How to Recycle Your Old Love Letters // #CuratedLove
August 23, 2015
Recently, I was gathering up old love letters for my friend Alaina to use in her Art Prize piece #CuratedLove. Similar to last year, she is gathering up old love letters from hundreds of people and going to make a sweet ass art piece out of it and cover a bridge in love letters.
While gathering these letters, I couldn't help but reminisce... and laugh (a lot), and smile, and then laugh even more. There are some good memories attached to these letters. While I was sorting through them, it came to me how each letter reflected the tone or characteristic of the relationship. Which was weird (hindsight, and reminiscing with wine, is 20/20). And I mean, the very physicality of the letters directly correlates to how the relationship was -- the letter's length, handwriting, frequency, ery'thing. Not just their content, but the literal, physical, tangible letter.
The Steady Ones
The year before I went to college (so the year after I graduated high school, gap year, kgotitmovingon), I had a long-distance relationship that was pretty much solely based on letter-writing. We rarely talked on the phone, and instead I was left with a collection of 20+ multi-page letters that tracked our relationship's progression. You can see how they changed, because as we grew more comfortable with each other, they got a little less formal. You start seeing doodles in the margins, and multiple dates in one letter as we wrote, fell asleep, and picked it up the next day.
It's safe to say that for the first few months after this relationship ended, I had a permanent lump in my throat every time I went to the mailbox. However, these letters very, very much reflect the relationship: measured, slow, tight (he had very tight handwriting, and he also very closely 'guarded his heart' as those Kids call it).
These letters reflect our relationship. Intentional, steady, slow.
The Bright Burst
I only have one love letter from this relationship, which was the longest official one. But even this, to me, reflects the relationship overall: so many times where it was a bright burst of right, against a multitude of 'just not hitting the spot.' There was a lot of love, but we never were very good at communicating it the right way for the other person.
The letter itself is so endearing, and the person who wrote it was endearing too. So to me, this letter and our relationship match by being: a bright burst, so much trying, and a lot of comic relief (shoutout to the Triple R's who plan romantic getaways to Toledo, am I right?).
The Chaotic One
This one is written in the margins of a piece of paper you found on my desk, and I didn't even find it until a week later. It's messy and jumbled and chaotic, written with a rushed hand. I am confident there is no one else in the world who could read your handwriting. It's a letter that was meant for my eyes and my eyes only, written on your way out the door while I lay warm and ambivalent and half awake in bed.
This letter mirrors our relationship: Hidden. Combustible. Chaotic. Incomprehensible. Rushed. Passionate.
The Forgotten One
Aaaaand then I found a pack of 20 letters from someone I didn't even remember dating soooooo..... bitch moment, right there. Oops. From his letters, he sounds like a good guy, just not for me. I can only handle someone calling me a "daughter of God which was given to them to protect" so many times before I lose my shit. Lose. My. Shit.
These letters were: drawn out, old school (old school handwriting, old school language, old school emotions) aaaaand.... unappreciated. I didn't appreciate the letters and I didn't appreciate him. Ya win some ya lose some and even better -- ya let some go.