Wednesday, 28 January 2015

The Unprecedented Joy In Making Someone's Day

I peer down curiously at the small white envelope with my name on, handwritten in small bouncy script. 

My mind is completely absent to the memory of the girl who'd emailed me asking for my address a few days prior. I eagerly yet cautiously tear into the package to find a four page long, handwritten letter.

I'm not two paragraphs in before a lump starts to rise in my throat. 

By the end, my hands are shaking. 

 "This is a reminder to never forget that you are a dreamer. Don't ever let that little kid in you die, nourish her and strive to be that astronaut today and that zookeeper tomorrow. Don't ever let people, whether it be your parents or any person you feel doubted by, make you question your dreams. Remember that despite all the negativity, jealousy, scepticism, and lack of confidence, there will always be people routing for you and your successes and who wish to see you triumph. I know I definitely don't only speak for myself when I say these words;

I know you can do this. I believe in you."

I lower the letter slowly and close my eyes, exhaling deeply, for once, lost for words at the level of gratitude, humbleness and soaring elation coursing through my veins. There was something about the fact it was handwritten too, spelling errors and cross-outs galore, that really struck a chord of tearful gratitude in me too. We live in a world of such hyper-communication that taking the time, effort and money to send something handcrafted by post, really meant so goddamn much.  

But something bothered me, I re-read again carefully.

"I really wanted to give you something to remind you on this journey of yours to always be you and always dream big. 

The key is called a 'Giving Key'. The idea came from a brilliant woman who had the idea to start engraving old, used keys with inspirational words. Realising in a way that we are all like these keys - unique, flawed, scarred and at risk of being discarded - she wanted these keys to have their purpose renewed over and over again. The idea behind them is that their message is yours for a time but once they have served their purpose with you: pay it forward to inspire another."

My heart soared with joy as it had done the first time I'd read it. But I shook the pages, turned the envelope upside down, inside out... nothing. Was the key metaphorical? I read once more... surely not?

I re-traced my steps frantically searching my entire house and front doorstep - nothing. 

I scanned the envelope for signs of forced entry but there were none aside from my own, and thinking back, the envelope hadn't felt weighty enough for me to assume there was anything other than paper in there. 

My heart that was soaring suddenly plummeted to my stomach. 

This girl had reached out to me in the most profoundly beautiful way possible, and in doing so, the object she so cherished and wished to pass on to me, had become lost. 

I pretty much turned my house upside down, but to no avail. 

Eventually I emailed her to thank her, but to also reveal the heartbreaking news. 

Like I, she was equally delighted and devastated, but was quick not to blame me. She contacted Royal Mail but there was nothing they could do, and so the whereabouts of the Giving Key remained lost to the whimsy of time and space. 

But I couldn't sleep knowing her purely innocent and almost heartbreakingly sweet gesture had been somewhat tarnished by these unfortunate circumstances. I was still floored with gratitude and joy at the gesture and her beautiful words, but I knew she must be feeling absolutely gutted.

And so I took matters into my own hands. 

If she was unable to pass something on to me that she so wanted to, then I would make something that her and I could share forever.

Like a woman on a mission, I set out and sourced two identical silver keys, and some other bits and pieces to really perfect the gesture. 

And so I made us two unique and identical key necklaces, one for her and one for I, knowing that these were the only two of the type and sentiment in the universe, an unbreakable bond between two passionate and thoughtful human strangers. 

Although not able to engrave them, I wanted to make them as profound as the key she'd intended to gift me. So on the key head, in black sharpie I inscribed one simple phrase that, to me, and anyone who's read me for a while, means everything. 

'Stay Silver'

With a length of black leather chord strung between them, they were complete. 

Slipping my one round my neck as I worked, I delicately wrapped hers and slipped it inside it's little printed package, wrapping it in the perfect ribbon I'd found. 

Alongside the little package, I wrote a note.

Dear Beth,

I'm really sorry your incredibly sweet gift got lost in the post, but hey, maybe it's found its way to someone who needed it more than us? Plus your beautiful letter was more than I could have ever asked for.

Instead, I hope this makes up for it. Your very own 'Stay Silver' key necklace  - and I have it's unique and identical twin. Now, neither of us will ever forget to remain extraordinary. 

Thank you with all my heart,


And it was complete. 

And you know, finishing off tying the little ribbon and popping the parcel into a (very secure) envelope, I felt this extraordinary sense of excitement and glee imagining her finding this one her doorstep, and (hopefully) having the same reaction I did when I opened her letter. 

I guess I've come to realise that one of the most fun and joyful things in the world, is doing small and unexpected things to make other people smile. And it kinda makes it that much more special when they are a complete stranger.

You always see these articles about 'passing it on' or 'paying it forward' and I guess in some ways it's the most selfish form of selflessness, because I cannot explain just how goddamn good it feels to know that you've made someone else's day. 

And returning to the Holstee Manifesto which I haven't referred to in a while actually, 'Life is about the people you meet and the things you create with them' - that couldn't be more true. 

I truly believe that every single person you come across has something to teach you, if you're only willing to open your ears and listen. 

And this sweet and beautiful-spirited stranger has definitely taught me a little something about selflessness, and how just one small act of kindness can have such a profound and resounding effect on someone, especially if you don't even know them and probably never will.

So go ahead, make someone's day, 'cause you never know who might make yours. 

Let's just hope this one doesn't get lost in the post, hey?

p.s sorry about my atrocious excuse for nail varnish


  1. I love hand written letters, (always a pleasure to read) and will agree I smiled lots when reading this post.

    I think both gestures were equally as wonderful and I'm definitely glad I saw this :) x

  2. This amazing! It's so sad that it got lost! So nice of you to have gifted her another key. I'm sure she'll love it!
    Jade x

    1. I know honestly I felt so bad like it was my fault! I searched EVERYWHERE but alas, hopefully someone who really needs it finds it! x

  3. What a lovely gesture! There are some really thoughtful people in the world, and it's so nice to hear of acts of kindness like this!
    Hannah x

    1. There definitely needs to be more airtime for good human beings! I aim to do just that! x

  4. This warmed my heart! What a lovely way to reach out to someone and connect to them! It's a shame about the key but I'm sure that she will appreciate your own identical keys just as much :)
    Saadiya x

    || That Girl; Saadiya ||

    1. I shall wear mine with pride and I will pass it down to my kids telling them the tale - I hope she does the same! x

  5. that is such a lovely thing to do! sometimes, it feels like 'big bloggers' (with anything between a thousand and a million followers) can stop taking such notice of individual readers, whether it's in the comment section or such a personal thing as a letter like this, but not you Katie. This post has in turn made me want to do something as touching as both the letter you received and the pendant you gave in return. this is my favourite post of yours in a while (as brilliant as the university post was).

    thanks for writing this and making my day,

    1. waaaaah this made my day, thank you! I can be so rubbish at replying to comments 'cause I dont wanna seem like I'm just repeating myself but I always wanna take time to let people know I really bloody appreciate any time of day they give me! I will never be someone whos like fuck yeh I'm important bow down to me, like what is the point?!

      People are amazing :) x x x

  6. This is the most beautiful post, ever.

  7. Handwritten letters are my favourite and unexpected ones are always beautiful. You did such a lovely gesture for someone who had done such a lovely gesture for you. I love the idea of the keys and I love the quote 'Stay Silver' it's so similar to my favourite 'Stay Lucky, Stay Golden'.

    Beka. xo

    1. Let's pass it on! I love little things like this and anything to do with crafts, I was like a giddy little kid working on this haha x

    2. This post has really made me want to do something similar. I'm thinking of something like this for my best friends 21st birthday, thank you! xo

  8. There is something so special about handwritten letters, but they are so rare nowadays because nobody bothers anymore, but that makes them a only more special gesture, I think.
    Anyway, this was a very lovely post and such a great thing to do :)
    I agree with everything Beth said in her letter. You will find your way! xxx
    Thank you for inspiring me day by day!
    Lots of love

  9. This was such a beautiful post and a wonderful thing you two now share. There's nothing better than handwritten letters- I think I'll be sending a few to try and make someones day. Thanks for inspiring me!

  10. How special for you both to experience such thoughtfulness! Such a lovely gesture! Beautiful post x

  11. This is one of the sweetest things I've seen in a long while. <3

  12. That is really something. Kind of gives you a hopeful reminder that there is always someone out there that understands, that cares and that isn't afraid to reach out and hold your hand.

    What a wonderful exchanging of kindness.

    Faded Windmills

  13. This is just so beautiful & sweet! It's so sad that the Giving Key got lost but in return you've created something even more special between the two of you :)

  14. This is so beautiful. Sometimes strangers are the ones that can have the most impact, it sounds like you two will be forever friends. It's not so often that you come across bloggers who will take the time out to do something special like this for one and other, you have my follow.
    Daxidream x

  15. This is beautiful. I love your style of writing about your experiences.
    Also the necklaces are really cute too, its unusual that you find bloggers that would do something like this, looks like you gained a friend for ever :) xo

  16. This is such a lovely story, truly heartwarming.
    Love reading each of your posts as they're so beautifully written.



  18. This is just so wonderful! Firstly to have the support of someone in such a way, and secondly the idea of making someone's day - I am a HUGE fan of writing letters and sending parcels for no reason. Perfect.

    Jo xx

    She Wears Burgundy

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