Friday, April 6, 2012


I keep all of the mail that I get. Envelopes too. Ok, so not every piece of mail: those annoying and persistent credit card and insurance offers get shredded (then made into Easter basket grass) but all of my actual correspondence I keep. I even have files of some emails between me and family or friends abroad or old friends I've reconnected with via the internet.

Maybe it's my LDS upbringing and emphasis on family and personal history, journal writing, etc, but I feel like these letters are important some how: they tell a part of my life that doesn't necessarily make it in my journal but is still a part of me. I told a friend that once that I had a binder of our emails and it freaked him out a little. We had been friends in preschool when I lived in Park Slope and I had found him on Facebook my freshman year of college. He was still in Brooklyn and we started emailing. I just loved these little letters we wrote to each other, little friendship love notes of times past and theoretical futures and I just felt like they were so beautiful and temporal. So I printed them out and put them in a binder to save them, to remember those feelings of new affections and that experience of transitioning from child to adult and wanting to hang on to those droplets of youth as long as possible.

I have several friends who when they break up with a girl they burn or throw away any material traces of their relationship from their lives, deleting them from their online profiles as if they never existed. Photos, love letters, gifts, they are all discarded in the passion and hurt of separation. I don't know how they can do that. It seems so hurtful not just to the other person but to themselves, as if they are lying about who they are and what their lives have been. I have boxes of love letters and homemade stuffed animals and jewelry and t-shirts that are so much a part of me that thinking of discarding them gives me a small literal pang.

So I keep them. I can't bear to discard them. Because everyone that we know and meet and especially love shapes who we are and who we become in so many ways: if we try to hide it or lie about it or pretend like it never happened we lose a part of ourselves, a part that is perhaps the most important part of ourselves, the part of ourselves that knows how to love.

And who knows? Maybe one day all these letters and creations and journals will be displayed in a museum for others to see and marvel at and connect with. Maybe.

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