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[how to love yourself from a professional teenage girl]
burn down societal expectations.
perch on your bed and paint your fingernails
crimson, bloodied and revolutionary,
as teenage girls strive to be, and wait for
everything around you to char.
when the wallpaper sears off smile,
and when the ferocious flame spreads to the floorboards,
remember that you define “home”,
not anyone else;
beauty is subjective, but it’s yours to subject.
you’re a queen, never forget.
be unapologetically strong.
when people whisper, do not stop and listen.
march that high heeled, short skirt and red lipstick
sporting enigma of yours away, head held high.
young women are taught to apologize for
acts of existence, for breathing too loudly,
for asking questions, for putting up a fight.
People treat strong women like
storms and chemical reactions,
ready to tear things apart.
Do not be afraid to be a storm; they may
name the next hurricane after you,
confident, unrepentant, flawless.
love your body, always and every day.
I’ve watched the girl I love give in to anorexia,
watched the disorder drag it’s fingers up her spine
until she is a ghost of herself,
a whispered taboo about what growing up can
do to your mind; she is a public service announcement,
wrapped in caution tape,
this girl is fragile, her mind is infected and rotting,
this girl is a castle constructed of skin and bone
and if anything, she wants people to know
anorexia is not a joke.
She is willing to be remembered as a warning
to save the lives of teenage girls,
so heed her message;
love your body, because it’s good and strong
and meant to protect you,
but it cannot protect you from yourself.
litter your life with good thoughts.
mount the stairs, hanging portraits as you ascent,
evidence of your extravagance and otherworldliness.
Record your joy and buy a gramophone,
strong and silent without you;
when you are not doing well, play your
broken records over themselves until
the song of your triumph can be heard in every crevice,
every empty space in your life.
if you have tales tattooed inside your lips,
soliloquies locked underneath your tongue
emancipate them from the hot, baking air in your mouth
and paint them into the atmosphere,
write your thoughts in the stars and be
a caustic constellation, be Andromeda,
meaning ruler of men.
Grafitti your opinion on your forehead, take pride
in your beliefs and never shy away from fighting
cry it out.
when all else fails, do not be afraid to put your
despair on display.
Sob cornered animal wounded bird death row convulsions,
and do not feel bad for attracting attention.
Teenage girls are not quiet, are not agreeable,
and I’ve been told before to just shut up
so what can you do, young and lonely and broken?
never shrink yourself;