1. You will cry. God, you will cry, and I’m sorry that this is the first thing I can think to tell you, but you will cry until you have turned yourself inside out and you are bone-dry and empty. You will cry because the good people won’t love you, and the wrong people will. You will cry because you never love the right people, and you never hate the bad ones.
2. Things will get worse before they get better. Things will always, always get worse. Sometimes, things will hurt so much that even your atoms ache. But they will always get better.
3. You don’t have long left with him. Walk by his side when he takes you to the edge of nowhere, to little Welsh towns with more letters in their name than some languages have in their alphabet, and don’t run ahead because he’s too slow; you’ll wish you had that time when it’s gone. Listen to him when he presses a flower into your palm and tells you its Latin name. It’s all you’ll have left of him in two years (you don’t even have that because you never said goodbye and your letter was unopened at his funeral; you read a poem with the Latin name for lilies and that was all you had)
4. You will not forgive, but you won’t always carry the resentment on your shoulders. For years, it will weigh heavy across your chest, pressing on your heart and making it cold, but it won’t last forever. I promise, it won’t. In four years’ time, you’ll get the same bus every day as the boy with the black hair who made you hate the world, and you won’t feel angry. One day, you’ll see him cry; you’ll feel sad, and then you’ll feel nothing, because he isn’t important any more.
5. Some friends are for life, and some aren’t. That’s OK. Some friends are fleeting; they fit into these years like perfect shapes, and then you’ll all change and you won’t fit together any more. That’s OK, too. The first friend you make on your second day of high school is the first person you talk to about boys and girls. In five years’ time, you will need somewhere to stay, and she’ll let you sleep on her sofa for a week, even though she lives two hours away now in a cold house with two strangers. She might be a friend for life. She still fits.
6. You are not a waste of time. You are not a waste of space. I know that sometimes you feel like you see yourself in the right way, that you really are as unwhole and unmade as you think, but you’re not. You’re terrible and wonderful and your tongue is cut to wound, but not to draw blood, and you’re vicious and gentle, brave and afraid, and your juxtapositions and paradoxes will serve you well in the years to come. You’ll grow to love the silver stretch marks on your thighs, even though they only get bigger in the years to come, and you’ll learn to laugh at the way you feel in crowds of people (like the sky is paper and you are origami), and you’ll learn that you are not a waste of anyone’s time, not even your own.
7. You have the atoms in you that make the sea and the boy with black hair and the flowers with the Latin names you can’t remember, and you are part of the same universe. You exist in symbiosis with the mountains, the stars, and a thousand planets that don’t have names yet, even in Latin. Without you in it, the universe is a little darker; shifted to the left, made alternate. You don’t need to feel unwanted, or like you don’t belong. From the day you were first a thought in your mother’s mind, you have belonged, and you will always belong, even when you are ashes and you are in the rain and the trees. The world will always want you. It always will.
8. There was nothing wrong with you. Your chemicals sang and you were uprooted in all the corners of your mind, but this is what was made of you. This is not your design. For every time they told you that you were broken, you became more fragmented. But you are not broken. You never were. There is beauty in your fault-lines, even when you try and treat them with little white pills that make you imbalanced on the other side, and there is nothing wrong with you. You are not your chemicals.
9. In three years’ time, you will be lying in a hospital bed at the precipice of darkness, and you will forget. Your mother will hold your hand a hundred miles from home and your sister will cry like her world is ending, and perhaps it is. The world is always ending. Everything is terminal, and nothing is forever. Nothing lasts. Hoard seconds like old shoeboxes. Be jealous of your time. Time is jealous of you. You won’t die in that hospital bed. The doctors will tell you that it’s a miracle. You will think it is a promise, or a dare. You will be better. This is not forever.
10. This is not forever."
Things I would tell my 16 year old self (x)
Everything about this is perfect
do you ever get anxiety when thinking about how you’re not really living your life that you just go to school and eat and sleep and do homework and then after that you’re gonna get a job and you’ll work the rest of your life maybe marry and have kids and then you die and you haven’t even lived at all i can’t breathe
I’m so glad someone feels the same way
i will commit a million crimes until he arrests me.
fuck the cops amirite
There is nothing worse than hearing people attempt to sound intelligent by using lengthy words and MISUSING THEM
I completely photosynthesize with this
Ten Women I Have Been Warned Against Becoming:
1. The Girl Who Takes Up Too Much Space, always, her shoulders too wide in stairwells, her hips too big in doorways, her voice too loud in classes. This woman does not understand the art of crumbling, of curling herself tight like the spiral of a fern, soft, delicate, unwilling to reach out the ivy of her fingers to grasp onto what should rightfully be hers. This is a beast, an elephant, a moving mountain and she is capable of flattening you, she is capable of ruining you, she is capable of making you feel as small and insignificant in her life as she is supposed to be. You are this woman’s footnote to history, you are her side note in song lyrics, you are constantly interrupted by her with a witty joke you wish you thought of. I asked what the problem was with being a steamroller instead of a sunflower and I was laughed down.
2. The Beautiful One, the long hair or the slim waist or the pretty eyes or the lips like bowstrings. This woman looks good in everything because she’s confident in whatever you put her in. She’ll cut her hair short on you no matter how you like it, she’ll wear high heels and step on your opinions, she’ll look hot as hell no matter what size she is. See, the reason you can’t trust her is because women like this don’t need your permission, they’ll do as they please and get away with it. They’ll say no to you, over and over. Teach your daughters that beautiful means dangerous, teach them to distrust women who love themselves. Equate beautiful with vapid, equate pretty with stupid, take their power from them. Say they’re vain for their makeup, refuse to see them without it. These women are snakes, they are serpents. I said maybe the problem lies with you being unable to control yourself and was told to get off my pedestal.
3. A Bitch. Women are supposed to be ladies in the street but will tear skin under sheets. I’m told: Never raise your voice. Speak gently. Submit. Hold your opinion against your lips and when you admit to it, make sure it comes out as a butterfly wing suggestion. Don’t disagree. Don’t undermine someone else’s authority, regardless of whether or not they deserve your respect. Someone touches you, just move away from them. Don’t hit. Don’t talk back. Be like the ruins of Rome, only beautiful if you can’t hear your quiet death.
4. The Needy One. I have heard how others spit when they talk about how she gave you everything and you shoved it back down her throat until she choked on it, until she came back crawling and asked you what she did, until her palms and knees were scraped for want of just a little affection - never be this woman, I’m told, because she’s a joke and the joke is that she dared to have more emotion than you did. The truth is, I’m told, the one who cares less in a partnership is the one who wins. I didn’t know this was a competition.
5. The Cock Tease, certified stripper, how dare that girl look like that and not want me to sleep with her. Lust is always personified as a lady in red with a dress slit up her thigh. Lust is sinful because it’s power, it’s not asking for attention - it’s demanding it. I’m told she is the worst kind of woman, that looking good is supposed to be some kind of shame on her kin. I’m told not to leave the house in such a short skirt, not with a shirt so low, not with a lace back, not with high heels, not dressed like that. My lipstick can’t be too red, my hair can’t be too mussed, I can’t just “turn someone on like that and then leave them wanting.” I mentioned that instant gratification actually ruins our psyche and was told that being led on was “exhausting.” I said that there was a difference between purposefully tricking someone into liking you and just being attractive or friendly. I was told there’s also a difference between coffee and tea but both result in caffeine. I said, “I’ve been turned on in class by the girls I talk to but I didn’t expect anything from them,” and they said, “It’s different, you’re not a man,” but couldn’t explain where that difference was.
6. A Slut, obviously ruined by another person’s touch. It doesn’t matter how many people she’s actually been with, it’s all about the rumors she carries with her. Easy. Harlot. You’ll still try to get with her, you’ll still take her into your bed and kiss her and say things you don’t mean - but you’ll defame her name when you talk to your buddies. My father used to say “A slut is fine for the night, but the virgin is who you take home and marry.” Maybe he didn’t know he was teaching his daughter to hate her sexuality. Maybe he didn’t know that every time she’d be kissed, her whole system would shake until she felt ready to combust, shame and self-hatred shivering against her spine. Maybe he didn’t know she’d disconnect emotions and sex because he always told her, “Boys are different, they won’t care about you.” Nobody said to her that it was okay to experiment. See, the funny thing is, I’m a dancer so I know exactly where my center of gravity is. I know how hard I’ll fall in each direction. Yet out of fear of getting hurt, I won’t let a single person inside of my bed.
7. The Soulmate. Never love romance more than you love being cynical. Never show weakness, never like pink, never think maybe you might find someone nice and settle down with them. Someone will find you, I was told, And if you’re lucky, he’ll put up with you when you start getting old. Never be the woman who believes in happily ever after, never be dumb enough to think maybe someone could love you after all of your mistakes. It has nothing to do with whether or not a family is important to you and you’re in a good place where a relationship would make your life better - you’re not a princess. You don’t get married, you settle.
8. The Girl With Strength, who can outrun everyone and who is stronger than her boyfriend. “See the thing about boys,” says my daddy, “Is that you have to let them win.” I sat at home and read stories about Artemis and wanted to become the huntress, too. I wanted to howl at the moon, I wanted to slay the beasts that bested me, I wanted to rule my kingdom with bloody fists. But girls are never athletes, never supposed to be “built,” regardless of the fact civilizations were constructed on our spines and we made homes in war by the steel of our ribs. Never be strong. We are supposed to wilt.
9. The Lady CEO: because if you choose work over family, are you really a girl? How dare you fight your way to the top through every pair of eyes that bore through your blouse, through every meeting where you were hushed by the sound of someone else talking, through every time someone called you “sweetie,” how dare you yearn for something. Is your husband the stay-at-home one? I can’t imagine how that is going. He’s not a real man, after all. I don’t give it long before the divorce. How dare you decide you’re happy being single. Don’t you know you’re supposed to bear children. Where is your honor? Where is your wisdom? Who cares if you are the leader, the best suited for your position, the quickest-thinking, the one who makes the hardest clients come back again. Don’t you see? Across history, women have been terrible at success. They always lose their man in the end. (When I said, “I would rather be a famous author than a mediocre mother,” I was told, “No, don’t worry, you’ll be a fine mommy.”)
10. THE GIRL I AM: FIRECRACKER AND DON’T YOU FUCKING FORGET IT I’LL RIP YOU TO SHREDS AND I WON’T FUCKING REGRET IT I’M NOT YOUR PRETTY GIRL I’M NOT YOUR ANYTHING I’M PERFECT, MOTHERFUCKER, AND I’M NOT GOING TO GIVE UP WHAT I’M DOING. I DON’T WANT TO BE “LADYLIKE” THAT LITERALLY MEANS NOTHING I’M NOT GOING TO STOP STANDING UP AND DEMANDING WHAT’S COMING TO ME. I’M GONNA BE SOMEBODY. I’M GONNA MAKE THEM REMEMBER ME. I REFUSE TO BE OVERSHADOWED IN HISTORY. I DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU WERE TRYING TO CREATE BUT YOU MADE ME A DRAGON YOU PUT ME IN THE FIRE AND WHEN I STOPPED BURNING I LEARNED HOW TO GLOW DON’T THINK YOU CAN STOP ME YOU CAN’T TAME A TORNADO."