"Writing is the best way to talk without being interrupted."
-Jules Renard

Instruction Manual

April 20, 2021

Light pink melted onto a powder blue sky,
fusing with the fuchsias and indiscreet reds.
See the orange sun as the centerpiece
when it sets, as a mother sets down her baby
on the softest of beds.
See the details on the clouds before they fade away.
It’s as if God painted the sky himself.
So beautiful you could cry; so mesmerizing that you try with your outstretched arm to touch this real-life painting.
Feel the cold air on your fingertips
that makes your body shiver.
And suddenly, it’s just you and the sunset.

I wish I could tell you that feeling is real.
But it’s not.
I wish I could tell you that you’ll be fine.
But I don’t know the answer.
I wish I could warn you of people who will put you down;
Who will put down the ones you love.
I wish I could tell you to have emotions and not bottle them in.
I wish I could give you an instruction manual.
An instruction manual I wish I had gotten.

It would far exceed the one society force-feeds you
If I could give you an instruction manual,
It would tell you to be yourself even if others don't approve.
And have a mind of your own.
Don't shape it to anyone's views.
It wouldn’t tell you that you can have emotions but you just can’t cry.
It wouldn’t tell you to lose weight or gain weight because it’s your life.
And it wouldn’t tell you what pretty and handsome are supposed to look like.

They say if life gives you lemons, make lemonade.
But they don’t tell you where to get the sugar or where to get the water.
They say to make lemonade but they only give you the sour.
If I could give you an instruction manual,
it would tell you that if life gives you lemons,
take a seed and grow a tree to give you shade from the UV rays of society’s empty speech.
They’ll call you a coward, I will call you brave.
If life gives you lemons, take all the seeds you can get and grow a forest.
And anyone who calls you less than average,
give them some lemons and let them figure out how to make lemonade.
And that, that is one of the few things you’ll ever have full control of.

I won’t say that life is terrible
Because sometimes it’s so phenomenal and grand,
Like you’re seeing the world through a pair of multicolored glasses.
You see every color of the rainbow and suddenly, you let go of any trouble in your life.
I love that feeling.
When you have that feeling, capture it.
Take possession.
Take it and hide it inside a box and call it your treasure chest.

If I could give you an instruction manual, it would tell you to breathe.
You need to learn to breathe
because life is going to hit you hard in the chest
and you’re going to try to catch your breath
but you’re going to struggle
so you need to practice now
how to use your lungs so that when the time comes,
you won’t forget to breathe.

Trust me, I know.
I know what being suffocated feels like.
I know what it feels like to have your heart bruised
because some people decide they just want to use
abuse you.
But if I could give you an instruction manual,
it would tell you to lean towards the people who make
you feel like you're watching a sunset.

That feeling that makes your body shiver,
I wish I could tell you that feeling is real.
It’s not.
But there will be moments where you’ll feel pretty close.

I don’t have an instruction manual.
I have experiences and disappointments
with the occasional enjoyment of life.
I don’t have an instruction manual.
But I have this poem,
and I want you to use it.

Use it to remind you to love yourself.
Use it to remind you to protect yourself from society’s UV rays.
Use it you remind yourself to breathe when people want to see you suffocate.
The person who said you won't survive in this world, tell them they are wrong.
They are wrong.

I don’t have an instruction manual,
but if I did, you know what it would tell you?
It would tell you that even if the sunset is just a painting,
never stop trying to touch it.
Never stop dreaming.
Never stop believing.
Never stop surviving.
Because if you do, you’ll never get to write a poem for someone else. 
This poem is to the future generation. Those after me.

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