The Post-it: Sticky Notes for the Soul

Good gawd, I love Post-it notes. I must admit, I’m a bit partial to the pale yellow ones, as opposed to the bright pink, blue, or lime stack. Though, I must say, my mother-in-law just sent me a stack of multi-colored butterfly post-it notes (yellow on top) and be still my heart, I’ll have to order more. But that pale yellow color is the most logical color on which to clearly view what was written in haste. It’s a no-nonsense color. It says “You wrote on me, remember? Don’t forget!” Pale yellow is just different enough from a white piece of paper to show up on that white piece of paper, to stand out, to make its little presence known. 

There’s something strangely comforting to me about these partially sticky square pieces of yellow paper. They are mostly transient, fleeting, a tiny space to jot down a quick thought or a to-do. Most likely, you’ll scribble that to-do…then do the to-do…then toss the Post-it away. And you shouldn’t feel bad; it’s served its sticky little purpose! It was such a wee scrap of paper that lived up to its highest potential: it caught your thought and channelled it.

Curious about the origin of these genius little gems, I read up on the “accidental” invention of the Post-it. I found that the Post-it was invented by a chemist at 3M who was experimenting with different types of adhesives for planes. At first they thought that this particular glue too weak to hold anything, but swiftly realized it might be useful in some way, as it didn’t leave any sort of residue after removing it. After some marketing mishaps, the Post-it was born, and it’s one of the most popular office products (still!) to this day.

When I saw the photos of Post-its covering the walls of the 14th street Subway stop after the Election, my heart swelled. (Moments like these are the very rare ones where I miss NYC with every fiber of my being. For about 2 and a half minutes.) Who knew the powerful impact these little stickies could have? (Well, yes, I know there’s been major artwork created with them and for goodness’ sake Carrie was DUMPED BY BERGER ON A POST-IT! A hell-to-the-no way to break up with someone of epic proportions.) So yes, these little guys have made their way into popular culture. But to this extent? An all-time first, in my book.

54ac0f363855b_-_elle-01-sex-and-the-city.jpg(thank you SATC…I stole this off some website.)

To me, these particular little Post-its on the wall of the NYC subway somehow aren’t transient. They aren’t meant to be crumpled up and thrown away. Their powerful messages will live on forever. That’s a lot of weight for a little Post-it to bear. But they bear it well, and beautifully. And colorfully. Yes, maybe their little adhesives will give way at some point (as noted above: they weren’t meant to be gorilla glue), but they will indeed live on in the photographs we have of them.

Just look at all the love:


Post-its are the number one choice of communication between my husband and I (in the first part of the day). He’ll sometimes leave me a note (or three) before work (as I am most definitely still very fast asleep at the ungodly hour he departs) and sometimes I’ll leave him one the night before. I’ve left them in the shower (where he does his thinking), on the front door (so he won’t miss it on the way out), and sometimes on the dog (just kidding). The day is always a good one when I wake up to a Post-it on the bathroom mirror. They’re there when I need a little extra love, a little extra boost, a little extra morning pep. Sometimes he knows I need it. Sometimes he doesn’t know I need it, but he’ll do it anyway.

I’m working on Marie-Kondo-ing my life, but it’s hard to throw away our little sticky love notes. I keep some in a notebook. Some stick to the inside of the bathroom cabinet. And maybe I’ll preserve them in photos, too, as they start to loose their glue, so their messages will live on.

My own personal subway wall of sticky love:



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