lesson 1: boys, boys, boys.*
you are too little to care about these boys. i know they seem as if they are full of good intentions and bad habits but that's exactly what you're going to become if you prioritize them: another bad habit. these boys aren't evil, simply misguided in a world where they are taught that cruelty is survival and they are kings. do not trust them. do not love them. and if you find yourself falling in love, like you did for the first time with straight hair and brown eyes, let that love pour over you and under you but do not act on it. do not smile when you catch his eye. do not laugh when his joke is not funny. do not let your body curve to fit his because let me tell you: he likes skinny girls anyways. these boys are looking for love in all the wrong places- they did not have mothers who cared or dads who validated them so they look towards you. you are a balm to cure their wounds. you will try and try again to fix them until you realize that the burns on their bodies were caused by the fires they started. these fires will consume you. and you will find yourself freshening their bandages while you are burning to ash. crushes and a little love here and there are fine, the way you giggled when the 9th grade boys winked at your 6th grade self was okay. but going out for coffee with a 24 year old man when you were 12 is not. do not mistake his kindness for love. do not, do not for one second believe that he cares for you. because you will get hurt. and he will not be sorry. you still believe soulmates exist and that's okay. honestly, i'm not so sure right now but i don't see any harm in believing that there is someone out there who loves you in your entirety. i think i may have met a soulmate in this lifetime. he left bruises on my skin and scars in my mind. this is not to scare you, love is not all ****, but it gets **** real fast. do not run from love, but when the sirens go off: protect yourself. he will not protect you. neither will anyone else. love gets messy and when the house you built together goes down in flames, it is each man for himself. it is each woman for herself- do not stop in your tracks to save the burning boy who set you on flames. he is made of fire. and he keeps you warm every night with his breath on your neck but trust me, every fire dims and every night gets dark. so, little me, don't be silly. i know you want to love him with every inch of you, but if you want to say no, say no. if you change your mind or don't want to hold his hand, say no. if you want to go home, say so. if you want him to leave you be, let him know. it is okay to not want him all the time. it is okay to set boundaries and if you do, one day, choose to fall in love (you will, it's not much of a choice anyway), say a little prayer before every day asking god to bless you. pray together and pray apart. remind each other and yourselves that love is not a shackle but a choice. remind yourselves and each other that love is waking up and making that choice. and if there is a day when that choice is not good for you, choose a different path. do not stand in the way of his success. do not stand in the way of your dreams. you are a queen. and his heart is important, but so is yours. take care of him as you would yourself. but don't let it shadow over you. there have been good men in your life and bad men. there have been a lot of them and you will continue to crash into more but just know: you are no less or no more of a person because they say so. when he says you are an angel, when he calls you the devil: take it with a pinch of salt. do not twist and turn to become the caricature he spells out. and when the boy from your past calls you and tells you he still loves you, hang up the phone. the plastic knife he brought you to cut his heart is useless. and when he drives you home playing *** by eden in the car, treasure the moment, but do not dream of his lips on yours. he is past. he is not good for you. and that is more important than being in love. falling in love is overrated but when it hits you, it hits you. you just got proposed to by a phd student at stanford university. you said no. he is rich and handsome and so full of love but baby girl- that's not what you want. and that's okay. forgive yourself for not falling in love with the "right" man. forgive yourself for falling in love with the boy who tasted of spearmint and the sea. the boy who's name you never said but always stayed stuck inside your head. your first kiss was perfect. you won't regret your first time having ***. i don't know when or where you'll get married- but when it happens, i promise you, we'll be okay.