Letters to July is a series of short videos (on YouTube) made by various people, but primarily Emily Diana Ruth, who each write a letter to July and it’s kind of the best thing ever. I love that it means every day this month I can look forward to watching two minutes of someone else’s July; they’re usually super aesthetically pleasing and really beautifully worded. I’ve only heard of some of the people that Emily gets to make the videos, which is really cool because I’ve found loads of creative people through the series.
What I love most about the idea is that you’re able to see so many different people in such different places, in every sense. Lots of the letters explain how they’re going through a rough time, but what’s amazing is that the next day you see a video from someone who was in a bad place this time last year but now they’re in a much better place. It really gives me hope that even if I’m in a shit place now, this time next year I could be having an amazing summer.
Progress in terms of mental health (and most things) is often seen as such a linear thing, and when you hear other people’s stories, like someone in a book or a film or song, they often start in a crappy place and end up with friends or in a relationship and will be doing well, of course, because you’re usually following one person, following their achievements and hardships in a very linear way, which often makes me feel like I should be in the same place that they are.
In contrast, looking at lots of different people every day, and seeing them in totally different places both in relation to the other people making videos and letters that month, and in terms of the place they were in when they wrote their previous letters they made for Emily, is really inspiring, both creatively, but also in terms of my mental health, and being able to see this assortment of people at such different stages really gives me hope that things will change, and that things are changing ever day, it’s just you don’t tend to notice it.
I’m really trying to appreciate the tiny changes that happen every day, because if I don’t then I often generalise about my mental health, declaring it as all shit, which isn’t very helpful. Along with the Letters to July, the ‘Dear Diary’ entries on Rookie help to highlight the change that can happen to people even in a short time. I totally love being able to go back a year or so and see how different these people’s lives were then. Both the Letters to July and Dear Diary entries are very personal and in a kind of Orange is the New Black-esque way make me see the people around me more deeply instead of perfect people with perfect lives.
My favourite Letters to July are probably the videos that Dodie Clark has made the past two years because they show such progression, so even if you don’t watch any of the others, I really like these two (plus they’re really short!):
Letters to July 2014 (doddleoddle):
Letters to July 2015 (doddleoddle):