letters // a series

I've been toying around with this idea for a series for a few months now. I shared with you a letter that Kate sent me last spring- one that made me stop in my tracks and think, "Everyone should be so lucky to have a friend like her."

But the thing is? The thing is there are other letters and stories I want share with you. Over the course of 6 months or so, Kate and I went back and forth via email about all aspects of our lives. But as most single women of our age do, we focused a lot on dating and relationships. Or maybe the lack there of.

So what's below is the first email exchange between Kate and I. The first light bulb moment when we realized just how similar our situations are, and how we could benefit by talking about what was going on inside our heads, and our hearts.

Names will be changed. But the feelings behind everything? Well, those are 100% real.

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To: Alissa Erin
From: Katelyn B.
Date: Tuesday, March 3, 2015, at 10:37 AM
Subject: blog

Your blog has been ace lately. I refresh 50 times a day to see if you posted (i know, give it up weirdo).

Your topics have just been really aligned to my recent mindset. I don't know why, maybe it's the long winter or the lack of action, but I feel like the discontent is so much worse lately. And every time I think I might have a glimmer of new prospect, it crashes and burns before it even gets off the ground. 25 is a frustrating year. And 28, for blondes.

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To: Katelyn B.
From: Alissa Erin
Date: Tuesday, March 3, 2015, at 2:17 PM
Subject: blog

Thank you, thank you! Whenever I don't post (so, most days) I feel bad. I know you're checking it, and I feel bad I'm not posting anything! It's how I feel when Meg Fee doesn't post. But I promise to be more consistent from now on. Working on this new voice...

I know winter makes everything worse - especially this year. I try to keep my head up, you know? Keep myself busy, and happy, but I'm lonely. Since Derek, I haven't had anyone to talk to. And I don't need (cue the blog post) someone all of the time, but it's nice, you know? It's really nice to just...flirt.

I think about you sending that email to the insurance guy (I can't remember exactly who he was, and I'm sorry) and how brave that was. How brave you were to hit send on that email. And how just because it didn't work out, it doesn't mean you should be scared to try again, with someone else. We have to keep trying, as difficult as it is.

25 was frustrating for me, too. And half of 26. 27 it started to get better. Jury is still out for 28.

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To: Alissa Erin
From: Katelyn B.
Date: Tuesday, March 3, 2015, at 3:06 PM
Subject: blog

Thank you for saying that my cold email was brave. It was actually terrifying. But I guess that's what makes it brave. I felt very empowered by the sense of balance in the "what's-the-worst-that-could-happen" versus "what-is-the-best-thing-that-could-happen" from this... and that pretty much gave me the push I needed. Well, that and my meddling sister. I need- we all need- to start looking at the latter rather than the former when it comes to taking risks in love.

Don't get me wrong, it's much easier said than done. And as soon as I got the message back from him saying he was engaged, I deleted all the emails from my account, so that I didn't have to look at them again, almost as if I never sent them in the first place. I felt really low about it that day, and I think it's the worst because it's a familiar feeling. It is a feeling that I have had again and again in my romantic life and I know it so well that when it comes, I curse myself for not being prepared for it. The familiar feeling that urges me to retreat; to steer clear of future mistakes like it. It is the let down, for me, that is the hardest part of dating. I love the initial rush of interest, and schoolgirl butterflies that come to me even as a twenty-five year old adult. But, I suspect, and I fear mostly, that the let down is lurking just around the corner. And that, more than anything, has made me bitter, when I wasn't always so. And the fear and the bitterness has made me cold and closed off, averse to heartbreak of any kind. And who knows if men might actually be able to see that and so they take their cue and kindly stay away. Or, maybe, they just aren't interested. And that, perhaps, is the biggest fear of all. 

Thanks in part to fictional characters and blogs like yours and good old Nanny Meg Fee, I am just starting to come around to changing these things. And I feel like maybe you are in a similar place? Let's crawl out of this hole together, shall we? This deep, dark, self-sufficient hole we have fallen into. 

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To: Katelyn B.
From: Alissa Erin
Date: Tuesday, March 3, 2015, at 3:44 PM
Subject: blog

You're welcome, and I meant it. It was brave. And even though the outcome was not favorable, at least you know. Think of how much time you could have spent wondering "what if" but instead you know he's not the one, and you can move on (even if that means feeling crappy about it and deleting it from your email) (I would've done the same).

I'm used to the let down, too. I always say, "I don't want to get too excited!" But shit, I DO want to get too excited. We should all be too excited in the beginning!

The first week after things go south is the worst for me - when a guy just starts to pull back. Either he doesn't text me as much, or can't hang out, or whatever the case may be - it might not even have anything to do with me (which is such a simple idea that proves to be true again and again) - I will start to shut down. I will give up.

And that's where I'm wrong. That's where all the bullshit that's happened to me before gets the best of me. That's when I realize just how cold I can be, because I'd rather leave than be left.

And I need to stop doing that. I need to learn how to fight for someone, even if I lose.

I am in a very similar place. I feel ready to try. I feel like I've taken the time to make myself better, and I'm ready. So, let's do this, please! Let's keep having these great conversations, because they inspire me more than anything else.