Letters to Myself

“The Water Pot”

A glaring sun. Warm prickly lawn. Searing cement. It is summer most definitely. A perfect day for some water. More specifically, water launched from the barrel of a nerf water gun. A routine that my brother and I had been doing nearly every summer.

Out in the backyard, a large ceramic garden vase fills with water from a hose. It’ll take around five minutes. Excitedly, we flip open a dusty plastic bin and rummage around, sifting through assorted gardening tools and swatting aside cobwebs. There laying at the bottom were the familiar blocky frames of the water guns. Faded paint that had melted off the plastic from sitting in the sun too many afternoons in a row stared back up at us.

Hurriedly, they were submerged into the water that waited in the now full pot. The sun beat down on our bare backs. Impatiently, we tried swishing the blasters around in the water to make them fill faster. The one that got loaded first had the first-strike advantage. My brother’s arm shot out from the pot and a slap of water struck my face. It was on.

The scornful sun blazed overhead. It was oppressively hot. I gingerly touched the top of my black hair and found that it was positively burning. I traded shots of water with my brother. At first, I wanted to be hit less as that was considered winning, however as the afternoon dragged on, I would sometimes even let my brother spray a whole bottle’s worth of water on me. It wasn’t enough. 

My head was scorching. My skin was on fire. In an act of desperation, I sprinted across the lawn to the now half-empty vase. I dunked my head in. Apparently, my mom had taken a photo of me doing so. I still remember it, and we still have the photo today.

“Mixed Signals”

Green. Yellow. Red. A very common sight for most. Signals that tell you what you should do. 

Green – you should keep moving. Yellow – maybe it’s best to slow down. Red – you should really stop. Should. Then again it’s all your choice. You are the one behind the wheel. You ultimately decide whether or not to accelerate or press on the brakes. You cruise towards the intersection.

Green. Foot on the pedal, you glide swiftly past the light. You push lower on the accelerator and the engine growls in response. The windows blur.  

Yellow. No one in view. You’re fast enough, you can make it. The street name streams overhead. Wasn’t that the turn? Doesn’t matter now. Why are we going so fast again?

Red. 800$, or was it 1000$. It’s fine, the rearview mirror is clear. No flashing lights or blaring alarms. The speedometer leans to the right. You grip the steering wheel tighter. 

What happens if we crash? If we run out of gas? You’re making this mad dash but where are you headed? Where do we go? Foot eases off the pedal, onto the brake. The front axel looks right. You gently slide next to the curb. Your face drops into your palms.


It’s me. It’s just me. Staring back at me. I gaze into my eyes and wonder if they see the same things I see. If my reflection feels the way I feel. Strange how I can never recall what my reflection looked like when I was younger. It’s as if as the years go by, a new person has replaced the old me, and is now looking back at me in the mirror, watching what I’ll do next.

Sometimes it takes a moment for me to realize that the person standing in front of me is actually me. Every time I catch a glimpse of my reflection, it is a jarring experience. It shocks me. Not in a frightening way, but in a pleasantly surprising way. It allows me to look back and realize that I have actually made it thus far.

I’m not a particularly vain person, but sometimes I can’t help but notice every imperfection in my appearance. All the flaws of my character. All my regrets and hopes that have come to pass. They say your worst enemy is yourself and it’s not hard to see why. It’s easy to get swallowed up in the past and spiral into a cycle of what-ifs. But standing in front of the mirror reminds me that I am here. It grounds me in the moment and allows me to appreciate the present. I wave to myself and he waves back.

“One or the Other” 

English. Math. Chemistry. Spanish. European History. So many subjects to study but not enough time. Time. A highly sought after commodity with no price. One that simply can not be sold or purchased. Decisions, decisions, decisions. One should spend their time doing what exactly? Math or Chemistry. English or Spanish. Is it worth doing History at all? 

Work but you’re too tired. Take a break maybe. Take a quick fifteen-minute nap. Surely you will feel rejuvenated… Whoosh. Your eyes fly open. Panicked, you quickly sweep your eyes up the wall towards the clock. It’s 7:00 pm. Hours flashed by in just a moment. You drag yourself back to your desk.

Quickly you scribble out some equations and recheck how much work you have left. Oof, only four other subjects to go. Don´t forget to study for the exam tomorrow! Maybe you should ignore chemistry today. Just for today. Maybe you can squeeze it in during lunch? Back to the textbooks.

*Bzzt* *Bzzt* *Bzzt*

You lie there on your bed. Off to school and to finish the work that was due today. What a productive and enjoyable day yesterday was, right? Things will be different today. Today you will be on task and focused 100%. One can dream.

“An Insurmountable Wall”

You toil and labor at your work everyday. You work hard and strive to do the best you possibly can. But sometimes it’s not enough. Long hours spent in front of your desk but hardly any work to show for it. You sit and you stare hard into the paper, willing the words to flow. 

Frustration wells up from your chest and gathers in your temples until the pressure is too much. Angrily you grip the paper and tear it to shreds. You reach to your right and grab another blank sheet. As you sweep the pile of paper scrap into the wastebasket, you regret wasting paper.

You step outside for a moment. Yes, the cold crisp air will refresh your mind. Inhale. Exhale. Your eyes hungrily sweep your surroundings, desperate for inspiration, for a spark that will ignite your writing flame. But nothing comes. It is a frosty gray morning today. Your backyard is a barren uninviting place, with dead trees and a brown lawn. No signs of life or anything interesting. You walk back in.

The house is cold and lifeless. A frost creeps in the house from a cracked window. You haven’t written a full novel in years. Ugh. You feel a headache coming on. But you must write! You need to create something, anything, anything at all! Nothing. You don’t write anything at all. For the 573rd day in a row, you crawl into your cot with once again nothing to show.

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