How to not say every vulnerable thing that crawls up your throat:

  1. Distance. First, you must hold people at arm’s length no matter how much you want to dig into their skin (because I know you like to do that). If you can, clutch at their hands to let them know you are here and you care. You can still leave fingerprints that way, but they must do the rest. At best, you can only meet people halfway.
  2. Silence. You need to learn that you have a second tongue for all the things you want to say but shouldn’t or can’t. This tongue is the ink of your pen. Use it, and only when the words burn in your throat can you say them. But even then there are times you should be quiet. Keep the words from owning you. Cough if you have to get something out. I’ve learned to work my silence like a hammer. Yours can be like thunder or a storm at sea. But with the right people, I’m like a gushing fountain and you can be too.
  3. Detachment. Do not cling (because I know you have claws). I know you are a feeling creature and I know it’s how you breathe. And sometimes that can be beautiful. People desperately want to feel as you do. They’re just tired of having it chip away at them, tired of being disappointed, tired of having people abuse their heart only to leave it behind like a bruised apple.
  4. Walls. Walls keep people out. They help me see who cares enough to stick around and untangle the parts of me that need untangling. But they can be isolating if you let them. They can leave you lonely and empty and bare. I have built walls because I shatter easily; I’m a glass vase. But walls also give you space for a garden no one can touch or steal from you. I have spent half my life building walls and cultivating my garden and now I want to show it to people.

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