I can’t write any articles on loss and grief because I am not old enough yet. There are teenagers who post on their Facebook walls sadness in a status and teenagers who decorate their Instagram feeds with black and white, vignette, varying hues of gray and darkness and teenagers who slit their throats in 140 characters; the short sentences are extremely sharp and hurt their readers as well, prompting a Retweet. I can’t complain that I am sad and tired and that I feel, wondrously, miraculously, that I have given up, because what right do I have, I am only a teen and I am not an adult who has lost her sheen which the harsh adult world took from her like a blanket stolen off a baby in a cradle. I watch as my friends meet half an hour earlier in front of the school gates, to talk about things that they’ll be told off for talking about at home. I watch as my friends get asked why their pocket money is depleting so quickly, why there’s messages telling them not to die in a ditch, things’ll be better soon dear fifteen year old pal, it’ll be alright – the money was spent on tissues; a tissue transaction to soak up the many tears cascading down a soft cheek, skin that’s pimpled and pigmented and undergoing puberty; so young. The cheek of youth stained by tears. I can’t talk about my sorrows because it just shows how much of a teenager I am, someone who likes to complain and shriek and sob at the dinner table, cigarette hanging from my lips, tobacco nicking the piercing glistening on the skin of my lips, sins spilling from my lips. I can’t talk about the fact that I am also a vessel of regret, of sadness, of depressing things to talk about, like my mother, her mother, her husband, his wife, the grown-up cousin at a wedding, my distant relative whose son is the CEO of a tissue paper company that may or may not make money from sad kids who soak misery into the three-ply, four-ply, five-ply tissue paper like how teenagers – the girls, that is – use pads on their periods. I can’t pass discourse over the women who buy pads in excess and the fact that teenagers need them more than they do, nowadays, because I am too young and I should not have gotten my period, and I ought to keep my mouth shut. I can’t let the words tired, sad, really frustrated, want to fling myself off the building you work at slip out of my mouth, because the world has given me the privilege of owning thread and a needle to sew my young, ripe mouth up.
Listen, there are a lot of other things I could be doing right now. Things like bettering my skills in first-person writing or working on getting rid of the flab around my waist (or whatever you call it—it’s a waste of words; naming your chub-chubs).
But here I am, writing to you in second-person, using slang and tone I would never use in real life(‘cause I’m too fucking scared), but I’ve already started writing, so we’re going to…keep on going.
After all, if it’s you I’m spending time writing to, then it’s worth it. Honestly.
I am telling you, honey, to stop puttering about and waiting for text messages from boys who don’t really matter. I’m also encouraging—no, scratch that: STRONG RECCOMMENDING you figure out which team you bat for, or open yourself to both, because you know it and Future You (hi, hello, that’s me) also knows it: You tend to lead on both genders, or get too tangled up in the affairs of not only your boy- but girl- friends as well.
Or, you could consider cruising down Exit 101 and ditching everyone in your life who doesn’t really give a fuck about you; go for ‘em prickled-species: cacti make good friends and coffee-sippers. Just go with it. When life throws you a curve ball, you grab it and shove it down your throat and as the white, splotched canvas slips down the tubes of your body, remember that you were too fat to ever play baseball in Grade 3 anyway, the awkward Chinese girl who had her hair done up in pigtails and who ate too many Starbursts while sitting out on the bench during games.
Go figure. This brings me to another point; actually:
Don’t ever think for one second that you’re better than anyone else. Don’t think that you’re cooler than everyone just because you’re Chinese-American, don’t think that your reflexes are quicker than most because of that one and a half years you dedicated to playing baseball—you were the shittiest player, honey—and most of all, don’t think that just because you got an eighty for Maths, like, once in your lifetime of failures that you can lapse into self-content in the subject.
No. No. The main point of this lengthy rant/unnecessarily filthed-up letter to you, honey, is to get it in your head that you can never be complacent. You have to keep practising and drilling if you want to keep on achieving. You can’t fly without paying for an aeroplane ticket and if you can’t pay for an aeroplane ticket right now but still want to fly, don’t lapse into the tempting, soothing serenades that satisfaction brings. Just keep moving on like a fucking steam-roller(I mean you’re probably built like one, anyway) and keep plodding on ‘til your jeans snap and your shoelaces break and the skin on your cheeks sags and your lips are chapped and shredded to dust.
Don’t you rest ‘til you’re in your coffin, pale arms and pale legs dangling by your body, brain shrinking and life-blood draining—
Please. Or else we’ll both end up in a greater tragedy than the ones Shakespeare wrote about—or else you’ll really end up to be Future You currently, the one who drinks all day and wallows in her broken-hearted dreams of being a writer at sixteen, with nothing better to do.
Confused, I go to the nearest outlet, paying with
Sometimes I want to drown in my sorrows.
I’ll tip my head back and let the dew of the grass cascade over me, trickling down my neck, right into the base where my clavicles draw sharp trenches; I’ll let sunshine soak into my skin and bleach my hair the different colours of heart-break.
Sometimes I want to sleep.
I want to sleep for an eternity, to sleep when the elections are over and when Trump has stepped down from his makeshift thrown of fallacies; I want to lay my head upon a goose-feather pillow and run my bruised cheek along the satin cover and swallow down the jarring edges of sleeping pills and fall into an illuminated world of my own, letting shreds of sanity scatter far, far away underneath the bed.
Sometimes I want to cry.
I want to let salt water fall from my eyes and hit the surface of my study-table in misshapen shapes; warped pearls and cylinders of dried caramel and chips of cinnamon, all translucent, watery figures that hold breaths of sadness and whispers of remorse. I want these tears to sear tracks of guilt down my cheeks and cement the shaky feeling in my heart as it shivers, like a coward, against my rib-cage.
Sometimes I want to leave.
I think about it for a while this time, cutting all the flowery words and silver-strung sentences, forgoing punctuation and the irking corners of commas–
and I do just that.
I open the door and I step outside and then I close it.
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