The Countless Benefits of an Emotional Support Water Bottle

If you ask me, everyone needs an emotional support water bottle. Maybe yours keeps your drink cold for weeks at a time, or maybe you love the color, maybe it has lines on the side that track how much water you drink in a day, or maybe it’s just the only water bottle you own, but if you don’t have one, you need to get one. Trust me on that.
I carry mine with me everywhere I go. There’s something so comforting about the dented metal of that 24-ounce bottle swinging at my side as I walk through the hallways.
It’s covered in stickers I’ve been collecting since seventh grade (including, but not limited to: the logo of a record label that came on the tag of a t-shirt of a band that I no longer listen to, countless CustomInk octopi that I collect from my friends whenever we get T-shirts from school-sponsored events and clubs, various brightly colored circles emblazoned with Spanish phrases that I’ve won during Quizlet Live tournaments, a lonesome bright pink rollerskate, and several Among Us characters half-covered by a Fortnite glider).
My emotional support water bottle (ESWB, for short) is like an extension of my body. I get phantom limb syndrome when it’s not with me. I’ve dropped it on the floor, left it in many a classroom, and spilled water all down the front of my shirt while drinking from it an embarrassing number of times. That water bottle has seen me at my worst, and at my most-hydrated.
Then, the other day, I misplaced it.
At the thought of losing my ESWB, I panicked. I was sent into a state of utter turmoil. I wandered around aimlessly, a lost soul, completely hopeless, praying that it would somehow turn up. I braced myself to dig through the lost and found, but then I went home and discovered it sitting underneath my bed. Turns out, I’d just left it there and forgotten to wash it the night before. The thing is, though, I kept losing it. I’d leave my ESWB in classrooms or forget to bring it to school or take it out shopping with me and leave it on a park bench. Once I lost it the first time, it seemed like I just couldn’t stop misplacing it. There’s definitely a metaphor in there somewhere.
Maybe the ESWB represents letting go. Is that cheesy? It’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. Senior year is all about endings – your last high school football game, your last fall musical, your last class with your favorite teacher, your last band concert. It’s like we’re experiencing nostalgia in real time, reminiscing on the days we haven’t even left yet. A lot of the time, I think it overshadows the experiences we’re having. Putting too much pressure on your “last whatever” to be perfect ruins the moment.
For me, even though it’s hard to leave them all behind, it’s enough to know that those last moments with all the people who shaped my high school experience are going to live on in my memory.
I am made of those memories, and I will carry those experiences with me until I’m old and wrinkly and absolutely teeming with life, with hundreds of stories to tell my loved ones over and over until they’re tired of hearing me talk. I will pack those memories inside of me like overstuffed suitcases on a plane trip around the world with no set destination. I will let this love carry me on its wings until I grow tired of flying.
I think that human beings are constantly changing. That’s part of what makes us human. With every new sticker I carefully place on my ESWB, I become a slightly different (a slightly braver, smarter, more confident) person. Those stickers watched me as I grew from a timid freshman who was too scared to talk in class into an extrovert who cracks jokes with all my teachers. In part, I have my ESWB to thank for that.
So here’s my advice (because it only seems right to end my senior column with that), not that I’m in any way qualified to give it: if you know the answer in class, say it out loud, even if you just answered the last two questions incorrectly. Wear sunscreen every day, even when it’s cloudy or you don’t think you’ll go outside. Just put on the sunscreen. Let the people around you know how much they mean to you. Tell your friends you love them as often as you can. Sit in the sunlight and let it warm your skin. Feel each and every sensation as it touches you. Know that you are touching them, too.
Also, get yourself an emotional support water bottle.