For all the night-sky-watchers, secret-poetry-writers, late-night-criers, wish-makers, time-travel-aspirants, pinky-promisers. For all the "should’ves" and "could’ves", and for all the “if onlys” that ricochet in between our daydreams and nightmares. This is for you.
I was fascinated by strangers, wanted to know what food they ate and what dishes they ate it from, what movies they watched and what music they listened to, wanted to look under their beds and in their secret drawers and night tables and inside the pockets of their coats.
She is a year ago.
She is the ache in the empty,
the first time you changed your mind
and the last time you were sorry about it.
She is a city sleeping beside you,
warm and vast and familiar, streetlights
yawning and stretching,
and you have never. You have never.
You have never loved someone like this.
She is your first stomach ache.
Your first panic attack and your
favorite cold shower.
A mountain is moving somewhere
inside of you, and her handprints are all over it.
Here. Here. Here, you love her.
In the fractured morning, full of
too tired and too sad, she is the first
foot that leaves the bed.
She is the fight in you, the winning
and the losing battle
floating like a shipwreck in your chest.
When they ask you what your favorite moment is,
You will say Her.
You will always say Her.
I love tattooed women, maybe because they are uncontrollable, they are themselves to the point of drawing symbols of their power on their skin. Talk about owning your own body, being in your body, claiming yourself. I love it. When the world is in an uproar over whether women should have a choice or not when it comes to their own bodies, being tattooed is one of the most visible choices of all.
You will change. You’re not the same person you were three years ago. You’re not even the same person you were three minutes ago and that’s okay. Especially if you don’t like the person you were three minutes ago.
People come and go. Some are cigarette breaks, others are forest fires.
You won’t like your name until you hear someone say it in their sleep.
You’ll forget your email password but ten years from now you’ll still remember the number of steps up to his flat.
You don’t have to open the curtains if you don’t want to.
Never stop yourself from texting someone. If you love them at 4 a.m., tell them. If you still love them at 9:30 a.m., tell them again.
Make sure you have a safe place. Whether it’s the kitchen floor or the travel section of a bookshop, just make sure you have a safe place.
You will be scared of all kinds of things— of spiders and clowns and eating alone— but your biggest fear will be that people will see you the way you see yourself.
Sometimes, looking at someone will be like looking into the sun. Sometimes, someone will look at you like you are the sun. Wait for it.
You will learn how to sleep alone, how to avoid the cold corners, but still fill a bed.
Always be friends with broken people. They know how to survive.
You can love someone and hate them, all at once. You can miss them so much you ache but still ignore your phone when they call.
You are good at something, whether it’s making someone laugh or remembering their birthday. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that these things don’t matter.
You will always be hungry for love. Always. Even when someone is asleep next to you you’ll envy the pillow touching their cheek and the sheet hiding their skin.
Loneliness is nothing to do with how many people are around you but how many of them understand you.
People say I love you all the time. Even when they say, ‘Why didn’t you call me back?’ or ‘He’s an asshole.’ Make sure you’re listening.
My mother tells me
that when I meet someone I like,
I have to ask them three questions:
what are you afraid of?
do you like dogs?
what do you do when it rains?
of those three, she says the first one is the most important.
“They gotta be scared of something, baby. Everybody is. If they aren’t afraid of anything, then they don’t believe in anything, either.”
I met you on a Sunday, right
one look and my heart fell into
my stomach like a trap door.
on our second date,
I asked you what you were afraid of.
“spiders, mostly. being alone. little children, like, the ones who just learned how to push a kid over on the playground. oh and space. holy shit, space.”
I asked you if you liked dogs.
“I have three.”
I asked you what you do when it rains.
“sleep, mostly. sometimes I sit at the window and watch the rain droplets race. I make a shelter out of plastic in my backyard for all the stray animals; leave them food and a place to sleep.”
he smiled like he knew.
like his mom told him the same
“how about you?”
I’m scared of everything.
of the hole in the o-zone layer,
of the lady next door who never
smiles at her dog,
and especially of all the secrets
the government must be breaking
it’s back trying to keep from us.
I love dogs so much, you have no idea.
I sleep when it rains.
I want to tell everyone I love them.
I want to find every stray animal and bring them home.
I want to wake up in your hair
and make you shitty coffee
and kiss your neck
and draw silly stick figures of us.
I never want to ask anyone else