Personal Christmas Message for 2012

Over the past few years, I have literally dropped out of the social and professional radar.
Those who knew me thought that they had lost me, and those who were with me thought I had abandoned them.
In every situation, there was no pleasing everyone. Disappointments were rife, and each dispensed their own judgement on me.
Explanations seemed contrived and inadmissible. Apologies came too late, even Forgiveness turned a deaf ear.
Before the total darkness finally descended, some friendships were lost and my faith was ruptured beyond repair.
In the end, it seemed that no one cared to know me at all. They have casually forgotten that I was there, fighting by their sides, pushing the boundaries of my own limits, and above all, I DID GIVE ALL THAT I COULD GIVE at that point in time.
Still, it was not enough. It would never be enough. Enough is a vulgar word that does not exist when everyone else was depending on me to do more, and give more.
I am very sorry to confess that I could not give more as the light flickered its final glimmer.
This is how I came to the very cliff of my own limitation.
It was either jump to the death or leap and fly. However, my wings were not strong as yet to employ the winds around to help me soar further. So, into the depths, I plunged.
It was a choice I made. No one is to be blamed. That is very clear.After having immersed myself in the service of giving to others as much as I could possibly do, I was gripped with the worst realization. The hate, anger and darkness was consuming me. What I saw all around was not hope at all, but rather, a vortex of helplessness.How do I hold the remnants of my peace and remain committed to a loving kindness process when I was slowly eaten alive by all the choking negativity? How could I withstand the ravages of humankind without losing my own sanity?In truth, I struggled with the overwhelming urge to pull the same trigger onto the perpetrators of crimes and violence. I hated them as much they hated humanity with a vengeance. The heart of me turned into an unrecognisable cold black hole. I had to get away from everything before I became exactly like one of them – a spitting image of evil incarnate.How could I continue to give when everything inside me was poisoned and toxic?And so, I did retreat and resigned from EVERYTHING. I thought it was the safest and noble thing to do. Naturally, not everyone understood. Then again, why should they? They didn’t walk in my shoes, nor have they seen life through my eyes.Again, the fault lies with me and not someone else.

It took a long while for me to collect the pieces and try to make sense again.
It took an even longer time to separate the lies from the truth.
As I regained my strength, I made a promise not to ever be ensnared by Death’s sweet caressing voice, or the soft kisses of corruption.
I will believe no whisperers but take counsel from my own fighting spirit.
I will no longer run backwards, but forward.
Even if I have to stop from time to time, I know that I am doing so in order to recuperate and not indulge in laziness.
There will always be some people who will never understand me, and they may also never find it in their hearts to forgive me.
That is their prerogative, and they have every right to hold onto their views.
I will continue to try and make progress towards my dreams and goals, BUT IT WILL BE ACCORDING TO MY OWN TERMS.
I have not given up on anything, but have chosen to embrace all that is meaningful to me IN MY OWN WAY.

For those who stood by, and continued to throw a life line at my way, I thank each and every one of you with all my heart.
For those who gave up on me, I offer my deepest apology yet again and wish for all the great things to come your way as always.
For those who are still deciding, I shall leave you to your own conclusions.

To be very frank, there was a point in time last year when I thought that I could not make it out into the light again. I felt lost and empty after being stripped off the very things that I have dedicated my life to. It was a very painful and lonely place to be. Nonetheless, I know now that even that episode was absolutely necessary in my own growth as a human being who aspires to be in the service of others.

Yes, after all these years, I STILL have much to learn and a long way to go before I would evolve into the person I truly want to be. Every juncture takes us deeper and higher, only if we succeed in surviving its own massacre. With every little death, there is new life. One which is definitely stronger and brighter than the previous mould that we grew out of.

So, this Christmas I shall gleefully throw myself upon an altar of my own making, and be grateful that I have finally achieved another milestone in my journey of life.
I would take this opportunity to thank each and every true friend and family member who held me through the last two years. They were my crutch, my cane, my wheel-chair and my life-support. I could not have done it alone, and that is for sure.
I have begun to write again, sing with a joyful heart and acquired an equilibrium of my own. I no longer compare my progress to others, nor do I wallow in the sadness of not blooming as beautifully as others.
I am a strange awkward flower which will only blossom at the coldest winter. And often, very late into the decade.
I shall no longer make excuses for myself and retire into shame for not being able to fit into a square peg hole. I have always been a rather odd shape. Naturally, there is no point in forcing the issue.
Forgiveness may or not may come eventually. So, here, I take this opportunity to sincerely apologise to every person whom I have hurt and disappointed in any way. I am truly sorry that I did not or could not rise to the occasion when you needed me to. No matter what, you are still very much in my thoughts and prayers, as always.
There will be some places which I will make it a point to return to very soon, and re-visit frequently. However, there will be a few places which I will not return to.
I know what I made of, and what I want. I DO know what I have to do to achieve them.
Above all, I also know what I cannot do and will never do.
May this Christmas bring clarity to all and hope to those who need it most.
May every journey be challenging enough to make each one stronger, and gentle enough to comfort the pains.
May we always grow and evolve into the people we aspire to be, even if we are the latest to arrive.
Always late than never, better fall then not try at all.
May the New Year usher a brand new dawn of friendship, love, possibilities, opportunities, success and everlasting happiness. May all of the above be accomplished in your own terms, as defined by your values and beliefs.I shall leave you all with a quote from one of my most favourite people in the world, Mr. Tony Meloto, the founder of “Gawad Kalinga”. Mr. Meloto was addressing a group of graduating University students in the Philippines when he said these words. I am tweaking it to include all humankind. I hope, Papa will forgive his adopted child no.15 (daughter no.5) in this modification.”Never stop hoping for your country. Never stop caring for your people. Demand greatness from yourself as a citizen of the world (as a Filipino), to inspire greatness in all others (other Filipinos).”Most of all, never leave anyone behind in our journey in life. Everyone could use a helping hand every once in a while.PEACE!
With folded hands and gratitude,
Shirley Maya Tan

Being Afraid Is Human, But Staying Afraid Is A Choice.

1 Comment
  • Amber Lewis
    December 23, 2012

    Hi ShirlyThat's a very heartwarming christmas wishes messages from you. Very nice. Merry Christmas to you as well.Cheers!Amber