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Young Blood

My first death

A dancer dies twice—once when they stop dancing, and this first death is the more painful.”

—Martha Graham.

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If losing passion is considered a form of death, then I have died multiple times in this lifetime. But my first will always be the most painful.

The year was 2011. The clock struck 12, the whole class went wild. Everyone ran down the stairs. Some went home while some played tag and Chinese garter on the school grounds. I went on a different path; I walked to our multipurpose hall to meet my fellow campus journalists and mentors. Those days were made of bright colors, sparkling eyes, shining smiles and beating hearts. I felt so alive.

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All throughout my high school years, I was 100-percent certain that I wanted to become a journalist. I was happy about knowing what I really wanted to pursue, since most of my batchmates were still lost or figuring out what they really wanted to do in life. Now I wonder if I should have taken my time to figure things out.

I bravely decided to take journalism in college. Maybe if I tell the 11-year-old version of me where I am right now, she’d be euphoric. But, in fact, the current version of myself has mixed feelings about where I stand. I’m not sad but I’m not happy, either. Maybe I just feel numb.

My first death came when I lost my will to write.

Back then, I loved writing, especially poems. The rhymes and metaphors excited me. I was eager to read my works in front of the class.

Now I can’t feel my words; I still know what to write but, unlike before, I feel my expression has become soulless, dull and gray, as if the words are being written by a stranger.

I wonder if it’s part of being an adult, to not feel your blood rush with excitement at the things you used to love. I never thought about this unexpected setback back when I was dreaming so hard. Was I blinded by the bright sun and rainbows that I forgot about the sunsets and darkness?

I feel lost and dead knowing how much a part of myself I gave to my works, only to see my passion fading as I got older. Just where on earth did the parts of me go?

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Sometimes I wonder if I’m just chasing a naive childhood dream. But aren’t we all?

I can’t say I regret the path I have taken. I know that if I happened to find myself somewhere else, I would surely regret not pursuing journalism. However, it just feels different to be here; it’s not exactly what I had pictured, though that’s still acceptable. Maybe that’s just how life works—you won’t ever get what you exactly want.

I got scared with the numbness and was afraid it might linger for a very long time and ruin the moments when I should have been happy, so I gradually tried going back to the things I used to love when I was young: drawing, playing instruments and writing poems. Just trying to revive the younger version of me, who was happy and excited with what’s next.

From this, I had an epiphany. I realized I stopped doing the things I used to love because I got too caught up with the busy world. I shouldn’t have stopped. I should have valued my little crafts and passions. I thought they were just random time-killer hobbies that were not necessary. But I was wrong. Sometimes, the things that make us feel alive are those little things we think we can live without in adulthood.

In case you are reading this and you understand how I feel, I hope you will find your way back to your passion, your home.

I’m still young, I still have a lot of things to learn and experience. I may have died multiple times, and the first may have scarred me, but I promise to never stop reviving myself.

Mary Mae Balasanos, 19, is a journalism student at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines-Manila. She lives in Rizal.

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TAGS: childhood, hobbies, Journalism
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