Friday 12 August 2022

Why letter writing is so important to me

Letter writing is a huge part of my life but it extends far beyond it just being a hobby. For me receiving a letter in the mail is my bit of connection to the outside world. I have severe M.E which means that I am housebound so I'm not able to go out and socialise like most people.

For me 'snail mail' is my socialising. I read about people's lives and hear what they've been up to they're likes and dislikes and everything in between and though my life isn't that exciting I get to share my life too. The audiobooks and podcasts I've been listening to, playlists of my favourite songs and lists of my favourite YouTubers and blogs, my current craft projects and other things I've been up to like doing my nails or blogging or doing something for my YouTube channel. Sometimes I do talk about my health but that's only one portion of me and I like to share all ten portions of me.

Sometimes I'll write a letter on letter writing paper; other times I'll write inside a handmade card other times I'll get creative especially when I've been inspired by a pen pal's mail or a YouTube video I've watched. I love making every letter/card I send out to my friends and pen pals utterly unique.

As well as writing to pen pals I like to write to friends, it's just nice and something different to a text or message on Instagram particularly when that friend is having a tough time or I just want to surprise them with some lovely mail especially if that friend has been really supportive.

Writing letters isn't easy for me with me M.E. I'm forever apologising for me delayed replies but thankfully everyone I write to is so understanding. It also takes me a while to complete replies and I have to write here and there when I'm able to so sometimes I end up rambling as I lose track of how much in total I've written!

Sometime when I'm not doing so well all I can manage are postcards or a single page reply but again everyone is lovely and understanding.

I have had pen pals in the past who haven't been understanding but I now have a lovely group of pen pals who I write to regularly or as often as we can and friends who we'll send mail to each other occasionally. Some of my pen pals and friends who I write to have chronic illnesses/disabilities too including M.E.

It's nice to have pen pals with M.E as the 'get it' in terms of understanding and living with the condition and how it may affect us and we can write about the highs and lows of living with M.E.

Though I'm not bed bound with my M.E I do spend the fast majority of my day on my bed as this is where I find I am most comfortable with my profiling bed and air flow mattress and I have an over bed table where I can put my laptop or colouring things or letter writing things.

Next to my bed I have a giant cork notice board - like the size you'd find in a class room! There I put up all my mail and other bits and bobs like bracelets I've kindly been given through people who've set up their own thing to make and send out bracelets to people dealing with chronic illness. I also have my knitted angels up there too from the Action for M.E's Christmas Angel's project.

Especially on my bad days I love looking up at my notice board; at all the novelty push pins I've collected and seeing all the mail up there reminds me that no matter how isolated and alone my M.E makes me feel that I am loved by so many people. I also feel a lot of gratitude for the time people have taken to write to me, or to make me that card or paint me that quote or to colour me that image and so on.

So as you can tell by now (hopefully) from this post that letter writing means a lot to mean and it's more than a fun crafty hobby. It's almost a social lifeline to the outside world and how I hear about the outside world too. It's a challenging hobby having the energy to reply to pen pals and make cards including birthday cards but it's worth it. It's also something that I can do in parts on days when I have the energy. Like today I finished writing in a card that I started writing in the other day so it's defiantly manageable and for me I have just enough pen pals that I can keep up with being able to write to and now I've been writing to them all for so long that I now consider them all to be friends as well as pen pals. But yes back when I began writing letters I didn't realise how important for my social wellbeing letter writing would become. 

A view point looking up at a large cork notice board with fairy lights bordering it on the notice board is a colourful collage of mail: cards, postcards and bits of paper with writing on covering the whole space of the notice board
The view from my bed looking up at my notice board