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Dear Tuesday,

I am going to do a brave thing. All my worlds and heroes are telling me to let people be loved the way they are, and I am going to do that.

I didn’t love myself for a very long time. This isn’t news. I went through cycles and phases of loving myself at any state, and sometimes of twisting myself into a state I thought I could love. It’s the wild hunt for self-worth that melted and hammered me into the person I am today. I’m not grateful for the suffering. But at the start and end of each day I seem to like myself, and it’s difficult to not be grateful for that.

Here’s a trade-off: I forget people’s unwillingness to go through the fire themselves. Anyone who’s been through some tough times will tell you that we all come out stronger from it, but that doesn’t make the fire any more appealing. It is so easy to forget that.

I told somebody that I’ve been having these golden visions of a better time. A life long ahead of me when my suffering is purposeful, my heart recovered, my soul fulfilled. I envision myself a happy ending, one I will work hard to get to. One I will brave storms and hells to deserve.

But the storms never seem worth the trouble to anybody else. Hell is too big a price to pay for a happy ending that might come to us anyway. The present is wonderful and needs protecting too.

I think I get it.

It’s not the path I choose for myself, but I get it. And I release any duty I thought I had to make choices for other people’s stories.

I deeply appreciate what I’ve gone through and who I’ve become. But I look back on the girl I was before the first storm hit me, and I realize she needed protecting too. She needed validation too, for who she was then. She never needed to go through the fire and become me to receive the love that I am now receiving. She should have gotten it at the start.

Whoever let me have it would have been running the risk of preventing me from ever growing or changing. But letting me own that risk for myself would have been their gift to me. As it will now be my gift to anyone else.

We need people, and we need to be the people who give others the permission to sit in their own skins and not be afraid. That’s the best gift you are ever going to give someone– the permission to feel safe in their own skin. To feel worthy. To feel like they are enough. (Hannah Brencher, )

Because more than a brave thing to do, it is loving. It is kind. While it is good for my soul to give, it is better that someone has received because of me, and it makes all the difference. It is the whole point. It is everything about the kind of life I intend to be living at my happy ending.

So I’m going to go do that.

Hey, Internet! I need your help with a little bit of therapy.

You see, I have a lot of feelings, and not a lot of places to put them in. I’d put them out on the Internet, but having them there makes me come back to them over and over, which is the opposite of what I want to learn.

This past month, I thought of writing letters. I’m decent with that, but they still need somewhere to go. I need a regular exercise of sending things away from me and not having any power over what happens next.

If you think you wanna help me out, you can volunteer to receive a letter from me.

I can do email or snail mail (Philippines only, sorry!), totally up to you what info you give me. Everything you enter is completely optional and, of course, confidential.

This comes at no cost to you, except possibly the burden of what I tell you. If you want me to talk about something close to your heart, plug it in and I’ll try.

If you’re in, drop your info over at http://goo.gl/forms/7yM1nslQrA and I’ll get back to you when I can.

Thank you very much for reading! :)

There’s a rare and fleeting time of the day when the sky is streaks of peachy pink and powder blue. I saw it today, and it occurred to me that there are moments when I feel exactly like that, with no other way to describe it. There are also months which feel like that, and September is one of them.

September to me is a pretty girl’s name written in dull gold ink. September is how I know the difference between something that gives and something that takes away. August always takes away, but September is generous to me.

After days and days of dark places, I slowed down at an in-between. I started thinking about the kind of person I really wanted to be and the kind of people I really wanted to be around. It put things into perspective, sometimes painfully so.

I found myself crawling forward with this stubborn, aching hope that I had somewhere to go. This, after weeks of feeling like maybe life was directionless and I could belong on the ground in the middle of nowhere just as perfectly as the peak of a mountaintop somewhere. I felt like maybe I could conquer a hill and be okay with it.

But we were talking about September.

While I was looking at the pale clouds and thinking about touches that give and touches that take away, something whispered to me that I was, for once in my life, looking at collections of vapor and seeing miracles and feelings. I wasn’t quite sure what that meant for me, but I felt very very deeply that I was at least looking in the direction of the kind of person I wanted to be. The kind of person I actually am somewhere underneath my rust.

I felt, for the first time in a long time, how very very capable of love I was.

If that ends up being the only thing September gives me, I’d still feel like it was more than I’ve had in forever and I’m thankful.

I’m breaking the silence here to share with you a letter I wrote to myself on New Year’s Eve last last year (in 2012). It was delivered close to midnight last night via email, but I only got to read it this morning. Strangely enough, I made myself cry. Because I seem to have known exactly what I needed to hear even if I didn’t know what 2013 was going to be like just yet. I am definitely sending another one, to be delivered to myself next NYE.

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Agoraphobe Meets MountainSpencer Finnley

Let me start by saying that this was supposed to be a great summer. I was supposed to become stronger and better, and I was supposed to meet my last year of college fully prepared. It was supposed to be a summer to speak of.

I had no room for you in my plans. Thank you very much for nearly ruining everything.

The problem with you is that I often feel accountable for you, an admittance that pretty much ends with a ton of guilt and self-hate. I let you control me and this is how most of my regrets begin.

I don’t know when I first met you. My life, which I used to dream about in future tense, has now become a series of desperate prayers: “Please just let me survive this day.”

You cripple me and you limit me, and I can’t tell anybody that I think it’s your fault. They’ll think I’m crazy. In the eyes of anybody, I am my anxiety. I am that scared, sad, shy little girl who keeps a diary of if-onlys. I am you; and I hate you–you and Depression, but that deserves its own letter.

For as long as you are in my life, my silver future is a faraway dream and all my molehills are mountains. For as long as you are in my life, I don’t have any long-term claim on happiness.

Anxiety, old friend: you have overstayed a welcome that was never yours. I can’t wait to be rid of you.

Photo by Ina Mateo.

Dear Ara Bets,

We’ve been friends for just about two years, and when you think about it, two years isn’t a whole lot of time. You have your best friends, your cousins, your high school friends who have been there much longer. And yet, it feels like it’s been so long, because of all the things we went through together.

We have watched each other laugh and cry, get hurt and get better, meet new people and try again. We have exchanged heartbroken paragraphs on Tumblr, Facebook and Twitter, we have told each other to “hang on” and that “things will get better”. That’s not bad for two years.

I cannot find the moment or scenario we went from dormmates and blockmates to real friends. But that doesn’t matter as much; I am simply so grateful that it happened. No one in my new life here has helped me so much, and loved me intensely despite having seen me at my worst. You have gotten me through so much.

You gave me hope once, and you give me hope again everyday. You told me once that things are going to be okay, and I hold on to that all the time. I now know and believe that things can and will be okay. You gave me that. You told me, when I least expected it, that “No matter how hard it is to believe, some people stay.” And now that I’ve found some of those people, I am glad you told me that. And I am even more glad you have been one of them.

I know that often you still feel tired, sometimes sad, often frustrated with things that happen unexpectedly. You need to know how wonderful people see you as, how strong, faithful and determined. Ikaw na BS Org namin, diba? You fight so strongly, especially when you are sure of what you want to do here. You don’t back down from it. Not a lot of people can afford to have that fire that you have, and I hope you keep it. It makes you you.

We once regarded each other as our twin souls, but I can only hope to be half as amazing as you are. I could go on and on talking about the wonderful things about you and your life. What is most important, I guess, is that you figure them all out and you remember them yourself.

My wish for you is that, if you should change, let it be only for the best of life. I wish you taste the life you’ve been craving for, the sweetest of happiness, and that you never stop running until you’ve caught up with it. I wish you keep going even when you’re tired, and I wish you’d look up to yourself the way that many of us do.

And I wish for us to always remain this close, closer if possible, and that we don’t drift apart just because we don’t have much to be sad about anymore. I wish that you and I can help each other grow with that tough love that we both believe in. I wish that I should one day be lucky enough to watch you succeed, like I know you will.

I wish you all the greatest, Ara Bunny, because you deserve all of it.

Happy Birthday. I love you >:D<