From 2020 with love (a letter to myself circa 1988)

Dyan Mabunga Rodriguez
Posted October 17, 2020 from Philippines

My dear Dyan 

I understand that your young heart can only understand a limited magnitude of pain. Apologies, the coming years will not be of less pain. The years will be long and the sadness will continue to abrasively dig deep. Yet, you will survive. 

You will continue to suffer the pain of abandonment by a parent, the abuse of disturbed and broken men and the indifference of family and relatives. You will survive. 

There will be years of questioning and countless moments of searching. Searching to find another who can fill the emptiness and shine light in the darkness. Your love will be unrequited. You will survive. 

You will find comfort in reading and writing. You will find humble spaces of peace and hope in the hundreds of books that you will read in public libraries. Amid the comfort of third-person written words, spoken words will be absent  and encouragement will be fleeting. You will survive. 

You will purposively bury memories of the assault to your innocence. You will emerge strong and overprotective of yourself. But much like the ebb and flow of traumatic memories, you will seek panacea across your small universe. Amid poverty, you will find comfort in food. You will be heavy, both in body and spirit. You will be bullied because of your weight. Words like daggers will pierce your young heart. You will think of yourself unpleasant and unworthy of love. You will survive. 

You will take steps to justify or at least understand why you are a recipient of fallen humanity's pains. You will begin to use your voice. You will begin to serve. You will lead. The darkness will dissipate for awhile. Development and humanitarian work will not quell the voices. And yet, you will survive. 

The years will pass. You will face a million hurdles. You would need to make solid decisions - on your own. You will support yourself. But, it will take countless days before you will begin to love yourself. This valley, you will survive. 

You will become a mom. Your heart, of wounds and scars, will find joy in the simplest of things. You will cry more tears. The world will exact more of your time, more of your energy and more of your heart. After all, you are a woman. Woman hold half the sky, as it is written. But, the world demands more of women. Multiple burdens, some of these as clear as the sky and more of these burdens are like shifting clouds, unseen and unrecognized. You will survive. 

You will foster friendships, bare your soul in conversations and letters and you will learn that you need to befriend yourself first to find resilient connections and genuine souls. Amid the loneliness, you will survive. 

Dyan, I am proud of you. You are brave. You are strong. You are kind.

We will survive.  


This story was submitted in response to My Voice, Our Equal Future.

Comments 4

Log in or register to post comments
Oct 17
Oct 17

Sure young heart will survive
Wonderful piece

Nini Mappo
Oct 18
Oct 18

Hello Dyan,
It is lovely to meet you in this letter, to see your journey, your obstacles, your resilient, your wisdom, your patience with life, and your positivity in spite of everything. I am proud of you for surviving, for not allowing yourself to wallow in victimhood, and for honestly assessing the risks and demands of life, but still plunging into it unapologetically.
Keep surviving sis, your spark in your son's life and the life of others whose lives you touch is bright and healing because you choose to survive.
Sending love and sparkles for you two :)

Oct 18
Oct 18

Dear Dyan,

You are strong.
You are amazing.
You are beautiful.
You are will survive.

Hugs, Maeann

Beth Lacey
Oct 20
Oct 20

And through all this, you have survived and become stronger