I am probably one of the worst people to have a conversation with if it involves emotions. It has taken me literally years to be able to gain empathy and become a good listener for my friends and family. Someone crying in front of me still makes me tense up and not entirely know what to do. It’s a panic filled reaction the stems from being emotionally distant and detached. This is why I tend to turn to writing.
When I can’t eloquently speak what I want to say, I turn to the written word. As my entire blog can attest to. My mother has literally told me that she has learned more about me now than she’s ever known. Though this is a bit awkward *cough* having sex at my parents house *cough*, it’s real life. Reading anything handwritten runs the risk of being exposed to someones emotional state. That’ why there’s such an art to it, true writers can find a balance between facts and their authentic voice.
Now that the holidays have past, I can reveal that I wrote letters as part of everyone’s gift. Except Sarah, if you’re reading this, *spoiler alert.* I spent a few hours writing them and they were all solidly a page or so. I have been relatively sentimental and broke as of late, and this gave me the opportunity to tell my friends how much I love them. Without them I wouldn’t be the person I am. They’ve listened to me complain, given me advice, helped dye my hair, watched stupid movies with me, and overall been amazing people. I feel like I don’t get to see many of them a lot, my oldest friends lives out in Washington state and in Germany respectively.
I think that we all could be more appreciative to the people in our lives, and writing them a letter can do that. It doesn’t need to be anything long, it could just be a postcard, but sit down and do it: Give thanks, be nostalgic, tell them you love them, draw pictures, and compliment them. Sometimes life is hard and being at to look back at the loving words of a friend when everything is shitty can be the difference between life and death. Mental health is a serious issue that is still so stigmatized and giving words of encouragement and love to dear friends is a seemingly small gesture that can mean so much. I have a whole notebook that has years of handwritten notes and letters pressed between its pages.
There can be a nervousness about writing something emotional, and I totally get that. I felt like there were too many feelings and I had to take a break at one point. These are the friends who have been through my darkest days, how could I not become a bit teary eyed. You don’t have to write like a poet, it can be chaotic and confusing, but as long as you at some pint tell them, “Hey I guess your face is kind of stupid and you smell like Cheez-It’s but I love you, or something, I don’t know.” You know what, you don’t even need to tell them you love them. Just tell them you were thinking about them and you hope things are well. Let them know they matter.
This year I challenge you to write a letter to five people in your life, or who you may have drifted out of touch with. Could be a postcard or a piece of notebook paper. Throw in a photograph or a bad drawing of something you used to do together. Let the people in your life know that they matter. Make sure to tag me in any photos of your letters on Instagram @sabazaman or my personal #psychedeliclover. Our small messages of kindness will be a great way to start off 2017.