These three letters from One Million Lovely Letters by Jodi Ann Bickley demonstrate how ‘for the price of a stamp you can change someone’s day’ and hopefully inspire you to spread happiness too!
Dear Jodi (aged 22),
You look amazing! Stop worrying about how big your arms are because they aren’t. Stop being a div. I’m here to tell you a few things. Firstly, I’m you. It’s 2013 and Twiggy and Musa are about to come over for tortillas in your brightly coloured little house. Josh is currently covered in hair dye, because he decided to jump in the shower whilst you were washing it off. You are now a red head (again!). Who is Josh? Josh is your puppy. He isn’t the only new furry member of the household but I shall leave the rest as a surprise for you. I’m not going to ruin too much for you but I do need to tell you something. Some of the most extraordinary things are going to happen to you in the next two and a half years. Remember when you first went on the Sky Rocket ride at Drayton Manor Park and they left you upside-down just a little too long? Remember that feeling? Well, life is going to cause that feeling. For a while you will feel out of control and won’t be able to do anything about it. But from this end I can promise you that it turns out magically. Not quite as you’d expected maybe, but it will all work out.
Jodi (aged 25)
Dear Ms Penman,
It was actually really comforting to see you upset that day. Not because it was nice to see you upset; it was just nice to see that you were real. You were human, just like me. I had built you up in my head as some sort of all-knowing, powerful ogre but with one interaction you changed all that and I’m eternally grateful. After being bullied, I’d learnt to be scared of people. I’d learnt to be fearful and came to this new school fearing everything and everyone, including you. That day when I made you feel better, you made me feel better too. I wasn’t scared of you any more and you broke down a wall I had built up for the bullies. You let me know that actually it was OK to be kind and I wasn’t going to get pushed into the coat pegs for it. From then on you always told me I’d make a difference in this world, although my world at the time was made up of Spice Girls tribute bands in the playground and working out how to use the new computers. You helped restore my faith in my character and for that I am so thankful.
I hope you are enjoying retirement.
Today I didn’t have to adjust the height of the shower head or the temperature. It was a goodbye kind of morning. I found the last bits of you around and placed them in their boxes. And I didn’t cry. It’s weird – all of this week this hurt has been something I couldn’t recognise; it isn’t the same as previous heartbreaks. I’m not the same person this time around. My brother dislocated his shoulder once and had to have it re-set. And it really hurt for a little bit but then he was OK. If they had left it, he’d just have had a wonky shoulder and it would have hurt and restricted him from doing all sorts. I guess this is like that. I woke up and I wasn’t sad, I wasn’t angry because there is nothing to be angry at. Some fights can never be won, some hurt can’t be taken back however angry you get. The loss associated with those moments, it all stays lost. I’ve been heartbroken before but this feels like we’ve saved each other from walking around with a wonky shoulder and that realisation made me laugh, then smile.
And I hoped wherever you were, you might be smiling too.