Tag Archives: love letters

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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Filed under Loneliness, Uncategorized

In Lieu of Birthday Cards…

I’ve given up my birthday.

Ditching the cake. Swapping the candles & nursing no desire for a single card. Don’t you mail me… I repeat: Don’t You Mail Me.

Birthdays are nice. Sure. And 24 is sureeee to be a lovely age (though I have a clear disdain for even numbers and would rather plow for 25). But I don’t need to celebrate 24 years of dancing on this earth because clearly I’ve been dancing for 24 years of this and I’ve got it good. Got it Great. Got it Better than I could have ever hoped for and I don’t need a single thing.

So join me, please, in forgetting my birthday this year & buying a graduation card instead.

Her name is Eilis.

Her father passed away from cancer nearly two years ago and it hit the family hard. “He was the kind of father who got down on the floor to play with the kids, teased them but not too much and was firm with his expectations. Eilis was closest to him…her favorite parent.”

This year, Eilis turned 18. Had her senior prom in April. Will graduate in June. Head off to college in August.

Her life is happening. All. Over. The. Place. & just 5 years off from that very spot in life, I know how Crazy. Chaotic. Overwhelming. But Exciting it can be.

Eilis’ mother came to me with the hope that I would gift Eilis with a love letter for this brand new chapter in her life.

The first thing that came to my mind? Screw my birthday, y’all need to help me with this one!

So…

If you love me, if you support me, if you have ever believed in a single thing that I do, then I need you… right now… to help me gift Eilis with the best bridge possible from High School to College.

In lieu of birthday cards, I am asking for graduation cards. Inspirational cards. Cards not to be opened until after Eilis arrives at college. Cards for Eilis in the Every Day of her life as she pursues her dreams with the memory of her father tucked close to her heart.  

Be creative. Raid Target (the aisles are packed with grad cards!). Make playlists. Write what is on your heart. Tell your friends. Help me gift this girl with the best Bundle of Love Letters possible.

This time (and this time only) I am forgoing the More Love Letters PO Box for my own snail mail. Please send all letters & cards to:

Love Letters for Eilis

33 Belvedere Rd

North Haven, CT 06473

Please be sure to postmark your love letter(s) by June 5th.

Please & Thank You.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going back to dancing…

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One year ago today: 365 days and 550 love letters later…

One year ago today, life snuck up from behind me, handed me a black Sharpie, and announced to me that she was going to change forever. Right in Front of My Eyes.

Here, here, take this,” Life said, handing off the marker.

Why, what is this? What should I do with it?

Life rolled its eyes. “Draw a thick black line down the middle of me. From now on you are going to look differently at me, as if I am two people. One part of me exists as Before and the other now exists as After.

Before & After.

One year ago today, I wrote a blog post about the handwritten love letter, how I felt like the world probably needed more of these “Thank you for being alive” kind of notes and how I was finding a hobby in writing these kinds of letters and leaving them all New York City.

One year ago today, I made a promise to all of you that if you sent me your snail mail address I would write you a love letter. I didn’t know what I was getting into at the time. Not even after my inbox suddenly flooded with the most heartbreaking of stories that I had ever read, love letter requests from every pocket of this globe.

I didn’t know what to say to the lonely and broken-hearted in Japan or the struggling to look in the mirror Ivy-Leaguer. All that I knew was that there had to be something deeper behind all of this… there had to be something beyond a fun little project with nice stationery and postage stamps.

One year ago today, I was given a surreal glimpse at the poverty that gets us all.

Mother Teresa said it best, that poverty of the soul- hunger and thirsting for something to pull a person away from loneliness- is far different than the need for bread and water. There are a lot of us living in poverty right now. Some of us don’t even see it or recognize it after so hastily assigning the face of poverty to that homeless man or that welfare mother.

Poverty, in all of its forms, has lived in my inbox for the last year. I’ve written to the sad, the depressed, the lonely, the near-suicidal, the struggling financially, the struggling to embrace sexuality, the ones just trying to just get up out of bed every morning.

Am I always equipped to write these letters? No. Not really. I’m just a girl, biting her fingernails, who knows only the first few chapters of life so far. But at the same time, I never promised advice and I never promised therapy. I think the only promise I can make is to be there, in a mailbox, giving the only thing I’ve known to surpass all loneliness and all tragedy and years of experience: Love.

One year ago today, I never had a clue MoreLoveLetters.com would be born. I never knew that a dear friend, Becky, would come up when I needed someone the most and offer to help me with projecting this letter-writing out into the world. I never thought you’d be on board, writing & leaving your own love letters. I never imagined over 550 love letters in just one year.

One year ago today, I desperately needed this, more than I knew it at the time and more than I ever let it show on this blog. I needed an After to place next to a time in my life where I could not script a single line of love to myself. Where I could not even manage to look at myself for more than two minutes without finding hatred somewhere in my own green eyes.

One year ago today, I thought I was just a girl writing love letters to extinguish her own loneliness, not someone tapping into an untouched movement. I would have told you that a love letter left on a train in NYC might be nice, might be sweet, but it would have no real impact. I would have told you that this would never be my thing.

One year ago today, I didn’t know a life surrounded by love letters & all the beautiful individuals who write them by the hour.

Today, I cannot imagine a life without them.

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The world called…. it needs your love letters.

via weheartit.com

I decided to stop writing love letters on a Monday and a reporter from the Wall Street Journal called me on Tuesday to talk about… you guessed it: Love Letters.

That’s how it always works though, right?

We’re sitting before a pile of love letter requests from across the country, tapping a pen against a slab of stationery while simultaneously plucking syllables from the sky for a girl in Toledo who needs a lesson in Loving Yourself 101 when Divine Intervention cracks the back of our chairs like a whip. We sit up straighter. We pay attention the message we are getting.

Me: I am done…

Seamstress in the Sky: Excuse me?

Me: You heard me, Maker of the Universe and all the Cows and Zebras. Done. 400 love letters, finish up this pile, and I am done.

Seamstress in the Sky: (silence)

Me: I have tired fingers…

Seamstress in the Sky: Yes.

Me: Callouses the size of Kentucky.

Seamstress in the Sky: Yes.

Me: I need to focus on other things, I want to write books! I cannot write books if I am only writing love letters!

Seamstress in the Sky: Hm….

Me: Could you say a little more? I am drowning in my own pool of snot and ink right now.

Seamstress in the Sky: Who do you thinks a love letter right now?

Me: The world… duh.

Seamstress in the Sky: Beyond that… yo Daddy is no fool. You know who needs one, just say it.

Me: Me?

Seamstress in the Sky: Conviction… say it stronger.

Me: Ok, ME! There I said it, I need a love letter… I need to learn how to write myself a love letter… I can hide behind another 100 or I can be a little selfish, sit down and learn how to write my own life into a love letter. But, you don’t get it God, it is not so easy to just drop it, people need it. People have always needed these letters.

Seamstress in the Sky: Well, I gave you a recipe… didn’t I?

Me: A recipe?

Seamstress in the Sky: Yes, a recipe. You, leaving love letters on the trains in New York City and mailing them all over the world. A recipe if I’ve ever seen one.

Me: Love letters to those who need them? That’s a recipe?

Seamstress in the Sky: Yes, that was a recipe. I’ve used that one before, tweaked it a bit for your own Loneliness… Did you a lot of good, I’d say. And you wrote 400, bravo Little One! But does it stop there? Do recipes only get used by one person?
Me: I guess not…

Seamstress in the Sky: What did you put into the love letters?

Me: Love. Encouragement. A few funny jokes? Sometimes my own stories…

Seamstress in the Sky: Seems like a solid recipe. Could others follow it?

Me: Well.. yea, of course.

Seamstress in the Sky: Then post the recipe somewhere, you love those domain names of yours. And see if people use it… If it is a good recipe, honest and true, other people will use it. Don’t worry about who or how, just cross your T’s and dot your I’s. Leave the recipe and step away.

And so here I am, crossing my t’s and dotting my i’s and finishing up my own pile of love letters and then passing the work on to you. Many of you have asked me how to get involved, how to leave your own love letters, how to be there for someone in need. It’s simple, really so simple, and all it requires is an honest and true passion to help another person, someone you might never meet, along with a stamp and your very best cursive.

So please check out MoreLoveLetters.com, or follow us here;  I created the site to be a guide for those looking to do what I did for the last nine months. I can so honestly say that is an art that will fuel you, inspire you, fill you and turn you into a very bright spot that the world needs so desperately right now.

And if you do nothing with the site today, nothing at all but this, please consider signing up for the Love Letter Email Alert List… Each month we will send out a call for love letters and then bundle and give them to a person who needs it most that month. The first call for love letters will come out this weekend and so I would love to have you involved.

Please send all love letters to PO Box 2061, North Haven, CT 06473 with one additional stamp (the gods of postage have not blessed me just yet).

I can promise you that your love letter will be mailed out to someone in need today.

Or shoot me an email today at Hannah@moreloveletters.com and we can get you leaving love letters around your parts of town…

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Filed under Loneliness, Love Letters

A guru at equipping souls with a Simultaneous Sense of Eating, Praying & Loving, once wrote that we cannot expect to win the lottery if we don’t first buy the ticket.

I spent two years stealing love notes from my brother’s bedroom just to admire the handwriting styles of his girlfriend.

I may or may not have contemplated stapling the letters to my trendy Unicorn sweaters of the time and wearing them around with my jacket unzipped. Not to expose any juicy secrets, of course, but  to show people what eloquent handwriting looked like. The kind of stuff Hallmark Illustrators gnaw on for breakfast.

Instead, being the slightly neurotic ten-year-old that I was, I took out my Lisa Frank planner and scheduled a time slot from 4-5p.m., Monday thru Friday.

Handwriting Practice.

Yes, yes. While other girls read Tiger Beat Magazine and gushed over the Backstreet Boys, I holed myself up in my bedroom, unfolding love letters from their paper football form, to master the technique behind a round & full lowercase “a” and the precise swoop of an uppercase “Y”.  The anticipation of one day seeing these same delicate letters parade on my very own book reports and love notes was enough to keep me diligent for two entire years. Close to 300 hours or so of handwriting practice.

I’ve grown up keeping this notion closer to me than I would my purse on a packed subway car: If we want something then we need to work hard for it. Every Single Day. Every Single Day we carve out time for that Dream of ours. We don’t merely coo at it or coddle it, we bring it into this world. Loud & Rapturous.

I also grew up cursing the God who put a great deal of distance between Point A & Point B.

Why not connect them closer, God? Why not give me what I want right this very moment? It would probably make His Sky High To-Do List much shorter. More manageable.

It would be much easier this way, if we could pick up our deepest desires from the racks of the department store & plop them into a cart.

Chances are, a lot more dreams would live to see their realization if we were able to skip right from Point A to Point B. If Time, Energy, Hard Work, Rejection, Struggle & Discernment were not so adamant in demanding a seat in our Ambition-Covered Wagons.  

I’ve written it before but I still believe that our dreams are very much like infants. We conjure them up in diaries and during long commutes but we have to then step up to be teachers to them. Teach them to Walk, Talk, Sing, Dance, Shake, Shimmy, Move, Be. Understand their weak beginnings. Understand their wobbly legs. Covet the progress. Smile at the Baby Steps.

But the one thing we cannot do if we ever hope to find them as a reality, sitting across from us like a familiar stranger who knows how we take our coffee, is belittle them. Degrade them. Find small boxes to shove them in. Let them collect dust on a shelf within our memory.

You see, one day our dreams being labeled as “unreachable” won’t cut it anymore. They will grow stale. They might fall apart. They will tire from us putting “Cannot” and “Should” in front of them in line. And they will slink into a slot just as forgotten as the lone sock, abandoned under the bed and left praying for some sort of companion who understands their wool & texture.

Elizabeth Gilbert, a guru at equipping souls with a Simultaneous Sense of Eating, Praying & Loving, one wrote that we cannot expect to win the lottery if we don’t first buy the ticket. I don’t know about you, but I have some tickets to buy… some dreams stored up inside of me that need to start sending their resumes out to reality.

So here’s to taking some coins, sunk deep from our pockets, and listening to the sounds they make as they clink on the counter.

 “One ticket please,” I say. “Matter of fact, make it ten.”

Here’s to finding Point A together, no matter how opposite our directions are from one another.

Here’s to kicking Struggle & Rejection, Doubt & Animosity, out from the cradle that our dreams slumber in at night.

Here’s to picking back up that piece of chunky purple chalk and writing our dreams out to the world. Fine Handwriting Practice or None.

Here’s to placing Point A down on the map and finding one way today to make a sudden movement.

A Baby Step.

A Crawl.

Even just a shoulder shrug.

On our way.

To Point B.

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Filed under Big Dreams, For a Better World, Love Yourself, Reality, Uncategorized

One day I will be able to say to my Little Ones: “This is how your Mommy came to write 207 Love Letters to 207 Strangers”

via weheartit.com

We sat in over-sized Alice chairs admiring the spouts of our teapots, appropriately short and stout, as they poured a sweet elixir into the bottom of our antique cups. We clinked our tea cups together and we made a toast. A Toast to Loneliness, Calluses and Love Letters. Two Months of Loneliness. Two rounded calluses on my writing hand. Two Hundred & Seven Love Letters Written.

Signed. Sealed. Delivered. I’m Yours.

I sat across from my Best Friend this weekend, a girl who has shown me a whole new dimension to what it means to miss someone in the last four months. We entangled the sharing of three cups of tea with dozens of Stories in one of my favorites spots in New York City. I moved my hands with each story, motioning all around me, to show her what I have learned from living in this Big City.

I think I have learned Loneliness best,” I told her.

Learned to greet Loneliness as if it were an old friend. Kiss it on the cheek and allow it to kiss back. Soft & Warm. Somehow Soft & Warm.

I never knew that Loneliness could be such a comforting feeling until it propelled me to write 207 Love Letters.  Thank You, Loneliness, for teaching a lost girl just how to script her Sadness into Love.

As you may remember, two months ago I began writing love letters to strangers on the 4 train. I became quite accustomed to the thrill of writing to strangers and leaving my letters behind as if they were my own personal trail of bread crumbs. Central Park. Grand Central Terminal. A Slew of Diners claiming to have the World’s Best Coffee. Through these letters I learned to pour out my heart to perfect strangers as if it were the same fine brew that spouted from my teapot. Leaving Letters Behind. For Some Romeo. Some Juliet. Some Heloise. Some Other Soul Who Needed Words That Day.

But the true gift behind these letters unveiled itself when you became involved. When we all stopped talking about Love Letters and we just started writing them. Asking for Them. Yes, yes, it all began when you pulled up a chair at my Love Letter Tea Party. Sitting Snug Between Ink, Stationary, Loneliness and a Cluster of Forty-Four Cent Stamps.

I never imagined on the day I promised a Snail Mail Love Letter to whoever emailed me their address that I would find my inbox full that night. Full of Requests from All Over the World. From Japan to Utah. From Canada to California. Some with Stories Tied to the request. Some Sad. Some Happy. Some in Desperate Need of a Linkage. Over 200 Love Letter Requests.

So what are you going to do now?” My mom asked me on the phone that night, knowing that I was already quite overwhelmed by promising a handwritten note.

I’ll start writing,” I told her. Because as much energy as it takes to write over 200 full pages of letters, I think it takes a lot more courage to ask a complete stranger to write you a love letter. I sent up a prayer to God for Strong Fingers, Strong Words and a little extra help on the postage, and then I began writing.

Anywhere. Everywhere. Each One Different. Giving me great practice in seeing all the ways one can dress up a single word. Love.

Some days writing Love Letters allowed me to tuck away my own Loneliness. Other days my Loneliness did her own little Macarena all over the stationary. And on the best days, my Loneliness unearthed itself from Behind the Ink & Signatures. Emerging like an extreme makeover contestant, coming out looking Radiant. Looking Like Love.

To all of you who asked for a letter, thank you for giving me the chance to write to you. To shatter the word “stranger” 207 times. That is an absolute dream come true for a girl adores any chance to shed the skin right off of that word. That is the best Christmas Gift I could have ever hoped to receive. You gave my Loneliness a purpose and for that reason I will never regret a single swooping of my cursive.

Many of You wrote your own Love Letters and allowed me to do the honors of sprinkling them all over Manhattan. Thank you for letting me pick the perfect spot. The perfect chance for someone else to hold that letter well & good. A Table in a Cafe. A Shelf of the NYC Library. A Pew in St. Pat’s Cathedral.

And a few beautiful souls sent stamps. They supplied the fuel for those Love Letters to do their own globe-trotting. Thank you for those stamps in the mail. For Pulling Out a Faded Book of Liberty Bell Stamps, Sitting Folded & Pristine in Your Wallet, and Handing Them to Me. Trusting I would put them straight to work in the corner of some envelope.

But one person in particular deserves the largest thank you of all. I have never been driven so quickly to try to tame my tears as when a box showed up at my Bronx apartment. Addressed to “As Simple as That”.I knelt down in my hallway, and opened the unaddressed package to reveal a Full Box, Bulging with Brand New Toys.

This is to the guy who sent a box full of toys to my class of preschoolers who might not have had Christmas gifts otherwise.

You attached a message that said you were not one for writing love letters. I hope you see that you wrote the very best Love Letter of all.

You taught me with your Gift that we all can write Love Letters. Some with Pencil. Some with Generosity. Some with Ears that Listen. Others with Hands that Hold. One way or another, we all have great potential to send a Love Letter off into this world. To Write Our Lives Into  A Love Letter, with the steps we take and the lives we touch.

I grew up saying that I would one day become a Professional Love Letter Writer and maybe I have finally reached that point. After setting down 207 final points of punctuation, I think I am finally there. And what have I learned from the calluses, the loneliness and the inbox full of requests?

That we are all in need of a Love Letter from time to time. A reminder that we are doing o.k. We are doing just fine. That someone, somewhere is sending us Light & Love. Be it from the Biggest City or the Smallest Town. With the Loudest Voice or the Quietest Whisper. To the One With the Toughest Exterior or the Most Broken Interior.

Turns out the world really does need more Love Letters and it looks like we have only just begun writing them.

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Filed under Humanity, Life Lessons, Loneliness, Love Letters, Love Yourself, Thank You, Uncategorized

No Hacer Ruido: Some love letters stay silent.

**A little more fiction to feed the soul. Would adore any feedback**

Lately you say that you are ready to pack up and leave.

You say this place has been perfect. It was exactly what you needed. You uncovered a sense of self within these four walls.

You talk and talk these days about Machu Picchu. The Rio. Bogota. And each one of your dimpled smiles serve as an illustrated example as to why we have to let some of our biggest dreams go. So That They Can Make Their Own Dreams Come True.

I wrestled with indecision over making your stay comfortable. Not too comfortable. Not so comfortable that you would never leave. Not so comfortable that you would debate on staying here with me instead of chasing them. Those dreams of yours.

The ones that resided there first.

You came to me with those shattered dreams. Emaciated Soul. And when you held them out to me I knew it was my job to fix you. Not Hold You. Or Grown Tender To You. Fix You. Fix You To Then Release You.

Some days you turn your head toward me and I can chart out your childhood, your boyhood, your manhood and my place in each one. But I  gently put my finger to your chin and nudge you to look not at me. But at the horizon. You were not made to look at me for too long. I am not the prettiest photograph in an album of sepia-toned miracles that this world is going to grant you.

When you turn toward the door these days I can already sense the intention. The difference in your turning. You are already letting the melody to my laughter, the sound of my lisp that you never told me was there, slip from your keeping. You are already leaving nicknames and secrets at the door.

How could I be so silly to believe that a memory of me could fit in your mochilla full of dreams?

If I could preserve your turning at the door, tuck it into the back of the sock drawer, I might pull it out one day and show her. “This, my love, is called forgetting,” I would tell her.

I guess I will be the smallest of your worldly experiences now. You’ll touch monuments. History. Frozen Chunks Of Time. Their surfaces will glisten with remnants of your idle tracing thumbs. Thumbs that once circled my shoulders.

And those travelers you come across. The Other Seekers. The ones who have taken the time to master the love languages but still will never be as fluent as me in the only language that is Love. The ones you swore only needed to open their mouth and let out one sweet syllable to lock you up in God’s existence for eternity. They will be the ones to receive the broken Spanish from your lips now.

I swear I would take anything from your lips. Broken or not.

And so we sit at the table and you highlight your travels for me. I grow jealous of the borders that will keep you in their arms. I grow bitter at the oceans. The rivers. The lakes. “I am a better basin for his tears,” I want to tell them. I am a better basin for your tears.

But you fold up the map and I see you smile and I know that whatever you are looking for, you are going to find it. And this is every reason to let you leave. Or watch you go. I am not so sure which one it is these days.

And I am sneaking from your half embrace lately and letting the night listen to me as I practice Spanish for you. I am learning words that you might be proud of. But intertwined with each word that I practice, each “R” that I roll, is the best lesson that my father ever disciplined to me: No Hacer Ruido. To Make No Noise.

To make no noise, even when I want to tell you that Amarillo means yellow. Corazon means heart. Permanecer means to stay. Ojos means eyes.

Eyes.

What I would give to steal Peru’s hazel eyes, the big brown Ojos of Colombia, to peek through the long lashes of Ecuador and see you feel at home. Laughing. Grinning. Stunning.

In a way that I always knew I never quite could keep captivated forever.

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Filed under Big Dreams, Creative Fiction, Girl meets Boy, Letting Go, Loneliness, Uncategorized

Will it be enough if we sign it with love?

Valentine’s Day. What some refer to as “Singles Awareness Day” and others see as a 24-hour span of time where they should be absolutely romantic with the one they love. We all have different stories attached to our February 14ths- some of heartbreak, others of single yellow roses. Some of post-it notes adorning a room, each with a reason why they are loved scrawled upon every single one, and others of let downs and loneliness.

But where did this holiday of love letters and Cupid come from is my question. What customs from the past left us with the Hallmarked holiday and inclination to eat every mini box of Russell Stovers we find?

Well I am far from a history teacher but you might find this interesting: On February 14, back around 500 a.d., the ancient Romans would have a feast to celebrate Juno, the goddess of marriage and women. But the interesting part of this feast: all the women would write love letters and stick them to a giant urn. Then men would come from all over to pick a letter from the urn. The writer of the letter that they chose would be the “apple of their eye” for the next year.

Well call me crazy, but why did this custom fall through the cracks? Jeepers, I would love to compose a well thought out and eloquent love letter and stick it to some giant clay vessel and let that be all I had to do for the year to ensure myself a love interest. I am especially gifted in love letter writing so my chances of snagging a good man are even higher. I could lure him in with alliteration. Make his mouth water over my imagery. Leave him begging for more symbolism and adjectives to hold hands with his name.

Well my friends, I don’t think love can always work that way. In the 1700s the custom was dropped when women thought it would be better to pursue their beloveds by sight rather than luck (clearly there weren’t many Jane Austens in the bunch). As much as I adore hand written letters, I don’t believe that one well composed piece is enough to grant someone 365 days of courtly love. And where would the fun be if it were all that simple?

Let’s say I write a letter and “Joe” picks it up. Well then he is bound to me, no matter what. I could treat him unfairly. Decide not to laugh at his jokes. Forget to return his phone calls. And Joe would still hold tight to my letter and the chance to be with me. It is an unbalanced scale.

Love, despite what Dear John may think, is not about a well written letter. Love is about seeing beyond flaws, giving our heart to another based on the total package not just one part. Love is “I will take one step forward if you promise to do so too.” Love is about two people pursuing one another and finding that they together can write a beautiful love letter; one where he is careful with the capital letters or she is attentive to the punctuation.

Love, real love, is when a person realizes that they are willing to start a journey towards another’s heart by scrawling their lover’s name at the top of the page. Then day by day, paragraph by paragraph, a story unfolds until they are ready to sign their own name at the bottom– a delicate cursive that either reveals “write back soon,” “I think of you often,” “I need to let go,” or perhaps the most exquisite of all letters placed next to one another. “You can have my heart.”

Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone! May your day be full, either by chocolates and secret admirers, or if you are like me then treats to yourself (organic food shopping and cupcake baking). And hey: Perhaps it is time that we roped back in that Roman custom. Sit down for a feast, compose a love letter to our self, hide it somewhere around the living room and then find it. Then we can decide to pursue our own selves and our own happiness for a year. Now that is something that I could be very good at.

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