Friday, June 6, 2008

Sunday? Letters Vol. 4

Dear Rob,

If I didn't know you I would be tempted to apologize to you since this letter was supposed to have been written and posted a week ago, but since I do know you, I know that the existence of this letter will only annoy or embarrass you for bringing unwanted attention your way, so I'll save myself an apology. Actually, I can see it now…should this letter ever be known to you your eyes will slowly roll back in to your head and a soft "psscht" will escape from between your teeth just for knowing that I'm writing about you without your permission. This knowledge has plagued me all week as I wrote drafts one, two, three, and four of this letter, but I've finally come to the conclusion that, you know what? I'm on an important mission to write letters to those who have made a big impact on my life, and whether you like it or not, you've made one of the biggest impressions on me, so you'll just have to accept my sign of appreciation the only way I know how to show it, and let me go with the flow.

I have this tiny notebook--I think it used to be red but it has turned to more of a burnt orange color with age. It's covered in pictures of white roses and the shiny smiley face stickers that were so popular back in 8th grade. The notebook was given to me as a Christmas gift from my Sunday School instructor and I chose to use it as a "Book of My Thoughts and Opinions"--that's a direct quote from one of the first few pages. I wrote that I didn't want to use the terms diary or journal because everyone else does that and I wanted to be different--that was so like me back in the 90s', wasn't it? Anyway, it was my first attempt at writing anything autobiographical outside of school, my first "journal", and you played both the protagonist and antagonist in the second journal entry I ever wrote.

I won't rehash all of the painful details but I will say it was about a certain night back in February of 1996 when you obviously found yourself in a very dark and lonely hole without any hope of finding your way out, and so you took the only road that appeared plausible at the time. And the words I used to describe that particular night were obviously those of a naive 14-year-old girl who hadn't yet experienced true despair or hopelessness, but however inexperienced or caddy my words may have been, one thing was made very clear in my page and a half entry--I loved you immensely, and I was scared out of my wits that you were going to leave me alone in this tough world that I couldn't even begin to know how to navigate. Television sitcoms promised me that high school would be an exciting adventure full of boys, dances, football games, and driver's licenses, and your two week stint in the hospital was reason for me to not believe everything I saw on TV.

I overheard you and Mom talking one night, many years ago, debating whether or not watching you suffer through high school was the culprit for my own anxiety, and truth be told, I still don't know if my depression was brought on by a very timely chemical imbalance or if that particular night in February is guilty of ripping the rose-colored glasses from my eyes and showing me the world for what it really is. Either way, whatever happened to me, whatever darkness took over the both of us in our teenage years, I am thankful for it. It is those years, albeit trying and uncomfortable, that turned me into the thoughtful, observant, sensible woman that I am today. If I'd had it easy in high school there's a good possibility that I never would have found the means of dipping into my emotions and the desire to write them down. I can't even think, don't want to think, about the person I would be without the ability or drive to express myself on paper. It's too big a part of me to even fathom my life without writing.

It's been over 12 years since I wrote my first "Thoughts and Opinions" entry, and believe it or not, you're up there with Mom and Jon for most commonly used character. You've always been someone for me to look up to, someone who is so down-to-earth, intelligent, accepting, who has incredible taste in music, and someone who is so laidback that everyone loves to be around you. You are sarcastic, funny, wise beyond your years, and so smart that you can do something I'll never be able to do--think on your feet. You are the epitome of cool without even realizing it, which makes you even more cool.

I went in search of a husband who held all of your amazing qualities and you know what I discovered? You are one of a kind. So, I had to settle for the next best thing--a friend of yours. Give yourself credit where credit is deserved, and for God's sake, let yourself be loved.

Your sister,


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