The lost art of the love letter

I lay awake at 2 am, lamenting my feelings that were bottled up, congested and congealing in my chest until I couldn’t take it anymore, and I proceeded to pour my heart out for the object of my affection to read as clearly as I was able to express.  It was like that scene with Diane Keaton in Something’s Gotta Give .  I could almost hear Eartha Kitt’s C’est Si Bon playing in the background.  It was so scary.  My heart raced as I typed.  I wasn’t going to sleep until this was done.

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In this day and age we’ve been reduced to texting acronyms and emojis and left to decipher what they mean.  (OMG I sound ancient, shaking my old lady fist in the air declaring “Back when I was young…”) I was terrified that if I sent this long heartfelt letter he’d think I was crazy and maybe never speak to me again.

I lay awake another night debating whether I should send my declaration of undying love.  Many times, I had typed out my feelings in a text, a simple “I love you” or “I miss your face” and carefully back-spaced each letter out of fear of what might happen. I needed to give this man the space I’m sure he wanted and definitely deserved.

But it’s amazing what you’re willing to do after several sleepless nights.  So I said “F*ck it, I’m sending it” and I did.  And you know what? It was OK….and I slept….finally!  I couldn’t bare the thought of carrying the weight of my feelings around for the rest of my life wondering “what if ?”  It didn’t change the way I felt about him, but now I knew.  I  wanted this person to know what they meant to me regardless of how they felt in return and now they knew too.

You’re probably wondering, “well what the eff happened next?”  I did everything I reasonably could from my position and carefully placed the ball in his court. So there’s really nothing else because the rest of the story is not mine to tell and belongs solely to the receiver of the letter.   Is he reading this letter about my letter?  I don’t even know that.

Anyways, I didn’t want to leave you (the reader) wondering what happened but you’ll have to keep on wondering I’m afraid!  My point is the letter, I poured my heart out, laid it out there the best I could and it was the most terrifying thing I’ve ever done but also the most freeing.  I stepped out from the safety of my emotional walls and offered honest, raw and open expression and I meant every single word. The fact that the receiver of my letter didn’t do any of the horrors I imagined and acknowledged it with nothing but kindness was a testament to his amazing character and I will always be grateful.

So why don’t we do this any more? According to the old movies I used to watch as a kid, and the more modern love stories like The Notebook, we did this sort of thing all the time back in the day.  We openly expressed our feelings to our beloved without shame or fear of reprisal.  (Special shout-out to Hollywood for creating unrealistic expectations, DAMN YOU Jerry Macguire!!!).

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I realize we’re not all built to write.  We can’t all express how we feel through words.  We have different love languages and to be honest, I prefer touch, but that’s not always possible, and I highly recommend getting permission before touching another person (no means no),  so  I am forced to write because speaking the words are difficult for me.  I find myself tongue tied with too many things to say.  My thoughts become bottle-necked and nothing comes out. I AM that girl shuffling her feet back and forth awkwardly, looking nervous, stressing about what to talk about because there’s just too many things I want to say all at once. Or I say everything but what I actually want to say, so I have to write.  I have always written but kept those letters to myself.  But this one letter though… I wasn’t going to rest until it was sent.  I will never regret it.

If only my hand writing was more legible, I could really get in to this “written” word. Do people still use cursive?  I’ll leave that thought for another day.

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