#LetterProject

The #letterproject explores the tension between doing what is expected, and what is desired. A letter from 1957 — handwritten by a 22-year-old woman to her unborn daughter — reveals a secret. In loopy handwriting, the writer describes her hopes and dreams striated by cultural norms and society’s tensions. “I wonder, and will do so when you are my age and when your daughter is my age – I’ll wonder ‘what if…'”  That woman was my mother.

Fast forward to my own 22-year-old daughter, for whom career and life experience take priority over marriage. We empathize with the generations who came before BOTH of us. To my daughter when she wonders  is a story of five generations of women, parent-child communications and what it is to be female in an analogue turned digital world.

What would you say to your 22-year-old self? Please take part in this interactive project
The data I collect will eventually be visualized anonymously and shared on bit.ly/LettersToYourSelfie

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When Sidney missed Sally, Summer of 1957
When Sidney missed Sally, Summer of 1957

What if she dumped the fiancé and drove off with the divorcé in his green jaguar?

What if she’d gone to law school instead of earning a master’s degree in social work?

What if she made her own decisions unencumbered by her mother and an undergraduate advisor who suggested she get an MSW over a JD since the former only took two years to complete versus the latter’s three.

What if she left her husband and children? What if she hadn’t been depressed or was treated in a manner that encouraged getting out of bed every morning, rather than sleeping throughout the day, while her children readied themselves and set off for school, until it was time to prepare dinner?

#Letterproject looks at women in society, familial bonds and expectations. Imagine a world in which women are free to write and speak and vote freely, they are educated, free thinkers and able to live in harmony with or without others, according to their own desires.

Fast forward to my own 22-year-old daughter, for whom career and life experience take priority over marriage. We empathize with the generations who came before BOTH of us. To my daughter when she wonders  is a story of five generations of women, parent-child communications and what it is to be female in an analogue turned digital world.

Sophie Sawyers, 22-years-old, reads excerpts from a letter written by her grandmother, Sally Roos Schneck.