Jade Olurin ’17
Created in June 2014, “If You Find This Email” is a collection of emails sent by anonymous authors all over the world. The emails are happy, sad, powerful, funny, or a combination of all four, but all of them are heart-wrenchingly honest. While it’s impossible to know whether or not an email was written by someone, “Milkshakes melt. People change” and “A star with good reception” are some of my favorite maxims from the website. After a hiatus lasting most of the summer, the site has been updated at least once weekly since August, providing a glimpse into those daring enough to bare their souls to complete strangers on the internet. I found the website in July of this year, and have since read every email ever posted. I think about the emails and their authors often, wondering if I’ve read the innermost feelings of the woman behind me in line at Walgreens, the man next to me in traffic, or the student I held the door for on my way into school.
While not the main attraction, another aspect of the site is worthy of acknowledging: the comments. Sometimes, they are simply “Thank you for writing this”, but other times they are just as beautiful and heartfelt as the emails themselves, urging the author not to give up, to take a chance, or reassuring them that they are not alone. I have never seen a disparaging comment, meaning that either comments are screened before they are posted, or, as I like to think, nobody feels the need to negatively comment on someone else’s story.
Under the “Send Yours” tab, the founders explain “all emails are posted with our best shot of giving people a moment to nod their head and say, ‘me too.’” I have read so many emails relatable enough it seems I could have written them, with authors from locations like Kabale, Uganda; Dallas, Texas; and “On a yoga mat getting sidetracked”, connected through the process of sharing their deepest thoughts with the world. Whether an author is grieving and hoping her friend is “on a star with good reception”, or writing an open letter to the “new girlfriend of my best friend (who is a guy)” they are able to express themselves even if they believed they never could. This website won’t change the world, but it may change the way you see the people in it.