Dear Green Dream Team,

GG
Image by A Letter Per Person. Image Description: A green silhouette of a tree with many leaves coming out. There is a shopping cart stuck in the top of the tree and a black silhouette of a cat ready to climb the tree.

Dear Green Dream Team,

I could sit here and try to figure out every possible combination of the English language that would equate to me thanking all of you. While that would be an amazing feat, it still wouldn’t be enough to capture just how grateful and in debt I am to each and every single one of you. I think that that’s because there are only a finite string of words I could put together but my feelings are infinite.

This was the first time I had been put in a supervisor role, a role I initially didn’t even apply for. But for all of you to trust and challenge me with such an important position in the store, I knew I couldn’t let any of you down. And of course, everyone made sure I rose to the challenge: from small gestures like clueing me in on our sales reports, to showing me the art behind simultaneously saying what you mean and what customer want to hear, and teaching me the politics of business of working as colleagues while still maintaining the love within our work family.

I know there was a lot of drama with customers and even within the staff but I can honestly say that all of it was a treasured experience and one I very much needed. There were days when I was extremely agitated by customers or annoyed by one of you, but that’s work. That’s what being in a team is. We all have different personalities and we occasionally butt heads because what we believe is best for the store and how we pursuit it can differ. But at the end of the day, that’s all we want: the best for the store, our work place, and our team. That’s why I can wholeheartedly say that despite those days I went home exhausted and passed out by 7pm, those days I just need some cat therapy at the end of my shift and avoided talking to anyone, despite all the nitty gritty drama, I loved working here and with all of you.

I had never worked with so many people who were older than me outside of an office setting as well. I only bring up age because all of you carry such incredibly vast journeys and wisdom with you wherever you go. I can see it in the way each of you work, talk, carry yourself, and because you wear your hearts on your sleeves and are never afraid to be true to yourself. That is by far the best lesson I could’ve been taught: to never stop being true to yourself whether that means being a little vulnerable in front of your sons sometimes, or leaving a job you loved so much because you were treated unfairly, to putting yourself at risk to protect what and who you love, to never lashing out in emotional retaliation when someone, even a co-worker, is yelling at you, and so much more.

The way all of you, regardless how many years of experience you have or what your position was at the store or our age difference, all of you treated me so genuinely and honestly, without dumbing down or sugar-coating anything, and I am so eternally thankful for that. It showed you believed in me, what I had to offer as a worker and person, and my potential to grow. This was monumental for me because there were many days where I couldn’t even do those things for myself. To be loved in that way by good-hearted people who I have grown to look up to gave me confidence in who I am and guidance in the kind of person I want to be without losing myself. I know all of you must have come across many, many interesting people throughout your life and I am truly honoured that you have seen me as one of the good ones.

Thank you for letting me be a part of your team, for saying that I will always have a place there, for the countless lessons, for all the work laughs and drama, for all the kind words at my farewell, for the send-off, for all the love since day one and so much more. It has truly been and always will be an honour and a pleasure to have been able to work and be in the lives of such great people.

Wherever I go from here, I will always be in debt to the GG team and I will never forget any of you, the group of people who have given me one of the best work and life experiences I’ve ever had. I miss you all very, very much but I’ll be dropping in sooner than you think so take care until then!

Sincerely,

A Letter Per Person

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Dear Mister “No Bag, Thanks”,

Minster No-Bag.jpg
Image by A Letter Per Person. Image Description: A grey silhouette of a man wearing a bucket hat hugging colourful silhouettes of his groceries.

Dear Mister “No Bag, Thanks”,

I noticed the many, many scares on your arms immediately. It was the first thing I noticed: one, because I don’t really look up to make eye contact with customers like I should be so I was already looking down at your shopping items, and two, I’ve seen scars like that multiple times before on multiple people.

I’m so sorry I didn’t say anything to you then. I couldn’t pull my gaze from your arms fast enough and I think you noticed me looking but please don’t think I was judging you. I wasn’t. I was just in shock. Even though I’ve had some training in this area, even though I’ve helped some of my best friends go through depression, I was caught completely off guard.

I so desperately wanted to tell you that you could reach out to me if you ever wanted. I wanted to tell you that I work there at least 5 days a week and if I’m not out front, I’m in the back. I wanted to tell you my name in case you didn’t see my name badge. But I couldn’t because I had never offered support like that to a stranger in person before. I had done it through phone calls and online conversations working at a helpline but never in person. I was so ashamed of my lack of strength, when you were showing yours.

I thought about you for days after that encounter. I hoped you would come back to the store so I knew you were okay. I feared I would never see you again and thought of the worst possible reasons as to why that would be. I felt guilt for not reaching out. I felt weak despite having all the experience and training to be the strong pillar of support. I felt like I failed another human being.

But you came back! I can’t tell you how happy I was. I specifically made a point to make eye contact so if you were creeped out I don’t blame you. I was so happy you were alive, that you were here in front of me! And this time I was able to tell you to “Take care” and “Have a nice day!” I know that those words may seem empty to you, words that may seem like I throw around to every customer as part of my service. Maybe the latter phrase, sure, but I still meant it. And I definitely have never said “Take care” to any other customer before and since. I really, really meant it. I really want you to take care of yourself.

Then I saw you a couple more times and each time I was so relieved and happy. Sometimes you’re in your work uniform. Sometimes you talk to my co-worker because you guys are apparently on familiar terms. And always, you’ll say some variant of “No bag, thanks” because you’re parked right across the street and proceed to hug all your items before going about the rest of your day. It makes me so happy to see you just living your life.

I know that there is a slight chance that those scars weren’t self-inflicted. Maybe it was an accident at a job. But I also know that more likely than not, those scars meant you went through a rough time, and that maybe perhaps you still are. Maybe you are over that dark chapter of your life. Maybe some scars were recent. I’ll never know and that’s okay. Regardless of what the situation is, I just want you to know that I care about you. I care about your wellbeing. And I definitely think about you when I haven’t seen you around for a couple of days.

After a few more exchanges since our first, I’ve made it clear I remember you and I know you remember me. But I’m going to try to make more small talk with you and hopefully turn that into conversation. I suck at conversing with strangers but I’m going to try. I just want you to know that if you ever feel shitty, ever feel tired, ever feel like leaving another scar, there is a person at the store you frequent who cares very deeply about you.

And if a stranger can care about you this much from one seemingly mundane interaction, imagine just how much your close friends and family care about you.

Sincerely,

A Letter Per Person

Dear 2018 Me,

2018 me
Image by A Letter Per Person. Image Description: 2018 written in bold black text with the bicep flexing emoji next to it.

Dear 2018 Me,

Holy shit, I am so proud of you. After the horrible, borderline traumatizing years that 2016 and 2017 were, what you made of 2018 is a proof to your strength and who you are as a person. You should be so proud of yourself.

2018 began with a break up, a much-needed one that honestly should’ve happened way earlier than it did. But as hard as it was to finally get out of that situation, you did it. The strength it took to leave an extremely unhealthy and albeit comfortable environment was exactly the right tone to set for your year ahead. It goes to show when you have selfish, toxic people in your life who pretend to care for you but are ultimately using you for their own happiness, advantage, or whatever, you lose yourself. And you lost yourself for two whole years, two whole years you will never get back. Two whole years you could’ve spent deepening the relationships that were important to you, being a positive light to those you cared for, and nourishing who you are as a person. You will likely hold this regret and battle with forgiving yourself for wasting your time and theirs for a very long time. But remember to find peace that that two years could’ve very easily turned into three, or four, a marriage, a lifetime. The fact that you got out when you did shows strength. Be proud of that. Cutting that person, that history, that life out of your new one brought back the real you after being absent for two years when it could’ve been much longer, so much longer you might’ve never come back.

With that relationship and every baggage that came with it that weighed you down for so long gone, you soared. You got to go home, reunite with your friends and family, the surest things in your life. You got to go to Japan and spend time with your Grandpa, one of the most important people in your life and the person you look up to most, and take him to your brother’s destination wedding and see real, healthy, nurturing, lasting love. All of this love made you so truly happy and you realised you weren’t happy at all the past couple of years. You thought you were because you were told you were supposed to be but that’s not how feelings work. You got to learn this valuable lesson from these people who are permanent to you, and you them, in every way this temporary life is. You learned that these are the type of people you want, need, in your life. And thanks to them, you were happy that after such a long time, you finally got yourself back.

Continue reading Dear 2018 Me,

Dear Past Partner,

 

Past Partner.jpg
Card in image by just-wink (Carlton Cards). Illustrations in image by A Letter Per Person. Image Description: A greeting card that says “When I say ‘I love you,’ don’t even think of saying ‘I love you more’ because then I’ll say ‘No, I love you more’ and then we’ll have a huge, drawn-out, love-you-more argument.” on the front. On the inside of the card it says, “But I do love you more.”

Dear Past Partner,

It feels surreal. Somehow all at once I lost my best friend, my partner, and the most important person in my life. My roots to this country are gone. Our future plans together, our daily routines, and our shared joy didn’t make it into the New Year. How much can a person lose all at once before it breaks them? It feels like I’m walking that line.

It feels like we’ve been apart for so much longer than we have. We were each other’s everyday. Maybe it just takes getting used to. I guess that’s hard to do because I don’t want to accept this as a norm. I miss you. I miss you when creepy fucking people harass me or unwantedly approach me. I miss you when my clumsiness takes over and I embarrass myself. I miss you when Marvel or DC comes out with a new movie. I miss you when I see a Buzzfeed Tasty video that requires an oven. I miss you when I have a nightmare or sleep paralysis. I miss you when I crave dumplings. I miss you so much.

It feels like I’ll never move on. But I know that that’s not true. That’s just how I feel right now. Gradually I will move on from this; we both will. But I do think that I will always love you. As cliché as it sounds, that’s a blessing and a curse I’ll have to live with. What a blessing for me to have learned so much about love, relationships, being an adult, having roots, creating a home, and so much more. But a curse, because this love will forever remind me of what was, what didn’t work, and possibly shroud my future loves.

That’s why I’ve decided to write this letter to you. I want you to know that our time together, what we created, what we had, what we lost, were not a waste. And they most certainly were not a curse. It only seems that way now because I’m hurt, angry, sad, and lost all at once.

I want you to know that, as painful as it will be, I will look back on our time, especially the last handful of months, and search for your efforts in trying to keep us together, of you doing everything you can for our love, and of you remembering that what we have – what we had – can’t be taken for granted. I will look for all of it. One of the reasons we didn’t work out is because I couldn’t see the amount of effort you put into trying to save us. You’ve told me before that you don’t believe I will ever be able to see how much you tried for me, and I know I’ve told you that I probably won’t, but I’ve changed my mind. I’m coming from a healthier mindset, I was wrong to say that, and I am not going to give up until I see it all. I am so sorry that I couldn’t see it. I am even more sorry that I gave up and didn’t even try to see it. But I want to see it all, clearly. I need to see it because I owe that much to you, for doing those things, and to me, so I can look back at it and see how lucky I was to have someone like you. I want to remember you making our happy times last and cutting our sad ones short. I want to remember you wholeheartedly as a blessing.

I will also work on forgiveness. Another reason we didn’t work out was because of some of the things you said and did that broke my heart. But I will try to remember that you always came from a place of love and care. Misguided as they were at times and how much those mistakes hurt me, I will work on forgiving you. It is unfair for me to hold grudges against you for things you never meant to do or say. It is hypocritical and unhealthy for me to hold such old woes in my heart. I want to let go of those things. I want to remember you for the good-hearted person I fell in love with.

Finally, then I will forgive myself. I need to. I will forgive myself for all of the ways I contributed to our break up. I will forgive myself for not seeing you trying day in and day out. I will forgive myself for losing a special soul like you. This is for me. I have to be kind to myself. I made mistakes and I regret them deeply but I cannot punish myself forever. This step will only come after the first two and it likely will be the hardest. I cannot forgive myself fully until I clearly see what I have done wrong. But I don’t want you to think I am just letting myself off the hook. I am truly so sorry I hurt you and wronged you. You did not deserve it. I am so sorry.

I don’t write this all in hopes for us to someday rekindle what we had, though a small, vulnerable part of me may feel that way right now. I write this because my feelings needed to be expressed. I write this to hold myself accountable of the promises I’ve made you. I write this to map out what I need to move on: to look back and remember your efforts, to forgive you, and to forgive myself. I write this so that someday when I re-read this letter, I can remember that we did the best we could for each other, we did what we needed to do by separating, and we did what we could do thereafter, on our own. I write this to see how much I’ve grown.

I wish nothing but the absolute best for you. I cannot thank you enough for blessing my life for the years I was lucky enough to spend with you. Thank you.

Sincerely,

A Letter Per Person

Dear 2017 Me,

2017 Me
Image by A Letter Per Person. Image Description: 2017 written in a bold, black font with the handwaving emoji next to it, waving goodbye to the year.
Dear 2017 Me,
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What a year it’s been. What an eventful year, to say the least. To say the extreme truth though, it’s been the worst year of my life so far.
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I’m really not one to sugar-coat things just because it’s over if that thing wasn’t pleasant. So as 2017 ends, I’m not getting any nostalgic feelings, or Graduation Goggles as Robin from How I Met Your Mother called it, for the time that’s passed and the things that’s happened this year.
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I lost a close relative suddenly four days into the year. She was actually the person who involuntarily showed me the strength our words have and how much impact they can have on others. I also attended a memorial service for another family member who passed last year. That experience, oddly enough, was very awakening and peaceful for me but of course, it reminded me of my loss. I was very close to her and this blog, some of you may know, started because of her.
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After that, I suffered a few months of miserable symptoms before I was properly diagnosed with hyperthyroidism, a rather long-term but thankfully non-fatal condition. I also went through a realisation that I was spending a lot of time with a toxic person who was bringing me down, particularly in my time of need. I struggled, and as I write this I continue to struggle, to come to terms with my circumstance. The toss up between my rational mind urging me to free myself versus my emotional heart begging me to keep their company has accumulated to anxiety and stress I have poorly dealt with, if I have dealt with it at all. (Let’s also not forget that as a living human being, I also had to witness and put up with some of the crazy, extremely traumatic, and dangerous happenings around the world…)
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Still, the year also held irreplaceable memories sprinkled throughout the past 365 days for which I am forever grateful for and humbled by. I attended a beachside destination wedding in Thailand where I watched one of my siblings get married and welcomed a new member to our family. I graduated from my Bachelor’s and my family came to Sydney from three different countries for it. I found out I am going to be an aunt and finally fulfil my lifelong destiny to pass on my love and knowledge of Pokémon!
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Looking back now, everything about 2017 had to do with the most important part of my life: the people. My family and I got together to celebrate love, they and my friends congratulated me for my achievement, and my family album now features new faces. Even the darker side of 2017 highlighted those who were there for me. I remember very clearly who was there as I mourned, the stern but comforting faces of those who weren’t afraid to have the difficult conversations on death and loss, and the people who cheered me up as I waited in the emergency room and asked about my appointments thereafter.
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A lot of the shitty things that ruined my 2017 were out of my control. I couldn’t help that I got hyperthyroidism. Relationships turned toxic and cutting people out became necessary. And unfortunately, death is inevitable. But I survived only by the help and love I received.
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I have control over whom I keep in my life. I decide whom I love and care about, who to trust and open up to, and who I want to do the same for. 2017 showed me that, for the most part, I have chosen right. Because if I were wrong, I don’t think I’d be here typing this out. This is why as the New Year breaks and the darkest ends, I want to make sure I surround myself with positive people who inspire, love, and care for me as I do them.
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I don’t want you to think I’m getting nostalgic. I’ve just learned to accept the terrible times because again, it’s out of my control. I just want to move passed them all. 2017 was a real bitch. I’ll say it one more time, it’s been the absolute fucking worst of my life.
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But as I do my best to pick myself up and out of this surreal funk that has somehow consumed 2017, I’m reminded me of how important people are and how important I am. I need to surround myself with positive people, put effort into them if they are worth it, and hope they think I am too. Alas, that also means cutting toxic people out because despite how much love there may be between two people, you have to put you and your love for yourself first. This isn’t just a lesson for me. It’s for you too because at the end of the day, the year, and our lives, it’s the people that make it all mean something.
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Bye 2017, thank fuck you’re over.
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Sincerely,
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A Letter Per Person
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P.S If you’re wondering, my hyperthyroidism is getting better and I am slowly weening off my medicine! Thanks for the thoughts!