one | when your father taught your brother to drink black coffee because it was cheaper, he wasn't lying. Although your father takes his with milk and two sugars, you and your brother love black coffee because it is money saved for future travels, and it is the bitter beautiful taste of being an artist, and it is something the two of you have in common.
two | but listen to your mother when she tells you not to use black coffee like Shelby does. Don't use it to stave off hunger. Remember the other true things she has taught you: darling, you can cook a wholesome dinner in the microwave if you try hard enough. Always keep reading. Everything can be sewn back up.
three | sometimes your heart will seem irreparably broken, but that too will heal. It will take time, and tears, and it might never be quite the same. But understand that sadness is there. Recognise that there is no beauty in your unwashed hair and afternoons spent curled up on your bedroom floor crying, but that there is humanity there. Everyone feels this way to some extent, but don't be afraid to ask for help when it gets to be too much.
four | and all kinds of things will break your heart. Everyone says it will be a boy, but your heart might be broken by losing your best friend. It might be broken by that first headline that you see that shows you the world can be a horrendous place. It may be broken by all manner of things that aren't romantic love.
five | but it will be broken by romantic love once, twice, a hundred times. You, you foolish girl, will pile all your hopes at the feet of a boy who cannot remember your name, and when he talks to you, you will imagine that it means something. But darling, it won't. And because your mother taught you that nothing is ever torn beyond repair, you will know that you are hurting now, but this isn't forever. It can't be.
six | some days, it will feel like forever. The days will drag. Bruises will blossom easily and scars will shimmer more than usual and you will want nothing more than to hide behind the curtain of your hair. And other days, you will be laughing and dancing in the corridor and kissing, writing something true and good, learning to cartwheel, taking photos, snuggled on the sofa. Then things will pass too quickly, and you will try to hold on to them but you can't always. Time is a funny thing, and it works in odd ways, and maybe the Tralfamadorians had it right. Don't spend too long getting yourself tangled up about it alone in your room on a Thursday night though. Just accept that some things are mysteries.
seven | not everything is a mystery though. Keep learning. Be a Renaissance woman and stop being so terrified that because you are an art girl, you can't be a science one too. You aren't stupid. You don't know everything, but who does? That doesn't mean you don't know anything.
eight | one day though, someone will say something about you (to you) that you never knew. That you never allowed yourself to know. Whilst he won't even know what he has said, you will know how true this is and you will hold back hot embarrassed tears and you will keep remembering those words. Don't let them grate at your heart. They might be true, but they aren't cruel.
nine | many things are true and cruel though. It is your job to make them things of the past, and to make things better, and to extend a helping hand. Never forget how goddamn lucky you are. Promise me that.
ten | the final truth is that seven years from now, you will not be the same person you are now. What you know to be true will change in accordance to that, but that does not make these truths lies. It just changes things a little.