Saturday, April 29, 2017

The Dear Casper letter: a mindful reply to ghosting

My friend and I invented a new way to deal with being ghosted. It's called the Dear Casper letter: a mindful reply to ghosting

In this genre, the abandoned partner (usually a woman) is given the opportunity to write, and therefore purge, her feelings toward the now invisible partner. She expects to feel some peace and control, to cure her frustration and hurt, to redirect a situation that feels out of her control. Like writing a letter to someone and never mailing it, in this case, the writer posts it. That simple click allows the abandoned partner to reclaim, acknowledge, respect, and tend to the once growing feelings that were abandoned, now replaced by seemingly endless questions and rejection and a lack of faith in good manners. These are all feelings that are real and not irrelevant because they grew over text.

Characteristics of this genre include: tones that are generous but strong, loving and protective at the same time, great last words, and an implicit belief that letting go is better than losing control. One can see the vulnerability, the influence of Brené Brown in this genre. The vulnerability also makes it difficult to send. And a reply is neither anticipated nor the point of a Dear Casper letter.

Like ghosting and the technology that allows it, this post is representative of its socio-historical time and its views on subjectivity, the self, and gender norms. Online means that he can swipe on and move on and I can blame technology for my disappointment, for letting my guard down, for being human. The Dear Casper letter reverses all of that and holds someone accountable for rudeness. Maybe Casper doesn't reply, but for the minutes he read it, he was torched or touched. Just because technology, 4g, and processors can process our desires faster than instantly, does not mean that we can. The Dear Casper letter is also a covert expression of contempt, a means of holding Casper accountable for a callous escape, born and bread on a smartphone.

This post is only a little bit about revenge, since the Casper remains anonymous. It is a lot about my friend and our process of getting to the point that we developed and used this genre, this methodology of dealing with our feelings. It is a lot about female adult friendship. It is about the ethernet of emotional band-aids. This is about getting rid of the residue of dating in this age of the text. Like a yellow card in soccer, a Dear Casper letter will hold a player accountable for a foul. Let's use Dear Casper letters, share them, and possibly even make Caspers known on a Dear Casper filter on dating apps so as to penalize bad behavior and get our faith back. Also, posting your Dear Casper letter, naming the Casper or not, allows you to not let ghosting haunt future entanglements.

Here is an example of a Dear Casper letter, in the form of an email in that genre... It was written by moi... Come sit next to me and read it.

Dear Casper,

It seems our connection has run its course; maybe I need someone who will plan visits; maybe you need someone who doesn't care about that. The point is that, sure, the connection ended, that's certainly sad, but that sad feeling is kind of good since it's a sign that I cared about someone and that experience is a great one to have. So, I can deal with that and those feelings. And it's not my first rodeo so I get it.

The ghosting feels more complicated. That's why I am writing you. I have no context from your side. It seems to be a thing that is part of this texting era, and part of having a relationship that goes on a lot via text. As it's newish, it's new to me, so it hasn't happened to me before. I think that what happens on text is real, I think that what we had was real. That was lucky. Ghosting is a foreign behavior to me. It is a contrast to what felt real and lucky. I don't like ghosting. It feels hurtful and cheap. And it is cowardly.

I'm hurt. I want to give you the finger - in Croatian, to tell you to go back to your mother's cunt. Sorry for that outburst. Yet what I really want is to ask for some context from you, please. If you feel like an apology is an appropriate reply, then please know it is welcome. And in case you read this and don't reply, please know that while I am sure my quirks and shortcomings may have gotten on your nerves sometimes, I hope I never made you sad.

Katherine© (aka Lady Casper)
All rights reserved.
April 29 2017, a month after being ghosted