1. Don’t shut down. You have to feel pain because once you turn it off, you can’t get it back. And then you’re left prying open your veins and breaking your bones, drowning in vodka, choking on pills, bleeding out, swallowing cigarettes, sleeping with boys who rip your heart out of your chest and slam it against the wall and then smile at you like you’re the prettiest thing in the room. It turns out that feeling nothing feels worse than anything else.
2. Cut him out of your life. It doesn’t matter how many times he called you beautiful and told you he loved you. I know he was a sweet guy but he’s not the same person anymore. He hurt you. He doesn’t deserve to occupy a thought in your head let alone drown you in your own tears. I know you loved him. Maybe you always will. But if you want to stay alive, you’ve got to let him go. Delete your old texts with him because baby I swear to god you will read over all the “I love you’s” and “baby girl’s” and you will crack your ribs with them.
3. It’s okay to cry. It’s okay to slide down a wall in tears at three in the morning aching and screaming. If you want to sit on your bedroom floor with your head buried in your knees, tears spilling out of your eyes and filling the room up to your waist, do it. It doesn’t make you weak. You could never be weak. You’re alive and that’s the hardest thing to be. I’m so proud of you. Always.
4. Don’t do anything you’re uncomfortable with. When you’re at a party and you’re sitting next to a boy who’s words are dripping with cheap alcohol and he’s grabbing your thigh and spitting liquor down your neck in sloppy kisses, push him off you. You don’t owe him anything. You’re not being mean or hurting his feelings. If you’re not okay, leave.
5. Don’t hurt yourself. If you think you feel shitty now, imagine how terrible you’re going to feel when you accidentally cut too deep and you feel your life spilling out of your wrists. I know you want to get rid of him and the heartbreak he left behind. I know you want to get rid of the numbness and the headaches and the shaky hands. I know you want to get rid of the pain. But when you’re lighting your skin on fire or tearing into your veins, you’ve got pain spilling out of your bones. But you’re dripping everything good too. You’ve got a tangle of outer space inside of you and you can’t lose the darkness between the stars without losing the stars too.
6. Save yourself first. I know you’re in love with a pretty boy who writes you poetry and slits your wrists. I know he falls asleep crying. But so do you. I know he’s your world. I know you’re in love. But you can’t be up at four in the morning talking him out of suicide when you’ve got six tests the next day. You can’t stop him from ripping his heart out when you’re still trying to figure out how to get yours beating again. You can’t save him. You’ve just got to love him with all you’ve got. You have to love yourself too.
7. Terminate toxic relationships. It doesn’t make you a bad person. You need to be self-preserving for once in your goddammed life. When your best friend kisses the boy you would die for, stop sleeping on her floor when she calls you crying because she got her heart broken by a boy who’s name she couldn’t remember. When your father kicks you out of the house and tells you he wants you gone, stay gone. When your boyfriend comments on how much you’ve been eating and makes you feel guilty for feeling the world, delete his number. You don’t need people dragging you down. You don’t need anybody poising you. You’ve got enough pain already.
8. It gets better. I know right now you’re on the verge of killing yourself. You’re on the edge and you’re waiting for the fall. But there’s nothing good at the bottom, just a lot of broken bones and blood and sore throats. I know how much you want to die and I know how hard it is to stay but you have to. Because one day you’re going to wake up smiling. You’re going to fall in love and your heart will stay whole. You’re going to travel and swim in the ocean and you’re not going to pray that you drown. You’re going to go for a drive in the middle of the night and feel free instead of hoping you crash. You’re going to be alright.