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.