1. There will be several days that you daydream about stepping in front of a city bus. Don’t. It will not be beautiful. It will not be brave. It will be selfish. It will be broken. Your mother will cry.
2. Don’t write for him. Write for you. Write for others like you. Write so the girl that thinks about stepping in front of public transportation doesn’t. Don’t be selfish.
3. When you will yourself to sleep and it doesn’t come- get up. It doesn’t matter that it’s 3 am. There will be other 3 am’s. Take a shower. Take two. Wash him out of your hair. Write a poem. Read the same book you’ve read 202 times again. The 203rd time might tell you something different. Don’t stay in bed- you will think about the bus again.
4. Don’t kiss him because he’s broken. Don’t kiss him because his laughter never reaches his eyes. Don’t try and fix him. Fix yourself first. Be selfish. He can’t save you.
5. Date yourself. Take yourself out to eat. Don’t share your popcorn at the movies with anyone. Stroll around an art museum alone. Fall in love with canvases. Fall in love with yourself.
6. Dress up and wear red lipstick and get drunk with your friends. They’re the ones that will pick you up. Don’t kiss him. Or him. Don’t fall asleep on strange couches with strange boys. When his hand slides up your dress walk away. Hit him. Don’t kiss him. He can’t save you.
7. Get another tattoo. Get five more. Get another hole in your ear. Don’t listen to your dad. You will still be able to get a job. Did you really want to be employed by someone like your father? Haven’t you had enough of judgmental old white men anyway? Get fuck you tattooed in tiny letters on your hip.
8. When you feel the yearning for a new city- start over. Take 200 bucks and a three suitcases. Work anywhere that will have you. Meet strange people and forget your name. Call yourself Ruby. No one will know the difference. Remember to call your mother. Don’t be selfish. Come home when you find yourself in the strangers and the small one bedroom apartment.
9. Don’t whisper evil things into your own ear. Other people are going to shout them at you. Be your own hero. Keep a sword on your key ring.
10. Don’t step in front of a city bus. It will not be beautiful. Live. Stay up all night with a boy that promises you everything and means it. Live. See shitty local bands with a friend. Wear a different band’s t-shirt. No one will care. Live. Have a baby girl with tiny fingers and tiny toes someday. Pour love into her until it’s overflowing. Live. Wake up. Staying in bed all day is not poetic.
Do you hear that? It’s me. It’s your life. Wake up.
All of a sudden two decades have passed and you still have not kissed anyone with tongue, or kissed anyone at all for that matter, or had a 3 AM conversation with someone who would rather look into your eyes for ten minutes straight than talk. You have never worn a lover’s sweater or “forgotten” it at home in your bedroom just so you would have an excuse to see them again. You have never even stood face-to-face with someone who makes your hands shake so hard it feels like they’re both having a separate anxiety attack.
This causes you much guilt and self-blame and sadness but above all, an overwhelming curiosity. Are you really that ugly, that unwanted, that uninteresting, that boring, that no one, absolutely no one, has ever looked at you like the only thing on earth?
The answer is no. The better answer is that someone out there, somewhere in the world, is “wondering what it’s like to meet someone like you,” and they have two decades worth of love stored in their veins like a shoot-‘em-up drug, and they’re just about ready to inject it into someone else’s bloodstream. All you have to do is roll up your sleeves and wait for it to happen.
At times you felt so lonely you could stand at the edge of a cliff with nothing beneath you but air and grass and a long, long way down, and you’d still feel emptier than that canyon itself. Maybe you even danced with yourself alone in your room a few times, arms outstretched around a ghost, pretending someone else’s hands were on your waist, someone else’s eyes boring into yours.
Or maybe you fell temporarily in love with strangers on public transportation, fell in love with anybody who so much as accidentally brushed your hand on the way past. For you, falling in love with dozens of people a day was a coping mechanism for not having anyone to love you in return. But people are not eggs and falling in love with a dozen of them does not mean your shell will remain uncracked. One day you’re going to hit the point where you’re so desperate for human contact that you’re going to snap in half and all your love will bleed out like egg yolk.
But someone out there is eating a bowl of Ramen noodles right now, or putting on slippers, or settling into bed. They are doing all the normal things that you’ve done in your own life. They are just like you. They have cellulite and extra fat in all the wrong places and goals and fears and doubts and bad handwriting.
The truth is that they are just like you, and being just like you, they’re looking for a lover too. They’re what you might call a soulmate.
They think they’re all alone in feeling the way they do, but you’re really both two halves of a whole.
And one day you’ll meet them, bump into them on the street, and your two halves will be put together, and you’ll make one.
THIS IS BEAUTIFUL
"Writings For Winter - For Twenty Year-Olds who have never been loved"