you are sixteen


Written by Haley Jakobson

1. you are sixteen and everything you know about love isn't true.
2. keep writing poems in your math notebook. someday people will eat your words right off the plate and lick the scraps. but also, do your math homework, because apparently discipline is a cool thing you can spill your dreams into.
3. you don't have to lick anyone's dick "like an ice cream cone." 4. I'm sorry for what's coming.
5. when they begin to tell you your blood is made from sin and your fingers tarnished in charcoal betrayal, crawl deeper into your mother's arms. 
6. beat your chest like fury, shove your budding womanhood into their lockers, smear your skin with the smell of their ignorance so they have no choice but to breathe their own unfairness.
7. you can stop telling yourself it was something you wanted to do.
8. when the gynecologist blinks at you with pity in her eyelashes, tell her how dare she, tell her she's the reason people can't get up in the morning, ask her if she ever was a girl with collarbones sprinkled with moondust and didn't she ever make the mistake of searching for answers in a boy?
9. when you dare to look at your vagina in the bathtub, please don't make it into a house of shame. 
10. it was not something you wanted to do.
11. someone will love you.
12. a lot of someones.
13. when you go to that dinner with Grammy, please hold her hand a little longer. you won't always get to do that.
14. the walls of your high school are crushing you, your classmates are hiding their own monsters inside your gentle mistakes, your teachers cannot grade the ancient waterfalls washing your ribcage, you are a poet and a prophet and words of entire galaxies live in between your molars.
15. start flossing.