A year ago today, I remember waking up at 5 in the morning, opening Facebook and reading a status that said, "TTP: you finally hit us where it hurts the most." I remember thinking, "No... not another attack." And then I scrolled through my news feed, and I realized that this wasn't just another attack. It was so much more.

Almost a year ago today, I remember how my heart almost dropped out of my ribcage. First, there were 80 kids gone. Refresh. 90. Refresh. 110. Refresh. 130. Until the death toll rose to 140, and I remember thinking with a surreal numbness, "they were just kids."

Almost a year ago today, Pakistan bled. We've bled so many times over the years; we've bled constantly, but on December 16th, 2014, all the stitched wounds were yanked open and Pakistan bled more than it ever had before.

And I say this with the utmost sincerity. No exaggerations, no dramatization. No. Just the truth.

But then I think about what the parents went through – that day when their kids were in their school with... creatures. Not animals, but creatures, because animals are not so callous. What did those parents go through when they stood outside, not knowing if their child was going to step out of the door or if their child was going to be carried out.

What did those kids go through? The child who got shot in the legs and had to put his tie in his mouth to stop from screaming so he could escape. The child who lay under the lifeless bodies of his friends, pretending to be dead. An entire ninth grade wiped out, leaving only one survivor, who is alive today because his alarm clock didn't go off.

A year ago today, many of us changed our profile pictures to black, as a show of solidarity, as a show that we know, we see, we remember, and we will never forget. But on the first anniversary of this attack, I don't want to change it to black. I want to change it to something else. I want to put a face to the children who were there, who lost their friends and teachers, who lost their innocence and their childhood. Whose eyes many will see throughout their lives and think, "Those eyes have seen things." Today, I want to express how proud I am of these kids that they donned their uniforms, swung their backpacks on their shoulders and went back to their school.

If Pakistan is anything, it is resilient. And if Pakistan deserves a face, it is not the face of its politicians – it is the face of these children who lost so much but who show us what it means to pull back our shoulders, to hold our chins up and carry on. Because these aren't "just kids" like I thought almost a year ago today. They are so much more.