I have had some turmoil in my life over the last few years. I have been between jobs, between contracts, between cities, between countries, between houses, between relationships—well, I’ve just been between. When I moved into my current house, I put off unpacking all the boxes and cartons. I didn’t want to unpack and have to sort through things and have to find places for stuff that I may end up moving in a few months or so. I’d been between so many things, that I thought this was another stop between moves.
However, I’m tired of looking at boxes and cartons. I’d rather look at my books and photographs and sort out if I really need all of those sweaters and old shoes and every birthday card my parents have ever given me. So recently, I’ve been sorting out (and through) things. Some things have been harder than others: divorcing, moving, renovating, refinancing. But other things—like sorting through the box that contains my memorable life experiences—those things have been an incredible pleasure. Among the pictures and birthday cards and collection of weird trinkets that only mean something to me, I found a stack of letters that a former boyfriend had written me over 15 years ago.
We had met in early February in 1992. In France. We were both on our year abroad. I was from a small town in Northern Canada. He was from Scotland. I don’t think I understood a word he said for the first few weeks (and I might even venture to say‚ months) that we were interested in one another.
One afternoon, I found this letter under the door to my room in the residence where I stayed. Granted, I believe I had walked out to his residence earlier that day. I had walked approximately five kilometeres just to knock on his door and ask—inwardly cringe—if he would “go out with me”.
That was me. Rather–that was me–then. I guess when I see something I like, I just say so. I just lay it all out there (my heart that is—or was). Later in life, I realize I’m not so generous with my heart anymore. I have been hurt. I have caused pain. I have been in places I never want to be again. I told somebody once that I felt raw. Sushi-raw, “…like all of my skin had been peeled off, my heart had been ripped out, and trampled on, and left to turn rancid under the California sun.” (Kinda dramatic, I know, but when you’re going through it, it’s better just to be poetic and get through it. And then, it’s over and done.) Another friend would say: “The only way out is through. Darlin’. The only way out is through.” But now, I digress.
I had a lot of fun that time in France. I learned about myself. I learned personal identity. I learned national identity. When you have to explain yourself and your language and your country in another language, you learn a lot. I learned how to speak French–and I returned to Canada with a heavy Scottish brogue. And my boyfriend– well my boyfriend waited until the day after I left France to send me this letter when he finally said: “I love you.” Or–at least he said: “I think I do.”
Regardless, he finally said IT. He said he didn’t want to think about IT or maybe he hadn’t found the courage to think about it–so he never thought about IT, and therefore–he never said IT. But I guess eventually he did think about IT. And he wrote IT in a letter. And I still have that letter. I just found that letter in a box of all my memorable life experiences.
And this is the letter that inspired me to create this website to find out, collect, and share how other people say IT. How other people say: “I love you”.
That’s about it right now. I don’t know how to encourage people to say it–or when they do, to send it in, but I guess I’ll start finding out.
But in the meantime, I highly recommend that when you can–if you can–to sit back later in your life when you are finished being between things and you are finally through it all and sort through your box of memorable life experiences and re-read your collection of love letters.