i guess it just hurts that i was practice. that you will love the next one more fiercely. that you will not do them wrong the way you hurt me. that you will be better at communicating. you will be better at asking for what you want instead of going behind peoples’ backs to get it. you have learned how to be honest. you have learned how to kiss, how to touch, how to make somebody feel wanted. you have learned what destroys a relationship and what keeps it going. and i guess it just hurts that i taught you how to love someone who isn’t me. i guess it just hurts that i was practice and now i’m nothing.
Modern heartbreak is “read at 9:13 p.m.” when it’s 9:40. it’s unliked photos, it’s blocking and unblocking and blocking and unblocking. modern heartbreak is sick with being watched, it’s breakups playing out on twitter feeds, it’s unfollowed unfollowed unfollowed. it’s screenshotted photos that shouldn’t have been saved, it’s screenshotted texts meant for one person only. it’s seeing your ex lover with their new one, watching their lives playing out like yours didn’t, it’s phones thrown into bedroom walls when their profile changes from single to in a relationship. it’s snapchat stories to make that one person jealous because it feels like without them you’re nothing, it’s that one story expiring before they see it because they don’t give a fuck about you now and you know it, it’s deleting their contact info but wanting it tattooed on the back of your hand in case you ever want to call, it’s messy it’s messy it’s messy it’s so fucking messy because everyone fucking sees it and it never goes away.
you almost say seven but the answer floats in your lungs like rising mud. you shift your shoulders. some part of you is already forming an excuse. that it’s not that bad sometimes. one, two, three on a day that the clouds are out. you’re just complaining about stuff. yesterday you laughed past a brick of a four, does that make the brick come down to a two-point-five. the solid seven panic attack of last tuesday feels somehow like a little thorn, just a regular day full of a gentle three-point-nine earthquake rocking after yesterday’s close-to-an-eight. see but if tomorrow you have a real bad day, it will make today look simple.
and what if. what if tomorrow it’s a big old red eight-point-nine. like one of those days where sirens are going off in every part of you but you’re stuck behind a glass window watching it all burn down. like one of those days that your skin against the air feels foreign. like too much of everything. like sitting-in-the-shower, like can’t-eat, like the tide isn’t just coming in, it came while you were sleeping and now you’ve gotta learn how to swim. like bounce me against a bullet hole kind of day.
you keep numbers like nine and ten way out of reach. those are for the people who really are suffering. you’ve got no excuse. nine and ten are funeral numbers, for real problems, not yours, no. and sometimes you’re fine. and you’re kind of used to it. and it’s not sad, it’s just numb like a television caught on static. numb like i can’t remember if i care about this. numb like nothing works but i can’t be bothered to fix it. that’s not sad that’s every day stuff. everybody feels like this, right? feels like they’ve been shut off. right.
maybe five. right in the middle. like not gonna shoot myself but i’m not wasting your time. a nonanswer. like could be worse could be better. like i need help but i don’t want you to worry even though i need someone to worry about me because i can’t worry about myself. maybe five. but what if five is too small. what if five is too big. what if -
“on a scale of one to ten,” he repeats into your silence, and then pauses. “and please be honest about this.”
when someone loves you - really loves you - treat them gently. text your best friend back when you can. tell your mother you noticed her haircut and that she was right about that recipe. tell your grandfather that the boats in his bottles are the best things you’ve ever seen. be good to the people who are good to you. it’s the least you can do.
I read about girls made of sunlight and moonlight, girls that make you feel at home just by walking into the room, girls with gold hearts and bright eyes.
i read about these girls and think about how I don’t fit in. i think about the dirt under my nails, the way I’m always too loud, how I can’t get through a conversation without saying the wrong thing. i think about how distant I can be.
i’ll never be able to relate to the girls who weave stars in their hair, the girls Aphrodite bows too, the girls with voices like rain. but I think that’s okay because
there are girls with voices that echo like thunder and I’m still listening. there are girls with eyes that don’t remember how to brighten, girls who forgot what it feels like to have the sun on their skin, girls who are just trying to make it to the next day so they can make it to the day after that.
there are girls who feel like hurricanes, girls who only feel like hurting, girls with enough anger in them to take out a whole city block.
there are girls who don’t want to be called yours, girls who keep tasers in their back pocket and by god if you get close they will use it.
i read about all the sunlight girls and the moonlight girls and
i think about the girls who are neither, but still just as worth it.
i think about how I am neither, but still just as worth it.
and girls were so pretty. there was the effortless girls who had the wide eyes, the freckles, the hair pulled back. who didn’t wear makeup and always wore a smile, who knew you needed help before you asked it; the sunshine and picnic girls, who you felt carried spring with them. and the mountaintop girls, strong bodies and fierce in their bones, drinking green tea and teaching you yoga, who watched you and made sure you ate well, who knew what it was to fight for a body that listened. and the soft heather girls who knew nature and spoke gently and would show you how to hear the light hitting a lake, who would listen no matter how long the story was and somehow know what to say. and the girls who were red moons, a dangerous flash of teeth and darkness, an excited wildness that came in black leather and spoke of nights you ache when you remember, who would look at you and pin you to a board for a moment, so that for once you felt important. and the summertime girls, wide smiles and makeup that never smudged, who could make you feel as if you lived inside a photograph, who brought the feeling of the fourth of july to every party, who convinced you to come to the party. and of course the rain girls, who didn’t need an explanation, but simply were, in a way that when you made eye contact with them you knew somehow about sorrow and also about the safety of staying home.
and girls. girls in their sweatpants in the aisle of a supermarket looking lost. girls staring down their teacher, demanding the grade they deserve. girls with their hands on the wheel, with their hands passing lotion to another, with their hands in their hair. girls upside down on the couch and spine straight in business meetings and body curled around a book. girls who were upended libraries, who were railroads, who were a choir’s last note, who were carols, who were snow, who were a racing track, who glowed or who gave warmth or else sewed cold, who bit hard, who laughed loud, who fell asleep on trains, who rode bikes in rain.