1. high school will drain you. it’s panic attacks in the hallway and crying in the bathroom and eating lunch in the back of the library because the cafeteria makes your heart beat too fast. It’s getting high and throwing up. you will learn a lot about death and how to treat your cuts. You will also learn what it’s like to get drunk and laugh at the stars and how to write poetry that makes the world hurt less. You will read books that you fall in love with. you will fall in love. you’ll get closer to your mother because you’ll need someone to help you with your math homework and teach you how to put on your makeup and wipe away your tears.
2. the first boy you fall in love with will break you. he’ll tell you he loves you and convince you to fuck him in the back of his parents beat up volvo and then he’ll tell all his friends what you taste like and stop calling you before you fall asleep. delete his number and throw away the stuffed bear he won you at the carnival three weeks before. your carpet will be stained with tears and vomit and liquor and you’ll fight with you dad a lot more than usual. you’ll spit up pieces of your heart for weeks. you’ll burn alive when you see him in the halls. you won’t always feel like you’re cracking and a few months later you’ll be falling asleep on the phone with someone else. let it hurt for a little while but don’t let it kill you. never let it kill you.
3. the girl you’ve been best friends with for 9 years will stop speaking to you. one night you’ll make plans with her and she’ll cancel at the last minute because she’s sick but you’ll see her updating her snapchat story with pictures of empty alcohol bottles and blurry eyes and the mean girls who never let you sit with them. try to forgive her. she’s going through all the bloody, broken teeth, black and blue filled nights like you are. everyone’s trying to survive so don’t be too hard on anyone. especially yourself.
4. your teacher will ask the class questions and you’ll know the answers but you’ll keep your shaky hand between your knees and keep your tongue glued to the top of your mouth. don’t bother. speak out. nothing bad will happen. so when your biology teachers calls on you to tell him about last nights assignment, don’t stare at the spinning ground and mumble through numb lips. you’re smarter than you think and nobody is looking at you anyway.
5. you’re not his baby girl. when he tries to kiss your neck and pull you onto his lap, get up and leave. you don’t have to go upstairs with him. you don’t have to sleep with him because he’s begging. it’s not your job to fuck around with boys who can’t remember your name. take care of yourself even when he’s calling you a tease and whispering just loud enough for you to hear.
6. go out. go to football games and sit on hard metal bleachers for hours and take shots that taste like bleach and hold hands with the cute boy from english class. go to that dumb party and don’t complain or stand in the corner. things are always moving. people are always falling in love and laughing and putting themselves back together. be part of it.
7. ask for help. you don’t have to let yourself rot. when you don’t know how to do something in math class ask your teacher to explain. when your heart falls out of your chest and shatters at your feet, ask your best friend to come over and watch bad movies with you until you both feel less dead. when the boy you’re convinced you love kisses someone else, ask your mother to help stop the bleeding. you’re not alone so stop acting like it. no more breakdowns at three in the morning locked in the bathroom screaming. your older sister is still awake. crawl into bed with her.
8. it all ends. high school doesn’t last forever and 6 years from now you’ll be whole again. you won’t remember the names of the boys who made you cry or the girls who fucked you over. you won’t remember the names of the teachers who made your cheeks turn red and tied your stomach in knots. you won’t remember the time you fell down the stairs in front of everyone. you won’t remember what it’s like to want to die. try to remember the times you laughed so hard you spit out your drink. try to remember the people who helped put you back together. try to remember the people who bled with you when things got messy, when they call you at 3 in the morning to ask how you’ve been, answer the phone.
9. don’t forget to breathe.
Columbia student will carry her mattress until her rapist exits school
September 2, 2014
While most students at Columbia University will spend the first day of classes carrying backpacks and books, Emma Sulkowicz will start her semester on Tuesday with a far heavier burden. The senior plans on carrying an extra-long, twin-size mattress across the quad and through each New York City building – to every class, every day – until the man she says raped her moves off campus.
“I was raped in my own bed,” Sulkowicz told me the other day, as she was gearing up to head back to school in this, the year American colleges are finally, supposedly, ready to do something about sexual assault. “I could have taken my pillow, but I want people to see how it weighs down a person to be ignored by the school administration and harassed by police.”
Sulkowicz is one of three women who made complaints to Columbia against the same fellow senior, who was found “not responsible” in all three cases. She alsofiled a police report, but Sulkowicz was treated abysmally – by the cops, and by a Columbia disciplinary panel so uneducated about the scourge of campus violence that one panelist asked how it was possible to be anally raped without lubrication.
So Sulkowicz joined a federal complaint in April over Columbia’s mishandling of sexual misconduct cases, and she will will hoist that mattress on her shoulders as part savvy activism, part performance art. “The administration can end the piece, by expelling him,” she says, “or he can, by leaving campus.”
As painful as I know the constant reminder of attending school with her rapist must be, I’m glad she won’t be the only one forced to remember. I hope the rapist drops out immediately…or better yet, I hope he faces the justice he deserves.
but no you guys are missing the best part