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In order for me to hand over everything to the universe, I have to express fully what it is I need and what I need to let go.
I had a therapist years ago who suggested I write a letter to the person who traumatized me. The letter wasn’t meant to be sent; it was meant to be written.
I wrote down all the reasons I was scared that day. I wrote down all the reasons I would still tremble at the site of a car that resembled theirs. I wrote down how much it pained me to see the disappointment in my parents’ eyes and the disappointment in mine when I realized they were frightened for me.
I wrote everything down—four or five pages of a handwritten letter to the person who traumatized me—but never with the intention they would read it.
I read it out loud—to my therapist and to myself. For days, I read it until I released the fear, when one day I got through the entire letter without crying, without shaking, without anxiety. One day and the next day and the day after that, until I didn’t need to read it anymore.
Writing letters is my love language to myself. I grew up writing letters to friends and family while I was at summer camp and exchanged letters with my grandmother from when I was young, even through emails, until she passed away.
My letters contain my words, and my words contain my thoughts, and it is through the articulation of the written word that I can share what I’m thinking freely.
I wrote a letter to an ex once, the ex I was convinced I would marry, the ex who said he loved me, the ex who walked out of my life without even a word. I wrote him a letter, expressing my grief over our relationship, my willingness to forgive him, and my sadness from loving him.
I never would have been able to say what I needed to say with words fumbling out of my mouth and tears streaming from my eyes. But I could write them. And this letter, this one, was put in the post. I never did find out if he received it, or if he even read it. But I wrote it, and from there, I started healing.
I’ve written blog posts about dating, about living at an Ashram in India, about backpacking solo for six weeks across South America. I have written articles about understanding happiness and also dealing with the trials of living in a pandemic. I am writing a book about those stories and more to capture the lessons and the hardships.
I have written letters to my parents, of which have never been sent, and to my sisters, to which they will never see. I have written text messages to friends only to select all and delete later. I write to release.
I write to say the words my mouth cannot articulate.
I write letters that are rarely ever sent, and I write in my journal entries that are never reread. I write emails and text messages, some to send, some to delete. I write a blog, and I am writing a book. I write because that’s where my creativity lies, yes. But it’s where my honesty has room to bloom.
When my mouth wants to say the things my heart is afraid to admit, my hands do the talking for me.
When I’m scared to be open about what I fear might happen, my hands give me comfort as the words of expression flow onto the page.
And when my heart wants me to announce what I want, but is too afraid to hear rejection, my hands write it in a letter so the feelings can escape me, along with the anxiety that harbors them.
And whether or not I put it in the post or push send, once it is on paper, I let the universe take control and move on to where the path may lead me next.