I first encountered these greetings cards while browsing through a book store back in high school. Like any typical teenager, I was struggling with personal insecurities, teetering between the urge to express and the fear of embarrassment. Admittedly, these cards resonated with adolescent-me, they were hard-copy expressions of things I would really like to say to some people.
Many years later I stumbled upon these cards as an adult and realized how tacky they are. The graphics left much to be desired and the contents of the cards baffled me. I decided to buy one of each to show to my friends and maybe one day post a blog about it for giggles. Being the procrastinator that I am, it took many years before I finally photographed and uploaded them with the intention of blogging.
Frankly I had envisioned a different direction when I drafted this post in my head. I had planned on mocking the very existence of these cards, portraying them as cringe-inducing evidence of how lame some Indonesians are. Some people perceive Indonesians’ fixation on dramatically expressed feelings and their propensity to be mushy as a sign of weakness. So you got your heart broken, quit whining and get over it. Self-respecting adults would not find these cards acceptable, I thought.
Some cards left me wondering “why would anyone in their right mind risk humiliating themselves with such blunt expression of their insecurities?” Others left me feeling sorry for potential recipients for they hit too close to home. Nonetheless I realized that similar things have been expressed in various contemporary forms, just look at the anonymous secrets people submit on Whisper and the passive aggressive gif and memes getting reblogged over Tumblr. Thanks to social media people are now more comfortable in expressing their vulnerabilities. Although they might not express their hurt through greeting cards, you can easily find messages in the same vein when you scroll through cryptic Facebook statuses.
If I were to be honest with myself, mature-me still resonate with the messages that the cards carry, I may have mastered the rules of acceptable behavior and expression, but that does not negate the fact that I sometimes feel as hurt/insecure/jealous as my teenage self. I might not be bothered by minor annoyances, but when the occasion does arise, well yes I still wish I can send someone a card that bluntly asks “am I not good enough for you?” I might be able to live with rejection, but that doesn’t mean I’m not curious about why I was rejected, be it by a romantic interest or from a certain position that I covet.
Nowadays such raw expressions can only happen when my inhibitions are lowered. Blame the painkillers/alcohol/lack of sleep for my outburst, God forbid I ask honest questions when I’m sober. I have come to the conclusion that mature people who see themselves sending these cards are either courageously putting themselves in a vulnerable position for sake of being straightforward or are desperately seeking for attention. I have the utmost respect for the former and suffer annoyance from the later.
These unique greeting cards are published by a company called Lifetime cards, there were no website listed, only an email contact at firstname.lastname@example.org which I’m not sure is still active, I’ll try to email and post an update. Their tagline is emotion and feelings and I must admit it really does show. The contents of these greeting cards do distinctly express feelings and emotions, in a very straightforward manner. Below are 9 specimens that I managed to acquire, each specimen is presented as a composite of two images. The image on the left is the cover of the cards while the image on the right side is the contents inside:
Let me know what you guys think in the comments below.