These lyrics will be part of the Protagonist project: Support the CD here!
Dear 16 Year Old Me (2011)
Dear 16 Year Old Me:
Men have begun to tell you to smile on the street
so for the next ten years you will pull it out
completely automatic, like a beaming pistol, like a stun-gun grin.
But one day you will realize that smile was never for them
and like all of your fragile things you will want it back. So when you pack it up,
Pack it in tissue paper.
Dear 16 Year Old Me,
You are all blue eyeliner and moral conviction you are a carpenter of things you believe in, you are pounding them together with Greenpeace stickers and Indigo Girls songs.
But underneath, baby, you are blue blood Judy Bloom broken heart break. You are sealing out the world before it can seep it, your sarcasm is a glue gun, your stubborn
is just in your wiring. You have a premonition that your taboo ethics might save you,
you have a strong suspicion there are girls out there just like you. Still.
There are so many stupid things you are pursuing you will spend so many years undoing. Don’t kiss that girl. She will play your heart like a Chinese jump-rope, that
girl is black magic, she is full of tricks of tragic and there is nothing you can do
to make her love you.
Dear 16 Year Old Me,
I am standing here in the bones of your ancient infrastructure,
These are the ribs where your fingers will dig for fat, this is where a stone slices into your kneecap, you never stop to inspect it,
Self-neglect is your best strategy and you intend to protect it.
This is the liver that faces the barrel of a bottle, this is the torn aorta
you inherit from your father, these are the lungs you hold hostage,
these are the stitches from your last binge from you drank so much you could hardly stand, from when you drank so much you could no longer stand yourself.
And you have no idea how many promises will be harmed in the making of this life.
But no matter how much charm you harness, you’ve got to know that this is true:
That the point is not to please them. But to make room for all of you.
And loving yourself is not a condition of your existence but it sure as fuck will make every breath forward easier. Because what happens is this:
One day there’s a rapist, one day your dignity swims so far from shore your shoulders slump like a widow and still you bounce back grinning cause you’ve been taught to bear it, you’ve got a springboard of steel that will vault you towards tomorrow, spinning, doing somersaults and tossing out victory signs.
I wish you could see the view from here. You are breathtaking. You are all bold voice and mistaken intention, you are heart-wrenching, baby, you are a goddamn dreamboat.
Don’t you think I wish I could tell you to kick back and relax until I get your shit together, to show you this coin from when you finally figure out what you are worth?
Don’t you think I wish I could just hurl you where you need to go, or swoop down and knit you a nest of newborn rules and neckties or disguise you as the future until your presence blends in.
Don’t you think I wish I could tell you that I am coming for you?
One day I will deposit you in a field of women with a wisdom as ancient as constellations,
They will teach you to two-step with the world you thought you had to tackle,
They might unshackle your spirit
They might ask you just what exactly it is you plan to do with this one trifling and everything life.
I wish I could pack parachutes in your pockets, guarantee a soft landing
Towards the ground
From where I’m standing
It’s going to be spectacular.