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.
Let them miss you. Sometimes when you’re always available, they take you for granted because they think you’ll always stay.
No, it’s not selfish to want someone to need you. All you are guilty of is the desire for love. Something that everyone deserves.
here’s what you tell someone who wants to commit suicide
Here’s what you tell someone who wants to commit suicide: The moment that gunshot goes through your head, you’ll wish you hadn’t done it. When the chair leaves your feet you’ll struggle to get on solid ground again. You tell them they’ve been burning bridges for so long and maybe now it’s time to just find their way across. They can use a cane or a walker or a goddamn police escort, but they’ve got to get over that bridge.
But don’t force them to get over that bridge if they don’t want to. Never push them any further than they want to go. Be gentle, be patient, be kind. Love them. Stay with them and spend time with them and let them cry. And don’t you dare tell them to dry up those tears. Let them fall, and then you give them a list of one-hundred-fifty goddamn reasons why they’re too beautiful for tears. Try to make them believe it; show them how much you care.
Tell them you’ll light one candle for every night they keep themselves alive. Tell them you hope by the end of the year you’ll have a house burning brighter than the molten core of the sun. Take their sadness and give it a good talking-to. Sit it down on the sofa and look it in the eyes, say I want you to give this person their life back. Make it comply. Bind it up with duct tape and tie its hands to the back of the sofa with rope if you have to. Get a confession out of it; play the good cop-bad cop routine if necessary. And you’d better make damn sure that at the end of the day that sadness will be bruised and bloody, broken beyond repair, and not the other way around.
Throw all the plates in the cupboard against the wall. Make this person listen to the sound of them shattering. Tell them you don’t want that to happen to them; make them pick up all the splintered pieces with their bare hands until they get the idea. Even if it takes all night. Then invite this person to dinner at your apartment, and serve them a four-course meal on your best dishes. Let that metaphor, that analogy, rest in their body till it burns their bones. Say, if you don’t kill yourself, then all these plates will be yours. I promise you that.
Take them out to the rooftop of your apartment, and stand as close to the edge as both of you can. Make them close their eyes. Ask them what they feel. And if they feel fear, or loathing at you for making them do this, tighten your grip around their waist and lead them back inside. Look in their eyes and hold their gaze, and tell them this: you were afraid because you still had something left to live for.
Allow them to sleep in. But when they’re just waking up, bleary-eyed and tender, and they want to stay in bed under the warm covers, rip all those covers off. Strip the bed til it’s as naked as their soul, and then say If you kill yourself you’ll sleep forever. Then open all the blinds and let the light in; take their hand and lead them to the window. Look at the beauty out there, you’ll say. Look at the wind and the earth and the flowers in the garden! If you sleep forever you’ll miss all that.
But above all put your ear to their chest and listen to their heartbeat. Then listen to their words, and listen to every single one that pours out of them. I don’t care if it takes hours, or days or weeks or even years. You need to be there and hear what they have to say. And when all those words are gone and they’re left empty and bone-dry, I want you to fill them back up with your love and your willingness to help them heal. Let them know you would walk through fire and swim through floods and journey across barren landscapes for them.
Now here’s what you tell someone who wants to commit suicide, and this will be the simplest word of all, but the most difficult to say: Stay.
Perhaps our eyes need to be washed by our tears once in awhile so that we can see life with a clearer view again.
There are two people you’ll meet in your life. One will run a finger down the index of who you are and jump straight to the parts of you that peak their interest. The other will take his or her time reading through every one of your chapters and maybe fold corners of you that inspired them most. You will meet these two people; it is a given. It is the third that you’ll never see coming. That one person who not only finishes your sentences, but keeps the book.