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Four Letters To My Four-Year-Old Self

Calin Firlit

As a little kid, I was always drawn to music boxes. So when I was assigned to create a self-portrait that conveyed worth, I chose to manifest my life experiences into these seemingly trivial tchotchkes that, to me, were worth everything. I started by writing four different letters to my four-year-old self with advice that I would have wanted to know growing up. From those four letters, I extracted four different themes: how I appear to other people, how to handle trauma, how to use storytelling as a coping mechanism, and how to hold on to the essence of who I am. I then visually rendered these themes into drawings, which I later engraved into my music boxes. Each box fits inside the one before it. The smaller the boxes get, the more intimate information they contain. The smallest box is guarded by the larger boxes that it is incased in, but it holds the most valuable item of them all: my favorite childhood song. Despite everything that has changed throughout my life, the core of who I am is still the same.

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