And when letters pour in, and emails pour in, and the whole world seems to need a love letter, I just want you to know…


I received a letter the other day. (Comical, right?)

It was the kind of letter that is painful to read because it stirred up old feelings and made me believe, for a mere moment or two, that I was right back in the muds of my yesterday. That, at any moment, I could be vulnerable to pulling the thread that would lead to my unraveling once again.

I stood still, I put the phone in my pocket, I breathed in to read:

I’m tired of feeling like this but cannot seem to break the cycle of blah. Part of me does not want to get better because I don’t want to get better just to fall apart again. How can I even begin to find something else to define me, when I feel so empty right now? Not that I expect you to answer or know the answers. I’ve had enough disappointment to know that no one has any answers. It’s just kind of a relief to be able to tell someone, and talk about it. That’s all I want to do anymore–talk about how sad I am, how much I need him & miss him. How angry I am. Am I even a good person anymore?”

She dumped her feelings upon the page.

I felt like I showed up to clean up the wreckage of Sandy with just a bucket and a mop. But more than her stories and her pains and her questions hitched to a prayer for answers, I felt my own emotions rushing back. I began nodding my head. I sucked back the tears. And I thought, “Goodness, I never had the courage to admit I felt this way. Ever.”

Instead, when my own life carried the same echoes of her print on the page, I ushered myself into a life of writing love letters to others and I covered my wounds with thin lined paper. I never faced the reality or taught myself this truth (this truth would have changed everything from the beginning): Loneliness is quite capable of swallowing us whole. And Loneliness will think to do a lot of things but it will will never think to spit us back up until we look around and realize that we have never been Alone.

Alone & Loneliness–they are two different things. One is thick and the other is a myth. We have never been alone, not a day in our lives. What kind of devil hissed this lie in our ears? Yes, we have felt tender. Yes, we have felt defeated. But no, we have never been alone so much as we have refused to let the others in.

Anyone who knows me–knows the heart of me, and the bone of me, and the bends of my smile–knows why I really started writing love letters.

It was not some strange aficionado for stationery. Never a day in my life have I ached to bring the art form of letter writing back to her fullness. It wasn’t a racing heart for cursive & curves on a page. It was a fear that I was very much alone in this world. It was a fear that I might never feel whole again. It was fear that not a single soul needed my footprints, my input, my laughter. It was a crippling belief that I would live and die and I would never have made noise in this world.

I fell apart and the letters just happened. And even in the scripting of hundreds of these letters, the falling-apart-ness never felt so robust, like it was going to be the end of me every single day.

And so, when this letter arrived in my mailbox the other day, that same familiar helplessness curled into my hip like a little girl gasping for her mama’s closeness. For a second I almost felt as though I was standing naked in the middle of the post office. Wanting to cry. And curl. And surrender. Because I don’t know each one of your faces and I have to get over the fact that it has come to kill me a bit inside.

I am not familiar with the frown lines of your yesterday. I would like to spend tiny eternities sipping tea with all of you but time is a cruel little mistress and she barely lets me pay the bills on time. And when letters pour in, and emails pour in, and the whole world seems to need a love letter, I just want you to know… No, I need you to know that you have never embarked on a journey of Loneliness alone. Even in this moment when the tears are dripping down your cheeks and you feel hollow and sucked dry, you are not alone. I know it feels otherwise. Trust me, I know it feels otherwise.

But Aloneness is something you need to admit. You need to talk of it. You need to speak it out into the air before it grows claws & legs & fangs on the inside and silences us into thinking that never a soul has tread on this lonely soil before. Every single one of us– short or stout, blue-eyed or kissed by the hollow of hazel– can tell stories of Loneliness. I know we’ve got so many of them. We could build cities out of stories of loneliness. There would be bridges and fountains and libraries and cafes made with the bold stackings of Loneliness.

The first step is to unravel it. To admit it. To go no more seconds, no more minutes, no more hours, thinking you are called to harboring emptiness alone. It’s not true. It is simply not true.

And hey, if you ever just need to let the loneliness drip out of you, you have my address. I will be reading.

PO Box 2061, North Haven, CT 06473

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9 Comments

Filed under Loneliness, Uncategorized

9 responses to “And when letters pour in, and emails pour in, and the whole world seems to need a love letter, I just want you to know…

  1. ayla

    Sometimes the reminder is all we need to have some comfort. Thanks Hannan <3

  2. dan darling

    Bravo Hannah, a walk inside ones life is not always pretty, usually painful, but brings healing and strength to those same bones that once thought brittle…keep writing!

  3. Kriss

    This was beautifully written. Thank you being vulnerable. I feel like I just sat across the table sipping tea with you Hannah. As dark and lonely as this world appears at times, we keep it lit so the lies get exposed. You have a tall order here, and there are enough of us participating to have the voice of love echo into the darkness and help fill voids in the lonely until their own voice and inner confidence can do it for them. God bless -

  4. I needed this today, thank you Hannah.Yesterday I went and free hugged a few friends going through tough times. I just showed up at their offices and hugged them and listened to them. then when I got home, here’s a HUGE thing I’m admitting: when not traveling I am staying at my mom’s (partly to care for her, she has a pretty deep anxiety disorder) and partly because I travel so much so having my own space seems a bit silly.) Anyhoo, most times I take care of her, I have since I was 12. But there are times she’s astute. I’m having a very tough time these days. When I told her I went and free hugged my friends and then went to the local Veterans Clinic to hug there too because those people need hugs. She stopped me and said, “Kristin, it is OK that YOU need hugs too.” i cried. It’s true. I need hugs too. Thank you Hannah. For reminding we are NEVER Alone. HUG to you heart from mine. Maybe I will write you a letter on paper, but I don’t want to take your time. HUG.

  5. ajeanne1

    Dear Hannah,
    We are all alone… together.
    xoxox
    Jeanne

  6. Anonymous

    Hannah,

    I feel lonely since my arrival in the US to study. I thought that my age was the main reason for this feeling (I passed my 30). I wrote for someone about it, just a little. But never thought of or read something like this that describes it the way you did, though the feeling is the same. Considering your age, your feelings are genuine. I think women’s feelings get mature before us, men; I always thought we do better. You have changed my believes…:)

    Thanks.

  7. sue slates

    Thank you, Hannah

  8. Pingback: Trying To Figure This Whole Thing Out… | View From In Here

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