As a writer, I think of many different ways that I can use this skill. Most of my first thoughts center on creative outlets such as poetry and fiction. However, typing out past experiences or present worries can help to take away stress. Then, of course, there are the things that one must write such as academic papers, to-do lists, and social media updates.
However, there is a type of writing that is deeply personal and emotional that we rarely use anymore. That is letter writing.
Growing up, my grandma and I corresponded with letters regularly. We would read the same book and communicate what we thought about it. At the end, we each created a test for the other person. Her scrawling cursive writing contrasted with my large block letters with scribbles marking mistakes.
All of these letters are saved in a box in my closet. This cardboard box holds cards from as far back as my sixth birthday to just a few weeks ago. Almost every letter that I have received is tenderly placed with the rest. Kittens on Birthday cards, construction paper and lace Valentines, papers filled with updates from friends, apologies from teenage boys forced by parents, supportive recovery notes, and many other types of correspondence reside tucked away from the view of others. However, I enjoy to look at my cards every once in awhile and remember those who sent each one.
This week, I sent out two handwritten letters. One was to my therapist who I have been struggling with lately (for more on that story, you can read this post and the next one). She reached out to me asking for forgiveness, and I am allowing myself to trust her again. It will take time but is the right choice. Writing to her allowed me to release anger and hurt that I had pent up inside after our last visit.
Then, I wrote to a woman who I met on a bus to Michigan. She opened up to me and has been a wonderful pen pal. Ever since meeting, we have stayed in touch. Responding to her helped me to see that others care for me and also helped me to realize how far I have come in the last few months.
Writing letters as a coping skill takes time and preparation. However, it is fairly simple and can be done anywhere. All you need is a writing utensil, some paper or a card, a stamp, and an address. After choosing who you want to send a note, just take some time to sit down and write out your thoughts. The letter can be humorous or filled with pain. You can open up completely or only address a single issue. Whatever you choose, try to make the experience a release instead of something that causes more stress.
Although letter writing is a thing of the past, we can still use it currently as coping skill. After all, receiving letter still fills me with excitement. By writing to someone else, you will not only help yourself but also them.
- Letters – a conversation with my cousin by Remember to Exhale
- We Should Start Writing Letters Again by Nodus Tollens
- “Why Snail Mail?” or “Love is in the Mail” or “It’s February – Part One” by Donielle Hart
- The Art of Cooking – and Letter Writing by Nina Sankovitch
- After the War Ends, Love is Still There: Winston and Clementine Churchill by Eighteen Seventy Eight