A Letter Was in the Works

Letters in mail slot with stamps on them

By Jennifer Wallace


A letter was in the works.  It was there playing hide and seek in my mind for 5 years.  After seeing women speak out, I wanted to be that brave.  I wanted to own my nieces middle names, “Courage,” and “Worth” while still holding onto my daughter’s middle name, “Grace.”  So, I went there:  I went back 5 years and I opened the wound and I wrote the letter.

Alone in the office, in front of the computer, a blank screen. I do not hear anything: not the kids downstairs watching YTV, not John breathing, asleep on the couch, not the dogs whining. My fingers flipped the calendar pages: there it was. The date, the time, the name. I started writing. I wrote for a long time.

John entered the room.  “Hey, what’s up?”

I turned from the screen.

“Did you let out the dogs this morning? They peed on the floor,” he said.

“Oh. Poor girls!”  

He leans into me glancing at the screen and I tell him I what I am doing, writing this letter.

“Did anything trigger this need to write now?” he asked touching my shoulder.  

“No, I felt it was time. “


“Dear Doctor______,” I bring up the appointment when my dignity was momentarily removed.

“Please remove your underwear and get up on the table,” and I, voiceless, went along, hiding my underwear in my purse. Despite a female in the room and my long dress, I felt naked. Never, in all my years, had a doctor not stepped out of the room and then waited to return, while I waited with the sheet covering. I had no words that day.

I do now. ….


A week after the letter here I am in a circle of sister writers facing another blank screen.

I want to say you have a voice and it matters.

I want to say You are not alone. I hear you. I see you little girl sitting there.

I want to say You can be brave and strong, courageous, and real.

I want to say Your tears, your fears, your sighs…they matter.

I want to say you matter.

I want to say the world is yours.

By sharing and revealing our stories, we give voice.  We give permission to be heard, to be the loud and the quiet, to be the silly and the serious—to be. I want to encourage my children and my students, my nephews and my nieces and you, dear reader, to be heard and to be brave.  And so, I write. I write so that my letters and words that want to be found are no longer playing the game of hide and seek. They are out in the open where they belong. I feel stronger now walking in courage, worth, and grace.

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