Daily Archives: January 24, 2012

Dead Letters & Other Heartwrenching Ephemera

So, ya know those boxes I’ve been talking about bringing up? The ones full of books that I’ve been giving away or lady head vases that I’ve been putting back onto their shelves? I mentioned one box that took hours to go through. It was labeled “My life in a box. Heavy. Both literally and figuratively.” (Yes, that is how I label my boxes!) It contained paperwork from the past few years. Well today, in my continuing effort to clear out one of my two storage spaces, I brought up another box, this one labeled “Lots of old shit I should probably throw away, but…” This box took an even bigger chunk out of my day.

The psychic baggage inside this box was weighty. I sorted through things dating back to the ’80s, if not earlier: my college graduation announcement, wedding invitations from people who are divorced, cards from people who are dead, congratulations notes on landing jobs I lost ages ago. And letters. Dozens and dozens of letters. They seem like relics from another century. Well, actually, they are. Handwriting a note was so personal. Mistakes couldn’t be backspaced over and corrected. A card could be filled, then over-filled, the words winding upside down and onto the back. Scrawled exclamations or doodled hearts conveyed emotion. And they were meant only for the recipient, not the potential thousands of eyes on Facebook.

Even more heartwrenching than the letters from friends — and dead folks — are the notes from my parents. They reveal their hopes and dreams for me, notes sent with checks “to tide me over” or encouraging words as I sought my way in the big city. And here I sit, single (again), unemployed (again) and falling short of so many dreams.

On a brighter note, I have had a positive impact on more lives than I realize. Many cards — some from people I don’t even remember — thank me: “You’ve made my life happier.” That’s always nice to hear. And I’ve been loved by more people than I was aware of as well. Looking back, were some of these men interested in me romantically? Their letters certainly sound like that was the case. How did I not recognize it at the time?

But any box of memories is bound to be depressing, even if the contents is all sunshine and lollipops. I have the flier for my 30th birthday surprise party my sister threw me. That was 23 birthdays ago. I have my passenger card from a cruise I took with a boyfriend in February 1993. The miniature portfolio I sent out in my quest to become a copywriter. A promotional piece that, in retrospect, was completely off the mark. The copy I wrote that I heard over the airwaves, when I thought I’d finally “made it.” Ephemera from another life.

Day 13, January 23
1. No meditating. Again.
2. 90 minutes of working out.
3. Wrote yesterday’s blog post, started on this one.
4. The TV was droning on in the background but I don’t think I heard a word of it.
5. I brought up another box and actually opened it. That was as far as I got before feeling completely overwhelmed. See above.
6. Socializing: If Kaspur hadn’t dropped by, my entire contact with the outside world would’ve been a nod to another woman in the gym. I didn’t venture out of my building.