dear Lu,

I want to say I am sorry.

I want you to know that the way I ignored you the other night was perhaps childish, especially considering the progress I thought we had previously made, but also that I hadn't prepared myself for what to do in that situation, and had I seen you from a distance I would have made things much less obvious.  I want you to know your messages are confusing.  I want to tell you the reason I asked you to go with me to Exit Review; how I had been waiting at least a month to ask you that; how I had a dream a while back in which I found myself alone there with no friends and an ex-girlfriend whose portfolio was on display for everyone except for me; how I woke from that dream forcefully and anxiously, well before I had to be awake for anything, just sitting in bed wondering if that's how it would be.  I want to tell you how a few days ago two old friends messaged me out of the blue, and I couldn't help myself from telling them both how much I miss them, not in the way that you tell someone when you cannot think of anything else to say, but in the way that you did not want to tell them but it somehow made its way out of your heart, through your fingers, and onto their phones.  I want you to know I cried after that.  I want to tell you about a girl I met recently and how when I learned her last name the second thing I thought of was how your names (first, middle, and last) had the exact same number of letters.  I want to tell you the first thing I thought was that she had one of the same names and the same initials as the previously mentioned ex.  I want to tell you when she wore a red jacket in church she looked like you from the back where I was taking communion.  I want you to know that nothing is going on between us.  I want to buy you this book I found, because of so many reasons that would require no explanation.  I want to send you text messages every time I see an illustration you would like.  I want someone to play basketball with, just for fun.  I want to get all of this out, to never again have to feel like it is pent up inside of me, to stop writing things like this.

I know I cannot have all the things I want.  I know it.

I am sorry.



to whom it may concern,

Let's get this out of the way:  I am not good at letting go.

It is no secret that throughout the past few years people have been walking out of my life.  Friends have been moving on and giving up and letting go one after another.  I used to be, and in many cases still am, hurt by their leaving.  But maybe it is a necessary part of life.  Maybe it must happen.  It is soon to be fall, the season in which trees lose their leaves only to subsequently endure cold weather bare.  But eventually, new leaves grow to replace the old ones.  Is that how our lives are to be?  Are we trees going through seasons?  Can any of us hope to be evergreen?

No, I guess not.  The truth is that sometimes we push people away to the point where they have no other option.  Maybe we look too much at the way they are hurting us, rather than the way we are hurting them.  Often times, by our lack of care, we are the ones who let go first.

Regardless, I want to say that being on the other end of that situation is equally as difficult.  Sometimes you get to a point where you just can't take being hurt anymore.  You realize that, even if it may hurt that person, you have to walk away.  Sometimes without saying anything.

I know none of this makes sense.  Not to most of you anyway.  I just don't know of any other way to say it.

I'm sorry.  I love you.



dear you,

I found this on my computer, saved in my notes.  The only clue to whose words they are is a link to a disabled myspace account.  I think I know who wrote it.  I also think that it could be multiple girls, even those whom chronologically wouldn't fit the timeline.  It comforts me to know that people might still think of me this way, yet it almost scares me to think that I haven't changed.  Maybe in certain ways, I'm not supposed to.

It's funny how some things never change. Even after all we've been through I'm still crazy about him. He always makes me smile and laugh and I love the way just reading his name on my caller id can send my stomach soaring with butterflies. I never get tired of talking to him and I love the sound of his voice...especially when he sings. I like the way our hands fit together and the way it feels when he holds me against him. There are a million and one reasons I could give for why I like him so much, but listing those here would take way too much space. He makes me happy, and that is way more than I ever thought I would get. (: I love our cute little text messages and late night phone calls, I wouldn’t trade them for the world. Even when we’re arguing he tends to say the sweetest things. He deserves much better than me. Even if I lose him my feelings won't change. It's more than "just a crush", it's one of those things you feel in your heart even when the other person doesn't feel the same.

May you find your butterflies.  May you find your million and one reasons.  May you find your sweetest things. May you find your things that never change and may you feel it in your heart forever and ever and ever.



dear seo,

I really do not know what I am doing.

Since graduation I have been working a retail job in my old college town, while I moved fifteen minutes north to live in a small, nowhere town.  I live in a large and lonely house.  I used to search for jobs every day.  This recently became less of a habit when I started substitute teaching.  Now I am working two jobs.  I am also trying to freelance design, which is sort of another job.  I say sort of because it adds to my work load, but not to my bank account.  I have been designing things for friends, which means for free.  I do not take photos as much as I used to.  I have been in and out of a serious relationship.  I have met new people.  I have lost contact with old friends and I complain about it often, but mostly because I am afraid of reconnecting with them.  I am scared that they will realize that I am the one who left, scared to admit that I was wrong, scared that it will never be the same as it used to be.  I have written two songs about this.  I have performed both songs live.  I have played one of them in my room until I cried.  I gave up chocolate and non-water beverages for Lent.  Today I had a banana mocha frappe.  I began praying daily.  I got a hamster, who is still nameless.  I just call him bro.  Or buddy.  I have gone whole days without human contact, and I have gone whole minutes feeling extremely blessed to share them with amazing people.  I have had more anxiety attacks than ever.  I have explored areas I've never been before and revisited old beloved ones.  I have played lots of basketball and eaten lots of strawberries.

I just want people to know that I am not perfect.  I want them to know that they are loved, by someone somewhere.  I want you to know that you will be hurt and held, bruised and believed in, left alone and loved again.  Yes, I want you to know that is how life is.  I want my friends to never give up, or to try again and again.  I want everyone to be good to everyone else and to find truth for themselves.

Really, I do not know what I am doing.



to whom it may concern,

Happy new year, or whatever!

It turns out that the less time you waste complaining about your life on the internet, the more time you have to actually do something about it.  This is something I realized sometime in December and have begun to live out, and not as some sort of new year's resolution or anything, just as a new way to live my life.  I've skipped writing one or two of these here letters since then.  And to tell you the truth, as much as I don't want to admit it, the times I want to write the letters are when I feel crappy and under-appreciated.  But when I look at my life, I really enjoy it.

I mean, some of the best things are happening right now.  I met a beautiful woman who makes me very happy.  I have an abundance of time to spend alone.  I've got a car to drive and a smartphone to use and a parent who pays my cell phone bill and a family who loves me.  I've got a bed to sleep in and a five bedroom house that I currently reside in alone most of the time.  I live with my best friend, and even though he plays drums for the wrong band, I still love him.  My camera still works, my computer still works, my pens and pencils still work, my brain still works.  I have books to read, lots of books, and I read slowly so I will have them to read for the next couple years.  After a few weeks of this positive thinking, I bought a new guitar, the exact guitar I wanted, for half the list price, and now that is something to think positively about.  I've got friends who may not be around but care enough to wish me happy birthday (even a day or two late!).  I am another year older, older, older.

I've still got some issues to work out and there are still things that bum me out, but why should I waste my time telling you when I can get up and make the change myself?  So here's to making change.  Here's to getting up and going outside, or staying home and learning to enjoy it.  Here's to less sad things and more happy things.  Here's to finally understanding that posting things like "so bored, let's hang out" on social networks leads to absolutely zero results in the short run or the long run.



dear lion,

Yesterday I climbed to the roof of our two-story house and read Sylvia Plath.  Apparently that sounds extremely depressing, but I promise it was anything but.  It was a nice day out.

I've been reading a lot lately.  I guess it comes with being out of school, only working part-time, and living twenty miles from anyone I might actually hang out with.  I read lots of comic books (thanks Ryan), graphic novels, and poetry.  I tried to read C.S. Lewis a few weeks ago, but couldn't make it past the first chapter.  So I returned it to the library and got more graphic novels and poetry.  The thing I love about comic books and graphic novels is that I can tell people that I read them because I enjoy the art.  And a lot of the time, that is true.  But something that I don't tell people is that my attention has been getting worse and that large words and over-sized blocks of text have begun to confuse me and make my brain hurt.  I wish I was exaggerating.  I get lost in long sentences.  I feel sick when a thought isn't complete after one page.  I don't know what is happening to me, but I hope it stops soon.  I'm waiting for my next paycheck so I can buy the new "Best American Short Stories", although I am so afraid that I will become overwhelmed by them as well.  I love short stories, and I can't imagine I will ever not be able to read them.  I hope I'm right.

(To clarify, when I say graphic novels I don't only mean of the superhero sort, but mostly of the serious sort.  Some great ones I've read recently are "That Salty Air" by Tim Sievert, "Embroideries" by Marjane Satrapi, and "Thoreau at Walden" by John Porcellino, which is sort of an illustrated version of Walden by Thoreau.  If only I could find a graphic novels of C.S. Lewis' work.)

Having so much alone time has caused me to become dependent on things like the internet and television, so I've been trying to step away from that more and more.  It's tough, because who in the world doesn't want to be lazy?  I've been trying to do more self-directed art and design projects.  I've been attempting to leave my phone in my room while I go downstairs to hang out with my roommates or read or something.  In the same way, I've been trying to get away from always being on my computer, or at least the internet.  Tonight I'm going to eat at a restaurant I dislike (for my friend's birthday) just because I want to go out.  A long time ago I posted on my photo blog about how I was trying to say yes more, to live and experience more.  I lost that for a while, but I want so much for that to be my mindset again.  I don't want to be a downer or a pessimist.  I just want to have fun.  Now that I've finally paid off my debts to everyone I owe (I hope) I have been able to save money and can eat more than ramen, so who cares if it's food from a terrible restaurant?  It will be with my friends, and that is what matters most.

I wish this letter was as deep and inspiring as my last letter.  It's not.  There have been a lot of ups and downs since then.  I still have my struggles with anxiety and dreams and so on, but there are some very good things going on as well.  I can't say that life is perfect right now, but I can say that it is only as good as you let it be.

So, in words I know you'll appreciate, just "let it be, let it be, let it be."



dear owl,

For the first time in almost year I have slept in a real bed.  Then I took a nap, too.  This may be surprising to hear, but I'm actually looking forward to sleeping tonight.  Now, don't get me wrong, I still think sleep is a huge waste of time, but I am really happy about not having a broken back or a misaligned spine or whatever I've been doing to my future-self for the past year.

While it may be too soon to tell...okay, it is definitely too early to tell, but anyway...I think this "having a real bed" thing is going to be good for me in more ways than just physically.  I've already begun to realize that sleeping on a pull out couch (or the couch not-pulled-out, or the floor many nights) and trying to maintain my room-as-an-office atmosphere was contributing to and reinforcing a feeling of impermanence.  I created this idea in myself that my time here was temporary, not just in this apartment, but in my life.*  Ironically, I will be moving out in less than two months, so I haven't let myself start feeling permanent just yet.  The truth is that the way I've been dealing with school and relationships with new and old friends alike and especially my spirituality has been very selfish and unfair.  I've been constantly looking forward to "what's next" and not devoted time or energy to what is here, now, right in front of me.  I'm sure you can agree with this much, and in no way did I mean for this to be some kind of excuse/apology letter, but I hope you can forgive me all the same.

I don't believe that this temporal feeling stemmed from simply sleeping on a couch-bed.  As I said, I believe it reinforced the feeling.  I think the original reason for it has to do with many of my fears from the previous year, most of which came from losing a few important friends and spending much of my summer alone.  In all honesty, I think I wanted things to be impermanent.  I couldn't stand that the things I wanted to keep forever didn't last and that there was nothing I could do about it, so I began treating everything as if it would be here for only a minute and gone in another.  I didn't let myself get attached.  Unfortunately, I think it cost me a lot of potentially great friendships.  I think it has also kept me from really getting a routine down, especially one that includes time for praying and reading the Bible.  I haven't built a solid relationship with a local church either, convincing myself that I don't have time.  As simple and cliché as it is, the phrase "carpe diem" is one that I should have taken to heart a lot sooner.  Or maybe "carpe dium" is a better one.  Ha.  Either way, I know that I have not lived enough in this past year.  I have been too willing to let things get away, just as they inevitably will.  I've given up fighting and just began watching, waiting, hoping that good things would just happen but not striving to look for them or caring when they never did.

So I guess what I'm trying to say is this is my letter of resignation to the way I've been living and my official declaration to rejoin the fight.  Maybe it's a little too late, but I'm going to seize the rest of my days here for what they're worth.  I'm going to miss the crap out of my friends when they leave for a weekend.  I'm going to hold onto their ankles while they try to walk out of my life and cry when they shake me loose and shut the door.  I'm going to take risks, maybe take a girl on a date, kiss her, and not apologize for it.  Then I'll go home and pray or read the Bible or just watch an episode of Happy Endings without ever touching my stupid phone.  I'll turn the danged thing off when I go to the river.  I will go to the river.  I'll take off my shirt at the river, and maybe even jump in despite my extreme dislike of cold water.  I will realize that all good things don't just happen on their own, that I need to get out there and make them happen.  I will accept the fact that I am going to lose people for whatever reason and that I may only be in this place for a little while longer without letting it dictate my life and the way I live, or maybe let it influence me to embrace what I have while it lasts.  I will love you.  I will love myself.  I will love my life, day by ever-loving day.


*This should not be confused with the "I'm just passing through" mindset one might have as a Christian looking forward to heaven.  That attitude has shaped my life in different ways than I have intended in this letter.