1. Write poetry again. Write about love. Write long lists. Post it all on the blog I made because I knew you were reading. Where I stopped posting because I knew you were reading.
2. Take more selfies. Share them: on my stories. On the fake IG account I told you about but never let you find. On my timeline, set to public, with detailed descriptions of outfits, hair, makeup. Stop hiding that I am as vain as you told me I shouldn’t be.
3. Make a lot of first drafts. Post them. Make things quickly, in bursts, sharing them just as quickly. Post in the middle of things, unfinished, in process. Expose people to the mess of making, so people can see: there is no magic, no bolts from the blue. Only mess and mistakes. Only hoping for better.
4. Sing high. A lot. Because I like how it feels, how it sounds when I hit the notes right. Because it will take a lot of tries to get those notes right. Because I will never learn if I do not try and fail and try and maybe it’s too late, at this age, to challenge my range instead of leaning into it…but I’ll never know unless I do.
5. Stop pretending I don’t still hear you. Because I do.
6. Admit that, if I’m honest, I did not love you. No, I loved the idea of you, of us, of the roles the roles we played: the boy wise beyond his years and the girl who hung on his every word. In a small way, I made you my world; loved the safety of you telling me what to do, who to be, who to become. Tried to follow it to the letter until I realized I couldn’t, didn’t, didn’t really want to.
7. Accept that you never knew me, because I’d never allowed you.
That, from the moment we met, when I chose to pretend I didn’t know things when I did, I set a precedent. I crafted a first impression, and allowed you to run with it. I chose to play the role of the girl who needed your shaping: Eliza to your Henry; Galatea to your Pygmalion.
8. Admit that, in the end, we didn’t have love but validation.
I wanted to make someone proud of me.
I needed it to be you.
9. Accept that sometimes…I might still miss needing you.
10. Promise I will ever need anyone as much again.