Because Anniversaries Tend To Be Sugar-coated; How About 365 Days of Victory?

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I always write a lot about you that I’m literally lost for words already.

I know that a year isn’t sufficient to completely say that I know you so much already. But 365 days are enough to see how much you’ve struggled against people’s judgments, and the way you handled each is enough to give me a glimpse of who you really are.

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Kris, of course, you, whom I love. It was funny how initially, I only liked you because you gave off that different ‘feel.’ You had handsome features and a matching air of elegance wrapped around you. You were tall, you had a sharp nose, fierce eyes and fair complexion – in short, you had that appearance that any fangirl would die for – at least for me.

But as I came to know you more, I found a really interesting person- a person that carried the same burdens as me. A person who shared a lot of things in common with me.

Wu Yi Fan had suffered the same family issues as me; well, not exactly the same, but identical. We both didn’t have fathers. We both burdened ourselves to not make mistakes so as not to cause any trouble for our mothers whom we only have. Even the most trivial of things, we shared in common. We both loved coffee, we both loved green tea. We both have likings to earrings and accessories, we both love plushies. We both have the same taste in clothes. Even in how people usually judge us – we’re the same.

But I won’t talk about myself here.

Kris, you are the warmest person I have ever seen. No one has the right to tell you that you don’t have emotions, because you have rainbows of it.

You’re too kind – most of the time, too kind for your own good – and it leaves me worried. You get pushed, you get pulled; you get squeezed, you get crushed. Yet, you don’t stain the dirt on your own clothes, or pat the dust away. Because you’re busy trying to explain that it’s ok, because the fans waited for you to come out. You long for people a lot, yet you arrive late whenever you get that rare chance to see them – because you’re busy giving photo ops and chocolates. Yet some people say you’re not kind to your fans because you can’t give them all autographs. You tell us you’re obligated to make the fans happy, because that’s your job. How about your happiness that comes in the expense of that obligation? Don’t you have the right to be happy? You tell us to pay attention to our studies, work and the people that love us while loving you – how about the people who love you? You can’t give them your attention, because you’re busy trying to reciprocate all our feelings. How about their feelings? How about yours?

Some say you only want to act cool. I will not permit that.

You tell us to let you love us for a little more time.

I’ll give my lifetime to love you in return.

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Sehun-ah, people often say that you’re not good to your fans – that you tend to shrug their feelings off. Yet a simple pinwheel given by one fan at a fansigning event made you smile a sincere smile. You’re still young, but you know how to appreciate what is to be appreciated. Some say you don’t need anyone, but you cling to your hyungs, especially at nights when you can’t sleep because the place is unfamiliar to you. You’d always need to go out when in a new place, because you want to explore. Then people will say you’re immature. I think they’re more immature, because they are depriving you of what your age calls for you to do – like taking away a candy from a child. All just because they want the candy for themselves – their happiness and satisfaction over yours.

Sehun-ah, do what your heart tells you to do. Do not listen to others even if they’re older than you. Sometimes, the younger ones are more mature than those who have the age.

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Suho, people tend to look down at you – because you trained the longest. Shouldn’t they respect you the most? Enduring 7 years without any assurance, no person in his sane mind would agree to that. Yes, you’re not sane – but you’re more human than anyone else, because you know what you want in your life, and you’re not afraid to chase it. Some question your worth – can I question their existence in this fandom? Rehearsing with injuries, all the while maintaining yourself as a good and model student. Watching your friends debut one by one with a smile, even if it hurts and burns inside of you. If you’re not worthy enough of all these blessings given to you, like the title of the leader, then I must have cheated life to be happy. If you’re not worthy, what am I?

Suho, don’t improve yourself because others tell you to. Improve yourself because you want to. Don’t be ashamed of your training years – it’s the mark of your strength and endurance. It’s the mark of your honor and passion.

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Baekhyun, people tend to prick on the fact that you debuted without much training compared to the others. You must have felt it hard trying to fit in with people who have basically known each other before you came into the picture. You must have felt out of place, lonely and unworthy. You must have thought of giving up during the nights you crammed to try to match at least even just a little, what the members had to undergo for years. You must have thought that all was happening too fast for you. Yet, you came out with them. You built a relationship with them – you proved your worth to be in the group. Shame on the people who say you’re having the time of your life. Yes, you’re having the time of life – you even get sick of exhaustion and fatigue and you once felt all the energy leave your body in the backstage of one event. All because you didn’t want to become a burden. Yes, you were lucky. So, are they happy?

Baekhyun, you’ve found your place in EXO. I can never imagine the group without you. You are more than worth it – as one of EXO’s main vocals, and of course, as one of the group of 12 brothers.

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Lay, a lot of people look you down because you always get sick; you always look lost and don’t pay attention most of time. But I understand. You’re always sick, because you stay at the practice room the longest. You always look lost because you’re literally lost in your thoughts. You always look like you don’t pay attention, because you’re paying too much attention on so many things. You tend to push yourself too hard – like when I saw you in SMTOWN Singapore. You slipped, like many others, yet you hated yourself so much for that one mistake that wasn’t even your fault. You’re hurt, but you still punish yourself. Then people will rant about you being weak. I think you’re the strongest – it takes a lot of courage to leave home and your loved ones, just to pursue your dreams in foreign country. It takes a lot of strength to stand up even after you’ve fallen hard on the ground. And it takes a lot of courage to spend each second of your life thinking about all the things that’s happening around you.

Lay, please enough stressing yourself too much. You must accept the fact that people have limitations. Don’t treat those limitations as shortcomings or weaknesses – treat them as holes that your loved ones will fill for you.

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Lu Han, a lot of people immaturely accuse you of being an attention-stealer, simply because you spend a lot of time with different members. People always label you as ‘feminine,’ just because of your features. But you know what? Above all those accusations towards you, all I see is a man. A courageous young man. How can you not be? You’re man enough to cover your own misery with smiles and to tell the world you’re ok and that ‘they’ love and support you even though they really don’t. I know about that, Lu Han. You can’t hide, because some of us see your pain. Those people who accuse you of being an attention-seeker, they don’t see your pain – and the efforts you exert just so that your members won’t feel the same pain of being alone. I see how you take care of Sehun, joke with Xiumin, lend your arms to Lay when he needs help – it’s evident that you hate seeing others suffer and being alone and lost. Because you know how it feels, don’t you? It takes a man to save others while he himself, he could not save, yet he’s not begging to be saved because he knows somebody else needs it more.

Lu Han, if only I could help save you, I would. You have a kind and pure heart that a lot of people fail to see. But I see it so much. Don’t hide your pains from us – let them lose so that we could help you. Do not wallow in misery by yourself. We are here.

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Tao, people hate on you because you’re too blunt most of the time – because you say what’s on your mind even though it will sting. You tell fans they’re going to ruin your life with their sasaeng activities; trying to tell them there’s a line. But you know what, I admire that from you. You have the courage that most artists don’t have because they’re afraid to lose their fans. You’re strong, but you have a soft heart. Oh, and that’s another thing some are irked about: you crying a lot. But you know what? I see through you, so much. You’re like a parent, who tries to make everything right even if it means spanking your children. Yet, you end up in tears because you love them so much. We know you had a harsh childhood: because discipline was your best friend. You didn’t get to play and do a lot of things with your friends. That is why now that you have a taste of having people beside you, you tell them you love them whenever you could.

Taozi, never ever change. Even if more than 50% of the people in the world tell you you’re boastful and mean. Never ever listen to them. Stay as you are, because people who really love will accept you just the way you are. Don’t stop crying for the people you love, even if it ruins your image. Real men are not afraid to cry.

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Chanyeol, people say you’re immature and fake. Immature, because you’re insensitive at times. Fake, because you laugh too much. Immature? I think you’re just trying your best to not take things too hard. That’s why you call yourself ‘Happy Virus,’ right? You just want to be positive – joking round most of the time and it makes you look insensitive. No, you’re very much sensitive, that’s why you know at a certain time that the best thing to do is just turn negativity to positivity. Fake? I guess you’re just trying to lock away your pain so as not to pile up unto others’ pain. You said it yourself, right? No matter what, you’d just smile, even if it makes you look like an idiot – or fake. You hate sorrowful moments and you don’t want to add to the injury by being down – so you smile, even if deep inside, you hurt, too. Yes, the smile is fake, but I believe the intentions are genuine. And that’s all that matters, right?

Chanyeolie, keep smiling. Even if people say you’re insensitive or fake. People who really love you will see the true smiles behind those ‘fake smiles.’ People who love you will smile with you, and know your intentions without asking. People who really know you, won’t judge you.

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Kai, still, people delve on the fact that you’re overrated. It’s been a year and yes, unfortunately, some people can’t quite move on. You know what I think? So what if you had so many teasers? So what if you’re heavily promoted? You deserve each one of them. Don’t people see? Many teasers meant more practice hours and more choreography for you to learn. At such a young age, you faced the reality of being too much pushed and used – while years ago you faced rejection just because you weren’t talented enough according to them. You struggled to make yourself better and auditioned again, it was only then that you were accepted. You always say with a smile, that you’re the only one who had to audition compared to your hyungs – but I can see your pain. Contrary to what people think of you as ‘boastful,’ I see a boy who’s not confident enough in himself, and you’re only confident when you dance – because it’s what you truly love.

Kai, I love how you dance – and I’d watch you dance whenever I could. I used to not like you for the same reasons, but now that I’ve seen your pain, which others failed to, I promise to protect you from them. I’ll protect you and tell them who you really are.

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D.O., people only see the you that is too prim and proper, because you’re the ‘eomma’ of the group. People accuse you of being un-talented because your voice cracks a lot when singing live. But why? Why do they see you just that? But why? Why do they think you’re not good enough just because your voice cracks? There so much more to you than all of that. For me, it’s interesting how your personality changes when you sing and when you don’t. When you hold the mic, you pour your heart into it so much; when you release it, you become a boy who’s having the time of his life. Your voice cracks, but I won’t judge you for that, because what catches my attention more is how you handle things after. You dance like nothing’s happened, you sing without much care to what happened.

D.O., don’t mind the criticisms around you. Don’t let them pull you down, instead, use them as a catapult to throw you to higher leverages. Become better each day, and don’t let the bruises slow you down. You control your fate and the direction of your life.

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Chen, I can’t believe it myself, but some people hate on your guts. Some people immaturely hate on you because your EXO M’s main vocal, considering you’re not even Chinese. And what hurts more, is despite having so many lines in each songs, people regard you as a nobody. How dare they? You’ve been honed to sing for so many years already, but they only looked at your months of training before you became a member of EXO. And so what if you’re not Chinese and you’re in EXO M? Music knows no languages; because music is universal. What’s more is that they turn a blind eye on how hard you’ve been struggling to learn the language all the while singing to it. Your hardships are doubled and top that singing in a country that’s not your own. Don’t they know how scary that could be? Not being able to understand if they criticized you, and you just have to decipher how they look at you.  You’re very strong, standing on that stage, singing words you may not even understand, holding on to just your passion.

Chen, we don’t care if you’re Korean and you sing in Chinese, because remember? In EXO, We Are One. No one’s from this country and from that. All we know is that you’re united by music. And don’t be scared, ChenChen. You’re never alone.

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Finally Xiumin, the quiet pillar of support. Xiumin, why do some people see you as nothing else but the guy who screams at ‘MAMA’ or the guy with the dimsum cheeks? Why do I see you as something more? In you, are sets of talents that people fail to see a lot. And above all, I see a hyung who cares so much for the members that he’s willing to move backwards for them. You let them tease you, because you see their smiles when they do. You let them go first before you. When I first heard you sing, like really sing, I was astounded. I thought, is this really the guy who claims that he’s in-charge of screaming? Such a waste of a blessed throat. Yet, to you, that’s ok. You’ve also trained for a long time, that I guess just to be able to debut is a blessing to you. To you who appreciates everything in this world without asking for too much. The epitome of maturity.

Xiumin, you have so much in you that you can share. Please never ever think of yourself as someone lesser than everyone. As much as you want to sacrifice for others, please don’t forget yourself. Listen to what’s inside of you.

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EXO, people rant so much about how you’re overly promoted; and they even conspire about how you gain awards. But let me say this…

You deserve each blessing that comes your way. Yes, the company may have a hand in catapulting you to where you are, but when you stand on stage and sing and dance, you’re on your own. You only have each other to rely on. When you fall, you only have yourselves to help yourself up to stand. When your voices crack, you can’t wallow in misery and stop halfway, you have to continue and still sing. When you get embarrassed, you can only smile. When you feel emotional, you can only confide in your members. When you get hurt, only you and your members can bandage the wounds.

People who judge you so much clearly don’t know you. They don’t see each of your strong points. It’s funny how people who don’t actually know that much about you are the ones who judge and criticize you so much as if they know every inch of your being. Shouldn’t it be the ones who know your imperfections?

But despite all of these, you’re here. Celebrating your 365th day with the people who love you.

You are blessed.

And you will still be blessed the following years.

Happy 1st Anniversary, Happy 365 days of winning over all the adversaries.

And let this be the day, be the mark of the start of more struggles and pain to come, and winning them all in the end.

WE ARE ONE.

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