Editor’s Note: These essays was submitted for the “Stories Matter” contest of the Marianas Writers Movement, an essay-writing student competition that focuses on stories of the Marianas, as part of the celebration of October as Humanities Month.
In our lives, the paths we travel are unpredictable. They twist and turn toward events we could have never imagined, and they feel inconsistent time-wise. There will be moments where life just seems filler, and there will be questions that appear to hold no answer. Stories, however, which allow us to jot down memorable experiences or craft fictional sagas can lead us to the answers we yearn for. Whenever life seems lackluster and questionable, the absorption and creation of stories can help remind us of what makes life meaningful.
From time to time, life’s intense questions fill up faster than their needed answers. Countless people have dilemmas about themselves and beyond. When we try to solve such dilemmas, we turn over every rock to find an answer—such as a place to belong to or a motive to be driven by. When we rise empty-handed, it feels like our fate has hands that can throw the most pointless and confusing of decisions. We may even feel like we have hit rock bottom once we have listened to the voice asking us the dreaded question: what our purpose is.
Although there can be no definite answers to the nerve-wracking questions we ask ourselves, storytelling can help nudge us in the right direction of self-revelation. When authors write or tell a story, usually they place a piece of themselves in their work. On the other hand, when a story is read, the reader will most likely absorb or be influenced by the author’s piece. Simply, when we come across a story, we either gather or release new emotions, ideas, and perspectives. Doing so can help us understand ourselves and give us a sense of contentment.
Even though the views that stories provide won’t grant us full understanding, they’ll leave us with something to remember. Stories are etched into our mind, teaching us lessons or sparking emotions in us. For some tales, we know them for their guidance or awareness. For others, we know them just because of the impressions they leave on us, like joy, sorrow, anger, or humor. The emotional stories one remembers also gives meaning to life, making it worthwhile and enjoyable.
Sometimes, life throws us the most ridiculous of occurrences. Those times are confusing and they leave us with losing more than we gain. Stories help us, however, by allowing us to share and learn about other’s experiences. They are there to unlock or at least give us a peek at life’s deepest ideas. At the very least, they are meant to be enjoyed and remembered.
Julia Jinang is a 10th-grade student at Grace Christian Academy.