? SLAB | Sound & Literary Art Book

Issue 5

Poetry

Kasandra Larsen

Advice to a Younger Self


You think that becoming an adult will mean
freedom, choice, independence, a louder, equal voice,
ice cream for dinner. You're wrong. Or you will be
if you don't stay on your guard. That last one, sure,
you can have that if you don't mind getting fat,

being judged on looks alone. Grown-ups will be
crueler than the kids at school. Ignore them. Make
your own rules. Don't compromise. If it doesn't
feel right, walk away. Whether it's a guy, a job,
a place to stay, a promise or a threat—don't take it,

don't believe it, if your gut says it doesn't fit. Listen
to the voice inside. When times are hard, don't hide.
Don't be ashamed to cry. Don't lie about your feelings.
You'll never be popular anyway, so don't censor
yourself. Don't say I can't. Don't listen to others

when they say that. Don't worry that you're too picky,
that you set the bar too high, that your deepest dreams
will never come true. They can, if you can get over you,
your fear, your desire to be liked, your taste
for praise. None of those things matter anyway, not

when you're dead, and time goes by so fast
it will make your head spin. The only way to win, at last,
is to spend as much time as you can doing only
what you love. No matter what, be true to you. Laugh
when people say you'll regret this. You won't. I never do.