Friday, July 27, 2012

Longhand


I have to write this letter. I feel as if I have tried to say these things over and over again, so what is the point in trying once more? I usually write on the computer, not trusting my hand to handle the stress of writing these kinds of words. But I’m sitting in the cafĂ© and my computer is at home on my desk.

I pull out a spiral notebook and my new pen. Writing in longhand is so personal. It puts me in touch physically with the words in a way that the computer keyboard does not. My hand must form each letter, each word. I have to slow down my thoughts to so my hand can keep up. I am forced to think through each word in a more elemental way. This is good and bad.

I start out calmly enough. I am numbering my points as I try to explain (again) the rift and what the exact cause is. I am respectful and thoughtful as I write these words, trying to spare their feelings while still getting the point across. But as my hand moves along the page, it becomes harder and harder to keep the letters well-formed and evenly spaced.

I stop and breathe. I do not want the writing to look like the ravings of a lunatic, but I cannot hide the emotion. It comes pouring out through the tip of the pen.

I arrive at the fourth point, and I cannot control the pen well at all. The letters are jagged and jerky. I am neither weak nor fragile. I am strong. What you perceive as fragility is self-preservation, healing, and honoring myself and my needs. If only my handwriting showed how deeply I believe this.

The words become more and more definitive and deliberate. I will not be in a relationship with people who continue to hurt me whether intentionally or not. I am offended that you consider me so shallow and saddened that you view me in this way. I am appalled that you have treated my husband so thoughtlessly.

I can’t go on any longer. If I were typing this, I might go on and on for pages. But the decline of my handwriting forces me to see the depth of my pain and anger. I cannot continue. My whole body is enveloped in the emotion. The simple act of writing these words has opened a fissure in my calm veneer. I am in a public place and if I continue allowing my hand to express these feelings, I may not be able to keep up the calm visual persona I desire.

I cap the pen. I close the notebook. I breathe.


linking up at Write on Edge and imperfect prose

22 comments:

  1. I feel her pain, she is emotional in defending her home and marriage...at least that is what I hear.

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    1. Thanks. This is non-fiction (all I write). One of those unsent letters. You probably know the kind.

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  2. My mother will never understand how I feel and how her reactions have impacted my life. It took me a very long time to realize she will not ever be the parent I need or want her to be. One of the hardest parts to get through is that society pressures us tolerate behavior from our parents that we surely wouldn't tolerate from others and to continue trying to make things work. After many years of unsuccessfully beating my head against a wall I finally came to the realization that the family I am part of now, my husband and children, is the only family that matters and I walked away from her for good.

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    1. Six months of silence from me has at least gotten my parents' attention. And it's been great for me : )
      That whole head beating thing is just pointless.

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  3. i enjoyed this take on the prompt, and could really feel pain.

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    1. Thanks. It always fascinates me where these prompts take me.

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  4. A great entry...I can feel the pain coming through. Great job!

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  5. Great job. Love how you connected the emotions with her writing.
    but I cannot hide the emotion. It comes pouring out through the tip of the pen. << Amazing line!

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    1. Thanks for the positive feedback! It's taken me years to understand the decline in my handwriting is not a failure, but an emotional response.

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  6. Oh, I can relate. There are certain people in my family I would love to tell things to but I know if I do they won't get it, it won't change anything, and I'll still feel stressed and angry.

    So I've let go. I focus on the family that matters, not the peripheral.

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    1. I focus on my immediate family too. Writing unsent letters at least helps me clarify things.

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  7. My mother and I have had a rocky path, and while we have a decent relationship now, I cannot pretend that I don't expect her to fly off the deep end.

    I will not tolerate from my family any action or inaction that I would not tolerate from a friend or a stranger. I am capable of infinite forgiveness, but that doesn't mean I have to be anyone's doormat.

    So, yes, I hear you. I'm sorry you cannot have the mother that you deserve. But you have a beautiful soul and it shines brightly without her poison. Keep the faith.

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    1. That was a big realization for me. If I won't allow other people to treat me this way, why do I let my parents?

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  8. I love the last 3 sentences. Perfect touch. I like it how you showed that you can see emotion in letters -- if the writing's jerky, or wobbly, or scrunched together. Very true!

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    1. Thank you! It is amazing how much emotion comes through in handwriting.

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  9. Oh, you captured this so powerfully! I'm sorry for the difficult time (this sounds like NF, not fiction), but glad you had the courage to speak up.

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    1. Definitely nf. More from the world of dysfunction that is my family of origin. Glad you liked it (and recognized it as nf!)

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  10. I really liked the way the pen absorbs the emotion and pours it onto the page.
    Sometimes it's good to at least write it down, even if it's never sent.

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    1. I am the writer of many unsent letters!

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  11. Very emotional. You hit the personal part of letter writing on the nose. I am horrible at sending letters (or any mail for that matter.)

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  12. I agree entirely with you in how emotional it can be to hand write something to someone. Especially in this age of emails and texts and such, a hand written word takes on a whole new perspective. That being said, I am glad to hear you've learned to set better boundaries with those who have hurt you - even if they are family. As a counselor, I understand how hard that can be sometimes. I tell clients that you have two kinds of family - family of origin and family you build for yourself. I get the feeling you're doing well building the latter while dealing appropriately with the former.

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