1. You will cry. God, you will cry, and I’m sorry that this is the first thing I can think to tell you, but you will cry until you have turned yourself inside out and you are bone-dry and empty. You will cry because the good people won’t love you, and the wrong people will. You will cry because you never love the right people, and you never hate the bad ones.
2. Things will get worse before they get better. Things will always, always get worse. Sometimes, things will hurt so much that even your atoms ache. But they will always get better.
3. You don’t have long left with him. Walk by his side when he takes you to the edge of nowhere, to little Welsh towns with more letters in their name than some languages have in their alphabet, and don’t run ahead because he’s too slow; you’ll wish you had that time when it’s gone. Listen to him when he presses a flower into your palm and tells you its Latin name. It’s all you’ll have left of him in two years (you don’t even have that because you never said goodbye and your letter was unopened at his funeral; you read a poem with the Latin name for lilies and that was all you had)
4. You will not forgive, but you won’t always carry the resentment on your shoulders. For years, it will weigh heavy across your chest, pressing on your heart and making it cold, but it won’t last forever. I promise, it won’t. In four years’ time, you’ll get the same bus every day as the boy with the black hair who made you hate the world, and you won’t feel angry. One day, you’ll see him cry; you’ll feel sad, and then you’ll feel nothing, because he isn’t important any more.
5. Some friends are for life, and some aren’t. That’s OK. Some friends are fleeting; they fit into these years like perfect shapes, and then you’ll all change and you won’t fit together any more. That’s OK, too. The first friend you make on your second day of high school is the first person you talk to about boys and girls. In five years’ time, you will need somewhere to stay, and she’ll let you sleep on her sofa for a week, even though she lives two hours away now in a cold house with two strangers. She might be a friend for life. She still fits.
6. You are not a waste of time. You are not a waste of space. I know that sometimes you feel like you see yourself in the right way, that you really are as unwhole and unmade as you think, but you’re not. You’re terrible and wonderful and your tongue is cut to wound, but not to draw blood, and you’re vicious and gentle, brave and afraid, and your juxtapositions and paradoxes will serve you well in the years to come. You’ll grow to love the silver stretch marks on your thighs, even though they only get bigger in the years to come, and you’ll learn to laugh at the way you feel in crowds of people (like the sky is paper and you are origami), and you’ll learn that you are not a waste of anyone’s time, not even your own.
7. You have the atoms in you that make the sea and the boy with black hair and the flowers with the Latin names you can’t remember, and you are part of the same universe. You exist in symbiosis with the mountains, the stars, and a thousand planets that don’t have names yet, even in Latin. Without you in it, the universe is a little darker; shifted to the left, made alternate. You don’t need to feel unwanted, or like you don’t belong. From the day you were first a thought in your mother’s mind, you have belonged, and you will always belong, even when you are ashes and you are in the rain and the trees. The world will always want you. It always will.
8. There was nothing wrong with you. Your chemicals sang and you were uprooted in all the corners of your mind, but this is what was made of you. This is not your design. For every time they told you that you were broken, you became more fragmented. But you are not broken. You never were. There is beauty in your fault-lines, even when you try and treat them with little white pills that make you imbalanced on the other side, and there is nothing wrong with you. You are not your chemicals.
9. In three years’ time, you will be lying in a hospital bed at the precipice of darkness, and you will forget. Your mother will hold your hand a hundred miles from home and your sister will cry like her world is ending, and perhaps it is. The world is always ending. Everything is terminal, and nothing is forever. Nothing lasts. Hoard seconds like old shoeboxes. Be jealous of your time. Time is jealous of you. You won’t die in that hospital bed. The doctors will tell you that it’s a miracle. You will think it is a promise, or a dare. You will be better. This is not forever.
10. This is not forever.