What you can carry through an airport is strictly controlled by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and its internal agency, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). A walk through its checkpoints will uncover whether you have restricted items in your bag, which will have to be removed before boarding any aircraft.
But there’s no rule against bringing a piece of paper with you as you pass through to the airport’s gates. One woman, presumably about to board a flight of her own, carried with her a letter that she had spent some time penning by hand.
She was never meant to deliver that message to anyone in particular though. Instead, a stranger, a man she didn’t know, found her note left in the airport, and the words she had written on that page left him – and the internet at large – shocked.
Despite the hubbub that comes with air travel, one man happened to notice something out of place at the San Francisco International Airport. It was a piece of paper folded half with a demand written on its face, “Read Me,” it said.
In the middle of an airport, such a note could be considered ominous, or even dangerous. Some might neglect to read it, but this man took the bait. Inside, he found an incredible message from a complete stranger.
She had signed the message with her name, which she said was Jamie. But she started her message on an even more revealing note. She had scrawled in pencil on white paper, “I recently left an emotionally abusive relationship.”
She then began to paint a picture of the relationship she had once been a part of. She wrote, “After months of insults I won’t repeat, false accusations, lies, delusions, broken mirrors, nightly battles… I left.”
Jamie said that she knew it had been time for her to leave her boyfriend of three years. She wrote, “I knew that I was being poisoned by each day that I stayed.” She continued, “At first he begged, then he cursed, but eventually he packed his bags and faded out of my life like a bad dream.”
Yet saying goodbye wasn’t that easy. Jamie admitted in the letter, “For the first few weeks, my body seemed to reject this.” Furthermore, she said, “For three years I had seen the world through him-colored glasses. I didn’t know who I was without him.”
She went on, “Despite the kindness of friends and even strangers, I could not help feeling utterly alone.” But, eventually, Jamie came to realize that it would be that very solitude that would free her from the chains of her abusive relationship.
Jamie wrote, “I released all of the painful memories, the names he had called me, the shards of him buried deep in my brain.” Jamie continued, “I stopped believing the things he had made me think about myself.” Then she started really experiencing life on her own.
Jamie said in her letter, “I began to see how extraordinarily, breathtakingly beautiful life is.” She continued, “I meditated, drank too much coffee, talked to strangers, laughed at nothing. I wrote poetry and stopped to smell and photograph every flower.”
And this time alone, to explore the world with just herself, allowed Jamie to make a startling, freeing realization. She wrote, “Once I discovered that my happiness depends only on myself, nothing could hurt me anymore.”
From there, Jamie “found and continued to find peace.” She wrote, “Each day I am closer to it than I was yesterday. I am a work in progress but I am full to the brim with gratitude and joy.”
But in her quest for inner peace and solitude, Jamie came to realize she had to let go of any vestige of her past life to begin a new one. She wrote, “Since I have opened a new chapter in my life, I want to peacefully part with the contents of the last chapter.”
And that’s why the letter – already emotionally revealing – also contained a piece of jewelry. It was a necklace with a heart-shaped charm dangling from a silver chain, a gift from Jamie’s ex. She had worn it nearly every day of her previous relationship.
She wrote, “The end of my relationship was the catalyst for a wealth of positive changes in my life. It was a symbol, most importantly, and it was an act of self-love. It was a realization that I deserved to be happy and I could choose to be.”
Jamie said, “And so, in an effort to leave behind the things that do not help me grow, I am letting go of a relic from the painful past.” Then she went on, “To me, letting [the necklace] go is a joyous declaration that I am moving forward with strength and grace and deep, lasting peace.”
With that, she closed her letter, offering up her necklace not as a symbol of her heartache, but as a “reminder that we all deserve happiness.” She wrote, “Whoever you are, and whatever pain you have faced, I hope you find peace.”
Jamie’s words touched the man who found her note, so he shared it online, where it quickly went viral. Her words resonated with other victims too. One viewer wrote, “I can totally relate to what she shared. It takes a long time to recover and bloom again.” Through her note, Jamie made it clear she, too, was ready to blossom – all on her own.