The Bravest Person I Know


I counted the days and it’s kind of surprising how we only have 36 days left for this year. I shouldn’t be surprised because I can feel the way the year sheds it days as keenly as how I change clothes everyday, as real as how day breaks and night falls every day without fail. I feel it, and yet I still can’t believe it because I look back and I am amazed at how far we have gone.

I can already imagine you at the end of the year, what you will do and what you will probably say. The people you will send greetings to, the prayers you will probably utter, and maybe even the tears you decide to shed. I can tell and I know what I think is pretty accurate, too, because I got to know you so well this year. I laughed with you in the fun moments, and stayed up with you on nights that you need to finish things to make sure things go well. I saw you with your friends, and I saw how you cared for them and defended them (sometimes almost to a fault). I saw you work hard, and try so hard, and still keep on trying even when things disappoint you. I watched you reach out, meet people in need and give as much as you can — your time, your resources, your prayers. I felt it when things bothered you, and how you thought about them (perhaps a little too much). I was with you when you made those big decisions that changed you and your life so much, and I could hear the drama button playing over and over in your head as you approached certain times that put you on the path you are walking through right now. I cried with you when you cried, stayed with you during those long nights where the tears seemed endless and the pain seemed so deep that it seemed like it would never ever go away again. I saw you, and celebrated with you in those times you found the pieces of yourself again, and I was so happy for you when you start feeling okay again.

Look how far we have come. Look how far we have gone.

I know 36 days may seem short, but it’s also long, depending on how you think of it. A lot can still happen in 36 days. I also know you will read this several times before the actual end of the year comes, but it’s okay because that’s my intention anyway.

So in case you are reading this at the end of 2013, and whatever the state of your heart is at the end of the year, I want you to know this: you are the bravest person I know.


It’s not easy being brave. Courage doesn’t come easily, because you have to make a conscious decision to be that every single moment of every single day. It’s doesn’t happen one time, and more often than not it requires you to let go of things, to set things free even if you don’t feel it. It requires more giving than accepting, more selflessness and openness.

I know how scared you were when you declared that this year is your year to be brave. Believe me, I know. And I know how there were so many things that scared you this year, and yet you still tried. I saw you try, I saw you pull yourself up and look at this fear in the eye, even if deep inside you are shaking. I know you tried your best not to cower, not to curl up into a ball and into yourself, even if it’s the only thing you really want to do. I know how you fought so hard to be vulnerable, how you opened your heart and welcomed people in despite not knowing what they can do inside.You were brave. You are courageous. You roared with the truth so many times to keep the darkness away, and I am so, so proud of you for that.

You are brave and beautiful and strong, and nothing can ever change that.

I know that your heart isn’t completely okay today, but that’s fine. It’s just that I know at times like this how important it is for someone to tell you that you will be okay. I know how important it is for someone to lend you a piece of hope to hold onto as you try to stay afloat in this storm. So, even if this message is essentially coming from yourself, please believe me when I say that I think you are the bravest person I know. I never expected any of the things that happened to you this year when I wrote this letter, how each of the advice I wrote for us seemed to just come true this year. I want you to know that whatever happens in the next 36 days and whatever the state of your heart is at the end of the year, that I am proud of you. I am proud of us. This is the bravest we’ve ever been, and I believe all our attempts at courage are all worth it, even if we can’t see it from where we stand right now.

Because from where I stand and look back, I am just amazed at how far we’ve gone. And I know later, when we meet at the end of this year, I know we will both look back and say the same thing.

So wherever you are when the year turns from 2013 to 2014, 36 days from now, I want you to remember this: you are brave and beautiful and strong, and it is all worth it.



This post was inspired by WanderrGirl‘s Blogging Challenge for this week: The Bravest Person I Know, and this blog post from last year. :)


I was supposed to blog about my birthday week, but this is a more pressing matter, so the birthday post will have to wait a bit. Pardon the length of this entry — I just want to pay a tribute to a friend.

Dear Batman,

I have always been afraid of dogs, so when my brother and his then-girlfriend-now-wife brought you home, I wasn’t sure what to make of you. I was afraid you’d bite and chase me around, which was the reason I thought I was a cat person more than a dog person. But you were a sweet (and fat) little bundle of joy, and you immediately warmed up to all of us when you first arrived at home. I wasn’t sure, but I thought I could probably learn to love dogs after your first day at home.

Batman at one month old, with my sister-in-law.
Batman at one month old, with my sister-in-law.

I remember that time when you first got sick. I remember reaching into your cage to pat you, and you leaned to my hands because you were feeling weak, and for the first time, I felt genuine worry for you. I was afraid you’d be like the last puppy we had, who lived with us for two weeks before finally passing on my birthday. You were more of my brother’s dog than mine, but I have grown to like you then, and I couldn’t imagine you leaving us too soon. Thank God you got well.

Let me see if I could remember how you are as a puppy: you like snuggling into little corners, hiding from us so we’d have to look for you and chase you around. You were friends with one of our old cats, and I remember my brother taking a video of you trying to play with that poor cat who was trying to get away from you. You liked digging around the garden, and every now and then, we’d find you trying to chew on a rock you have claimed as your own. You liked baths, but only if my brother gives it to you. On my 21st birthday party, I had to put you away from the visitors and you kept on barking. I thought you were barking because there were strangers at home, but it turns out, you just didn’t want to be alone. You quieted down when I went there, and I found it really funny when some of my friends decided to sit near you and you sat like the good dog you are.


Dear 2013 Self

So instead of posting my usual 2012 recap at the end of the year, I thought of something different. I thought I’d write myself a letter. Or my future, end-of-2013 self a letter. Remember when I said that letters changed my life this year? Well, I’m holding onto that thing again up to the last few minutes of 2012. I’ve written letters to several people (known and unknown) this year, so this time I am going to write to myself.

I can’t promise that this won’t be dramatic. But like I said a few weeks ago: time to embrace your inner romantic.

Happy new year, everyone. :)

* * *

December 31, 2012

Dear (end-of-2013) Tina,

Hello from your December 31, 2012 self! Happy new year to you, and I hope that the end of 2013 finds you well.

I suppose this is cheating, writing to you in a place where you can easily go back to it and read it. Letters like this are supposed to be kept in time capsules or sent after some time through email from websites that do just that. However, I believe that posting things like this is public is a way to be accountable, and I still have that hope that baring my (our) soul to the world at certain times will also help a fellow soul who needs to read some words to lift themselves up.

I really, really hope that 2013 was good for you, for us. Whether it was a good year or bad, I know that you will be looking forward to 2014, just as you always do. You have always liked something new, and you have always appreciated having a fresh start. If it wasn’t such a good 2013, then I hope that you will find the strength to move on and start anew, and if it was a good 2013 (oh, I hope it was!), then I hope you will find the grace to let go of the past and look forward to the future.

And because I kind of want to avoid rambling, five things your past self would want you to remember as you go into another new year.