By Maryam Nasir
“The funny thing is, no one really knows who they are. Not until they’ve been broken. Not until they’ve lost someone they really believed in.”– R. M. Drake
As the youngest child she has seen the upside-down of the family, from having a happy family to being an orphan in the flash. Enduring the loss of a father as her family backbone might make people think of her as the strongest person, but to be realistic, she lost herself before she had time to find one.
The girl who goes by the name Maryam Jameela has changed to be someone who likes to keep to herself since the loss of her loved one. That is to say, she always thought life has always turned her down while not knowing that there is so much more blessings to be appreciated.
Instead of trying hard to resolve her own problems, she tends to distract herself from her studies and spends most of her time reading romance novels and fiction stories as a means of escapism from her reality of facing sadness.
Secretly reading her first novel “The Curse”– Lee Su Ann (the book was used by her 17-year old brother in school’s syllabus), when she was only 11, has made her fascinated to fall more for literature. Continuing with Twilight Series, Divergent Series, and halfway through in completing Harry Potter Series as she found that it is not her forte to start with. And later moving to poetry books by Rupi Kaur, Lang Leav, K Tolnoe, and Najwa Zebian, which she discovered her current favourite.
Since Maryam saw the good turnout of her effort in studies during high school, she managed to pursue tertiary studies in IIUM majoring in Communication. Indeed, the new environment has changed her once again that revealed her hidden interest in singing.
But still the shackles of insecurities that she felt revolving around her in finding what may be her real passion. At that point, she just put her poker face on, face-up, acting as if nothing had happened, and went with the flow.
Without her realising it, her passion for journalism has started to blossom on its own as she attempted to improve her social skills with new people around. She also started secretly to write from time to time as a way to express herself in writing.
Who would have thought within a year, from a simple bid of a best friend asking her to join IIUMToday for the fun of it, has turned out for her to be in a new line-up of the mainboard as a news coordinator? She ponders.
She knows she has the abilities and the skills to write but she is also aware that it does take a lot of time for her to polish up her writing. Of course, she cannot compare herself with seasoned journalists like Hu Shuli and Robin Roberts, those she has been looking up to lately, but it does not matter how slow she goes, as long as she keeps on trying.
It was a serendipitous encounter for her to experience this. As a rookie in this field, she looks up a lot to her seniors and is willing to seek more help from them. She also keeps a piece of advice from her lecturer whom she considers as a great mentor. To be a good journalist, one can’t help but to learn to be a wordsmith and must apply knowledge in an intelligent way, his lecturer advised.
By that, she trains herself to read regularly online news carried in mainstream media such as in New Straits Times, Bernama, The Star, Malay Mail and Al-Jazeera, particularly pertaining to development in the country. Being a person who usually refused to know about current issues during her high school days, she sees it as a lesson for her to not feel left out in conversations today.
By any means, knowing a few things here and there, and writing something about it, will be her new goals to achieve on a daily basis.
Getting at least 14 news items written by her published within a short span of joining the news portal (IIUMToday), is something she had never expected. She realised this considering she is someone who spends her life escaping from reality, most of the time listening to music, observing people publicly, and playing musical instruments or even singing alone in her room.
The thought of her going this far is still bizarre as she is trying to get used to writing. The day she lost her loved one is still vivid in her mind, but she believes God has a better plan for her. The loss will be a worthy lesson if she succeeds in finding herself a new passion and in developing a new personality.
Despite finding a new passion in writing, Maryam has not left her old interest, particularly music. She is still enjoying music a lot and always felt captivated by the good message of a South Korean boy band, BTS. She is impressed by their message in ‘Love Yourself” which focused on climate change, poverty, and injustice. This has made her in wanting to express more in writing each time she listened to the song.
Writing never came up in her mind as the new solution to most of her problems. She holds to the view by Thornton Wilder that “if you write to impress it will always be bad, but if you write to express it will be good.”
Maryam hopes to further improve her writing skills as she felt she is still lacking. Thus, appreciating her environment and expressing it through writing would be her new hobby where she thinks it would touch the emotion of readers.
She mulls over journalism being a field that would help her reveal her true self. Therefore, she is looking forward to contribute more by coming out with better ideas on what constitute news worthiness and to explore what she could do to keep society well informed about important issues and to make the best possible decisions.
Realistically, in four or five years from now, Maryam sees herself writing on various news or feature articles for certain publication companies as she feels she can do better in this field.
Her journey might not be smooth, but she hopes to share with her students later the practical experience and the challenges that she had gone through in communication field, particularly in journalism. ***
(The article is written as part of the individual assignment series for Feature Writing class)
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