Things to Tell my 18-year-old Self

by Steph   Jun 13, 2019

That boy is not the world,
And he will leave you shaking in the shower
With blood pooling from your hip.
Saying his name will hurt your soul.
You'll try to run from him.
You'll try to get help.
But even with the possibility of death,
You still make him your first call?

Don't drink and drive.
The blurring of stop signs
And the panic of losing your job
And an under-age charge
Will never outweigh a safe ride home.
Or knowing she could still be alive.

Don't give your heart to just anyone.
After your first love,
You'll give anything to have somebody hold your soul.
Instead he will drink it,
Vomiting it up into the alley behind your home.
He'll breakup with you three different times while wasted,
But forget it.
Every time.
And you'll fall back,
Sewing your heart onto the sleeve
Of his least favorite jacket.
It never works.

Some of your closest family won't be blood.
Your blood will shame you,
Attack you,
Leave you in an alley hyperventilating.
They won't trust you,
They'll slander you.
You'll go running into another mother's arms.
She will give you her couch,
Let you borrow her family.
She'll show you what a home should be.
Until it's time to move on.

If it's too good to be true...
Your first apartment will only be $375/month
You'll never meet your landlord.
Bedbugs will begin appearing in the sink
Days after you excuse the bites as hives.
The new beginning will be painful,
And so will the next one.
If something itches,
You're likely being bit.

Love takes time.
Nobody falls in love in ten days.
When a boy from the past understands your pain,
It doesn't mean you should put your smile
In his sweaty palms.
He'll drop it as easily as he picked it up.
You'll repeatedly keep trying to plant your happiness
In the jeans laying on another woman's floor.

Don't jump to conclusions.
Constant paranoia is not normal.
Fear of possibilities should not be the noose
You swing from.
You'll follow boys to see if there's someone else.
You'll drive,
Seeing accidents in thin air.
T-boned into your house,
Panicking over bomber planes.
Unable to ask your assistant to do their job.

It's not just depression.
Nobody well spends their life in bed.
You will drown yourself in blankets,
Curled up next to a body
Of fast-food bags.
You will still open your skin,
When you fear an explosion.
Antidepressants won't be enough.

Love yourself first.
You will isolate yourself.
The only way you know to stay safe.
When you're your own best friend,
You learn things you never knew
About the bag of meat you carry daily.
You will learn your comfort zones,
Like a parent to hold your hand crossing the street.
You'll appreciate an empty bed,
A silent home.
You'll discover who and why you are,
Forgiving the hatred you once wore around your neck.

The right man will be a perfect fit.
You'll feel comfortable immediately,
The first time he touches you,
You'll be hooked.
A smoker to nicotine.
A dog to their bone.
Everything will fall into place,
Like finding the correct key
To a lock.
He'll understand your hurt,
Without drowning you in his own.
He'll give you freedom to be yourself,
And you'll do the same.
You'll drive yourself crazy,
Wondering how everything is still
Perfectly imperfect.


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Latest Comments

  • 1 day ago

    by Maher

    Wow, they should teach this at schools. Practical life advice to survive and be happy in the world rather than just to compete and chase money. This is great! I agree with the relationship parts wholeheartedly, though with women in my case. People can really be horrible, but they can also be good, I suppose.

    Excellent write and thanks for sharing it with us all :)

  • 5 days ago

    by Linda

    This was as refreshing to read as it was to write. Nice hyperboles. There are parallels from our paths separating in more ways than one. Cripsy read man

    • 5 days ago

      by Steph

      Thank you! I hardly remember writing it, which is really weird.

  • 5 days ago

    by Milly Hayward

    Wow! I don't normally like long poems but this is so astute, cynical, and it carries throughout a perfect wisdom taking the reader right through the different scenarios to beware of from from first love onwards. It is a totally compelling read that really should be read by anyone at the age of 18 to serve as a valid warning and for older people who haven't yet figured out the pitfalls of dating. Well done on an excellent and captivating piece. Milly x

  • 5 days ago

    by Poet on the Piano

    Woah. First, this would be phenomenal performed because when reading it, I could totally see and hear it as a slam poem.

    This resonated with me beyond words but I will try to explain - the vulnerability is painstakingly tangible in this poem. From the first love, to comprising self worth, the human want to just be loved and held yet the understanding that comes with time... how we must first love ourselves and respect ourselves so we can know that is how we deserve to be treated.

    Everything felt real and raw in this piece and I felt the frustrations of growing up, of trying to be independent yet things going wrong and not being able to control the depression and feeling like it's all caving it. It read to me like a constant reminder to "be gentle", be gentle with yourself as you go through life. And then someday, that love that gives space, freedom, acceptance, will be found with someone else. And you can share it together.

    I'm going to read this again and again in the next few days. Thank you so much for sharing your voice and soul in this.

    • 5 days ago

      by Steph

      Thank you! This is the first poem I shared since in 3 years. I'm grateful for the positive feedback!

  • 6 days ago

    by - Mr. Darcy

    I wish I'd read this when I was 18.

    • 5 days ago

      by Steph

      Thank you so much!

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