Several years ago, I wanted to live like a ghost.

I wanted to be air; to exist but not noticed, to breathe without a sound. To sit and observe without being an obstacle. To be a thing. To stop being human. Humans are scary.

They’re born with flesh, tender and raw. But the truth is they’re time bombs waiting to explode from their innards. Humans are their own destruction. I watched them seethe with anger and greed and envy and desire and burst into dire passion. I see them nibbling ears and gnawing necks and slowly, friendly bites turn into large chomps as they eat each other up in a whole. I look at them as they pass with their souls silently dying away, thinking that they’re placed in the wrong side of the world. Trusting them is like putting your life in the hands of a soulless, insensitive butcher.

I remember the times when I watched my friends helplessly rot in their own murky puddle of indulgence. There were lies. There was witchcraft. There was abortion. There was polyamory. Everything happened right under my nose and I thought I was too weak, too frail to even lend a hand out of the quicksand. I ran away. I ran away and hid.

And so, several years ago, I tried to live like a ghost.

My conscience pricked me over and over again. How could I, a girl who is supposed to have known the Truth, be silent in the middle of the struggle? I did not find my peace, because I have not found my faith. Not yet.

Until the day Someone reminded me who I am. Someone told me all about my identity.

I have flesh, tender and raw. I am a time bomb, waiting to explode from my innards. I am just like any other; a sinner fallen from grace, in a different category but in the same dark, murky pool.

The difference is, there was a hand who reached out to me when I was in the middle of the quicksand. Hands, actually.

I started to feel. The sense of touch, not necessarily skinship, is terrifying. The warmth of embrace. The beauty of tears. The assurance of a lingering presence. The joy of looking into someone’s eyes, listening to stories until finally, my lips cave in and opened itself, singing stories of its own. My hands stopped holding themselves as it caressed another’s arm in a platonic kind of love. I stopped being a shadow. I became body, tissue, corpuscles; a creature one can lean on with a beating heart and ears ready to attend.

Slowly, I was transformed from a ghost, from a shadow, into a person with a name. Such beautiful name!

It is a name that made me realize that from birth, I was never alone. And because of Who I am with, I am never weak.

I am still afraid. I still feel pains. I honestly avoid lodging full faith onto anyone with raw flesh. I still feel anger and frustration and despair. But that’s what humans do.

Several years ago I was a ghost. It wasn’t but a few thousand days when I learned to live again. When my voice wanted to be heard, echoing inside the ears of many people. When my words were etched in the memories of many children who will remember my name, no matter what. When friends hold my hand, look at me in the eye, and pushed me at the edge of the cliff so I can fly. When my bones grew stronger to stand steadily rooted upon principles I believe in. When I discovered that my heart is strong as it is supple. When I knew that my eyes can see much farther than the ground beneath my feet.

Today, my birthday, I let these words flow out of gratitude to the God who turned my glassy skeleton into hard-set ivory; for the beating and the polishing that made my frail skin into gold that survives the furnace.

Never again will I hide.

After all, a light must be placed on a lamp stand which everyone can see.