Monday, January 12, 2009

Wearing my heart on my sleeve: An ongoing project

If you have read more than one or two posts here, you know as well as anyone in my face-to-face life this important fact about me: I wear my heart on my sleeve.

I fight it sometimes, I do. But I just can't help it. I put my whole self out there, into the world, just because I feel I have to. You'll not be surprised to learn that I do not have a poker face among my repertoire of facial expressions.

Being this way brings its complications. I'm overwhelming to some people with my puppy-like eagerness. Because I'm not good at pretending ennui, I probably lack a certain mystery; I don't do aloof. 

I love meeting new people and getting to know them. I think most people are interesting, and I love learning about new friends, getting to know the details of their life.   And equally so, I love connecting with people whom I've cared about in my past.   

For years I have been a little ashamed of this kind of enthusiasm.  But now, instead of working against it, I have decided to embrace opening my heart to people. I am wearing my heart on my sleeve, proudly.

Tomorrow I will post the first in a long series of posts I'm calling "Open Heart Letters." These are open notes to people in my life--both currently or from my past--who have made some sort of impression on me. For the people in my life now--well, I am writing these because it's so good to know that someone cares for you and thinks of you, isn't it?

And for those people I knew long ago-- I realize that many of them won't even see these "love letters" I feel compelled to write.  Regardless, I think it's a worthwhile exercise to reflect on the people I have known at formative times in my life, even those I knew for just a short while. They stay in my memory. From time to time my thoughts will land on such a person, and I am reminded how amazing the wide world is, filled with good people who make positive impressions on you just by crossing your path.

This is an ambitious project, and potentially endless--there are so many people I've admired and cared for over the years.  Some notes will be long letters, others distilled into a few lines or a poem.   I invite you to come along on the journey, and consider your own connections as we go...

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Paula said...

What a beautiful post and a wonderful idea! I love it! :)

La Belette Rouge said...

I think it is brilliant. I am a bit shy and have some natural ennui to my temperament and so I envy the kind of openness, enthusiasm, and joie de vivre you have. I am not good at a poker face but it is usually about masking my fear, anxiety or other negative emotions. I think people sometimes view my shyness as b*tchyness and/or disinterest and I assure you it is neither. That said, gratitude for those I love is a very strong value to me and I do my best to share my appreciation of those who mean a lot to me. It feels so good to be grateful( ooh, my ennui is melting).;-)

I love your open heart project. I look forward to reading these letters of love.

Kirie said...

Paula: Thanks for the support--I'm clearly excited about this project, too. Hope you enjoy the posts to come.

Kirie said...

Belle: I'm glad you like the idea, too. I've been thinking about it a lot for the past few months, and I'm just now getting it into motion...
It's funny, how our outward expressions can belie the interior life. I wish I could have more "coolness" to my features--but every single emotion plays across my face.
I envy being able to project uninterest, even (or especially) if it's not there. As a readable person, I probably come across to some people as someone not particularly interesting. And who wants that? Ah well, as I said, I'm embracing that open thing, right? So no more fighting it...
And gratitude: Every post you write has elements of gratitude in it--you are one of the most gracious writers I've ever met...I'm following your lead, in a way.

Irene Latham said...

What a beautiful INSPIRING project. What a gift. Looking forward to it! xxoo

susan said...

I think it's a wonderful idea too and sad that so many people are just plain afraid to make eye contact. I don't walk around with a huge grin but I'm more than open for shared smiles and hellos. You never know what blessing you may be bringing to someone who needs just a little human kindness at a particular moment.

The Storialist said...

This is a brave project! I can't wait to read some of your letters.

I've written letters before that I have never sent...I tucked them away into a drawer, and sometime rediscover and reread them. It's always a bizarre discovery, and feels a bit like I've written the letter to myself.

I hope you one day rediscover these!

angela said...

Hi Kirie

That is such a beautiful idea and so you! You are such a delight and are the light of my life as you must certainly know. You have given me so many gifts and really influenced me greatly over the years - you are a source of strength and wisdom. I am so proud of you!
Love, Mom

Anonymous said...

You are a beeeautiful person! I'm snagging your idea, by the way! Have a great life. ;)

JLC said...

I'd like to have seen this sooner, but now that I have, I feel really compelled to contribute to it. There's at least one person I want to send an open heart letter to. it's a brilliant idea.

Is the way to do it to write the letter for you to post? As a comment?

Angie Muresan said...

What a lovely, lovely idea. (I am new here, via La Belette Rouge, and since I am so loving your writing you'll find me commenting on things that haven't been written recently.)
Old attachments, friends, neighbors, family, all impact us in wonderful ways. How sweet it is to receive, and also to give that acknowledgment of appreciation.

Alexandra Hope Flood said...

Hi Kirie,

I love this concept!! I feel exactly the same way about the people in my life as well as my interest in people in general -- so everything you write really resonates with me.

Bravo to your Open Letters!! Too few say too little in life.


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