Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Scars of Telling Stories

by John Macklien Olandag | May 27, 2022

Shortly before writing this piece, I was standing by the sea, trying to find my calm after an unforgiving storm. And it’s still about to brew shortly, lest I can write down first these storms that still bother me even after breathing a fresh and salty air.

When my elders first took me to a world of storytelling through their tales of yesterday, I had always thought that it was a golden gift — someone who has the ability to tell stories had conquered heights and went through many storms enough to be able to entice minds through their words of mouth. Storms have always been so natural for me, at least when I try to listen to the sound of thunder and rainfall.

It was a slap on the face to think of these storms as a journey to look forward to. My youthful impulse to go through these storms produced scars that are often left unnoticed, all because I have to be a storyteller to others.

I was met with outright prejudice when I decided to take up journalism. The job, others say, does not deserve my attention, as they were used to look at me as a boy who would hold a flask, ruler, or even a calculator. Others are political with their words, saying that my job is a den for radical undertakings. It was expected at least, bearable enough given the great responsibilities that I would be holding.

Come election time, when the political climate was blazing hot. Now on my third year in a journalism course, I am already shaped to exercise the tenets and principles of truth. We were taught that truth is not something that our ears may want to listen to, but we should bear the uneasiness of being in the truth. This I was able to exercise through combating disinformation in social media, where unfortunately, my own loved ones fell victims. Their political leanings further exacerbated the hard reality of fighting for our principles and tenets.

My social media accounts had been flooded with undue comments, all because I was able to make statements based on principles. Even my brothers and sisters in faith would hurl words wherein if we look at the ethics, whether in journalism or natural ethics, are improper and haphazard. It further weakened my energy, but in my mind, I would say that I had matured more knowing that I faced and will yet to face the overwhelming odds of storytelling, that does not tell people what they want to hear, but what they should be hearing.

I was thankful to the Good Lord that I had with me a company of intellectuals and faithfuls who went to try patching my scars up. I have with me the great minds who can defend the truth in the name of morality and Godliness. 

As of now, the scars still persist. But they have become my reminder that I am a storyteller, and that someday, like my elders, I’ll be able to conquer more heights and brave more storms. My scars cannot be patched, but they will serve a lasting statement, that truth will always prevail.

If one wants to become a journalist, expect scars. They may be shallow or deep, but when you are able to tell the stories as what they are, more people will come to know what will lie beyond. We may not be paid handsomely, but we are able to inspire and empower people through our words of mouth [and pen]. 

In every story we hear, whether it has our favor or goes against our bias, are scars unnoticed — words that hurt us, circumstances that bleed our morale white, and even threats that make us become fearful of our own lives.

But let these unnoticed scars give you the strength to go on. People are waiting to know the truth. Your single step will already make a big difference.

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