To the Person I Was: Somehow I’m Still You

To the person I was before,

You’re sitting in one corner of your room, hugging your knees to your chest, thinking why it had to happen to you. Why you end up being physically bullied and why you were called names behind your back. You’re about to cry. I’m sure you’re shaking from the inside. There’s nothing more painful than doubting your worth and feeling like you’ll never belong. But I’ll tell you this. Get up. Don’t let these people break you — no matter how slowly. One day, the pain will serve you well. Use it not in the way it was used against you. Use it to draw strength from your own and be the person who understood. That bullying destroys and that it needs to be stopped. That you need not belong because there’s a place for you in the world already. Always.

I know how much you loved it when your mom stroked your hair until you fell asleep. I felt your joy that time you were sick and your dad got home holding out your new Pocahontas doll. One morning you woke up early and attempted to make breakfast. The eggs were burned, the hot dogs were half-cooked, and the coffee was too bitter, but they smiled at your efforts and thanked you anyway. One day, you’ll look back to those small moments and realize that they were the ones that mattered more than the rest.

Remember accidentally finding your sister’s poem notebook? You were amazed by her writing so much that you wanted to see if you could do the same. So you picked up a piece of paper and started writing a couple stanzas and since then you found a new hobby. You have found something that you can improve on. You fell in love with hidden meanings and perfect rhymes. One day, writing will save you. It’ll be the passion you would want to keep.

I do remember who your first high school love was. You were happy and terrified at the same time. You wanted so badly for it to work. Love was this overwhelming thing. You were enthralled by it so much that you didn’t see it falling apart. I was there from beginning to end; from when your heart was up in the clouds to when it shattered all over the place. One day, you’ll fall in love again. It might cause another heartbreak or another round of tears. Who cares if it does? Love endlessly. Take chances. Learn your lessons. Go all the way with it.

When you go to college, you’ll finally be four years closer to your ambition of becoming a nurse. You’ll suffer a lot before reaching that dream. Long lectures, hard exams, tight schedules, sleepless nights, and stressful days. But it will all be worth it. One day, you’ll walk up that stage and receive your diploma, and your family will be there amongst the crowd. And you know what? All of it wouldn’t be for you. It’d be for them, too. Because some things you don’t do just for yourself, but also for the people who have journeyed with you.

If only I could stand in front of you now, I’d hold your hand and tell you how much I am proud of you. Because all the “one days” in this letter have come, and we both have made it through. After so many years, I’m still you. Just a little taller and, thanks to the experiences, a little wiser, too. You are strong. I love you.

–The person I am now

 

 

Karen Manabat
Karen Manabat is a registered nurse from the Philippines. She loves pizza, sunsets, and late night poetry. Whenever she's not working, you can find her cuddling with her dog or singing bad karaoke. Other habits include: giving away free hugs, bookstagramming, and constantly messing up choreography. See her struggle with photography, bad captions, tbrs, and more at @bookishkaren on Instagram.

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