Self-addressed unsolicited letters

I have never written a letter to any of my former selves. I do understand how it could be cathartic, but writing to myself ten years ago and trying to explain all of this might have a detrimental effect on me. What would I say…?

Instead, I write letters to my future self. Not very often, just every few years or so, and not very long letters, but messages that immediately take me back to that point in time and remind me that those things did, in fact, happen.

I write them when I’m drunk or full of crazy, and I never plan them in advance so I don’t spend very long thinking over them. This means when I come to look at them again, at random moments in the future, I don’t even really remember writing them. But look: that’s my handwriting… It gives me a strange feeling of unsettled comfort.

I open each letter upon receipt, read it, and then I put it away and half-forget about it. Every so often I look in the box and – even though these letters are never truly forgotten – I read through them all and they remind me that these things actually happened to me. That I have always been me. It’s my narrative, made up of cheap printer paper, faded ink and torn envelopes.

One of them is a small booklet, with its pages tucked inside a greetings card. I was totally broken when I wrote it. I was trying to save myself. Another has the meanings of The Moon and The Knight of Swords tarot cards inside the envelope – an unintended prophecy of the man who would turn me into a lunatic.

I seem to write them when I’m on the verge of something. Good or bad, I still need the reminder.

These letters are my proof to myself that it all happened, that I didn’t dream it up.
That I didn’t dream him up.
But he’s an old letter, now.
I’m not sure what the next letter will say.

I only kept a letter from one other person; proof, again, that I really did live my wonderfully crazy life.

And this is how you become immortalised in my mind. Look at all these strange places where you never knew you existed. And I’ll take you everywhere I go, the small part of your essence that is captured in my ink.

20 comments on “Self-addressed unsolicited letters

  1. The idea of writing letters to oneself is intriguing. I never really have but yeah…I always thought it could be interesting. ^_^

    • It’s fun (kinda) when you get the letters out years later and there’s references to people you were madly in love with and had the craziest time with and thought you’d spend every day with them…but suddenly you can’t remember their name! You remember how you felt, just not who they were… As I say, they’re not long letters. More cryptic post-its from moments frozen in time 🙂

  2. This is wonderful, I’m going to write to myself today!

  3. I wrote a letter to myself, aged four and three quarters ~ it was incredibly cathartic. Letters to my future self? I may just do that.

    • I think it will be cathartic for me one day… right now, I still feel as though I’ve let my younger selves down. Especially kid Kim. I can’t handle adding more guilt to the weight I already carry. One day, though 🙂 And yes, definitely! Just write whatever is important to you now. It’s interesting what time does to things 🙂

  4. I have never written a letter to myself,. but I so wish I had especially those times many years ago when I was being pushed so hard that I felt the only way out of all this anguish was to “leave” everything. To look back on such a letter at that time would show me how right I was to fight against all the pain that was aimed at me. Do whatever you have to, keep fighting. I might try writing a letter myself.

    • Oh definitely. It’s so tragic to see your old cries for help once time has helped to numb the pain you went through, but you realise that you’ve done what you thought was impossible – you made it this far. You do what you need to do to – and if a letter helps, then that’s awesome. We need to find out what works for us and keep at it 🙂 x

      • I decided this afternoon that I will write that letter. I started blogging just over a year ago, a good friend in America suggested it and it has saved me in many ways. Writing things here I never thought I would. Meeting good people like yourself has helped. You look after yourself.

  5. I have never written a letter to any of my formal selves. – great opening sentence, yeah, who would you choose? And as for those pesky informal selves … we’re all so multicultural!

  6. I really enjoyed reading this, and you have inspired me to write a letter to my future self!

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