Spoken Word / Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me When I Was Seventeen


Fuck it.

Stop worrying that you can’t

Spread your small hands wide enough to soothe your pain away

Or catch your tears to store in the riverbeds of your palms to remind you of the ocean

And season your wounds when your depression starts grumbling for more of your self worth

Don’t allow the salt to do more than accent the sweets you inhale,

The moments that make you thirsty for more.



Don’t have staring contests with yourself in the mirror. You will lose.

More often than not watching yourself stretching your lips up

And hooking them onto the corners of your eyes

Does more damage than good.



There is nothing wrong with you.



Maybe there is something wrong with you.



Fuck it.



You are not tame--

Your parents thrust a torch into your hand

Inscribed Torch Bearer on the metal plate of your experimental lab rat cage

Whatever you survived would be inflicted upon your siblings

A drip feed from needles injecting awkward affection into your bloodstream

But you will squeeze your way out from between bars meant to cage you

Learn to patch yourself back up

So you can reach back in to others too young to defend themselves



My mummy says I’m special every day.



People will ask you how you developed as a unit of five--50 fingers and toes

Countless tears and screams and laughs bouncing around

A cacophony in your head

Suckled with trophies and state titles

Hard A’s on report cards bloodied with paper cuts and darkened by the exhaustion

Of nights that ended just shy of all nighters

Clumsily welded repairs,

Spare parts dusty with the must of another era, robotic perfection

One day you will no longer need the safety pins and gold stars to hold yourself together

You will recognize you run too hot for icy perfection.



Is the number of times you need to count inhales and exhales

Tapping two fingers against the side of your temple

Rubbing the patch of skin above your collarbone

Your body is a temple. Multi-layered and curved like rice terraces.

Don’t be stone. Let your walls crumble. Send your battalions home.

You will quit sacrificing good food to pay homage to

The porcelain goddess who cares naught for your tears

Hard steel sharpened by the self hate you’ve truly come to nurture as of late



The first time you cried on your ninth birthday will not be the last

But you will become a master mixologist with each passing year

Shaking sadness and laughter into a sour concoction

That you can happily cheers other people with.

Because no one’s life consists of only cotton candy skies.

One day you won’t need to sugar coat the rim of your glass

Or examine your apprehension before you allow yourself to fall into another’s arms.



You will come to know heartbreak intimately.

You will let it burrow itself into your couch cushions

And invite it to perch on your nightstand for the night,

Allow it to cradle a tumbler of whiskey and whisper into your ear

That you will always be alone.



Maybe there is something wrong with you.

Maybe there is something wrong with you.

Maybe there is something wrong with you.



Sometimes there will be something wrong with you.

Sometimes you will be alone with your own heartbeat,

Echoing through the cavity that once contained your heard.

But I promise you, though you think you never quite got it back,

It’s hiding out on the sleeve of your sweater

Skipping along with you down the sidewalk

Pumping adrenaline to keep propelling you forward

As you race up staircases with friends



You will learn to throw yourself back into new situations,

Twirling into the music instead of twirling your hair around your wallflower thumb

People will compliment you on your dancing. It will be astounding.

How can others not smile when you are letting yourself marinate in a moment

That you never want it to end?



Don’t have staring contests with the mirror.  You’ll get too good at it.



Boys will take your stare as an implicit challenge,

Sparking a connection because you will be more confident in your intensity.



Some days you will doubt yourself and your self worth.



Just fuck it.



Take mental health days when you need them.



Stop trying so hard to throw away the parts of your life that don’t contain smiles

The parts that you would rather forget

On rainy days, gently coax them out of your rainy day box

So that you always remember where you’ve been.



Savor this year and the next, shine your own light upwards

Despite fearing it will be drowned out amongst the bright city lights

Fluorescent bulbs more brash than you could ever pretend to be

Know that you can pull yourself out of the darkness

That you can be your own hero

You will learn that you won’t need a prince to climb your crumbling towers

You will learn that, oftentimes, you can save yourself.