Sunday, August 24, 2014

Oh, Dear Me...

The handwriting on the envelope looked awfully familiar—and just plain awful as well.

I came across this mysterious letter while going through my mail on Thursday afternoon.

There was no return address, but I immediately recognized the pathetic penmanship.

Hideously hacked scribble that could drive a boatload of nuns to drink, distraction, and dementia, there’s only one person on God’s green earth who has handwriting this bad.

And that person is…me.

But why the hell would I write a letter to myself? I know my memory is slipping but I didn’t think I had resorted to churning out midnight missives in my sleep. Or had I?

I held the letter in my hand for several seconds trying to figure out what it was all about, studiously ignoring the obvious solution—like opening the goddamn thing.

I thought of my father, who used to pull the same exact stunt. He’d actually hold his own letters up to the light to try and read their contents, even though the envelope was addressed to him.

Hey, if you’re looking for logic here, you’ve opened the wrong sack of mail.

Finally I ripped the envelope apart and started reading a letter I had written to myself on May 18.

And then I it all came back to me like a note tied to a five-pound brick. Emily, the teacher of the mindfulness-based stress reduction class that I had taken at the Interdependence Project earlier this year, had us all write these notes to ourselves during the last session.

One side of the letter discussed what I wanted to remember from the class.

I would like to remember that I have a choice when it comes to dealing with stress and all the pressures that life has to offer,” I wrote three months ago. “I would like to remember that I can stay mindful, be in the present moment, instead of getting lost in anger, sorrow, or frustration. I would like to remember to love myself every single day.

Alpha Mail

The other side of the letter was a direct message to myself.

Dear Me,” it began. “I hope this letter finds you well—very well indeed—weller than you’ve ever been.

Forgive the grievous grammar but I was trying to make a point.

It’s August and the summer is almost over,” I continued. “Are you being kind to yourself? Are you loving yourself? Are you working—really working toward your goals? I hope so. I hope you are happy and present and mindful. I hope you are writing your heart out and moving beyond your pain. I hope you are happy.”



The timing of this letter was incredible. I was feeling especially crabby on this day, yes, even more so than usual.

Perhaps I was going through post-vacation psychosis, but I couldn’t rein in my temper and my thoughts were bouncing all around my skull. I wasn't moving beyond my pain; I was moving in with it.

I haven’t been writing my heart out at all, I haven’t been doing enough to reach my goals, and now this letter shows up on my doorstep to remind me of how far I had fallen short in my efforts to become more mindful and productive.

But then I gave it some time. I decided to do some constructive thinking--rather than getting lost in anger, sorrow, or frustration.

The point of writing this letter was not to mock my future self. The Me back in May was only trying to help, to point the current version of yours truly toward the light and away from the darker regions of my mind.

I was reminding myself that I have a choice.

Instead of feeling depressed about hitting the deck, I used this letter to get me back up on my feet.

So, in answer my own question, I am indeed well. And I intend to get weller than ever.


Bijoux said...

I have also received things in the mail that came because I had to provide a self addressed stamped envelope.....and every time, I look at it like, WHAATT? Lol!

It sounds like that letter arrived at the right time. Onward and upward, Rob.

Ron said...

"The point of writing this letter was not to mock my future self. The Me back in May was only trying to help, to point the current version of yours truly toward the light and away from the darker regions of my mind."

Bravo, Rob! And you're exactly right, you/we do have a choice at any time to change our perception and way of thinking.

And may I just say something? I think you do write your heart out because what you share here on blog always touches me in some way. Whether it's your humorous posts or your reflective posts, you always leave me with something to laugh about or ponder, or both. As I've shared with you many times before, you're a very gifted writer. And I really mean that.

"So, in answer my own question, I am indeed well. And I intend to get weller than ever."

You GO, boy!

And have a super week, buddy!

Rob K said...

Hey, Ron, thanks so much! You've been so supportive of me and I am so incredibly grateful.

There have been times when I think about quitting this blog, but the encouragement I receive from you and my other buddies keeps me going!

Have a great week, buddy, and do take care!

Rob K said...


Aren't those SASEs a trip? There's always that delayed reaction where you wonder what the heck is going on.

And you're right--the letter showed up just when I needed it.

Stephanie Faris said...

I miss getting actual MAIL. There was something exciting about going to the mailbox, knowing there might be a letter in there. Now it's just bills and junk mail! Even better is the ability to time-delay a letter to yourself. That wouldn't work unless you handed it to someone with the instruction to mail it to you on a set date, when you've likely forgotten about it. And you know THAT person would hold it up to the light to try to read it!

Rob K said...

Yes, Stephanie, mail has certainly lost its charm.

That's why this experience was so rewarding. I had completely forgotten about my letter until the teacher sent them out to us.

Take care!

Anonymous said...

Thats actually such a great idea. I used to write to myself in my diary for days when I needed a pick me up but a letter is much more direct and forces you to read it. Love this!

Rob K said...

Yes, Shae, it really caught me by surprise. I'd like to have someone mail these self-written messages to me more often.

Take care!

CrystalChick said...

What a neat idea! Sounds like you got a nice bonus from that class. The mention of penmanship reminded me of my dad. :) His was beautiful, one of the best I've ever seen. I used to have decent handwriting but have gotten a bit lazy about it. Too many typewritten emails maybe? lol

I'm glad you are well and intending to get weller than ever! Go, Rob, go!! Inspire us. I sure could use it some days.

Rob K said...

Hey, Mary, what's up? I salute your dad for his penmanship, which is rapidly becoming a lost art. I never had the skill and I, too, have gotten lazy over the years.

And thanks for nice comments. I hope things are going well for you and yours.

Take care!