My second grade teacher liked to ask us,
“How do you feel today, on a scale of one to ten?”
Ten always meant I’m super, thank you
and one was always not today, Mrs. MacAuley, not today.
But I never liked numbers, they would always
twist and rebel against my mind so I chose
to speak in colors instead.
January third - I am the color
of mint chocolate chip ice cream
but I’ve eaten all the chocolate chips.
I am calm.
February seventh - I am a bruise of
blues and violets today. I think it would
be best if I sat by the window.
These are unhappy colors.
April eleventh - I am turquoise, I am magenta,
I am every color in the rainbow.
April thirtieth - I am gray, I am silent.
May first - I am orange, the color of melting
creamsicles on a beach in July.
June twelfth - I am as yellow as the school bus
that will bring me home to summer. I am free.
Twelve years later, I still use colors.
The winter makes me feel cobalt blue, the ocean
turns me a seafoam green. Violets and purples
leave me uneasy and scarlet is a fever of fury.
Some nights I drown in shades of navy, denim,
and cornflower but other nights I meditate in forests of
harlequin and shamrock.
you leave me a blinding white followed by a soft yellow:
the color of sunlight after a period of darkness.
1. When your friends ask you to hangout, and you don’t feel like it, don’t go. Don’t ever do things halfway or do something that makes you uncomfortable. With everything, give all of yourself, even the pieces you never knew existed.
2. It is okay to not know. Everyone always despises the phrase, “I don’t know” but no one tells you that it is okay to not know. The becoming is more important than the being, anyways.
3. If someone ever makes you feel less, in any way, you have every right to walk away. You have every right to cut out toxic people in your life. To close the door on people who make you feel bad about who you are or what you stand for. Friends don’t tear down, they build up.
4. Loss is always going to happen. Just like paint will always chip and rain will always fall, loss will always be part of life. No matter how much I don’t like it, or avoid it, it is going to walk my way at several times in my life. Learn to embrace it and learn to get closure.
5. Give yourself a chance. Stop saying, “I don’t think I can” or “But what if I am not able to?” and give yourself a chance. This may be cliche, but try to believe in yourself. When you get older, your knees won’t work the same and you won’t have the best memory, and you are going to wish you’d given yourself a chance years sooner.
6. Fall in love. Don’t be guarded before you fall in love. You could fall in love three times and still not find the right one, but none of it is going to make “the one” matter less. Don’t fall into that idea that your first love has to be your best love. Fall in love as many times as it naturally happens.
7. Firsts are going to be messy. First loves, first kisses, first dates, first failed tests, first college class, first time you drive a car, first time you ride a plane - first times were made to be imperfect. Just because it’s messy and all over the place, doesn’t mean it can’t be good or worthwhile.
8. You want another scoop of ice-cream? Go get it. Get three more scoops of ice-cream if that is what you want. “Fat” is not the opposite of beautiful and it is not the opposite of happy. Don’t let anyone tell you that your body type isn’t beautiful. Beauty is a social construct, create your own, become your own.
9. Let yourself be alone. Loneliness is not a bad thing. It is healthy and normal. Everyone needs to spend a good portion of their life alone. We learn who we are when we are alone; life is less crowded and more clear when we are alone.
10. If you aren’t happy where you are, change it. Quit your job, move, become a vegetarian, get a new hobby, pick up an old hobby, whatever you do - make sure it benefits you. Life is too short to not be alive, to not be passionate, and overflowing."