Darling, take the nearest exit: A letter to my 16-year-old-self

He will be mysterious.

He will seem distant and unattainable,

and then he 

will woo you

and tell you that you’re different from the other girls.

He will tell you he still finds you pretty even when you’ve had a long ass night and your hair is all over your face and you still haven’t slept and you’re stuck with a truckload of problem sets to work on and you have no idea how you’re going to apply college algebra in real life anyway.

He will go out of his way to make you feel special.

He will text you at 3PM.

He will text you at 3AM.

He will make you feel like you’re the only one running in his mind.

And you will fall for it.

Don’t.

Because as soon as you let him know you’re falling for it, the game changes.

He will lock you up in his fingers.

He will keep you

trap you inside

and then 

he will let go of you

quickly

without any warning.

And you will come running after him. Desperately.

He will tell you he loves you.

He will let his walls fall down

and you’ll feel good about him tearing down his facade for you.

He will make you feel nice and warm inside.

He will kiss your forehead and tuck your hair behind your ears

He will surprise you with beautiful gestures.

but then

He will make you feel that you’re not enough.

He will tell you that you’re

not pretty enough

not smart enough

not feminine enough

not good enough

And the next thing you’ll know,

you’re left broken

and empty

and lost

and hurt.

You will be a stranger to yourself.

So darling, as soon as you see the red flag,

take the nearest exit. 

Run as fast as you can.

And don’t look back.

You’re not lonely. You’re just alone and that’s okay.

You’re just sixteen and you were meant for greater things.

Don’t go ahead chasing people who don’t know your worth. You were meant to be loved and pursued, and you should remember that.

You’re still young. Don’t rush relationships.

Love isn’t built for speed, anyway.