I have always loved December for its cool, crisp breeze; for the hauntingly beautiful Christmas carols that waft through the air when I would walk through the Ateneo (my alma mater)’s quadrangles and tree-lined streets; for the lighted icicles and parols that adorn the Central Business Districts; and for an overall feeling that, during this time of the year, everyone loves and is loved more than usual.
Some people in other parts of the world see in December a freezing winter, insane rush-hour traffic, and mad last-minute shopping. Well, all-day traffic and mad midnight sales are a reality here, too, in Manila, but I tend to see in December a wintery kind of Spring—when visions are born on frosted glass, when possibilities ripen with the cool air, when romance extends to far beyond couples, relationships, and chocolate hearts. In December, at least in my book, everything is romantic; everything is colorful. In the December of my mind, anything is possible.
The possibilities started opening up when I received a long-awaited book order from Amazon. It was written by a professor whom I came to know and admire while studying journalism in Prague last year. The encounter was brief—the class was but a one-week summer program—but the impact and the influence, I feel, will be lifelong. As I leafed through the pages of Professor Kelly’s memoirs—written from Mongolia, Albania, Slovakia, Prague, Bulgaria, Kathmandu, and a few other places I probably will never go to—I felt a familiar voice remind me, “Continue illuminating your side of the world.” Reading her words now, I think the subtext was: “I never said it would be easy—but if it were, would we be this passionate about what we do?”
It’s been a difficult year for me—one of the most confusing and, well, depressing that I had ever encountered in my entire adult life. It left me crushed, debilitated, humiliated, and simply drained with a tiredness that is difficult to name. I’d made one wrong decision too many these past few months, and its effects were more crippling than I had imagined.
Receiving Professor Kelly’s book, on the first of December, was a happy shot in the arm. Her words seemed to echo an inner voice that I’d been trying to release from its cage, and seeing the flow of her words and the color of her world reminded me of mine. I realized that I had a gift, too, and stories to tell. Feeling her book’s pages in my hands made me feel the possibility of seeing my own visions come to fruition, my own words in indelible print.
It’s amazing how one writer’s voice can help you remember that you have your own—how one writer’s dream, immortalized in print, can help you visualize yours even more clearly.
And then came December 2. During a meeting with my writing “sisters”, I confessed certain fears and apprehensions about possibly not realizing some goals for the coming year. I admitted that I didn’t have the guts to fight for something that I had so badly wanted to pursue. My experiences this year had blown a lot of confidence out of me, and all I could think of at this point was, How much do I have to prove myself yet again? When does the “proving stage” ever stop? Will it always be THIS hard to reconcile my dreams with my reality?
That changed when I received an email that jolted my dream back to life. The dream is within reach—it is a VERY strong possibility—the email seemed to convey.
Suddenly, my dreams are back where they had been—and now they are even more colorful than ever, much closer and larger than they had ever been. They are tangible, too. I can almost feel the cool, crisp air that I’d been wanting to breathe in; I can almost feel the steps that I’d been wanting to take. I can almost feel the excitement of yet another new adventure; I can almost taste the sweet, indescribable feeling of being united with a lifelong dream, a true love.
It is December, my emails and my clock and my calendar remind me. December is the month of miracles and births, of angels and stars. It is the month of gratitude and joy; it is the month of gifts and universal love. The first eleven months of the year may have been awful, depressing, and traumatizing. But those eleven months are over now, I am told, and you are here, in December, a month when everything ripens, when everything changes.
It is December, and it is only just beginning.