I started writing stories when I was in kindergarten. They’re nothing fancy, no play of words. Just short stories a six-year old can manage. I don’t know why I like to write. I just knew I can write and for me, it was a natural thing to do. I like to believe I got it from my father who was an artist with a pen. He used to write too but I never got the chance to meet him because he died when I was a month old (here’s the story).
No one in my family ever liked to write. So it was just me and the idea I have of my father. Maybe I wanted to relive him in my writing. And so that’s what I did. You have to know that English is my third language but even when I was in grade school, I never really had difficulty with words. Learning English with my grade-school teachers seemed fun to me. It even felt that all the things they’re trying to teach me were already at the back of my head, just waiting to be called for I guess. If not for Mrs. Marilyn and (then Ms.) Michelle, I wouldn’t become better with my English and writing.
I would like to believe that they saw a potential in me. They believed in me before I knew what I can possibly do. It felt like they already saw my future even if it was still bleak to me. They honed me very well; taught me the best they could. They used to send me out to some training, seminars, and conferences together with the chosen few at school. It was a privilege then and I never felt like I was in a public school. We were even sent to contests, pitting against other grade schools in the region. Back then, I felt so special because someone believed in what I can possibly become.
But one day, I decided to stop writing.
I did not really stop like deciding never to write again. I just stopped writing for the public.
It was grade school when I was being trained for an upcoming journalism contest. I was trained to write feature content but my outputs never passed the mark. My coach said I was starting to write editorial stuff, and not feature content. And every time I tried to do what she asked me to do, my write-ups continued to disappoint her.
So rejection after rejection and disappointment after disappointment, I decided to stop. More so, I never liked the feeling of letting people down of their expectations. It felt like I was never getting any better. I stopped writing because I stopped believing in the future they told me about.
Writing opportunities presented themselves in high school but I never grabbed them. Why? Because my failure felt like a broken record in my head, constantly reminding me how my writing disappoints people outside of my circle.
Still, I continued to write in my notebooks. I honestly wanted to become better at writing. I used to study a lot about writing too. But as I practiced deeper and deeper into the art, I wasn’t ready to have my writing out in public. Not yet. I was still afraid to fail.
But one day, my English teacher called me to her office.
I was on my junior year in high school then. And when I was called to my English teacher’s office, a lot of thoughts were running in my head. What did I do wrong in her class? But when she spoke to me, she just wanted me to know how she liked the way I write and that she’s seeing a potential in me. She wanted me to consider writing feature content for the school paper.
And that’s when I started to write again (for the public). Since then, I never stopped.
What I wanted to emphasize is this:
Eleven years after I was called to that office, I wrote this blog post to you. It just took one person for me to believe again in what I can possibly become. (Yes, my English teachers in college believed in what I can become too.)
And maybe, you can be that person to somebody else too. You can be that someone who believes that they can be better. This really encourages people. Know that your words have power and they can either make or break people.
Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, making people happy and healthy.
Proverbs 16:24 NCV
Or maybe, you were like me who stopped believing in your future. I hope you go out there again and do your art, or whatever it is that you decided to stop doing. I believe in what you can possibly be. Maybe it’s time you start believing too.
Go and make things happen.
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