Ignored Pen Pal

My fifth grade class received letters from pen pals: other fifth grade students in British Columbia. We were tasked with writing back to them and starting a companionship that was meant to last years.

I never responded.

His name was Tyler. He had just started playing hockey but he didn’t know if he liked it all that much. He wondered what New Brunswick was like.

I wanted so badly to craft the perfect letter. A piece of literature that would accurately portray the trials and tribulations of my fifth grade life. Days went by, and suddenly I felt so guilty that I hadn’t answered. Then I became so overwhelmed with guilt that months passed. Then years.

That letter sat on my bookshelf until I saw it during a visit home from university. I think I threw it out.

Poor Tyler… He could have gone years thinking that I was so appalled by or disinterested in his candour and kindness.

I still feel bad thinking about it. And that is why I want to jump on this project right away and not leave it hanging.

I’d like decentre to be a source for folks feeling distanced from whatever it is that could make them feel valued. I see that rural artists feel discouraged from pursuing their passions because they don’t have connections to the resources they need.

I sat on this for years, and other than some great conversations with pals and sketches of “next steps”, it stayed rather dormant. I don’t want this to become another ignored pen pal. I believe in it, even though I don’t exactly know what it will become.

We can’t shy away from doing things that are important to us simply because we’re scared it won’t be perfect.

One thought on “Ignored Pen Pal

  1. I love this – thank you for sharing. There have been so many close moments in my life I’ve avoided because I was too scared of my own vulnerability to get close to them. We shouldn’t hold on to our shame or guilt❤️


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