The story: I wrote some letters.
I turned 35 in 2017. So far I’ve never bemoaned getting older. To me, years are like a badge of honor because each year represents challenges, lessons, celebrations, obstacles overcome, obstacles left to fight another day, losses, triumphs... Each year is another beautiful hard thing done. Years season us like one might season a cast-iron pan. Thirty-four wasn't an easy year and I suspected 35 would hold much of the same, along with (hopefully) many more new challenges.
I had recently become aware of my own tendencies towards codependency and decided to nip that crap right in the bud. An easy decision, kind of a no-brainer, but now it's time to actually live it. Not as easy, right? You could say I was - and continue to be - in recovery.
We tend to think that recovery belongs solely to the ill/addict/alcoholic/etc. We believe our struggles (anxiety, depression, anger, etc.) are caused by the other person, and if only they would get help/change, then we would be better. Loves, this is not the case. Yes, my codependency developed out of my response to my partner, but it was/is mine and mine alone. My journey out of codependency was/is mine. My wellness is mine to guide. I am my own health captain. (I could go on.)
For me, recovery is about showing up. Showing up for myself each and every day so I can then show up for my people and a few other things (like my job). The thing is, this isn't only about recovering from a dysfunctional situation or a codependent partnership or addiction. This is about recovering from the systemic shutting down of our real selves - our feelings, our truth, our joys, our fears.
I decided that 35 would be the year of showing up. Showing up in the hard places, the real places, the joyful places. Showing up fully as best I could everywhere I went. And I decided to document it in a unique way, by writing a monthly letter about my practice of showing up. I started in August 2017 I mailed out a letter each month - well, I combined a few months… - over the course of the following year.. Each letter explored a different theme/topic relating to showing up. To learning about myself. To taking care of myself.
The art of tangible, written communication is almost lost, yet the thrill of receiving a letter in the mail that isn't from your cable company remains. It’s different than getting an email and even further removed from getting a text. A personal letter is something solid, something tangible. You can hold the words in your hands. What's more, you know the paper was held by the person who wrote the words. First they touched the paper and filled it with all the words, then you held the paper and read the words assembled specifically and intentionally just for you. There’s connection there, and it can’t be replicated by electronics.
It was a wonderful project. I’m found so much value in the discipline, the regular reflection, the things I learned.
The thing is, postage is expensive and my mailing list grew quite large! After a job change I decided to cut a few expenses - postage and printer ink in particular. I’m still writing my letters, though. They’re just going to be posted here, on my website. If you’d like them in your email inbox, you can subscribe below.
If you were a letter-getter before, you’re on my email list. (Please let me know if you’d like to be removed!)
Who knows. I might snail mail these out again someday. Maybe even soon. But for now, the web it is.
To read the letters, click the heading at the top of the page (or just click here).