I know this is the first time I’m reaching out and I don’t know what took me so long, but I’m here now and that’s all that matters.
Oh how I wish you could see me now. I’m older, and—at least I’d like to think so—a lot wiser than we used to be. There’s so much I want to tell you I don’t know where to start. I guess we’ll just see where the mind takes us.
High school is not as fun as you’d like to be, no? We’re late bloomers, always a year or two younger than the rest of the class, always poorer than most of the class. Mama insisted we go to private schools even when she can barely afford it, what with two other sisters living off her government employee’s salary. You have to thank her for all the sacrifices she had to make to send you and your sisters to schools with tuitions outside her budget. People whispered behind her back, telling whoever is willing to listen that she’s mayabang because she could’ve easily sent us to public schools and be done with it. But no. She has so much more determination than all those naysayers ever would have in seven lifetimes.
So yes, you’ll stay in private schools for the rest of your educational stint. It wouldn’t be easy, but you’ll muddle through. You will find yourself surrounded with kids who can afford things you can only dream to have, and it will leave you in a perpetual state of wishful thinking. You will discover that you’re finding comfort more and more with your inner self.
You will wonder why you’re not more friendly, or outgoing like the other kids, or more able to express your feelings. You will spend most of your life figuring out why you react differently to situations than most kids your age, and trust me when I say you will understand why when the time comes. You’re kinder and stronger and braver than you give yourself credit for. You will take leaps of faith some people only dare to think about. You will be able to figure this stuff out. And you will learn to embrace yourself and learn to wear your individuality like a badge of honor when you finally do.
Papa will leave, I think you’ve known that it was bound to happen for a while. It will feel like it’s the end of the world, but I hope you keep in mind that it’s not. Things will get topsy turvy for a while, but hang in there. Mama needs you more than ever. Be there for her, be there for your sisters. Don’t suffer your pain in solitude. After all, your pain is their pain too.
Mama will ask you if she should allow Papa to come back, and it would be the hardest question anyone’s ever ask you in your life. It will break your heart into a tiny million pieces, and the consequences will not be ideal, but please know that out of that immense sorrow will come out a beautiful baby sister who will be the source of your family’s happiness and pride for all the years to come.
This, who we are now, is a sum of that desolated episode of our life, and all the other heartaches that you are yet to experience in life. So welcome the pain, let it strengthen you from the inside. Cry if you must, there’s nothing ever wrong with crying your heart out. Find people to share your feelings to, don’t shut yourself out.
College will be more challenging than high school, and it will ask a lot more from you than you could ever imagine. You will be made more aware of the financial difficulties that you face, because you’re more responsible for yourself now. Don’t let that get in the way of your studies. You will find amazing people in unexpected places who will encourage you when you feel like giving up. So don’t. It will not be the exciting college years you thought it would be, but it will suit you just fine. You will have the best tita that will help your mom get you through college, and you have to thank her as well.
Your life will not be anything like you dreamed it would be after college, baby girl, but hold on. I promise you it will be so, so much better. Just believe that you can overcome anything life throws at you, and you’re gonna do great.
Well, I’ll be off now. There are some very exciting things on the horizon, something for you to look forward to. I know we’ll learn a lot from this journey.