Unsent Letters

Sometimes, we can’t really say what we want to say to a person, and invariably, that’s when things tend to get a little complicated.

The more I look at the way we talk to each other, the more I notice that being honest about what we feel – good, bad, ugly, and everything in between – is not an easy thing to do. While I make it a habit of speaking bluntly about certain things, admitting certain other things, especially if more than one person will be affected by it, comes at a difficulty. And, for a given fact, I’m hardly alone in that regard.

That’s when I write, and that’s when I also weigh as to whether or not I actually want to put what I have said out there.

I’m nowhere near religious, but I believe in the saying, “From your lips to God’s ears.” Similar can be said in the modern day and age of, “From your fingers to God’s eyesight.” Words are powerful. The wrong words, it seems, have more power than the right ones. Every time we write an email, or think about telling a friend something that they don’t want to hear, we always ask ourselves the question of, “What am I risking in this?”

I firmly avoid sending certain letters because I know of the widespread repercussions that my words may have. That’s the thing about consequences: always there. Either you think about them and weigh the risk and reward, or you risk losing not just the effect that you were hoping to have, but whomever you were thinking of writing to.

Today, I found myself on Notepad, writing a strongly-worded letter to someone who’s been a longtime friend, because I felt that my own thoughts had gotten rather jumbled, and I needed the perspective of a written word to see what I was really thinking. It was actually rather interesting, because I failed to consider that the answer to why I was so miffed about the situation was because I had overlooked the bluntly obvious, and the result is a letter that will never be sent, and will likely get deleted. While it gave me the much-needed change of perspective, it got me thinking: what if, eventually, I’ll write a letter that I want to send, regardless of how personal or inflammatory?

The answer remains the same: I’d still keep it under wraps.

The reason is simple: there’s no way to predict the outcome of your words. There’s no way to predict how the other person in the equation will react. You can always contemplate, you can attempt to map out a possible outcome, but in all reality, there’s no telling whether or not your words will have the desired effect or its exact opposite.

It’s a good reason that my cache of unsent letters remains as such, and eventually sees the ether that is the Recycle Bin. I don’t like leaving things unpredictable, or to chance.

So, my readers, let me pose a challenge to you. If you could write a letter to anyone in your life, what would you say? Reply in comments. Keep the recipient’s identity anonymous. I won’t say a word.



3 thoughts on “Unsent Letters

  1. if i could write a letter to anyone, it would be my own father. he and i have had a rocky relationship, and some things my mom told me, shed more light on my dad. he was not there for me a lot of times as i was growing up, and word had gotten out into the school i was attending at the time, that he was cheating on my mother. now…..you have to understand, my dad is now a retired minister..yes, that’s right, a minister. this isn’t the first time that a minister has cheated on his wife, i know of several others who have, and all their marriages wound up in the shitter. my dad remarried less than 2 years after the divorce. me and my brothers got used as pawns in their divorce, like so many kids do. my first marriage ended in divorce, not for anything i did, but, rather, my now ex-wife caused the marriage to end, for reasons i shall not go into, i guess i should have the last laugh, because she is now a registered sex offender because of what came about in our marriage. she brought things on herself. some will say because my parents got divorced, that my marriage ended because of that. um, NO, that’s not it. i’m well adjusted enough, due to going through a lot of counseling when my mom and dad were going their seperate ways.. i’m happy in my relationship with Kristen, and would not trade this for the world.

    1. That’s a hell of a mouthful right there, but believe me when I say I understand. What we’re born into constitutes a lot of who we are, but it doesn’t define us.

      I find that living well is the best last laugh a person can have. If you’re happy as you are – which you are, plainly – then the need for revenge, for payback, for everything and what-have-you falls away.

      This evening, I really needed to un-jumble my head. I was cheesed off at my friend, but it was not all his fault. Not all mine either, but definitely enough to make me lose sight of certain things.

  2. Much like you, I find relief in writing things down, then I sit back and look at the words I wrote and try to figure out, what effect they have on me as well what effect they might have on others. At times, when unsure of the latter I’m sure not to send it. At other times, I’ve made the questionable decision of sending or publishing otherwise.

    There’s a ton of things I’d have to say to quite a number of people, who are supposed to be close – when in fact they don’t feel that way to me. I understand this comment will remain inconclusive without giving some facts, but suffice it to say that I gave up on addressing the most pressing things with those whom I see as the originators of those pressures and unreconciled accounts. For we don’t speak the same language – figuratively speaking. There is no point in addressing things, when you can be sure – and from experience so – that the recipient doesn’t have the “cognitive decoding unit” to make sense of your words or connect them with their own behaviours. In other words: If you are the only party reflecting, questioning and trying to reevaluate, you’re…. left alone there as well. So I have no other choice but to reinterpret abandonment as “letting go” – for my own good, and to leave things unaddressed, where there can be no progress whatsoever.

    Hope, any of the above made any sense… :) Thanks for sharing your great writing with us!

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