remember Manhattans and crowded bars, smoke clutching your hair like a backbone.
remember loud music, and louder laughs, and drunk people bumping into your side, but all you can really feel are her eyes on you.

remember cold air that tastes like ash and old friends that look like ghosts.
remember the way she holds cigarettes in between teeth like she is about to bite into it.
remember sweaty palms and eyes that look dead, like this isn’t her third glass.
like this isn’t her second chance at breaking your heart.

remember nights when she is almost yours, but not quite.
when she is still in love with you, but not quite.
when she is hurricanes and thunderstorms and you are leaves holding onto dead trees.
remember, because you are holding onto her with bloody hands and torn skin, trying to pull her back into your arms.
remember, because you know she will not be brave enough to hold on too. 

– excerpt from a book i’ll never write


i. i am wild ivy and you are a wooden house with broken window panes and walls too high to climb. you will let me in and i will wrap myself so tight around your bones trying to keep you together, but you will get tired of feeling me there every time you breathe.

ii. i am the songs you’ve learned to hear between uneasy breaths when i would tell you i loved you, but i will turn into slurred words and ripped chords and you will finally realize that we’ve always been an off-tune melody.

iii. i am the aftermath of a storm clutching to your fingertips when you drag your hands along my skin like you are triggering a natural disaster and you will find it hard to live with dust and debris gathering mountains under your fingernails.

iv. i am gracelessly placed kisses that will turn into gusts of wind against your lips and you will never teach your mouth to embrace tornadoes and i guess that’s why you took off whenever it started to rain.

you are not weak just because your heart feels so heavy

Dear body,
when she leaves you heaving sharp air into your lungs on the cold bathroom floor in the late hours of the night, please promise to pick yourself up again and learn to breathe,  you are worth it.
when she colors your skin with blue bruises and red scars that light you up like a pastel painting, promise to wash yourself off with warm water and look at your skin, you are beautiful.
when she fills you with emptiness and fattens you with self loathing, allow your lips to savor love once more and refuse to surrender to the hunger clouding your mind, you are complete.

– excerpt from a book I’ll never write

an intolerable tenderness

My darling,
I’m sorry if you hear echoes of your mother’s words like tsunamis in your ears when you hold my hand.  I’m sorry if you see her face staring back at you through the reflections of my eyes when I tell you I love you, and I’m sorry if you hug me too tight in hopes that everything she’d ever made you feel about yourself would seep right out of your fingertips and put me back together.
But darling, I will not apologize for holding your hand in mine like I am holding your beating heart in place, and I will not apologize for telling you I love you and staring so far into your eyes I could see the universe of your mind, and I will not apologize for wrapping my arms around you like you are my shelter.
Because you are.
And I love you.

– excerpt from a book I’ll never write

you’ll lose everything to this disorder

Your body is a canvas of color.
don’t let it bruise with self hatred or fade away with sadness.
Your soft skin has turned blue from open wounds and your ribs have marked hues along your fragile covering.

Your body is a canvas of color.
don’t let it shrink into heavy bones or wither into empty pages.
Your skin has melted away and hangs loose along your spine and your pale eyes have snatched away the beauty of your face.


ten things i should have learned sooner

i. do not cross the universe for someone who won’t get out of bed for you.  a pretty face and nice words can be toxic and you will lose yourself between their lips, but listen to your hands shaking when they kiss you.  listen to your heart screaming into your chest.  they are telling you to run.

ii. highschool feels a lot like drowning and you will spend more days coughing water from your lungs than keeping your head above the surface.  this is okay.  it is okay to feel like your hands are too tired to keep you afloat.  it is okay to hold your breath and it is okay to let the waves drag you along.  it is not okay to let them hold you down.  it is not okay to swallow the ocean.  i know you’ve never been a strong swimmer but you’ll reach the shoreline, i promise.

iii. you will learn a lot about losing people while you are trying to find yourself.  people are not your medicine; no one will try to fix you.  you will be alone in a room full of familiar faces and you will still be okay.  your best friend will replace you with a pack of cigarettes and boys and your first love will forget to love you back.
forgive them. do not hold onto them.
let them go.

iv. stop wasting time trying to leave a mark on someone’s life.  chances are, if you’re meant to be something important to them, you do not need to prove your worth.  do not pretend you like their taste in music if it makes you cringe.  do not pretend you know what it feels like to live under their skin until you have crawled all the way down to their soul.  do not pretend you are something more than what you are. do not pretend you are anything less.  you are a walking galaxy and you do not need to prove your existence.

v. think of death, but do not think of dying.
think of life after death, but do not think of quick ways to get there.  i know you carry bullets in your teeth, i know your blood burns like alcohol when you’re too sad to speak, i know you’ve mastered self-destruction behind pink cheeks and white smiles, and i know you are tearing yourself apart from the inside out.  you are a monument and soon enough your body will crumble from all its missing pieces.
do not wait long enough for that to happen.  think of death but do not think of dying.
think of ways to kill your sadness without killing yourself first.

vi. you know that you love him more than he ever will love you and yet you let him kiss you like you are his entire world; this is where you go wrong.  do not settle for someone who has to force themselves to see the stars in your eyes.  do not settle for hands searching for your waist while they should be searching for your heart.  do not settle for anything less than what you deserve, and trust me when I tell you that you deserve a lot more than someone who only loves you when he needs you.

vii. do not hate him for this.
he is just another human being who likes to drink too much coffee and finds it hard to love anyone but himself.  do not play the victim, do not turn him into your killer.  he doesn’t know what he wants and neither do you.  he has strong hands and loves to touch your skin.  do not let him break apart your bones.
he will try.
do not hate him for this. do not forgive him either.
walk away and do not think twice. do not let him sink into you.

viii. hot showers will teach you a lot about how long it takes to wash someone off your skin.  you will understand what it feels like to claw at your own flesh.  no matter how hard you scrub, your bones will feel heavy with an emptiness you cannot get rid of.  do not crack your veins in an attempt to bleed it out because the only thing you will bleed out is more of yourself. teach your body to grow beautiful things. learn about the beauty of your flesh when it is not bruised or scarred, and learn about the beauty of your flesh when it is.

ix. you will kiss him like you are trying to swallow the sun.  he will burn your lips and set your throat on fire but you will not pull away.  you will learn a lot about love, but you will learn a lot more about pain.  you will tell yourself loving him is worth the burn marks you taste on your tongue.  he will kiss you long and he will kiss you hard and he will leave you when you are burnt to the core.
months later you will still cough ashes at the mention of his name.
it is not the end of the world.
you should have known better than to let a wildfire touch you.

x. sadness is greedy and it will eat you whole and spit you back out and your body will feel a lot like a decaying corpse.  no one else can taste death in your mouth but yourself. no one else will notice how your chest tightens and your breath cuts off. do not expect them to carry you when you are shaking too much to walk straight.
be your own hero and crawl if you have to.
do not let it digest you

– excerpt from a book I’ll never write

friends can break your heart too

“I know you better than you know yourself,” he says, with his hair in his eyes and head in the air.
he’ll tell you all your favorite colors; how teal makes you feel soft and warm and how yellow makes you want to run.  he’ll tell you how you love the sky most when it’s anything but blue, when it’s all pink and orange and streaks of white.

you’re 17 and he knows all your thoughts; sings along to all the songs you love even though he hates them. he knows what you want to say before you think it; answers people when they ask how you are. stares right into your eyes and says he gets lost in them; he’ll never find his way back out.

you’re 18 and he shows up at your door when you haven’t eaten for a week.
you sit in silence and it feels like home. he stays past midnight, watches movies and watches you falling asleep on the couch next to him. people think you’re in love and you laugh it off. You’ll fall asleep on his chest, listening to his heart beat fast.

you’re 19 and you fall asleep to his breath; waves crashing into shores on the other side of the phone. it’s 3am and there’s no one you’d rather talk to. it’s 3am and you love him. except you don’t.

you’re 20 and you walk past each other like playing a game of hide and seek where no one wants to find the other. he talks like someone else now, carries someone else’s words in his throat when he speaks. he doesn’t ask how you are; his eyes don’t even meet yours now. you love him, but you don’t. you tried to fall in love with each other and that’s all it took to tear you apart; ripping you right at the edges.

he knew you better than you knew yourself, but you don’t even recognize him anymore.

– Excerpt from a Book I’ll never write