1. There will be several days that you daydream about stepping in front of a city bus. Don’t. It will not be beautiful. It will not be brave. It will be selfish. It will be broken. Your mom will cry.
2. Don’t write for him. Write for you. Write for others like you. Write so the girl that thinks about stepping in front of public transportation doesn’t. Don’t be selfish.
3. When you will yourself to sleep and it doesn’t come - get up. It doesn’t matter that it’s 3 am. There will be other 3 ams. Take a shower. Take two. Wash him out of your hair. Write a poem. Read the same book you’ve read 202 times again. Maybe the 203rd time might tell you something different. Don’t stay in bed - you will think about the bus again.
4. Don’t kiss him because he’s broken. Don’t kiss him because his laughter never reaches his eyes. Don’t try and fix him. Fix yourself first. Be selfish. He can’t save you.
5. Date yourself. Take yourself out to eat. Don’t share your popcorn at the movies with anyone. Stroll around an art museum alone. Fall in love with canvases. Fall in love with yourself.
6. Dress up and wear red lipstick and get drunk with your friends. They’re the ones that will pick you up. Don’t kiss him. Don’t fall asleep on strange couches with strange boys. When his hand slides up your dress walk away. Hit him. Don’t kiss him. He can’t save you.
7. Get another tattoo. Get five more. Get another hole in your ear. Don’t listen to your dad. You will still be able to get a job. Did you really want to be employed by someone like your father? Haven’t you had enough of judgmental old white men anyway? Get ‘fuck you’ tattooed in tiny letters on your hip.
8. When you feel the yearning for a new city - start over. Take 200 bucks and three suitcases. Work anywhere that will have you. Meet strange people and forget your name. Call yourself Ruby. No one will know the difference. Remember to call your mother. Don’t be selfish. Come home when you find yourself with strangers in a small one bedroom apartment.
9. Don’t whisper evil things into your own ear. Other people are going to shout them at you. Be your own hero. Keep a sword on your keyring.
10. Don’t step in front of a city bus. It will not be beautiful. Live. Stay up all night with a boy that promises you everything and means it. Live. See shitty local bands with a friend. Wear a different band’s tshirt. No one will care. Live. Have a baby girl with tiny fingers and tiny toes someday. Live. Wake up. Staying in bed all day is not poetic.
Live each day as if it’s your last’, that was the conventional advice, but really, who had the energy for that? What if it rained or you felt a bit glandy? It just wasn’t practical. Better by far to simply try and be good and courageous and bold and to make a difference. Not change the world exactly, but the bit around you. Go out there with your passion and your electric typewriter and work hard at…something. Change lives through art maybe. Cherish your friends, stay true to your principles, live passionately and fully and well. Experience new things. Love and be loved, if you ever get the chance.
— David Nicholls, One Day
We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for.
— John Keating, Dead Poets Society (1989)