All images by Ivory Door
Raise your hand if you’ve heard of the Book by Jay Asher or Netflix series 13 Reasons Why. Well, for those of you who have been stuck under a rock, I’ll give you a brief summary. The series tells the story of Hannah Baker, a high school student that commits suicide. She leaves behind 13 cassette tapes revealing the 13 reasons why she ultimately decided to end her life. Each cassette tape is dedicated to a specific person. For my birthday, I took Hannah’s idea and put a twist on it. I came up with the concept 35 Reasons Why. About a month and a half before my birthday I started sending out emails to people who made year 34 memorable. This edition of Truth Tuesday I’ll tell you all about the process.
I started to write a list of people with specific dates, and God was like “nope” that’s not how this is going to happen. I forgot about the list and just listened to him. Some days I wrote multiple emails while other days I didn’t send any. The very first email I sent was to my therapist. If you’ve been reading my blogs or following me on social media you know I’m a huge advocate of creating a culture where mental health is discussed. I thought, if not for my multiple sessions since 2010 I wouldn’t be the person I am today. I thanked my therapist for helping in my growth and opening me to explore parts of myself I didn’t know existed. I tell people all the time, therapy literally saved my life! Her response was definitely reassuring and made me able to stand even taller in my growth these past seven years. Although I only went to therapy 3 or 4 times in year 34, the email to her was NEEDED!
This experience taught me so much about myself and human interaction. Most days, I received an email, call or text from people saying they cried and my email was right on time. (Yep, glad I followed what God said and didn’t use my Word document of people lol). I realized we don’t tell people how we truly feel nearly as much as we should. Listen, I’m not close to 35 people, so a lot of those emails weren’t long and discussing years of interactions. Some of the emails were to people I met once and some to people I’ve never met, but we’ve interacted via social media. I’m the person in the mall that stops every woman and says wow I love that skirt you look good girl. If I can do that for total strangers why not tell people who have positively impacted my life.
All of the emails weren’t rainbows and butterflies. Some of them were written to mend fractured relationships, and others were written as a goodbye without having to say goodbye. I think we all have or have had those relationships that are long, but are no longer there and you have no clue how to close the door without it being a dramatic ending. I thought it would be difficult, but it wasn’t. In the process of writing these emails I realized three people who I didn’t know this time last year and now I wonder how the hell I’d live without them. They are the people that give love back to me like I give to them. It’s intense and genuine and I’m finally able to be on the receiving end of that type of love. It’s crazy how the universe works when you let it work!
So, how do you end a month and a half experience like this? Well, you end it with the two most important people in your life. For me, that’s my husband and my mother! Anthony was Reason 34, and he received his letter on my birthday. He was walking down the halfway and I nonchalantly said “hey, check your email”. A few minutes later he returned to the living room with hugs and energy of receiving the words I gave him. Reason 35 was my mother. Seriously, I wouldn’t be here without her. I text my stepdad and asked him to print off the email and run to Edible Arrangements to pick up the gift I ordered for her. When I first thought of this idea I said my mom has to be Reason 35. I had no clue just how much she would NEED to be Reason 35. My birthday is October 21st, and on October 20th I had to pick up the phone and tell my mom her sister was no longer with us. It’s one of those calls you don’t want to make, but you do because you want to make sure it’s said as best as you can say something so tragic. Upon receiving her email and gift she let me know God’s timing is always right.
I’ll end by saying tell EVERYONE in your life (long-term people, associates and strangers) about the positive impact they make on your life. I started this because of a broken relationship, but God has a way of teaching you lessons you didn’t know you needed. I’m so grateful for this experience and all my 35 reasons whether they’ll be around for 36 or not. If someone leaves trust me God, the Universe or the birds and trees (or whatever you believe) will replace that same energy just in a different vessel.
Everyone go out and do some good in the world!
Until next time loves…
This was such a beautiful read. So many amazing and important lessons to be learned! Thank you!
Lindsay, thanks so much! It was a great experience.
I absolutely love this…so much to learn and share about an experience like this. So happy you decided to share such honest and life changing moments with readers! 🙂
Thanks for reading. It was such a humbling experience.
Beautiful! Thanks so much for sharing this. Xx
Thanks so much for reading Emily ❤
This is absolutely perfect and it truly hit home for me on multiple levels.
Tricia, I’m happy you could connect with this piece. Thanks for reading.
Seriously in tears! This is a great idea and I think I need to do it. ❤️
Yes, it was pretty emotional for me too! ❤
I absolutely love this. I got a bit emotional. Glad you listened to God and not your word doc. 😁
It was an emotional experience. Thanks for reading ❤
What an amazing post and inspiring idea! It really does hit home on so many levels.
Also, Happy Birthday!!
Thanks so much Summer!!!
Such an amazing read! Thank you for your transparency!!!
Thanks so much for reading and glad you enjoyed it.
God spoke and you listened no matter your level of uncomfortability. That’s true faith, and for you to extend grace beyond your comfort level, that’s true character. I find it REMARKABLE THAT you made mention of your therapy sessions because it’s not discussed in the black community. I love the positivity and great vibes you are putting out into the world. Thank you for sharing this and my black ass #36 because you gave me a reason to smile, okay 😃!
Thank you so much for reading and connecting!!! 😂😂😂 your #36 sis. ❤
I cried my EYES out watching the last few episodes of 13 Reasons Why. It was beautiful how you put a spin on it to encourage others. Not everyone knows the impact they have on your life and it is nice to know someone out there appreciates them.
Yes, it was so difficult to watch, but the series was so good. Thanks so much for reading!
Sheena, I love the blog !! Thank you for the letter and continue to walk in your purpose. 😘
Thanks for reading!
Happy Birthday to you! What a beautiful way to celebrate your special day.
Thanks for reading Stacie!
Happy Birthday! Great Idea…actually I really love the idea!
Thanks so much!!!
Happy belated Birthday to you. I love this idea, i had a birthday on the 18th. I’m coming up on 40 and this is a great way to show love during year 39.
Happy Belated Birthday Libra! Thanks for reading!
You have learned some amazing lessons! Happy Birthday, you look beautiful!
Thanks so much ❤
This is a very powerful post. I love the idea of writing letters. I have a few people that I need to send letters to for closure. However, I have many more that I should send to thank them for their positivity. Thanks for sharing this idea.
Thanks Ramona it was a humbling experience.
First, happy belated birthday and 35 looks great on you. This was a great read, and I love how you realized writing a list and naming people wasn’t a good idea. That to me shows growth.
This was beautiful! I just turned 35 too!! Great pics
1982 was a good year!!!
Happy Birthday beauty! Wow look at you bday outfit it is so chic and pretty and I love this photoshoot as well classy!
I love this so much that I’m stealing it for my 26th birthday. This was so beautiful and as someone whose love language is words of affirmation, I would’ve cried at receiving something so special!