Friday, September 28, 2012
Why I Write - My First Love Letter
On more than a few occasions, I have found myself wishing that I had been born in an age when letter writing was more prominent. Like maybe post Civil War and slavery issues. After all, I have always loved to get things in the mail and even further, I love any excuse to write. I often feel that my talent for writing is a waste in my own generation because no one puts value on words like in generations before me. Regardless of how perfectly I edit my text message of "Wanna hang out?" it amounts to very little.
So, I've decided to write letters anyway, I'm not about to let this literary genius (me) go unnoticed.
One definite distinction we have from the older generations is our ability to share what we have done, be it jewelry making, child party decorations, wedding ideas, or other pin-worthy creations. Even if you never list my name among the best, at least I can say I tried. I can write down my words and share them with my friends and family instantly and repetitively, if required, without having to stand atop of a mountain with a bull horn.
When I was in 7th grade, I had a teacher, Ms. Anderson, who made us read Shakespeare.
I would like to interrupt myself here for a moment to say that I will be the first to admit (and Sam, I think you can verify this to anyone who may not believe me) I did not read one single book for any school assignment after this year of school. Don't get this confused with lack of work ethic. I graduated High School with a B average and enough credits to graduate early (if I had know it was an option. Stupid Sandy High School counselors.) And, in my opinion, was the best Editor-in-Chief that Yearbook has ever seen. I was never one to dig in to a good school book reading assignment, so when I express emotion in the next little section here, you can really relate to where I'm coming from.
OK Julia, you can continue.
Like I was saying, many of the students predictably struggled with the writings and hated studying the Shakespeare. Even if I pretended to find the assignments as torturous as the others, I was engrossed. I found myself actually pouring page after page, finishing days ahead of the rest of the class. I loved reading Julius Caesar and have read it again at least twice. Every word meant something. I've found that less talented writers use thesauruses to pad their writing with big, fancy words that muddle the message of the story line. Shakespeare put thought and meaning into every character, dialogue, scene. Instead of telling a story, he created an emotional attachment to the people in his plays. His words were rhythmic and purposeful. I knew I wanted to write like that. I wanted to be able to effect people by using words as elegantly and proficiently as he did.
I found myself daydreaming about students years into the future sitting in my desk studying a book written by me. What would I write about? Who would the characters be? Would this be a book that made them groan to have to read and try to understand? How long would it be? What would the cover look like? Would I put any illustrations or photos in my book?
When I snapped back to attention, my teacher was describing an assignment to accompany our most recent Shakespeare play, Twelfth Night. We would each have to write a love-letter, having a recipient in mind or not, using Shakespearean dialogue. I could not be more excited. While other students laughed as they wrote poems filled with idiotic made-up phrases, mocking the old English way of speaking, I wanted to make my letter as romantic and authentic to the time-period as possible. There would be no difference between my letter and a letter written by William himself, I thought.
I succeeded at my endeavor and recieved high marks on my project. But, it was the satisfaction of the words I had written that paid me a higher reward. I knew that I had a talent for writing and even cooler, I loved it.
I've sometimes shied away from opening up and expressing true emotion because I have a fear of becoming vulnerable. I hate the idea that someone might not like what I have to say. I imagine that is what it takes to be a good writer. I figure that if you write about what you're passionate about and put it out there, that's all you can do. I'm taking my own advice and putting it out there.
In 7th grade, I didn't have an intended recipient for my love letter. Today, I do have someone to write my letter to. Even better, I can use the internet as my proverbial mountain to shout from.
You are a better person than I am, better even than I could ever hope to be. When I met you, I had no way of knowing what our relationship would amount to. You love and give to others without one thought of how it might benefit you. You inspire me to speak better of others, act more thoughtfully, and give selflessly the way you effortlessly do everyday. To say, as some traditionally have said, that you are as beautiful inside as you are on the outside would be an injustice to measure how innocently and beautifully you bless everyone in your life. You amaze me every single day.
I cannot believe how lucky I was to meet you so early in my life. The loving and laughter-filled memories we already share and have the opportunity to continue creating together are a treasure worth more to me than all of the wealth in the world. The life in front of us excites me when I imagine the adventures we will undertake together. I could not picture anyone I would rather take on the world with.
Thank you for being a rock. You have stood by my side, relentlessly at times, through the hardest experiences in my life. I can remember when we were young and green, as we have clearly matured since then. We came to a terrifying crossroad at which we seriously solidified our pact to "Keep moving forward." We sat together on our green velvet couch, two weeks without power or hot water, and pictured our future together. We wept and held each other as we realized the possibility that they would never except us. We were destined to be alone in this together, constantly defending our relationship to the members of our families, friends, and co-workers who were ignorant to the feasibility that what we had was real. Should we go down this road any further? The course we were taking had perpetually beat us down every time we attended a family function, reunited with old friends, listened to debates in politics, and overheard sneers from strangers as we walked by hand in hand and would continue to do so. It seemed likely that no one would ever celebrate the milestones in our future with us...engagement? marriage? Why bother? We thought, no one would care. I was exhausted. You were exhausted. At 19 years old, I honestly didn't know if I could live this life forever. It was too much drama and I knew you were feeling the same way.
One of the smartest decisions I've ever made, and there aren't many, was to buck up, grab your hand, and head down that road. We showed them, sweetheart, all by ourselves.
Lastly, thank you for carrying me through my encounter with mortality during my 6 months of chemotherapy. No one besides you and I will ever know the hell we walked through during that time. It might not be Shakespearean, but thank you for the bags of vomit you disposed of, the nights you went without sleep or had to shower in the middle of the night from getting soaked in my sweat, cleaning my sheets, clothing, towels, arranging medication, administering suppositories, yelling at nurses, and sleeping in a worn-out recliner at my hospital bedside. What we endured during those months has broken up the most seasoned relationships, even marriages. You took one look into the eye of the storm, hoisted me up on your shoulders, and powered us right on through the worst of it. At a time that would have otherwise nearly killed me with crippling melancholy and loneliness, I had your beautiful smile to pull me up and keep me strong enough to push through the pain and your hand held out for mine every time I needed it. I can only pray that you do not undervalue your role in my survival of cancer. I do not mean this lightly when I say "I could not have done it without you."
I am the luckiest person in the entire world to call you mine, to have you as my partner in crime through even the stickiest of situations. To say the least, I am undeserving though you never make me feel that way.
You are the reason I write. I want to make you as proud to stand at my side as I am to stand by yours. I love you so much and I am so thankful for our life together.