Hey there, John Locke

Dear Mr. Locke,

I read your Essay a few years ago and, if I’m being entirely honest, it didn’t do much for me. Let’s just say your prose is a tad heavy in the hands of an adolescent millennial.

To be clear, this letter isn’t to shame or criticize your work. Actually, since that point in my adolescence, a few key things passed into my life that augmented the relevance of your Essay in my mind.

The first was Latin.

Latin has shaped my view of life and has become a constant source of discovery. (Try writing an essay analyzing prose – first you have to quite literally analyze the prose. Case, number, gender, anyone?)

So the meaning of tabula rasa, which of course I learned when your Essay was deconstructed on the white board of my history classroom, wasn’t all that new to me. But, now that Latin has become a passion, just hearing a casual “et cetera” in someone’s dialogue, or finding a cf. in the footnote of a textbook, makes me that much more intrigued in the subject matter.

The second wasn’t something that passed into my life. “Through” would be a more appropriate choice of words.

I met my best friend in kindergarten. We’ve since bonded over Harry Potter, fatigue in the fourth mile of our run, and Daenerys’ epic woman power. I’ve known her about as long as I’ve known myself, which makes it hard to define myself and keep my identity secure now that she isn’t around.

(Forgive the rambling, Mr. Locke, I’ll get to the point!)

I wish I was back in elementary school when we had recess and stayed in the same classroom all day and there wasn’t homework and college was a figment of our imaginations and sex was nonexistent and there were playdates and we went sledding and didn’t wake up at 5:30 and we were friends.

The best part of being a child is, like you note, Mr. Locke, the blank slate state of being that comes with it. How irrational, that the slate you speak of can’t be erased? I can’t unsee, unexperience, undo, or unlearn.

Everyone’s lost their blissful ignorance, and the tabulae rasae aren’t just marked, they’re scarred.

Dear Person

Dear Person I Have Hurt,

I can’t believe you. Sometimes it seems like it will take forever to get rid of you. A figurative eternity.

Don’t mistake my words; I’m not blaming you. I am utterly astonished by you. Your patience is unwavering. You are supportive when I am floundering. You are a stream of positivity when I can’t appreciate even the most beautiful flower. You write me notes that peel away the cortex around my heart in milliseconds.

A slip of lined paper with a shaky smiley face. “I hope you’ll do what this guy here is…”

You are the only thing, person, being that makes it easier, and still I hurt you.

I want you to know that each cut into you cuts into me too. I feel your pain as though it’s my own, so why, why don’t I stop myself? I don’t know. Maybe I don’t know how.

Actually, let me pin it on a lack of effort. Trying is so exhausting (note: it’s another one of your strengths). All of my mental trying, and the planning that goes on in my brain for trying, and all of the anxiety I feel that I’m not trying enough, and then all the times I haven’t tried enough for you are physically draining.

This is why you amaze me. You are so unlike me. You can do what I can’t. You choose to do what I will not.

I’m sorry for asking you to leave me. It was only in my head.

I’m afraid that your only flaw is me. You will do anything for me, but I subject you to the suffering…embarrassment…loneliness…insecurity.

Oh my Dear Person, I apologize.

Sincerely, and also with love,

Person Unable to Try