The words I'll never say

You will fall in love with someone who annoys you, whose orgasm face looks and feels pathetic. Despite all of this, there’s something keeping you drawn to them, something that makes you want to protect them from the harsh world. What you fail to realize, however, is that you are the harsh world. You aren’t their noble protector — you are someone to be protected from but it takes a lot of dates, a lot of nights where you question whether or not you are actually a good person, for this to ever resonate with you. When it’s over and whatever love is left is put back in the fridge like a sad plate of leftovers, you will finally understand that you have the power to hurt someone. You can either hurt them or love them and it’s up to you to decide what kind of role you would like to take on in future relationships. What feels more comfortable — being the one who loves more or being the one who’s loved less?

—The People You Will Fall In Love With In Your Twenties

Ladies and gentlemen of the class of ‘97:

Wear sunscreen.

If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen
would be it. The long-term benefits of sunscreen have been
proved by scientists, whereas the rest of my advice has no
basis more reliable than my own meandering experience. I will
dispense this advice now.

Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth. Oh, never mind.
You will not understand the power and beauty of your youth
until they’ve faded. But trust me, in 20 years, you’ll look
back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can’t grasp
now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you
really looked. You are not as fat as you imagine.

Don’t worry about the future. Or worry, but know that worrying
is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing
bubble gum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things
that never crossed your worried mind, the kind that blindside you
at 4 pm on some idle Tuesday.

Do one thing every day that scares you.

Sing.

Don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts. Don’t put up with
people who are reckless with yours.

Floss.

Don’t waste your time on jealousy. Sometimes you’re ahead,
sometimes you’re behind. The race is long and, in the end,
it’s only with yourself.

Remember compliments you receive. Forget the insults. If you
succeed in doing this, tell me how.

Keep your old love letters. Throw away your old bank statements.

Stretch.

Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with
your life. The most interesting people I know didn’t know at
22 what they wanted to do with their lives. Some of the most
interesting 40-year-olds I know still don’t.

Get plenty of calcium. Be kind to your knees. You’ll miss them
when they’re gone.

Maybe you’ll marry, maybe you won’t. Maybe you’ll have children,
maybe you won’t. Maybe you’ll divorce at 40, maybe you’ll dance
the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary. Whatever you
do, don’t congratulate yourself too much, or berate yourself
either. Your choices are half chance. So are everybody else’s.

Enjoy your body. Use it every way you can. Don’t be afraid of
it or of what other people think of it. It’s the greatest
instrument you’ll ever own.

Dance, even if you have nowhere to do it but your living room.

Read the directions, even if you don’t follow them.

Do not read beauty magazines. They will only make you feel ugly.

Get to know your parents. You never know when they’ll be gone
for good. Be nice to your siblings. They’re your best link to
your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the
future.

Understand that friends come and go, but with a precious few
you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography
and lifestyle, because the older you get, the more you need
the people who knew you when you were young.

Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard.
Live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you
soft. Travel.

Accept certain inalienable truths: Prices will rise. Politicians
will philander. You, too, will get old. And when you do, you’ll
fantasize that when you were young, prices were reasonable,
politicians were noble, and children respected their elders.

Respect your elders.

Don’t expect anyone else to support you. Maybe you have a trust
fund. Maybe you’ll have a wealthy spouse. But you never know when
either one might run out.

Don’t mess too much with your hair or by the time you’re 40 it
will look 85.

Be careful whose advice you buy, but be patient with those who
supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way
of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting
over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it’s worth.

But trust me on the sunscreen.

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.

In respectful response to a poem tilted, “Ten men women have warned me against becoming." /// r.i.d (via inkskinned)

(via therestofpage20)

i have been fighting so hard to not fall for you but after 8 months and the growth and the future plans and the all the subtle hints that you’re catching feelings that have been increasing exponentially i can’t help but fall and fall fast and i don’t know how i’m going to go four months with out seeing your face or kissing you or being in your presence that makes me so incredibly happy and even though i actually am starting to fall for real, im still fighting not to because regardless of everything that’s happened and all the day dreaming, im still convinced that the team of you and me wont work out.

—a run on sentence on where my feelings on you are at right now (via treacherous-slopes)

1. Listen to your parents when they try to teach you about your heritage. Do not dismiss them for being old fashioned or too traditional. There is truth in their lessons and you will learn it when you’re older. Remember that there are things you can teach them too.

2. Spend more time with your grandparents while you have it. When your mother makes you go to visit them at the nursing home, go willingly. Do not spend the whole trip silent and cranky. Give them a hug. Give them kisses. Ask them to tell their stories and do not let their stories die with them. Cry at the funeral. Ask your mother to explain what the monk or priest is saying.

3. Stop sucking in your stomach when you look at it in the shower. Stand up straight. Sit up straight. Stop obsessing over your collarbones. Eat breakfast. Eat lunch. Eat dinner. Do not let yourself fall victim to bad habits early on.

4. Keep practicing piano even though you don’t like it. You will appreciate it later on.

5. Learn how to communicate effectively early on. Express what you have a problem with and think about what you can do to change it. No one will read your mind and if you have a problem with someone, you have to tell them. It’s easy to complain but what you need to do is change what needs changing.

6. Do not let your parents pass down their hate. They will try, but ask them how to love properly instead. You are sixteen and you still don’t know how.

7. Do not fall for boys’ words. Do not become interested in someone just because they are interested in you. Do not date someone because you are lonely.

8. When he touches you the first time without permission with a smirk on his face, push him away as violently as he came. When he sends you flirty text messages, turn him down firmly. You do not owe politeness to people who do not respect your personal space.

9. Stop apologizing for your existence. You are allowed to exist.

10. Read. You hate books because you are not patient enough to finish them. Keep writing and keep reading.

11. Don’t let the world turn you into a cynic. Don’t let anybody steal your warmth.

—11 Things I Would Tell My Younger Self (via expresswithsilence)

(via thisisnotmyfairytaleendingg)


People have been asking how you are and where you’ve been, but all I tell them is that you broke my heart and walked away like nothing happened. I mean, yeah it really fucking sucked for me the first week, and the next, and the one after that. But it’s whatever now. I’m used to the fact that you’re gone. I’m just indifferent now. I don’t have too many overwhelming feelings anymore, just bits and pieces of old memories that make me wince every now and then because it cuts like glass. I try to remind myself that new ones replace the old ones. (Memories, I mean). It’s almost depressing to think that at one point, we thought that we were inseparable and that nothing could tear us apart. You even said it yourself. Isn’t it funny how the person who claimed us to be inseparable was the same person who tore us apart? Yes, you. The one who made me feel like I’ve never felt before. The one that I loved more than anything. But also the one who left me with nothing. Not even closure, not even the truth. I think that’s what I really need, but if I hear your voice or see your name light up on my phone screen, I might spontaneously combust. I’m doing fine, really. I think I’m getting better without you. I don’t need a good morning text to get through the day anymore, or the sweet lies you used to tell me. (Back then I thought it was the truth. I know better now). Sometimes I think maybe we’re not for each other because I was taught that love never gives up. You gave up on me. All the things, thoughts, and emotions I invested on you. You gave that all up. I wanted to be everything you needed but I just wasn’t enough. You replaced me but I’m erasing you and I’m happy. I was taught that love never gives up, but now I’m giving up on you like you have up on me. I guess it means I don’t love you anymore.
People have been asking how you are and where you’ve been, but all I tell them is that you broke my heart and walked away like nothing happened. I mean, yeah it really fucking sucked for me the first week, and the next, and the one after that. But it’s whatever now. I’m used to the fact that you’re gone. I’m just indifferent now. I don’t have too many overwhelming feelings anymore, just bits and pieces of old memories that make me wince every now and then because it cuts like glass. I try to remind myself that new ones replace the old ones. (Memories, I mean). It’s almost depressing to think that at one point, we thought that we were inseparable and that nothing could tear us apart. You even said it yourself. Isn’t it funny how the person who claimed us to be inseparable was the same person who tore us apart? Yes, you. The one who made me feel like I’ve never felt before. The one that I loved more than anything. But also the one who left me with nothing. Not even closure, not even the truth. I think that’s what I really need, but if I hear your voice or see your name light up on my phone screen, I might spontaneously combust. I’m doing fine, really. I think I’m getting better without you. I don’t need a good morning text to get through the day anymore, or the sweet lies you used to tell me. (Back then I thought it was the truth. I know better now). Sometimes I think maybe we’re not for each other because I was taught that love never gives up. You gave up on me. All the things, thoughts, and emotions I invested on you. You gave that all up. I wanted to be everything you needed but I just wasn’t enough. You replaced me but I’m erasing you and I’m happy. I was taught that love never gives up, but now I’m giving up on you like you have up on me. I guess it means I don’t love you anymore.

(Source: fuckreiva, via thekeyisbalance)

You are allowed to be alive. You are allowed to be somebody different. You are allowed to not say goodbye to anybody or explain a single thing to anyone, ever.

—Augusten Burroughs   (via cultivate-solitude)

(Source: skylerhobbs, via imflying-high)