Also known as: Post-Letters Out Loud thoughts
I heard about Letters Out Loud while I was
stalking reading author Marla Miniano‘s twitter account because I was anxious to get her new book. I blame it on this pep talk she wrote for the NaNoWriMo Philippines, which resonated so much with me that it was almost funny. So I heard about the event, this curious “let’s read letters we wrote out loud” event, and thought, Hey, maybe I should go.
I wasn’t sure if I wanted to, at first, until I asked some friends to go with me. I thought it was interesting, if not a little sentimental. I try not to be too sentimental nowadays for some personal reasons, but I told myself that this might be a fun event, and and it’s free, so I’m not really losing anything by going. Time to embrace my inner romantic, I told myself.
The funny thing was, I totally forgot how much letters meant to me this year. I honestly thought that I was just allowing myself to be romantic/sentimental by going to this, and then it hit me how some letters have changed my life recently. When I remembered that, I knew I would go — there is no way I would miss this event now.
I like letters. When I was a kid, I would write letters to almost everyone — my parents (from I love you’s to I’m sorry’s), my brother (which I think he never really read, haha), to friends, and to someone named “Diary” in the privacy of my own room. I would write letters to friends about random things. I loved the letter-writing activities we had, I loved snail mail, I loved making pen pals. There was a time when my high school friends and I would write to each other every single day, and mornings were made for distributing letters to everyone. My elementary school best friend moved to the US when we were in high school, and I would spend hours writing letters to her, detailing everything that happened in my day. I would wait eagerly for her reply, reading and rereading several times until I get her next one. I made time for retreat letters when we reached junior year in high school, making sure I wrote substantial letters to the people who matter to me, and good enough letters for those who I am not necessarily close with. I love receiving and reading letters to me and I kept them all in a box in my room, a reminder of the good things and the bad things all preserved in pieces of paper and messy handwriting.
I still write letters, but they’re usually ones that only I can read. After I wrote my Valentine’s Day entry about how I deserved that much, I picked a random notebook from my pile and started writing letters to someone that I don’t know just yet. I write letters to some of my friends, but they’re mostly reserved for special occasions. I wrote emails to friends who I cannot meet physically because they were somewhere out there in the big world on a life trip or for their careers. I wrote notes to friends who I want to say hi to, without much thought of how to sustain the conversations. I wrote private messages to someone who just said hi, kept asking questions and kept the conversation going, and sometimes I reread the long conversations and I smile.
Last night I heard letters read out loud for people — for friends, for loved ones, for someone who’s leaving, for family. I heard letters read out loud for ex-boyfriend from seven years ago, letters to the people that might have had potential but never worked out. I can’t help but smile at this letter written for a certain you — different kinds of you from the past, and a you from the future — and I smile again because it was so familiar. They were honest letters, the kind written from the heart, ones that you can’t help but smile and feel a little tug in the heart as you hear them. There’s something from all of them that left me raw last night. I nodded and smiled so much as I heard some letters, resisting the urge to shout out loud in agreement and instead wonder if those people somehow had a key to my heart and looked around there before writing what they read out loud. Somehow, hearing all those letters made me feel less alone.
There’s something beautiful with honesty, don’t you think? I was really, really happy that I got to go, and I think it’s proof that I really enjoyed myself that I am writing this blog entry even if I should be asleep for work tomorrow. Last night reminded me of how certain letters I wrote changed my life this year, and how it may have possibly changed someone else’s too. Letters Out Loud reminded me of how it is to be brave enough to put things down on paper and to have someone else read it — or in this case, listen to it.
This year, I wrote several letters that changed my life, and last night, I remembered them all. I’m really glad I went there (and it’s just a bonus that I finally met Marla in person after reading all her books). I would definitely go to a next one, and bring more people…and who knows, maybe be even brave enough to volunteer to read my own letter.
But right now, while the emotions are fresh and raw and swirling inside me, allow me to be brave and honest and loving by posting this very short letter:
I miss you.
I really, really do.