1. high school will drain you. it’s panic attacks in the hallway and crying in the bathroom and eating lunch in the back of the library because the cafeteria makes your heart beat too fast. It’s getting high and throwing up. you will learn a lot about death and how to treat your cuts. You will also learn what it’s like to get drunk and laugh at the stars and how to write poetry that makes the world hurt less. You will read books that you fall in love with. you will fall in love. you’ll get closer to your mother because you’ll need someone to help you with your math homework and teach you how to put on your makeup and wipe away your tears.
2. the first boy you fall in love with will break you. he’ll tell you he loves you and convince you to fuck him in the back of his parents beat up volvo and then he’ll tell all his friends what you taste like and stop calling you before you fall asleep. delete his number and throw away the stuffed bear he won you at the carnival three weeks before. your carpet will be stained with tears and vomit and liquor and you’ll fight with you dad a lot more than usual. you’ll spit up pieces of your heart for weeks. you’ll burn alive when you see him in the halls. you won’t always feel like you’re cracking and a few months later you’ll be falling asleep on the phone with someone else. let it hurt for a little while but don’t let it kill you. never let it kill you.
3. the girl you’ve been best friends with for 9 years will stop speaking to you. one night you’ll make plans with her and she’ll cancel at the last minute because she’s sick but you’ll see her updating her snapchat story with pictures of empty alcohol bottles and blurry eyes and the mean girls who never let you sit with them. try to forgive her. she’s going through all the bloody, broken teeth, black and blue filled nights like you are. everyone’s trying to survive so don’t be too hard on anyone. especially yourself.
4. your teacher will ask the class questions and you’ll know the answers but you’ll keep your shaky hand between your knees and keep your tongue glued to the top of your mouth. don’t bother. speak out. nothing bad will happen. so when your biology teachers calls on you to tell him about last nights assignment, don’t stare at the spinning ground and mumble through numb lips. you’re smarter than you think and nobody is looking at you anyway.
5. you’re not his baby girl. when he tries to kiss your neck and pull you onto his lap, get up and leave. you don’t have to go upstairs with him. you don’t have to sleep with him because he’s begging. it’s not your job to fuck around with boys who can’t remember your name. take care of yourself even when he’s calling you a tease and whispering just loud enough for you to hear.
6. go out. go to football games and sit on hard metal bleachers for hours and take shots that taste like bleach and hold hands with the cute boy from english class. go to that dumb party and don’t complain or stand in the corner. things are always moving. people are always falling in love and laughing and putting themselves back together. be part of it.
7. ask for help. you don’t have to let yourself rot. when you don’t know how to do something in math class ask your teacher to explain. when your heart falls out of your chest and shatters at your feet, ask your best friend to come over and watch bad movies with you until you both feel less dead. when the boy you’re convinced you love kisses someone else, ask your mother to help stop the bleeding. you’re not alone so stop acting like it. no more breakdowns at three in the morning locked in the bathroom screaming. your older sister is still awake. crawl into bed with her.
8. it all ends. high school doesn’t last forever and 6 years from now you’ll be whole again. you won’t remember the names of the boys who made you cry or the girls who fucked you over. you won’t remember the names of the teachers who made your cheeks turn red and tied your stomach in knots. you won’t remember the time you fell down the stairs in front of everyone. you won’t remember what it’s like to want to die. try to remember the times you laughed so hard you spit out your drink. try to remember the people who helped put you back together. try to remember the people who bled with you when things got messy, when they call you at 3 in the morning to ask how you’ve been, answer the phone.
9. don’t forget to breathe."
When my children start to express curiosity about sexuality, I am not going to tell them that they’re too young to be asking or that “if you have sex you get pregnant”. The age at which children start to ask about sex indicates they are already ready to be talking about it. Some parents may find it is much earlier than they expected, and others may find that their children never want to talk about sexuality. It is a very personal subject, but it should not be taboo.
When a girl walks into the restaurant wearing a tight skirt, I am not going to tell my daughter that the girl is a slut and forbid her from dressing similarly. Instead, I am not going to comment at all unless someone else does. Whether it is a nudist walking in or a woman wearing a burka, it will not be my place to comment and I will teach my children to never voice their judgments either. However, if my children or anyone else comments on the “slut” walking in, I am going to tell them that you cannot judge how many people someone sleeps with based off how they dress, and that you should not judge them based off how many people they sleep with either.
When my son teases his friend that he is being a “pussy”, I will chastise him. I will not have my children contribute to a society that condemns femininity. I am also going to tell my son that he is not obligated to dedicate his life to masculinity, nor sentence anyone else to a specific gender role. My children will not think that their gender correlates to a specific color or behavior. People are not pure shades of pink and blue, but rather unique combinations with real texture.
When my children start to lock their doors and bring home partners, I am not going to forbid them from getting physical or demand to know every detail. Instead, I will make sure that they know everything about being safe and have clear access to protection. I will not be that parent that starts screaming hysterically when they find a condom in their child’s bedroom. Through communication and honesty, I will make sure that my children can have the safest and most fulfilling sex life possible."