Note: I’ve been sick the past week. This has negatively affected about everything in my life: creativity, motivation, writing, brain-storming. I haven’t done anything. I’ve been slacking. Although I’ve been consistently writing chapters for the Creepy Story (or whatever) and while I don’t want to break my flow, I also want to get something posted in the meantime. This is an introduction (kinda elaborated on here) about some bullshit hypothetical “story” about writing letters to people from your past but never actually sending them. While I don’t think I’ll make any progress on it because I’m having so much fun being creepy lately, I do like my introduction to it. So while I’m working on getting my shit together again, enjoy this.
Sometimes lying awake in bed you start to think of people from your past. They drift into your thoughts like waves coming in from the ocean, memories here and there, times both good and bad, and you start to wonder what happened to them. It has been years since you’ve seen them and you start to reflect upon the fact that there was a singular last time you’ve seen them and how at the time you never knew it was the last time you’d see them. You start to feel bittersweet and nostalgic and yearning for this lost past. People that are no longer part of your life but somehow part of you as they gave you a memory of them. They formed you into the person you are today. What exactly happened to them? And what did they mean to you? What did you mean to them? Did you mean anything to them?
As time passes you get a clearer image of how they altered your life. As pain, happiness, regret, yearning, joy, and sadness are dulled with time you’re left with only truth as to how they changed you as a person and how you feel about them. Exes and enemies turn from hated individuals to fondly remembered people for how they helped you grow and change. It wasn’t them that was flawed, it was you and them as a pair that were flawed. Old friends and coworkers also take on a new light as you find yourself wondering what happened to the vast number of people who have entered and exited your life, sometimes forever, and who have left small but permanent changes to you. Carving you in the slow and permanent way that flowing water carves stone.
I always find myself wanting to talk to these people just one more time. Not enough to break societal bonds and actually talk to them — that’d be weird — but enough to fantasize about when I’m unable to sleep at 2 a.m. Mental conversations with them as I run into them at a store. Facebook messages sent drunkenly at 3 a.m. on the weekend. Maybe the stray email here and there. Or, lastly, writing on a computer or in a notebook that might not be discovered until after I die. A sort of final “thanks for being in my life and sorry for not saying what I wanted to say when I had the chance to say it” to them. Maybe somehow ramblings about them in personal notebooks might make their way to them and they’d know how important they were to me.
Maybe that’s part of it too: kicking myself in the ass for not being as genuinely open to others as I should’ve been. I still do it too. You always have to play the “be cool” game with people you know. You can’t tell people you love them if they aren’t family, and conversely you can’t tell people you despise them, once again, if they’re not immediate family. While some are more open than others, every one of us walks through life carrying around a mask showing a certain face to everyone else we interact with. The times you actually get to see the soul underneath the person, the thing that really matters, are surprisingly sparse and I can’t help but feel that this is a major area of regret in everyone’s lives. It’s like life is a constant lie that we tell to other people…and that people are telling to us. Who are these people that we go to school with, work around, are friends with, are in love with, see in grocery stores, or get mad at while driving? We see them and we think we know them, but we don’t really know them.
Sometimes in one of these rare moods I’ve found myself writing letters to people, letters that I’ll never actually send but where I can trick my mind into getting some things off my chest. Say what I need to say to these long gone fragments of my past. It sort of worked too. I used to actually open up the Yahoo email app and write these things as drafts, writing a legitimate email and only stopping before hitting the send button. I’d write heartfelt letters to people totally ripping open my soul for them to see and just not send it. I’d feel better afterwards even though I knew I never sent the things. Apparently my brain and emotions are that gullible.
(I don’t know how I feel about complaining that we don’t open ourselves up enough while also saying that I purposefully write letters that I don’t send. It seems like I equally want to bond with people but also hide my true feelings behind some elaborate mechanism for hiding myself. I’m just point out that, yes, I’m aware of how dumb and hypocritical this sounds.)
This is where the pragmatic author in me appears and goes “that sounds like a great idea for a story!” and I really do think it’s at least an interesting idea. I can write all of these fake, never to be sent letters to people that I want to clear things up with, delete the names and any other pertinent information, and make it into a book. I don’t know what to think of it as it sounds: cringy, terribly thought out, like a good idea, kinda contrived, ungenuine, heartfelt, clever, stupid, and overly emotional. It’s all over the place. It can act as an autobiographical account of my average as can be life while also being a fragmentary puzzle that is purposefully vague. Plus, since you’re only getting my point of view you’d wonder how factual it truly is and how the people I’m writing to might have totally different outlooks on things.
A part of me likes the idea of doing some experimental rip open your soul work especially while trying to put together an actual narrative. Sometimes you just want your damn heart to bleed onto paper and this seems like a perfect thing to do just that. I don’t even care if it turns out horrible because it sounds like it’ll make me feel better and maybe even give me some closure to past events. At the very least I’m sure I’ll unearth a bucket load of demon buried deep within my subconscious and if that isn’t fun then I don’t know what is.
Another Note: As with everything, you might think you have a good idea until you find out it’s been done already. Not that I’ve found an actual story or collection of unsent letters (mostly because I don’t even want to look and be discouraged) but I have found a subreddit with basically the same thing going on. People writing anonymous letters to others so they can get things off their chests, vent, feel closure, and whatever other reasons people feel the need to write anonymous letters. It’s really interesting.