Tag Archives: more love letters

We’re broken, Pink. We’re full on broken.

ps i love you mailbox

[part one]

Some days, I wonder if you can send Christmas cards to heaven. Mine are sitting shrink wrapped on my coffee table, ready to be signed, sealed & delivered.

I’m yours. I hope you know that. I am yours.

I’d like to send him a Christmas card so he knows where to find me now, amidst all the clutter & chaos of shoppers & savings & sweaters & red Starbucks cups.

I am here.

I want to believe he cares: I have newness in my life brighter than the evergreen tree in Rockefeller Plaza and he cares. Right? Right? Of course he cares.

Instead, I am the person he could learn to love again if Pink pinned him up against a wall and said, “Come here. Come here and just give me a reason, just a little one’s enough, why you stopped loving me?”

We’re broken, Pink. We’re full on broken.

[part two]

I love sending Christmas cards. In the weeks after the mailman unloads the blue express drop box across the street from my apartment, I imagine them being stuffed into mail crates and the backs of trucks & vans before finally, finally landing in someone’s hands.

Most of the people I send Christmas cards to don’t spot me squeezing oranges in the grocery store on Saturday mornings. They haven’t watched my hair grow out. They don’t know where I work or what socks I wear when the temperature dips too deep.

But they loved me once. We once swapped stories in my kitchen with the light dimmed over the table. We once dished ice cream into bowls or screamed at football games or danced on the bay window in my family room.

We knew each other then. And so they get a Christmas card.

 [part three]

This holiday season always hits me like the only house in the neighborhood without Christmas lights or a fir tree in the family room. It hits me like a family room without a family.

For some, it’s time for togetherness. For me, the loneliness of loss starts to sync itself up with my iPhone calendar: one funeral here, another one there. Let me pencil you in as soon as I’m done crunching the cemetery gravel beneath my heels.

In the weeks between Thanksgiving & Christmas, I write love letters to strangers. One organization always warms my heart: More Love Letters. This year, I’ll spend 12 days finding the words for people who need it most. Like me, they’ve lost something or someone or some hope at a time when the bright lights are dotting their cul-de-sacs and stringing their streets.

It’s my way of sending them a Christmas card. Maybe, maybe I can’t ship one to heaven. He won’t have my return address printed and propped up on his mantel.

He can find me here. He can find me if he wants to.

I hope he knows, deep down, that I’m still his. And on days like today, when the jolly songs start playing & the lines at Target start growing, I remember him.

I remember him & know, sure as ever, that even if he’ll never step foot inside my new life, he can find me any time he wants.

This hole you're in? It's not so mighty.

Please Note: As today’s featured blogger for More Love Letters, I wrote this for Madeline, a high school student who started homeschooling herself last winter after falling behind in her studies because of her depression and anxiety. Winter is particularly tough for her and she’s really in need of some inspiration that things will get better. More Love Letters is running the 2nd Annual 12 Days of Love Letter Writing through tomorrow (Dec. 14). Join me?

Dear Madeline,

I’m going to tell you a story in the hopes that, despite the fact that I have only half a decade or so on ya, it sparks some hope inside you.

Three years ago, I came close to dropping out of college. Not forever and not for lack of motivation—I had spent most of that semester cramming my small self into a study corral for five six seven hours at a time.

chalkboard-black-mightyhole

I was depressed. Deep down inside my bones. In the hole in my gut. In my tired fingers as I read and reread the same statistics problems. While every other twenty-year-old was out on the Quad throwing Frisbees in the April sun. I was sinking into myself and focusing on my grades rather than admit that I couldn’t eat anything without straight up feeling bad about it.

So I know what that feels like, when your health comes trampling all over your ache to just be fine just fine. Just be happy. Just be calm.

Anxiety has held me hostage for my entire life and depression almost lost me a semester. I don’t want that for you. I don’t want you to lose your spark and your spunk and your hope that this hole you’re in? It’s not so big. It’s not so mighty. It’s not doing anything but keeping you from ever seeing the sun.

We worriers and anxious ones like to pick ourselves apart like character traits in dating ads. We think that there is black and there is white and there isn’t any room for grays. We can’t be happy if we’re sad. We can’t be strong if we’ve broken. We can’t be proud if we’ve had to yank ourselves out of school and put our health first.

But that’s what you did, lady. You said, “I’ve got to get better. I’ve got to stick around. I’ve got to start demanding some sunlight when I throw open my curtains every morning.”

And I would hate for you to focus on the rain. I’d hate for you to worry about the snow.

I’m going to say this because I know it well: when we worry, when we’re anxious, when we’re depressed, it’s like we’d rather sit up and see the darkness than wish for light. It’s like we’re afraid to want something better because if we don’t get it, if better doesn’t shine so brightly, we’ll feel worse.

But life is all risk and reward. It’s leaping into the light expecting your shadow not to cover it. It’s thinking about how much lay ahead, how much you have yet to just relish for a couple decades. How many memories you’ve yet to dwell on.

I hope you find the good. I hope you remember the bad and let it make you stronger and I hope you never ever let anyone make you feel bad for putting your health first.

Stay tough. Stay caring. High school is just the beginning. There will be great and mighty big days ahead. And you will smile again. Oh, how you’ll smile.

With Hope & Love,
Kaleigh

Links You’ll Love
Love Letter Starter Kit
Letters Lost & Found
About More Love Letters
Last Year’s Letter I Wrote To Hannah
Get Social: @moreloveletters

When are the letters due to the post office? Within one week of today. Address: ___________’s Bundle, PO Box 2061, North Haven, CT 06473

Let her dance across notebook pages and down abandoned hallways. Let her breathe.

Note: This post is part of More Love Letters’ 12 Days of Love Letter Writing. Today’s love letter recipient is Hannah, a 16-year-old girl who’s dealt with bullying and forgotten she’s somebody beautiful and talented. We would love to have you write Hannah your very own letter and mail it in. The details are on the MLL blog (linked above). Gather your friends, your travel mug of hot chocolate and marshmallows, and take a road trip to the good ole Target for some stationery. *The Seven Simple Lessons Learned from Strangers turned Friends will return on Monday.

Hannah. Hannah. Hannah. You are a blessed girl.

You and I were spun from the same spool of thread, meant to shine in the windowsill of some corner craft store. Instead, you ended up as a sweater shipped across the country.

You were born to know the world beyond the department store. To never settle for the pokes and jabs and taunts that stretch you thin and unravel the heart stitched into your sleeve.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is easy to be bold, a whirlwind of kaleidoscope colors, when you are small, still fierce, so hungry. Eyes open to the beauty of falling October leaves and crisp April rosebuds. It is hard, I know, to retain that wild passion and “no, I will not apologize” attitude when the first bullet punctures your sparkly sweater stripes.

But I have a little secret for you, Hannah. One that extends beyond all the generic globs of Google gibberish you can load and scan and download and print and tack on the bulletin board above your desk. (You can do that, too, but this little nugget is just for you.)

I know two Hannahs in this world, and between the Hs on the end-caps of their names, you can learn all you need to know about shining and creating and staying so true to the beautiful individual you are.

The first is twenty-three. And though I’ve never reached for her hand when jaywalking in New York traffic or sat across from her in a coffee shop, I know she has your heart in her FiloFax listing somewhere. She has your back. Your whole self, if you need it.

She taught me that the best people in this world have been put through the ringer and come out stronger. Come out not throwing punches at their opponents but looking for the lumpy sweaters who feel a bit underappreciated, a bit too clearanced. And then, those strong souls remind the sweaters how to dust off and sit pristinely on the shelf, patient for someone to love their soft selves.

You, I promise, are no exception. You are meant to create create create. To drum up beauty where there was once only dirt and pain. You are the light at the end of someone else’s tunnel.

The second Hannah is nineteen. She’s an artist, like yourself, and quite possibly among the smartest people I know. She sees this world in dark tints and thinks deeper than most, and every pencil mark, every brush stroke, documents and understands this chaotic world. Her art breathes life into what otherwise might be dead.

You, like her, should never apologize for your talents, your desire to be true to you. You have a girl deep inside and maybe you’re terrified she’ll escape, but if Hannah #2 has taught me anything, it’s that there is no alternative other than to let the real Hannah escape. Let her dance across notebook pages and down abandoned hallways. Let her breathe.

Loneliness will creep up on you. The world’s gonna make sure of that. But I believe you’re ready to beat it, and I believe you want to.

Hannah, you are the sweater on the shelf afraid no one’s coming to pick you up because somewhere along the sweat shop assembly line, some worker whispered that there was something not quite right about you. But the truth, coming from a fellow sweater, is that you are just seeking out the perfect moment to be scooped up and checked out.

You are not going to hang in a closet. You’ll be the sweater worn five days a week, the comfort on a rainy April afternoon and a blustery October evening.

You were meant to remind this big bad world that sweaters can be gentle and wild, worn and torn and tattered with love.

You keep your heart on your sleeve and remember that you are absolutely, unapologetically beautiful.

Love,
Kaleigh

August Discoveries

It’s that time of the month again. And I was blown away by August. Really, just mystified by all the beautiful things it sent sailing my way. So I hope you all can appreciate and relish in this list.

[If you missed my previous discoveries, find them here.]

More Love Letters. The oh-so-awesome Hannah Katy Brencher launched her love letters site earlier this month. If you are a talented writing fiend with a knack for making someone feel special and worthy of praise, head your little butt over there and sign up to receive love letter alerts. She’s bringing the handwritten note back to us, baby. And if you need a little uplifting or just a note of encouragement, request a letter.

Get Milkshake. I just signed up a week ago, but I am sure this newsletter will become my No. 1 source of all things GOOD (besides GOOD.is, of course). From eateries to clothing to going ‘green,’ this is your daily dose of companies and individuals doing something wonderful with their lives.

Zen at Play’s 23 Things. Not sure how I wasn’t a Zen At Play lover until now; it’s a shame, really. Get on over there and download the free e-book. What 23 things do you not know about yourself but are ready to discover? Only the e-book will tell.

Tara Sophia Mohr. If you like free stuff and worksheets, go to her website, click on the resources tab, and start some serious self-discovery. I recommend the 10 Rules for Brilliant Women workbook. Start asking yourself the tough questions, kids. Come on, now.

NateStPierre.me. He’s done it. The founder of ItStartsWithUs launched his own — finally — website. No ties to any organizations or crazy inspirational business plans. Just Nate, this cool guy who blogs and tweets and (just so you know) enjoys Betty Crocker boxed brownie mix. He’s real and his blog is minimalist and all about the writing.

Kristie Colon’s ‘Why I Love Social Media’. It’s not a terribly long list, but it hits all my reasons right on the head. A resounding chorus for the introverts of the world and the rest of you who just like to dig deep and connect and engage and ohmygosh I’m getting carried away with my social media love.

Pie for Mikey. I love peanut butter. I love chocolate. I love ice cream. The food bloggers of the world united this month when one of their own lost her husband, Mikey. Hundreds of them baked peanut butter pie in his honor this month. Talk about a beautiful tribute.

We Stop Hate. I hope I start an anti-bullying nonprofit when I’m 17-years-old. Oh, wait, that already passed. This girl blows my mind with her passion and determination to end teenage bullying — online and in-person. And she’s selling bracelets and t-shirts, which I almost definitely have to buy.

Wear You Live. This Kickstarter project prints an image of your major metropolitan area on a t-shirt. The funding ended this morning. Oh, and they sell prints and throw pillows, too? How cute. The premise is that people will want to talk about where they live and they’ll get involved in the local community.

And of course, if you have awesome August finds, leave ’em in the comments section below. 🙂