As Us

A Space for Women of the World

Isabella Fillspipe – #DearNativeYouth Honorable Mention (Middle/High School)

Dear Past Self 

Dear Past Self,

My advice to you is 

Please don’t ever sit in your room and lock yourself away because you don’t think you’re good enough.

Because you will never influence the world trying to be like it.

You will get sad, I’m not going to lie.

But life is sad, beautiful and everything in between.

I want you to live and not just survive.

And I know loving yourself is hard,

But here’s the thing

You are loved

You are worthy of love and respect

And you can be loved,

Even on the days when you believe you are nothing.

People will come and go

Some are cigarette breaks

Others are forest fires.

And not everyone you lose is a loss

I also need you to remember that:

You are allowed to cry 

You are allowed to scream

But you are not allowed to give up.

If you ever need a hero

Become one.

And for the sake of your own life

If you have something to say,

Say it. Life is too short to sit in silence

And stop trying to please other people

You will be so much happier if you would just stop caring about what they think.

I know it’s hard

But it’s time that you are comfortable in your own skin.

Everything is happening as it is supposed

With hidden blessings that you will soon understand

And if whatever happens remember,

I did, I do and I will always

                                                Love you.


Isabella Rodriguez is sixteen years old and a sophomore at Red Cloud High School on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. She plans to pursue a degree in Cultural Anthropology, but is also hoping to pursue her dream in writing.

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