The Letter I Need

Confession: I chose a punning title to lure you in but I don’t wish to mislead you ~ this post isn’t about needing the letter ‘I’. But there is a little letter writing, more of a short list, to be truthful, there is a you (a U?) involved and there will be pen and paper needed for this advent de moi measuring tool for self-knowledge and exploration. Buckle up!

I have needs, no matter how gross, sorry, grocery

Let’s begin: I’ll let you into a secret, I don’t leave my handwritten shopping lists in the supermarket trolley. I don’t because it feels like leaving part of my soul behind. This is, of course, super superstitious and I wouldn’t mind, but it’s not even a bona fide superstition ~ my fear just made it up to fan my anxiety. And, to say part of my soul is left behind is, admittedly, rather catastrophising. But, if I’m honest, there is, of course, something very personal about handwriting, yet, more pertinent is the fact that leaving that list behind is a) littering and b) exposes to the world that I have needs, no matter how gross, sorry, grocery, they may be.

some of our needs are left unmet

But, being able to clearly communicate a need is a skill and we don’t always polish that skill. And, so, some of our needs are left unmet, particularly our most tender, precious and vulnerable ones because we never risk seeing them in writing. Worst of all, we can be guilty of not allowing ourselves to feel our deepest needs so we neglect them. Oh, yes!

you need the cake course, I mean cake, of course

a dark, hollow feeling that you’ve been trying to keep a secret

So while some needs are easy to express, like in the cake shop, being asked your need is easy to address ~ you need the cake course, I mean cake, of course. However, being asked what you need in any more meaningful capacity by someone we might actually have to look in the eye again, especially when it’s yourself in the mirror, can ignite a dark, hollow feeling that you’ve been trying to keep a secret. You know the one.

So, try this:

In a year’s time: you will open a tiny handwritten letter that you’ve kept with your bank and loyalty cards. Open it. This letter will have been a list, a tiny bank, if you like, about your loyalty to serving your tenderest of needs, the very ones you hadn’t dared to acknowledge a year before, and opening that letter will be about celebrating the bank of resources you’ve found to do so. Having dragged the fledglings out of their nest a year earlier, you will have done your duty to them. Pour yourself a cup of celebratory cheer! But that’s a year away so skim past the pic for what to do right now …

Just watch you don’t spill your rosehip juice on your card holder!

Right now: We mean now ~ yes, we are being that bossy, you need to write that list of three needs (you’ll find that’s enough ~ note how many you aren’t so attached to once you have to make a commitment to them); back of a fag packet (make it your last?), on the notes app on your phone, on your train ticket, whatever, write three needs you don’t share with anyone. You are listing for you alone. Be clear, e.g. I need to …

If you fancy, write it up neatly ~ get a credit card-sized piece of paper or card, if you’re feeling your cup runneth over for your inner being. I’m volunteering my three for public consumption ~ eek!

1. I need to accept that not everyone will like what I do.

2. I need to be business-like with rather than apologetic to business-like people.

3. I need you to tidy up more often for my own well being and sanity.

Fold a piece of paper around that card, even an old receipt ~ you know yourself ~ the longer you spend thinking about it, the more you will pass the commitment over ~ glue it if you wish to build a sense of ceremony when it gets re-opened and address it to yourself, draw a stamp on it or buy a real stamp and keep it with it ~ I like the picture ones from the Post Office ~ miniature art in your pocket ~ keep it simple or elaborate accordingly.

Then, tuck it away in your card wallet. Even better, if you can, send a scheduled email for a year’s time to remind you to open it. Or contact us to remind you! Here at advent we love a sense of fun so use the stamp and post the lot to yourself for real, when the year’s wait is nearly up.

Stamp your personality on the self-knowledge

Good luck and let us here at advent de moi know how you got on. We can’t wait, but we will have to, for a full year, I suppose!

All the images we use are adventdemoi’s own or have been downloaded from the excellent site. Nest and eggs is an original from the British Library from Travel And Research In Algeria With Panels, Etc by Alexander Koenig (1897).

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