Letters of love & vulnerability.
In the classic, heart-wrenching love story of our time, Noah shows his devotion to Allie by writing her a letter every day for a year. When she reads them seven years later, their love story commences into a beautiful life.
But unlike most movie tropes, love letters can be this powerful in real life. We’ve seen this proven with complete strangers, but it can be a part of our everyday relationships too.
We often think of letters as a parcel of mail with a stamp that has to travel over some distance, but the physical space it spans is not nearly as important as the emotional space. Don't feel silly if you're writing someone a mile away, or handing a letter to a friend.
It’s hard to say when my boyfriend and I started writing love letters to each other, but as writers and introverts it can be easier for us to express ourselves through letters and it's now an essential part of our relationship.
There is something about holding those words in your hands that brings them closer to your heart and mind. This is why we write letters. This is why we sit down and take the time to express our thoughts and put ourselves on paper. It really is a piece of yourself that you can give to someone you love.
When we first started dating, we worked in the same cafe. Even though we spent a lot of time in the same space, there was an inexplicable excitement when he would hand me a folded slip of paper just as one of us was leaving for the day. These letters have been passed between us, left in mailboxes or in other places for each other to find.
I’ve used letters to share both feelings and memories. On the one year anniversary of our first kiss I wrote him a letter retelling what I remembered about that night, he did the same in return and now its a little piece of our love story, documented in our own words from both perspectives.
The letters are all written with love, but many of them contain much more than that. We write these letters not just in times of happiness, but also in times of struggle. We often share intense vulnerability and insecurities with each other through letters. It creates a safe space to say that really really scary thing or that really bold thing like ‘I’m doing my best’ or ‘I love you with all my being.’
Like all relationships, there is an ebb and flow between us. When we are having a hard time communicating, we can look back on these letters we’ve written to each other.They remind us that no matter what we go through, we have each other, our love and our letters.They hold versions of ourselves that are intimate, precious and perfectly preserved.
While the idea of writing letters is often romanticized, the reality of writing is gritty and tough. If you're trying to write a letter and find yourself grappling with words and emotions, congratulations because you're doing it right. It should be a leap of uncertainty because the reward is only as sweet as the risk.
The only way to get to the happy romantic part is through the mud. This is how we find the beautiful things inside of us. This is how we share ourselves and write about love.
So the next time you find yourself crushing, or falling in love, consider picking up a pen and sharing a piece of yourself.
Here are a few tips if you're unsure of where to start:
Write exactly what you're thinking! You never have to share your first draft so feel free to write whatever is coming to mind.
Think of a specific moment and tell someone how it made you feel. Getting a glimpse into someone else’s thoughts and experience is extremely powerful.
Have fun with it! Letters don't have to be serious.You'll be happier with an honest expression of yourself to reflect upon later.
Use quotes, song lyrics or other borrowed words. Articulating your feelings takes practice so go easy on yourself even if you can't do it right away.
Make the whole letter a representation of yourself by using cards, paper, and pens that make you smile and bring you joy. Feel free to doodle too!
If you’ve shared some deep feelings get a little nervous like me, just seal it and hand it over. Being vulnerable is scary but it shows incredible strength. Take pride in it.
Allie Silvas is a writer and line cook based in Los Angeles. You can find her writing about food and culture at matchstickcooking.com.