don’t text first,
don’t text last,
don’t get left on read,
and don’t leave others on read.
stop capitalizing “i” because
you’re not that important.
stop going after the quiet ones
and thinking you are the one
who can get them to open up,
because you can, they will,
but wikipedia says out of three tons
only three or four oysters will
produce perfect pearls
and sometimes you should listen to the odds.
odd one out is often self-prescribed and you should
run far, far away from those who think
they’re quirky enough to use it.
don’t cry over friends who don’t love you
as much as you love them
because you knew they wouldn’t,
don’t tell people you cried over them
because no one likes a guilt trip
and it’s not like things will change.
not everything is
black and white
some are mother-of-pearl,
a silver lining.
actually listen to everyone telling you
you deserve better.
simply agreeing is not enough.
stop being all talk,
start being actions,
measurable and memorable.
keep the promises you make to yourself
because you know the shouldn’ts
and the mustn'ts better than anyone:
you aren’t dumb and everyone knows it,
so stop saying it.
it’s okay to spend some time
in your shell.
you’ve hardened for a reason,
to keep the tender skin inside
safe from incisive beaks.
smile with teeth and
be all bite and no bark.
and if nothing else, for the love of God,
stop scrabbling at oysters
and trying to fit your fingers in the seams.
stop picking the empty shells to pry open.
you will break a nail,
or slice a finger on a
deceptively smooth edge
and watch red bloom
into cloudy waters.