Helena on Youngblood5 Book


It was already rewarding to be published at the Philippine Daily Inquirer’s Youngblood section. Two years since then, I have used the article link as a writing sample for clients.

So imagine my surprise when I saw the announcement that my article was one of the 66 essays chosen for Volume 5 of the Youngblood collection. The book will be launched this May 30. Euphoria. I was on Cloud Nine all morning.

What other prompt from the universe do I need? I keep asking what my life’s work is and these things stare at me in the face. Doors open for writing in ways I can never imagine. As an engineering graduate, I find myself unconvinced about my ability to write. I make excuses. I do not have the workshop or writing fellow experience. I am not a journalism or creative writing major. Stuff like that.

So I just wrote as a hobby, just for the sake of writing. Merely for the love of it. I kept this blog as a running thread, no matter what career decisions I make or what personal calls I involve myself in. And I find in it a certain kind of flow that I do not find anywhere else. The I-cannot-live-without-it vibe. I just wrote anywhere I can. Recently, I wrote some more. And I did not really realize that I had been doing this for 11 years now.

Eleven years. And I still doubt myself. I still find a thousand things to work on. It still makes me feel on fire. That same feeling I had when I was talking about my crush when I was a little girl, on a locked brown notebook that nerdy fourth graders like me keep in their cabinets. At age 30, I still feel the thrill of discovering things and elucidating them in words. I am never going to be cured of the writing bug. It will stay for as long as my hands are able.

No one is paying me to fill this page and I keep doing it. Because that is a part of who I am and what I am wired to do. Some people run content mills for the money. I get hired for writing jobs but there is a marked difference between the writing I do for clients and the writing I do for myself or just for writing’s sake. It is not the same. It never will be.

Up until this day, I kept asking about my authenticity in writing. Another person brands me a certain way. I think the biggest disservice of anyone who is trying to write decently is when you question your own skill and not give it a chance to flourish. You get so conscious of how others will take what you wrote and you miss the point of wriring as the reward itself. It’s normal to have haters who pelt mud at you from the outside but it’s a million times worse if you are your number one hater.

So if there is anything that today’s announcement taught me, it’s this: not having an English-related course is no limit to what becomes accepted in a well-respected compilation like Youngblood. Boundaries and categories are arbitrarily created by people but you can be an engineer and a writer and a technopreneur and a web developer without having to feel sorry or doubtful about either. People establish boundaries that you have to limit and mold yourself to a fixed role because they are AFRAID of whàt crossing the lines will entail. Those lines are not set in stone.

Those lines are just made of chalk. And I just jumped over those lines like a childhood game of piko, hopping in and out as I see please.

The lines on my face as I get older may serve as a visual timeline of my personal history, but deep inside, I will always be that giddy little girl who likes the swirl of ink on a piece of paper, weaving words for every adventure.

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