They call them moon jellyfish:
Those small little creatures
With the flowers on their backs.
And, tucked away, on a small island in Palau
There’s a lake where they live with
The golden jellies
Who’ve been there so long
That the poison is gone from their stingers.
Who spin up towards the sun and
Photosynthesize themselves alive.
I think that’s what falling in love must be like:
Forgetting how to hurt
Following the sun
In the cupped hands you’ve learned
To call home.
This year I will sleep more and cry more.
I will learn how to listen to my body,
How to feed her when she’s hungry
And not when she is bored, or lonely.
This year is about putting away apologies—
Shaking the old dust out of my bones,
Getting rid of people and places
That have stopped feeling like home.
This year is about the deep kind of soul searching
Reserved for brooding men in classic literature.
This year is for falling in love with all the ways
I am able to feel.
My world is vibrant and alive
And to numb myself would be to waste this body
To waste this breath.
Somewhere, billions of years ago,
A star died to put the marrow in my bones
And I ought to make good use of that.
I am the result of ten million factors all
Working against me ever coming into existence
And I am here anyway.
How could I forget that the same skin
That houses all my anxieties also holds
The same kind of rain that fills oceans?
I have a small lightning storm brewing
In the barrel of my ribs,
How could I forget that?
This year, I will be kind to my body,
Because she has always been kind to me.
Because she has entire orchestras beneath her fingernails,
And after so many years,
She deserves a good audience.
I am too young to feel so old.
This is the year I change that.
We were just idle teens, stashing our hearts
in black boxes and making a mess of the world.
Yes, we were fools in love,
praying our days away in each other’s beds,
sharpening our nails with butter knives and bread
and your mouth when you said
‘I’m always going to be yours, love.’
We were raging seas and fearsome storms
and a goddamn shipwreck, you know.
We were always crashing into each other on shores
that weren’t ours, kissing the bruises from our knees
and pretending forever was just a word.
Pretending forever was just a night.
Pretending forever was not you,
swallowed carelessly by the sea,
not my creaking, aching ship at sunset, when the waves were calm
and I wanted you to rock them furiously.
Ten years is a forever to people who are alone
and in love.
But forever will be our port, I’m sure.
We’ll weigh anchor in forever’s berth,
because we are fools in love.
Because we are idle teens, stashing our hearts
in black boxes,
playing spin the bottle
Forever will be
impossible, the rain goes interrupting the snow didn’t know your name until the middle of the road you’re a flicker in the sunshine a dream that slid away the icing on my winter the thief that got away
braving December I will remember you as the new year brings its chaos around move the days along bring adventure on and I’ll find my way back to you somehow
They say your saddest, darkest thoughts Come at 3am When it’s dark and there’s no-one around To hear you cry But what’s harder Is when those thoughts come at 11am And everyone’s around So you have to mask the pain And pretend its all okay
I. If it can’t be solved by books, coffee, chocolate, or sleep- it’s a serious problem. II. A kiss means much more than a blow job more often than not. III. Crying will cause you to look like hell, which will just make you cry more. IV. Phones break. iPods crack. Clothes rip. They’re all replaceable. What isn’t replaceable is the one thing you seem unconcerned with taking care of- yourself. Take care of yourself. Love yourself. V. People change. Including yourself. Be prepared. VI. Acting better than other people will do nothing but make you worse than them. VII. Sleeping 16 hours in one sitting is completely acceptable once in a while. VIII. No matter how few people you know, you will make friends- whether it be for one night, one week, one semester, or one life is unknown, but you will make friends. IX. Yes, the mix drinks were fruity. No that does not mean your breath smells fruity. It smells like cheap liquor. Brush your teeth. You’ll thank yourself the next day. X. Mascara is to be replaced every 6 months. Toothbrushes are to be replaced every 3 months. Contacts are to be replaced very 6 weeks. Bad friends are to be replaced as soon as you realize they’re bad. XI. Always carry a pair of jumper cables, several water bottles, snacks, and tissues in your car. You never know where you’ll break down or who will start crying. XII. Offer people rides home. They will owe you money, loyalty, friendship, and their souls. XIII. Recommend books you liked to everybody. Recommend books you loved to special people. Discuss books you loved with the specialist people. XIV. It’s okay to go to the store in pajama pants sometimes. Everybody knows where you’re coming from- we’ve all been there. XV. Your music taste is great. It’s better than anybody else’s because it’s uniquely yours. But don’t insult anybody else’s. They think theirs is better than anybody else’s too. Let them think that, even if you are right. XVI. Like what you like without shame. XVII. Express yourself. Whatever it is that helps you express yourself, do it. Do it often and do it until you’re good at it. Do it until you feel comfortable sharing it. Then share it. As long as you’re being honest and pure, you will get feedback that shocks you in the best way. XVIII. Trust yourself. You are always right. You are not always correct. You will make bad judgments. Your mistakes will be atrocious. You will regret things. But you are always right. Do not doubt yourself. Trust yourself.
When I was younger I kissed treefrogs and ran around barefoot in the woods and my mother told me that boys didn’t fall in love with girls like me. So I started breaking hearts, one by one I watched boys fall apart in front of me while I stared in mock empathy because I knew they were never in love with me in the first place. Because no one falls in love with the girl who runs around barefoot through the woods and caught tadpoles in her spare time. When I was seventeen, my father sat me down and told me that there aren’t boys in this world who could ever understand what it meant to fall in love with a girl like me. I could feel the blood dripping off my fingers as I listened to him tell me that I was a rare breed of hurricane and that it was hard to love something after you’ve watched it destroy everything you called home. I could feel my heart tearing in half as he told me that it was hard to love something that you can’t contain, and boys have an obsession with containing things. He told me to imagine the tadpoles I caught, innocent and wild in the small amount of water I allowed to them to have. They were destined for something bigger than my hands. He told me to never allow a boy to hold me in his hands, to never assume that the amount of water I have been offered is all the water I am capable of reaching. Find a boy who teaches you how to swim against the current, a boy who shows you how to walk on land even though the water is all you’ve ever known, find a boy who isn’t afraid to let you grow, find a boy who doesn’t want to contain you. As a tadpole you are only in your first stages of life, there’s so much more for you to grow into and so much more for you to experience and after all, if those tadpoles stayed in one place then there would never be any treefrogs for barefoot girls to kiss.
You held my hand around the cafeteria and grinned when groups of your friends shouted, “Kiss her! Kiss her!” Our love letters were gel pen scribbles we passed each other in class, hoping the teacher would not see. Our phone calls were three-hour recitals of “No, I miss you more,” until one of us got called to dinner. Kissing you was always teeth bashing, tongues colliding, snow in your mouth and sliding down my throat. I grabbed you any chance I could-in the backseat of my mom’s moving car, by your locker in between classes, half-naked on your bed before your parents came home. Kissing you was summer vacation at sixteen. It was riding the school bus with a grin on my face, knowing I’d be holding your hand by five o’clock. It was hanging out in a park with ice cream on my chin and wood chips in my shoes. “I love you” rolled off my tongue easier with you. How could it not? Something about hurriedly undressing and questioning if we were ready to “do it” was so easy, even if it seemed life changing at the time. Now, Bodies don’t excite me as much as the thought of yours did. Under your arm, I could have kept my cotton candy laughter forever. I would have never had to worry about deep, sad things or the future. I could have had the same love for sixty years and always felt content in bed, but never happy. Because with true happiness, there comes streaks of laughter and depression and mind-splittingly loneliness. You could give me security. Promised it. But you could not give me the adventure I craved.