I write to understand.
Or at least, to try to.
I want to know the world around me, and its people, and myself.
To go beyond the surface level and dig deeper and deeper into places and people and purpose.
I write to raise awareness.
To spur change, compel our communities to think and rethink their points of view, encourage someone to change their perspectives. I write to bring stories to light, that would otherwise go unseen.
I write to demonstrate my love for someone.
Whether it’s letters (the handwritten kind) or emails (for those who can’t read my handwriting), I strive to tell them how I feel, how I appreciate their humor and generosity, their traits that make them unique. I write to my grandmother who lives in a land on the other side of the world, my mother who shows me what home can be, my brothers to tell them I love you (and please call me), my friends in distant countries but close to my heart.
I write so that I don’t forget.
Whenever my grandmother narrated a story of her childhood to me, I tucked it away into my journal. One day, I want to tell my own grandchildren about a strong woman of grace and wisdom, who would play the piano with me in duets at 89 years old, who would sing to me over Skype, who would buy me so many mangos whenever I visited her in the Philippines.
When I was a child, a new summer meant another diary to document each day. “Sundaes with Mom,” or “climbed trees with my brothers.” As I grew older, the subject matter changed (boys and middle school drama), but my love for writing persisted. In high school came mood swings and a depressive state. I wrestled with existential crises, recording snapshots of my highs and lows through ink on paper. College reopened my eyes to my childhood love. I would fill blank pages of journals with recordings of adventures and misadventures, and everything in between. After taking a fiction-writing class, I began weaving my own stories for a campus magazine. I recorded things for the future, too. Goals, dreams, my hopes of what would happen after college. Life in the here and now, and beyond.
Now that I’m in medical school, I’ve been finding it difficult to write. Time is of the essence. I barely have time to cook (i.e. boil pasta), let alone sleep, let alone write (for enjoyment, not for patient reports). But here I am, 1 am in the morning after a long day of hospital work and studying. I still write.
I write because it’s in me, coursing like blood through my veins. I can’t help myself. There’s always something to write about, to be inspired about. I am in awe of the world and of the people around me. There is so much to learn, see, and do. Writing will always be a part of who I am.