Dear 16-Year-Old Jollene, 

 You are smart and a lot of people love you–follow your gut. It will lead you out and to a life of resistance, sisterhood, community, of books, travel, organizing, loud laughs and amazing victories you won’t even believe. You will love again. The bruises will heal. The few that don’t– The bruises no one can–see– will serve as fuel for the life you will grow up to lead. You will love again. You don’t have to feel shame anymore. Soon he won’t be able to touch you because you will sum up the strength inside you to fight back then leave. You will grow up to do amazing things. I promise you. You will love again.  

 Love, 35-Year-Old Jollene 

 Dear 35-Year-Old Jollene 

 Hang in there, Mama. liberation is on her way and all that you’ve survived–the blows, the shoves, the shamings, the shape–have made you strong enough to usher in he new world you have been dreaming of for you and the baby. Marcelo will taste liberation because of you. He inherited the resilience you birthed. violence and your ability to survive it will no longer have to be a definition of your identity. everyone lives in safety, security, and actualization. collective care is just the minimum. poetry and song are everywhere. Marcelo still dances to his favorite freedom song and i think your future grandchild will know the song by heart soon enough. you did it. you loved again and again.  

 Love,  

 Future 60-Year-Old Jollene

Dear 16-Year-Old Jollene,

You are smart and a lot of people love you–follow your gut. It will lead you out and to a life of resistance, sisterhood, community, of books, travel, organizing, loud laughs and amazing victories you won’t even believe. You will love again. The bruises will heal. The few that don’t– The bruises no one can–see– will serve as fuel for the life you will grow up to lead. You will love again. You don’t have to feel shame anymore. Soon he won’t be able to touch you because you will sum up the strength inside you to fight back then leave. You will grow up to do amazing things. I promise you. You will love again.

Love, 35-Year-Old Jollene

Dear 35-Year-Old Jollene

Hang in there, Mama. liberation is on her way and all that you’ve survived–the blows, the shoves, the shamings, the shape–have made you strong enough to usher in he new world you have been dreaming of for you and the baby. Marcelo will taste liberation because of you. He inherited the resilience you birthed. violence and your ability to survive it will no longer have to be a definition of your identity. everyone lives in safety, security, and actualization. collective care is just the minimum. poetry and song are everywhere. Marcelo still dances to his favorite freedom song and i think your future grandchild will know the song by heart soon enough. you did it. you loved again and again.

Love,

Future 60-Year-Old Jollene

Tani Ikedasurvivorloveletter