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Dear Heather

An entry for the 'Write me a letter' Challenge

By Matthew FrommPublished 6 months ago 3 min read
Dear Heather
Photo by Álvaro Serrano on Unsplash

Dear Heather,

Universally, we’re taught not to talk to strangers, yet here I am, penning a letter to a stranger for more strangers to read. The world is full of subtle ironies. Alanis would be proud.

But as I think about what to write, I’ve realized I need to unpack two of those notions.

Firstly, it's our strangeness. I know you as Heather Hubler, purveyor of challenges, zestful interviewer, and well-lauded member of this little internet community. I can see your headshot, and maybe if I entered a coffee shop to sit down as an honored guest of one of your interviews, I could pick you out of the crowd. But do I know you? Who’s to say? Do you enjoy interviewing others, or is it something that you found you had a knack for and continued it? What does your family think about your writing, assuming you are fortunate enough to have one? Who are your personal heroes and villains, and how do they shape your day to day? Where do you want to be in five years? Ten years? What’s your opinion on Xanthippe being reduced to an adjective?

I think it’s fair to say that you are a stranger whom I am having this admittedly one-sided conversation with. Sorry Mom, I know I never listened well.

Secondly and more importantly, I am just now realizing the privilege of the statement, “Don’t talk to strangers,” a new perspective at the ripe old age of thirty on the advantages life has provided me. I’ve never once had to truly and completely rely on the kindness of strangers, never once had to demonstrate the boldness and bravery desperation requires to entrust a stranger to shelter or feed me. How many of the seven billion people on the Great Blue Marble wake up every morning with the kindness of strangers being all that stands between today and no tomorrow? I can’t say, but I imagine it’s a much more significant percentage than the number taught never to talk to strangers.

And therein lies the rub, doesn’t it? A paradox (and of course, I found a more natural place for an X. Totally using the Xanthippe question as an icebreaker, though. Back to the regularly scheduled programming) like the paradox of movement. If we never talk to strangers, how would we ever talk to anyone? Our parents are strangers to us the day we’re born, our friends until we strike the courage to say hi, and our coworkers until we’re forced to tell two truths and a lie or any assorted ways we’re taught to introduce ourselves. If we never seek out the kindness of strangers, how do we live, how do we grow?

Indeed, it seems that not talking to strangers is an absolutely terrible lesson. Maybe if we said hi to more strangers, we may just realize that we are more the same than we are different. Maybe we’ll realize there’s more to that person than their label of the stranger. Maybe we’ll think about what other labels we rely on day in and day out and give their utility a second opinion.

And in doing so, maybe we may learn about ourselves in ways we never expected. Some may find that scary, and maybe it should be scary. Personally, I find it wonderful.

So, Heather Hubler, here’s a letter to you in which I say “Hi!” in the hope that we might no longer be strangers – that we might understand each other a little bit better today than we did yesterday.

I hope that others seek the same.





This was written in response to Heather Hubler's "Write me a letter" Challenge, below. If you've enjoyed this, please leave a like and an insight below. If you really enjoyed this, tips to fuel my coffee addiction are always appreciated. All formatting is designed for desktops.

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About the Creator

Matthew Fromm

Full-time nerd, history enthusiast, and proprietor of random knowledge. The best way to find your perfect story is to make it yourself.

Here there be dragons, and knights, and castles, and quests for entities not wished to be found.

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Comments (6)

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  • Shirley Belk6 months ago

    You gave me so much to ponder! And to rethink. At your 30, I've lived over twice that long, yet...just thank you!

  • Babs Iverson6 months ago

    Awesome letter!!! Lots to ponder and think about!!! Love this!!!❤️❤️💕

  • Paul Stewart6 months ago

    This reminds me of your 10 things piece and your 100 things in 20 minutes thing! love your thoughts and musings! well done!

  • Lol by any chance, are you an extrovert? Reading your letter made me feel like listening to an extrovert talk non stop. No I mean that as a compliment because it seemed so realistic! Fantastic work for the challenge!

  • Cathy holmes6 months ago

    This is wonderful, Matt. Great response.

  • Heather Hubler6 months ago

    "Hi, Matt." I love the thoughtfulness you put into this, and find myself still pondering the questions you posed. I'd like to think after this, we're on the path to a better understanding and move into friendly acquaintances territory instead of strangers. Thank you for participating!! PS I was wonderfully impressed with your icebreaker word choice, lol!

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