I am the sum of my history. All of my experiences, people I’ve met, relationships I’ve had, emotions I’ve felt and decisions I’ve made, have brought me to today.
I’ve held on to letters – not just love letters, all of them – for sentimental reasons, or so I thought. I couldn’t throw them away. Some letters I’ve read over and over and over again throughout the years, and some I’d completely forgotten.
It’s interesting to think of the notion “someone took the time.” We easily forget this. When we are going through tough times or when we are feeling lonely, we tend to think thoughts like “no one loves me,” or “I wish someone would think of me for a change.” I’ve thought these thoughts often. In the back of my mind and in my heart, I know there are people who love me, particularly my family. I know that God loves me. But for some reason, these positive affirmations get buried beneath the negativity.
But when I look at old letters, I’m reminded of how much I am loved. And it is as simple as someone took the time to think of me. They took a moment out of their busy life to reflect on me, put pen to paper and write. And they took it several steps further by folding the letter neatly, placing it in an envelope, addressing the envelope, putting a stamp on it and mailing it.
Just think about that for a moment.
Time is precious to us all. We’re only given so much of it.
Of course, most of my letters are from ex-lovers and friends (some of them ex-friends). And, although I am no longer a part of their lives, I mattered to them at that moment they wrote me. To me, this is special. Special because during my interactions with them, I learned invaluable life lessons and I grew and matured from those lessons. I can’t take back anything that I have experienced with them. I can only look back and thank them for sharing those precious moments with me. For those moments make up a part of who I am today. So thank you. Thank you for thinking of me and sharing your thoughts with me.
In creating this piece, I cut up the letters. This process allowed me to not only say goodbye to the letters but to my grief of loosing a part of my life that is no longer present but still relevant. Whether people are no longer in our lives due to separation, death or just simply growing up, the feeling of loss is still experienced and should be acknowledged so we can fully move forward with what remains of our own lives. Most of my letters are from people who are no longer a part of my life but are still living. These were people whom I loved and, at the time, it hurt to loose them. But now that I've looked at their significance in my life from a different perspective, I can properly say goodbye. I can confidently shred my letters without negativity and let them go.*
However, should you want to keep old letters, I would suggest choosing your most treasured letters and have them scanned to make a book out of them. A book will keep better, will be easier to access and share, and takes up less space. If you're like me, your letters were kept in several shoe boxes scattered around the house or in a storage bin. And by all means, don't keep any hateful or negative letters. There's nothing worse than looking back on a person and being reminded of bad times.*
Materials: Cut-up letters, construction paper, printed photo, glue stick and ink pen. I personally like MyPublisher.com for creating photo books. If you are scanning documents, they will need to be saved as a jpg. I also recommend Lulu.com if you want to submit pdfs or if you are planning to key in the the documents in a text program.