The pen and paper have served as my tools for emotional release for as long as eight years. As I scan through the piles of paper of personal written works all throughout those years, I helplessly contemplate the feelings that I have been through. I awe at the expressiveness forever entombed on those paperwork—with utter unbelief that I was able to create those literary pieces.
Probably, the greatest literary piece a writer has to compose would be of life. It can be an account of his whole life or just a part of it. He may write of the lives and works of famous people (it can be anyone’s life, actually), but the writer knows nothing more intricately other than his personal account of life lessons and experiences.
When it comes to the story of my life, instead of the overrated superlatives of adjectives, I would rather stick to simplicity. Yes, as simple but as whimsical as can be—like being born to a middle-class family of an elementary-school teacher and a housewife. Or the fact that no other births occurred after mine. Or having the television as my first playmate since being an only child can really be a drag. Or maybe being electrocuted once, as a toddler, due to the innate playfulness of kids at that age. All those wacky childhood experiences happened in a humble commercial store in the main district of the town of La Trinidad. Indeed, a simple process of growing up. But then, the family had to move. Apparently, at that age, I did not know that my parents had plans for a new and bigger home at a new, more rural location: Alno. And so, at age five, I experienced my first change of address: “moving” as it is commonly called.
Relocating to my father’s neighborhood was actually one of the best “moves” in my life as I actually had my first contact with human beings of my age, and actually made friends. It turned out that they were cousins. We would play all day in a dusty backyard garden, throwing soil at each other, engaging in swordfights using sticks, and blasting each other with water guns. Apparently, those were the times of “The Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers,” “Masked Rider Black,” and “Bioman.” And so, my childhood routine would be the same: playing, eating, watching television, discovering the world—times of pure innocent fun.
Then came the school-age years. I still remember my first day in primary school. I couldn’t forget that unpleasant experience despite the fact that psychologically, unpleasant experiences are buried in the unconscious mind thus, we forget them. It was the first day of my schooling years and yet, I managed to do something that I find humiliating to make it memorable. It was break time in the morning session of classes and I went out of the classroom to get my snack from my mom. After the break, I went back to my classroom to take my seat, only to find another kid sitting on my seat. I know it’s ridiculous, but I got really upset at what I saw that I cried and ran out of the classroom. I cried on my parents’ laps and never returned to my class for the rest of the morning, despite efforts of persuading me to return. But in the afternoon, I was eventually pacified and attended class until the sound of the bell rang in the air. So much for my first day as a schooler. Insignificant as it may seem, but that experience lets me revere of how stupid childhood can be. Stupid, but still, acceptable. That was my life back then—an age of discovery and socializing. I thought I would stay forever in elementary school—until primary school graduation.
Now, from my experiences in secondary school, I would say that it dealt extensively on the emotional and psychological aspects of human development. Elementary school was where our values were supposedly established. For me, what’s the difference? We had “values” subjects in high school anyway. Don’t get me wrong—I wasn’t a bully in high school (but I was, actually, in elementary). I was rather more of a loner. But I never felt it anyway. All throughout our four years in high school together, our class was where I found wonderful and supportive friends. They were there for me, and I was there for them. It was the best times of my schooling life and I knew I’ve found friends that would always be there until the end. Aside from discovering lifelong friends, I also discovered my passion for art… no, not just fine art (like drawing and painting), but art in its general sense. It included fine art, sculpture, musical theater and expression, design and architecture, and of course, writing. I joined the school paper and after writing my first journalism piece and seeing it published, it was then that I felt the sense of power by just being able to express yourself through the written word. It dawned on me that once your written thoughts on the world and on life were read by just even one person, it would forever be immortalized and you would have left a mark on this world. Whether it affects change or not, that mark will find its way unto someone who would find it useful. But despite my steep passion for expression, I left it in one corner and walked on another path: nursing.
The nursing degree/career has never crossed my mind as to what I will be doing in life. Back in college, at the first day of every semester, our instructors would ask us to introduce ourselves. Every now and then, they would ask us why we took up a bachelor’s degree in nursing. There would be people who would say that it was their parents’ choice. Well, I was given the freedom to choose what I wanted to be. Others would say that they wanted to serve humanity (although that reason was used to death). Still others would bluntly say that they wanted greener pastures—which, by the way, was achieved by working abroad and earning foreign currency with a high exchange rate as to the Philippine peso. As usual, I had a different story.
In my last year in secondary school, I applied for three universities: a prestigious and internationally-recognized national university just situated in the nearby city, another well-known university in the same city, and the local university in my hometown where I was also having my secondary school education. For the first two, I applied for a degree in communication arts, with plans of majoring in broadcast journalism. For the latter, I applied for its degree program in veterinary medicine. Now I was fortunate enough to have been accepted in all three universities—it was now down to my decision: Where would I go?
I then eliminated my options to one: I didn’t like the second university; I wanted to have a different tertiary school name from that of my secondary school and I felt a strong attraction to journalism as compared to veterinary medicine. So, after some thought and self-conviction, I was set to go to this prestigious national university after high school.
Summer vacation came, and after accomplishing all the requirements of the school, all that was left to do was to enroll in my chosen degree course. The enrollment was scheduled after one week, so I thought I would use the spare time to unwind. After about a day or two, my friend, who applied for a degree in nursing in the local university, sent me a text message. She wanted me to accompany her to check if she got accepted. So we went over to the College of Nursing and scanned the posted names—she didn’t get in. But the biggest surprise was, I saw MY name, clearly printed in the post, as being one of those who passed!
Right then, I was confused. I wanted to become a journalist, but it seemed GOD had other plans for me. I prayed and eventually accepted the path laid down for me, without any assurance that this would be the right thing. What convinced me? First, I never applied for the nursing degree in my local university, and yet, there was my name! Second, my friend asked me to go with her and I obliged. If I hadn’t, then I wouldn’t see my name clearly written with my very own eyes. You see, days before my application for the three universities, I prayed to GOD that HE would enlighten me and lead me unto a path that was clearly in HIS plan. I was afraid that if I made the wrong decisions, I would be all washed up. I didn’t want that to happen so I decided that I better follow HIS plan, rather than go with mine which wasn’t really well though out.
Four years later, here I am, a graduate with a degree of Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). I have just taken the Philippine Nurses’ Licensure Examination (PNLE) more than a month ago and am awaiting the result. If I pass, I would become a registered nurse (RN). I have made plans on what I would do next, whether I pass or not.
Over the years, my aim to become a journalist somehow disappeared, but my passion for writing still remains. I have seen a lot about life through the nursing degree, and I believe that this has given me good insight on how the human spirit goes through flights of ups and downs. And with these life experiences, aided by the pen and paper, I continue to write, transcribe, scribble, record, jot down—everything and anything that life gives me along my journey. Perhaps someday, writing would get me into something I have never dreamt of, but would guarantee my happiness. And perhaps, as I continue my writing journey, I could add more to this: my short life story.