Unsolicited Post Break-Up Advice
Written by Lexi Clidienst
Illustrated by Kassidy Curry
1. When you kiss somebody new, you will feel like an awkward cartographer. It’s someplace you stumbled upon and liked for the view, a reminder that things still grow in places you’ve never been.
2. Wash your sheets.
3. Footsteps are the sweetest ode to hanging on, the way they take you far or close depending on where you preach. Say thank you to your feet.
4. Do not take a knock on the door, their dusty coat laid on your counter, or a “she’s no you” as anything more than simply stacked phantom limbs feigning a live body. You are not doctor or stitch, you are not habit or ache. You are more than Sisyphus’ hill.
5. Look at all those clocks, hands ever-twitching, a vibrating pile of potential. Resist the urge to name this time after that person. Instead, gather these clocks by the basket-full and name them after the girl with understanding eyes in the bathroom, your best teachers, and the woman who lent you a light last night. Lay them like altars at the feet of everyone who has ever believed in you.
6. Invite lonely inside to unbraid your hair each night, leave strands of it on your couch like tiny elegies to the dead parts of you. You do not have to do everything alone.
7. Donate food to a homeless shelter, remember that a broken heart wins against an empty stomach every time
8. When you crumple into a cliché, taking those pills that make you think fast or drinking like you’ve got a whale’s belly and something to prove, wake up and find something to do with your hands.
9.You will never get over them. Instead, they weave their way into everything you produce. But this, girl, is how you craft your voice. When they leave, or you claw your way out of their room, your muscles grow and shape the space they take up in your poetry, your homework, the way you fold your clothes.
10. On my walk home, I name each second story window after a child we’ll never have. I tell a story to each stray dog about a place I’ve lived. I make it home every time.