• Shea Robinson

Writing Tip: Write yourself a love letter

It’s Valentine’s Day weekend, which means that since Christmas we have been inundated with commercials about jewelry, red and pink streamers, and feelings of inadequacy. If you’re in a relationship, you have been wearing a cloak of anxiety, as you search for the perfect gift that is supposed to sum up the love you have for your significant other in one sweeping gesture. If you’re single, the air is drenched with shame about how you’re not good enough to have found someone who loves you for who you truly are.

It’s all bull***t and I hate this holiday. Whichever Saint Valentine the holiday is named after and whatever the holiday’s original purpose may have been, it’s been corrupted as a commercial enterprise.

Love is not just for the romantic and it should be shared freely, not withheld until the best day arrives. Remember that old song? “Love ain’t nothing ‘til you give it away, give it away, give it away. Love ain’t nothing ‘til you give it away, you end up having more. Love is like a magic penny, hold it tight and you won’t have any. Lend it, spend it, you have so many, they roll all over the floor!”

Let’s ditch tradition and make this day about self-love. Let’s run into the middle of a forest and let the trees be our barricade against all the ridiculous notions of other people who make us doubt ourselves. Today, let’s write ourselves the love letter we deserve.

I know things just got real sticky and now you’re thinking, do I even like this girl? Can she even write? Why would she tell me do something so controversial yet so brave? If a love letter is too much, try making a list of bullet points with everything about you that deserves gratitude. Start small. “I thank these hands for allowing me to write.” Then dive in and see where a simple act of generosity for yourself might lead you.

Here's mine:

Dear beautiful you,

I love you. I know I’m supposed to build up towards the love. Say everything I’m feeling and everything I believe and then use it as a punchline to end the scene. But I want to start at the end. I love you. You are worthy of the world. Despite the trauma from your childhood that sneaks like a shadow following your every move. Your spirit will never be broken. You simply forget about it every once and awhile. You dazzle me the way lightning dazzles the sky. In a world of rain, you are the laughter dancing in the puddles. People are drawn to you, as I have always been, for your authenticity. Your passion is a rain that drenches us and reminds us what it feels like to be alive. They might say, “Shh,” and they might say, “Be a little smaller,” and they might say, “You are too much,” but your light can’t ever be stifled; it will be seen and heard and felt for you are the thunderstorm that darkens the whole sky and you are the lightning that flashes before us. I wish you could see your beauty the way I do. If you wish to see yourself in only parts—a thick leg, a protruding belly—then understand you are a Picasso painting; dissected into parts yet a masterpiece. I wish I could shield you from the world. But you understand that pain breeds connection. Instead of hiding from the pain, you inch closer, understanding yourself better and seeking the solution for the problem in the same move. Recognize the courage it takes to live in heartache for the world, to live with open eyes, to see its brutality and unconscionable acts, and to be left with only the question, “What can I do to help?” Whenever you are in doubt, remember this letter. Return to it as many times as you wish. I love you and that will never change.



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