1. If he doesn’t answer, don’t keep sending texts. If he wanted to talk to you, he would’ve responded.
2. People will make time for you when they care about you. If he says he’s too busy or constantly cancels his plans, he doesn’t care. People fight for you when they care.
3. Don’t let him touch you on the first date. If he tries, he’s not there for the same reasons you are.
4. You can tell a lot about a person by their favorite book.
5. If he can stomach more than ten straight shots without feeling a thing, he drinks too much.
6. Ask the uncomfortable things. When was the last time he was so high he couldn’t speak? What does he regret the most? Does he drink to remember or to forget?
7. Don’t send pictures unless you want to. If he has to talk you into it, don’t do it. If you hesitate, don’t do it. If you do take a picture, don’t include your face. Keep yourself safe.
8. If you can’t laugh when you’re having sex with him, maybe you aren’t sleeping with the right person. Sex isn’t about tricks and tips and routines.
9. If he hurts you, cut him out. He’s gone, he isn’t coming back, and you don’t need to prolong the pain.
10. Don’t be afraid to open up again. I promise not everyone will love you with a knife behind their back."
five sets of two hands, fingers spread wide
my best friend lying next to me squeaks out
“never have I ever masturbated”
a chortle and a shrug between the boys as they flick down their obligatory fingers
and I can’t help but feel a twinge in my stomach as my pinky follows suit
the silence in the room is thick and grey and suddenly sliced by
have you ever experienced fun?
I pull away a hair caught in my scarlet lipstick
in my reflection I see my table mate from english class
behind me she blinks twice and scoffs
“who are you trying to impress?”
the bathroom door is closed behind her before I can ask
the last time she did something to impress herself.
before a trip to the mall
one of my friends spends two hours
perfecting her bronzer
and choosing the perfect pair of shoes
the other rubs in dry shampoo
and is out the door in less than five minutes
they are two of the most beautiful girls I’ve ever seen.
my father calls me beautiful through a mouthful of popcorn
as I pour a glass of milk to accompany my now third piece of leftover birthday cake
he plants a kiss on my cheek and I grin as I wipe it away.
she asks me what to do to start loving herself
and I send her away to my full length mirror
and demand to only speak to her
when she’s found something to adore
the way I did with my knobby knees
and tiger-striped hips
and big square teeth
fifteen minutes go by
and she finally points to the freckles on her nose
splits into a grin
the one that makes everyone weak in the knees
and I watch the lightbulb go off above her head
as she realizes
it’s never been her job to hate her body
i tell my sister she looks cute today
and the look on her boyfriend’s face
when she blurts out “damn right I do!”
I used to worry that I’d never find someone who loved me at all
and now my biggest fear
is finding someone who can adore me as much as I’ve come to.