A woman sees a picture of herself when she was 15 years old.
Oh Hannah, you have so much to learn.
Behind that smile is a girl who feels like the world is falling
apart. I know you’re struggling a lot. You’re pushing yourself to manage your time between your academics, extracurricular activities, and being the only representative of your school in a journalism competition you’ve dreamed of joining.
You were crying in a dark classroom because you’re suffering from heartbreak.
Oh, Hannah. The world is not falling apart — not quite yet actually.
The pin of our country’s moral compass is oscillating between fairness and truth. A lot of children your age are dying because they’re suspected of carrying illegal drugs. Some are even younger than you are.
You have the privilege of living near your high school; you can get there with one jeepney ride. Although you go to Quezon City, Mandaluyong, Pasig or Pasay, you don’t experience the difficulties of commuting along Edsa — yet. You’re lucky that you sleep to let traffic pass by.
Remember the moment when you qualified for the Regional Schools Press Conference for the second time? You burst into tears, because you thought you wouldn’t make it.
I want to give you a moment to look back when you were accepted as a member of the school publication.
You were shocked, right?
Your main purpose in joining the campus publication was to support one of your closest friends. Yet you made it, too.
Oh, Hannah. Getting in SSI Linkage was actually the start of a lifelong dream for you. You claim that you only like English classes, but you get so excited when asked to write essays. You’re always excited to share your stories with your English teachers.
You want to write stories. You want to share your experiences, insights and thoughts to the world. Even if you’re aware of people not liking them, you remain unfazed. You smile, pick up your pencil, and continue to write anyway.
I admire that trait of yours. At present, there are moments when every bullying remark or criticism gets to me. I get a mental breakdown, and have to pray that I’ll be healed.
Oh, Hannah. You have a relentless spirit for telling stories.
Those newscasters on TV and names you read on newspapers, you want to be like them deep down. You write and train so hard, believing you’ll make it someday, too. You’re hopeful that you will get the chance to tell stories about society.
Continue to train yourself. The world isn’t ending. In fact, the world is shaping you as you head toward your purpose. You don’t know how much telling stories is needed in the current state of the world.
Press freedom will become endangered in many parts of the world. In our own country, our President will threaten media organizations when they publish stories that supposedly tarnish his administration.
Many of the news personalities you admire will be at risk of being arrested, or worse, should they cross those in power. And a new term will be used for writers and journalists who hold the line against the rise of “fake news” (yes, expect such a thing): a “presstitute.”
The world needs you. The world needs fearless storytellers like you. You don’t know how much having a relentless spirit in telling stories will save the world.
And yes, it’s going to be hard. In fact, it will be the hardest but most life-changing journey of your life. Telling stories is a never-ending process.
But hang in there. I know you want to tell stories, Hannah. Your actions have always been louder than your words. Someday, you’re going to thank me for this.
However, I have to teach myself again to regain that relentless spirit of yours.
* * *
Hannah Mallorca, 21, is a graduate of Bachelor of Arts in Literature from De La Salle University-Manila.
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