I survived high school by a small crack of glass.
I caught myself by the pad of my finger tips, on the splintered pane,
after falling off the edge of a world of depression, anger, and pain,
and it was from there I pulled myself up, feeling more alive than I had in my entire life.
Because it was through hell that I walked, feet burning, for the diploma I earned on stage.
It was through spider webs I passed, scratching invisible clinging memories off,
to march tall and strong, toward the future I thought was nonexistent a month before.
I survived high school by the non-working baby hairs on the back of my neck.
The ones that are supposed to stand up like frightened Halloween cats whenever dangers approaches,
and yet when my danger came calling, laid calm like the summer sun on your concrete drive way
and it's because of this I stand here today, looking into the eyes of your fresh faces, fearing that you too may be walking on coals.
It's because of this I want to pour the knowledge of my journeys into the openings of your skin,
let you soak up my mistakes so that maybe, just maybe, you won't have to make as many of your own.
For there are some mistakes that will never heal.
So when you reach for that bottle, hands hungrily searching for something impossible to find in Absolute Vodka,
remember that the only thing at the bottom of that bottle is blurred memories.
When your skin gets the itch only a blade can scratch,
stop, drop the blade, and coming running as fast as you can back into my words.
Hear me when I tell you that beneath your skin lies not an escape from this life, but only more of your alive, beating, self.
And as much as your eyes might need proof that you're alive, your chest is always right there below your head,
ready to let you feel the heart inside that makes you such a precious addition to this world.
Let it's pounding remind you that dropping calories and skipping meals won't solve your problems.
That being skinny, as much of a temptation as it can be, isn't a goal worth losing the breath from your lungs.
Trust me, I know. And I know that heartbreak and loss and hurt are more than enough to make you want to tear apart the fabric of your life and create something new from the threads.
But please know that in end you'll only wind up tangled in the mess,
calling out for people that you've pushed so far away they can no longer hear you.
So instead of ripping through the darkness, know that you don't have to start from scratch,
but merely dye yourself, your life, a different color.
Know that everything you've been through and everything you've seen is building who you are, who you will be, and that slowly but surely you are becoming a work of art so unspeakably beautiful that nothing like you has ever been made or seen before and hold on to that.
Hold on to the idea that this world, and these people, they need you.
They want nothing more than to see what you turn out to be. I know that's how I feel.
I look at every single one of you and choke up at the thought of how you will stand out as the purist work of art ever imaginable one day.
The kind of art that comes only from a lifetime of living and moving on and starting over. Hold on to that.
When the world comes to your window with wind and rain, when it tries to drown you in your own tears, and break your spirit with your own emotions, know that you aren't facing the hurricane alone.
I am here, and I know.
I know that no matter what happens, there is enough fire left in you to keep going.
You just have to dig deep enough to smell the smoke.