In elementary school they teach you three basic rules:
1. Be honest
2. Don’t steal
3. Respect others
They don’t tell you that when you’re 14 and someone asks “how are you” and there are bruises around your wrists and an earthquake is stirring inside you and rattling your bones, the appropriate response is “I’m fine.”
They don’t tell you that when you’re 15 and trying to bear the weight of womanhood a man twice your age will whistle at you through his teeth and when your lungs feel overwhelmed by the smoke and shame, you’ll quicken your pace and next time you’ll wear baggier clothes.
They don’t tell you that when you’re 16 and you’re dressed up for your birthday a male vice principal will snap the straps of your dress and look you up and down and click his teeth disapprovingly, so you’ll keep your hands to yourself and apologize for having a body.
They don’t tell you that when you’re 17 one day a boy with a shotgun in his boot and knuckles of steel is gonna snatch your heart and you’ll say “it’s okay,” and when he puts it through the shredder you’ll pick up the pieces and still say “it’s okay.”
They don’t tell you that when you’re 18 and you go to prom with a beautiful boy he’ll press his forehead to yours and enchant you with a crooked smile so when he tells you that he spent so much money on this night and how dare you not give yourself up to him, you’ll politely undress and let him have his way.
They don’t tell you that when you’re a girl, the rules are different.