- You are stronger than you realise.
- You are crueller than you realise.
- The smallest words will break your heart.
- You will change. You’re not the same person you were three years ago. You’re not even the same person you were three minutes ago and that’s okay. Especially if you don’t like the person you were three minutes ago.
- People come and go. Some are cigarette breaks, others are forest fires.
- You won’t like your name until you hear someone say it in their sleep.
- You’ll forget your email password but ten years from now you’ll still remember the number of steps up to his flat.
- You don’t have to open the curtains if you don’t want to.
- Never stop yourself texting someone. If you love them at 4 a.m., tell them. If you still love them at 9.30 a.m., tell them again.
- Make sure you have a safe place. Whether it’s the kitchen floor or the Travel section of a bookshop, just make sure you have a safe place.
- You will be scared of all kinds of things, of spiders and clowns and eating alone, but your biggest fear will be that people will see you the way you see yourself.
- Sometimes, looking at someone will be like looking into the sun. Sometimes someone will look at you like you are the sun. Wait for it.
- You will learn how to sleep alone, how to avoid the cold corners but still fill a bed.
- Always be friends with the broken people. They know how to survive.
- You can love someone and hate them, all at once. You can miss them so much you ache but still ignore your phone when they call.
- You are good at something, whether it’s making someone laugh or remembering their birthday. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that these things don’t matter.
- You will always be hungry for love. Always. Even when someone is asleep next to you you’ll envy the pillow touching their cheek and the sheet hiding their skin.
- Loneliness is nothing to do with how many people are around you but how many of them understand you.
- People say I love you all the time. Even when they say, ‘Why didn’t you call me back?’ or ‘He’s an asshole.’ Make sure you’re listening.
- You will be okay.
- You will be okay.
At 19, I read a sentence that re-terraformed my head: “The level of matter in the universe has been constant since the Big Bang.”
In all the aeons we have lost nothing, we have gained nothing - not a speck, not a grain, not a breath. The universe is simply a sealed, twisting kaleidoscope that has reordered itself a trillion trillion trillion times over.
Each baby, then, is a unique collision - a cocktail, a remix - of all that has come before: made from molecules of Napoleon and stardust and comets and whale tooth; colloidal mercury and Cleopatra’s breath: and with the same darkness that is between the stars between, and inside, our own atoms.
When you know this, you suddenly see the crowded top deck of the bus, in the rain, as a miracle: this collection of people is by way of a starburst constellation. Families are bright, irregular-shaped nebulae. Finding a person you love is like galaxies colliding. We are all peculiar, unrepeatable, perambulating micro-universes - we have never been before and we will never be again. Oh God, the sheer exuberant, unlikely face of our existences. The honour of being alive. They will never be able to make you again. Don’t you dare waste a second of it thinking something better will happen when it ends. Don’t you dare.