebooks, my pencils and my pens. Every day I would write down what happened to me and the feelings I had. I strived to write them in English, as my father advised me.
I still have a diary to this day, but there was a time when I thought of stopping because I thought that keeping one was for kids. I struggled. I felt there were too many feelings left unsaid inside of me, and this was a heavy burden for me to carry. So I decided to continue writing on my journal because it was—and still is—a form of therapy for me. What I cannot say, I can write. Whatever mood I am in, I write and it helps, especially when I am sad or mad. Some people left off steam by screaming, throwing things, eating, walking, or talking to a friend. I do it by writing down my thoughts, and once I am done I usually feel much better.
Reading my old diaries again usually makes me laugh, but there are also times when I feel unhappy about what I wrote in the past, especially those times when I had problems that I thought were the most difficult ever.
My different personas emerge from my diary. Sometimes I was a kind, God-fearing and cheerful girl, but there are also times when I played the sentimental fool or fuming brat. Immaturity, pettiness and selfishness were reflected by my feelings back then, and I wrote as if everything and everyone in this world were conspiring against me. It may be funny to think of such episodes now, but at the time they happened they simply looked terrible to me.
What always comes as a surprise is when I read something that showed an insight more mature than I was when I wrote down something. It seems as if I developed my own philosophy at an early age. Yes, my journals speak of childhood innocence and angst, as well as how I dealt with peer pressures and academics and parents and friends. The list goes on.
Then blogs were introduced to me. At first I was hesitant to create a blog account because I don’t like people butting into my life and I want privacy. Besides I am scared of what people might think of me. I am concerned that they would think differently of me when they start reading “my life.” They might make fun of my blogs, and find fault with my writing.
But I have learned to overcome such anxieties. I know I can always keep to myself some things that I might consider vulgar or offensive. I have the choice what to publish anyway. Besides, how can I improve my ability in writing if I will not hear what others have to say about my style? I have realized that I have to step out of my comfort zone to experience challenges that will make me a stronger person and enhance my craft. After all, I write not to impress people, but to voice out my feelings, thoughts and opinions. I believe that structure and style come out naturally and will be improved by writing and writing.
I started blogging on Friendster when I was in second year high school. I have realized blogging can be used to make “parinig” to other people aside from telling them how you have been. My blogs make some of my closest friends suspicious. But I find it very interesting that they give some time to think of my blogs. Sometimes I make them mysterious and sometimes I just hit the keyboard and just let my thoughts and feelings flow.
These days, I’m using Tumblr for blogging. I have let only a few of my friends know my blog site so that I can keep my privacy while keeping them posted on what is happening in my life, since we don’t always get the chance to talk long when we see each other and, let’s face it, some stories are harder to tell face to face.
Now I can’t believe that I have taken a step farther from my comfort zone by submitting this article to Youngblood.
When I was much younger, I thought my stories would be more interesting when I turned 18. I thought they would be more deserving of being read by others and being published. But I think I am wrong. Whether you are 18 or 7, so long as your story is from the heart and you write it with passion and gusto, it will always be interesting, it will deserve to be read by people of all ages, and it will deserve to be shared with everyone.
Chelsea Eichel R. Dauz, 18, is a sophomore BA Sociology student at the University of the Philippines Los Baños.