I have the talent, skill, curse when it comes to correspondence. My momma encouraged me to letter write. Growing up overseas and flying to Canada in the summers, we’d have many a stopover and adventure in Europe. I would mimic my mother and (likely) ask her to buy me a postcard or two to have my own to send to friends. Caught between two countries, Canada and Saudi Arabia, there was always ample opportunity to correspond… Because in those days, the internet was non-existent.
I have many a memory of staying in a hotel. One in particular stays with me: staying in a hotel in Switzerland. I know it’s Switzerland because I had a postcard to write to a Canadian friend and needed clarification on how in the hell you spell the country lucky enough to have a ‘z’ in their name. My parents instilled courtesy and conscientiousness in me. I suppose with three young kids, travelling often, you had to have a tight reign on them and their manners. Besides learning to tread softly (there are people below you!), I learned to correspond, to keep up communication between myself and distant friends.
In addition to it being instilled in me. I liked and like corresponding. I’m old fashioned that way. Long letters detailing (at the time) my pre-teen life. Informing my Canadian peers of what was happening when I was in Saudi, and as it would turn out in 1995, long letters and postcards detailing my Canadian life to my former classmates still residing in Saudi.
Corresponding was learned and I continue to work at it. With all our technological advancements it is way easier to get in touch with people. However, it is still a skill to set aside the time and reach out. No matter how small the text or Facebook message. I suppose it has involved practice, starting from a young age, honing that skill of writing to share and connect—to be vulnerable— with that person across the world… or city. To write like a mother fucker in all permutations.
I feel my desire to correspond is inherent and therefore more likely for me to express. On the flip side of this, I like to receive correspondence so I contribute to the world what I’d like to receive.
Inevitably at some point it becomes one if I let it. The ebbs and flow of communication can affect me if I let it, if I put an expectation on the outcome. My gremlins take root and let me know that all this correspondence? Postcard writing, texting, emails, voicemail, wall posts, IG shares, is one-sided. And who in their right mind would reach out to people who don’t pick up the slack?
Sometimes the gremlins win. Sometimes I ride it out because living life, I know that there is in fact reciprocity. The ebb becomes a flow. Them gremlins can go take a hike.
And then when I set my intention to corresponding less, magic happens. Three peeps I haven’t heard from in a respective few months, two years, and 12 years, contact me. Life. It’s beautiful.
Easing up on the reigns.