The Lost Art of Card Writing
When was the last time you wrote a card or letter to someone?
A card?! Like a greeting card!! No, your Christmas card doesn’t really count because you send that once a year to your friends and family and I am sure all you do is sign your name off at the bottom and your dog’s name too. Woof.
Or you go on those card making sites where you just add your photo and have it sent out from there…hey, nothing is wrong with that but can you really say it’s tailored to each person?
I’m talking about a personalized card!!
Cards have always been very special to me as I have lived far away from my loved ones for a very long time. Since I can remember, cards have given me the time and space to self-express and be vulnerable, which isn’t always easy. Not even for a therapist! Some of us have so many different love languages, mine is through the use of words. I have found it better for me to write how I feel, as it allows me to slow down and slow my thoughts and truly write how I am feeling about the person the card is going out to. As I reflect on this post, I realize I grew up writing letters or thank you notes…I think this has been an art that I cherish and I feel deserves more attention and practice.
Writing cards makes me feel connected to those far away.
I also enjoy writing to my friends that are near. While yes, a simple phone call, email, or text would suffice, there is something I find very valuable in having something to hold and read and look back on. Also, who doesn’t love a little snail mail? I know I do!!
Honestly, my favorite way to self-care is to go into Target (obvi) and head straight to the card section with my phone turned OFF. I like to be present and really think about the people that mean the most to me and also those I haven’t connected with for some time. I then pick out three to four cards and look forward to writing in them. It’s something that makes me feel good, and I know on the receiving end, it will also light up their day. I truly get pure joy out of this… It also probably helps that I love the post office too.
Especially during this time of social distancing, we need to shift our energy and focus on reconnecting with ourselves and with others.
And while we may not physically be able to be with those we love and care for, we can write to them and express any emotion we may be feeling. Besides, it really is the safest way to be connected to loves ones during this hard time. It also provides a different way to remain connected that you may not have thought of before.
Okay, so why should you write a card or letter??
It’s personal and creative
No one person is like you. Your voice, your handwriting, your doodles, that’s all YOU. From the type of card you pick or want to make from scratch, to even the pen color(s) you use, that is a unique aspect of you. You get to tailor it to the individual and self express without even them reading what you wrote. You have given them something so personal from your heart to theirs. How special is that? AmIWrite??
It takes vulnerability and transparency
It allows you to be self-expressive. You are revealing a part about yourself in a way that perhaps no one has seen you or known you to be. Your words should be free-flowing out of you, in unison with the emotion you are feeling. There is no backspace or delete. Maybe you can scratch out a word or color it out, but that shows so much power in your emotions. That takes courage and vulnerability. And the person reading will appreciate that.
Helps give your thoughts and feelings a place
Writing how you feel allows you to shift your thoughts and put them on paper. You are making room for yourself by simply just releasing all the energy. The best thing is that you can slow down this process. At times, we tend to speak before we think. With card writing, you can think before you write, it forces you to do that. It allows you to be more thoughtful and mindful. Even if you are in a hard place with someone, you can write out how you feel and perhaps not say anything you will regret. You can also start writing and come back to it, on your time.
Card writing takes time & gives the gift of time
Time is on your side with card writing. No one knows you are sending them something, there is no expectation. It is on you and only you. Don’t rush, this shouldn’t be a rushed process. I love being able to disconnect, sit with my thoughts, sit with my cards, and really be in a mental space to write how I feel whether happy, grateful, sad, or upset. I allow myself to give my words power and strength, and that also allows me to hear my words. When the other person receives your card, this is where there is beauty, it lets them hear you without a time limit. Again, there being no pressure to respond immediately gives them the space to process what you have said.
Note: When you send a card, send with the intent to just self-express and have no expectation that they will write back, or text you “thank you”, or have any of that. You will be setting yourself up for disappointment. Send because it’s in your heart to do so. This is very important.
It builds relationship
Whether you have a close relationship or a distant one, sending a card helps build a relationship. Perhaps that may be the best way you can share that someone is important to you. It happens. Or if you fear confrontation with someone or picking up the phone to say sorry or to check-in, a card is another way to stay close, that’s because you have made it personalized. You can communicate love and care to an extended family member or friend, remain consistent in your card writing to them, and in time it can also build up a relationship. This can especially be useful for those relationships you feel have ended, are strained, or nonexistent.
Cost-Effective & Portable
Cards are inexpensive and rich in thought. Think about it, as you struggle to maybe find something for that special someone, a card will simply do. Why? Because your words have value, the way you feel about someone carries the most weight and love you could ever imagine. You can peruse the card aisle sections with the headings: “Thinking of you,” “Miss you,” “Just Because” and just buy one or two cards. Or, you can buy a box of ten cards that have different colors, phrases, and styles. It is up to you! I like to do both. My first choice is finding individual cards. I find cards that are cute and funny, some have inside jokes that I know the person will like. That’s the fun of it. I also like to get a box of cards with kitschy sayings and keep them in my car or purse. You never know when a moment may come and you want to write something, this happens to me often. I also keep a book of stamps with me in my wallet and one in my car, so when I write my card, I seal it with a kiss, put a stamp on it and…SEND IT. Just like that, you sent something worth so much! (you don’t have to buy a book of stamps-20 stamps-that is just what I do. If you couldn’t tell, I love sending mail!)
Cards can be reread! They cannot be replaced. Someone may be having a hard day and may need something to cheer them up. They may not want to call or talk, but they might have your card that they can go back and read and it might make all the difference. You were there for them without even knowing it. Re-reading cards is really one of my favorite things to do and I treasure this hobby. I set up cards around my house when I get them, I keep a few up longer than usual when I need a pick me up. It is special to think someone mailed me something and their words provide guidance when I needed it most. On very rare occasions, I’ll go back through my cards from my parents and sister from the years and it’s such an emotional process. I get to reflect on those times and it takes me back to that place and time. I love reminiscing. Even if it makes me cry. When I miss them, this makes me feel close to them.
Shows someone you are THERE for them
Above all, a card shows you are there, emotionally and metaphorically. Physically, it is hard to always be there for others and as much as you want to be, things prevent that from happening. Life happens! We always rush to try to send texts & make quick calls, but now is the time to be there for yourself and be there for your loved ones. No one will say they won’t like a card, it is very rare; their responses may range. They may be shocked, feel touched, be angry, be emotional…who knows. But, like I said before, it is important to send a card to show you are thinking about them, you are expressing how you feel, and it makes you feel lighter and better. And that card may be the one thing to help them get through a hard time. But, you are simply there.
So, these are a few reasons why you should send a card; these are my reasons I send cards. I could go on, but these are the major points I want to share, from me to you. I find so much solitude when I write, I feel the most present. Cards provide comfort and they give me a blank page to self-express. I love the feeling of mailing them out, I don’t know when exactly they will reach the person, but it will get there! We are fortunate that the postal service is a dependable source to allow this, I love my postmasters at the United States Postal Service (USPS). I seriously go there once a week; I even build relationships with my postmasters. It is because of them; my loved ones are able to hear my voice through the cards I send. A big shout out and thank you to them and their service! Especially during tough times.
Even though we may all be far apart, we are still together. We are all going through this together. Let your loved ones feel your hugs, kisses, tears, and smiles through your words. Show their mailbox some of your love, make it a Hallmark moment for you and them. It really goes a long way. Literally!
This is my letter to you. I’m here for you.
P.S. Don’t forget to always follow your meltuition