Dear Future Self,

I feel like I have survived through a lot in my life and am a stronger person for it.  Memories of the physical, mental and sexual abuse I grew up with continue to haunt me, but somehow I am managing to power through those thoughts, most of the time, and working on a me who can hold up my head and feel good about myself.

It mattered to me that I do well in school and be recognized as a good student by my teachers.  But, at the same time, I was shy, didn’t say much outside the classroom and didn’t know my own mind.  I guess I’ve always regretted that I wasn’t a more curious person, a more outgoing person, someone who wasn’t afraid to speak.  Part of me blames my dad for making me so fearful; as a new immigrant in this country, he let his own fears about inadequacy or being an outsider spill over onto his family, and he turned into a bully. I don’t know, just guessing.  

The scars of my childhood are still very much a part of me, and I won’t let them get the better of me.  I pray for courage and strength and a belief in myself to do good things, to do worthwhile things.  What I’m discovering is how I can be the person who is curious, who is outgoing, who isn’t afraid to speak her mind, who feels she has something worthwhile to contribute, even in the small things, to make life better for my children and grandchildren, my sisters and their families, my friends, my community, the world.

2 thoughts on “Survivor

  1. Arline, you are an inspiration and we have seen throughout this workshop how you have powered to work for justice. The early lived experience of your life has obviously made you stronger and able to speak your mind. I know you will continue to do good things. I’m wondering if you have given any more thought to running for office. I am so grateful to have shared this space with you.

  2. Dear Arline, thank you for the honest and vulnerable words you have shared here. Clearly, you have such a heart of justice, as expressed in your community organizing work.

    I wonder how Jesus looks at the “scars of your childhood” you have named with such courage – how might God be extending God’s hand to you and offering deeper healing, so that your work for justice becomes even more powerful and free? Where is God’s tender voice of love and mercy speaking to those voices behind the thoughts that you normally “power through”?

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