1. When I was two years old my mother told me not to put scissors in my mouth because they would hurt me. I didn’t understand. I put them in my mouth and the cold metal felt nice on my tongue up until the moment the sharp blade cut me. It stung like hell and I couldn’t forget the taste of blood for weeks. Now I can still taste your lips and it’s been two months since we last kissed. If I had listened to her I wouldn’t have put myself in danger and I wouldn’t be able to still feel your tongue in my mouth.
2. When I was four years old my mother told me not to draw on the wall with permanent marker. I didn’t listen to her and I covered my bedroom walls with drawings. I thought they looked nice. She was upset but told me we could paint over it. You wrote with permanent marker on my heart when you told me you loved me. You left soon after and I try to cover those words with others like my mother covered my drawings with paint but that doesn’t change the fact that they’re still there. The marker will never erase and your words are forever etched in my heart.
3. When I was six years old my mother told me not to cross the street all by myself. She told me that it was okay to be independent but that sometimes we needed help to be safe. I crossed the street by myself one day because I wanted to be independent all the time. There were no cars coming and I made it across safely without any help at all. I was convinced that I didn’t need anybody. Now I rely on nobody but myself and you left me because I had trouble trusting you. You hated the fact that I didn’t let you help me and that I always ended up making you feel alone. If I had listened to my mother I wouldn’t feel the need to be by myself and you wouldn’t have left me for someone who made you feel less lonely.
4. When I was eight years old my mother told me I had to hold my breath when I swam under water. I told her I was a mermaid and I could breathe just fine. I dove under with full confidence and came up with lungs full of water. When I met you I didn’t hold my breath either. I jumped right in to a love with you. I swam too deep, too fast and had no air left in my chest to swim back up to the surface. If I would have listened to my mother I would still have air in my lungs and we would be okay.
5. When I was ten years old my mother told me to wear a helmet when I rode my bike, and to not drive it too fast. Again, I didn’t listen. I didn’t think that I would fall so I petalled away from my house as fast as my legs could go, leaving my helmet behind. I fell and scraped my knee and bumped my head. If I had listened to my mother maybe I would have taken things with you slower as well, maybe I would have protected my heart and maybe it wouldn’t have been left broken, split open like my skin when it hit the pavement.
6. When I was twelve years old my mother taught me how to put on makeup. This came after a long conversation where she told me I was beautiful without it and I told her I wanted to wear it because she did and I wanted to look just like her. I wanted to have her lovely rosy cheeks and elegant red lips and I wanted to be noticed. Picking up a brush and then swiping blush across my right cheek she told me I didn’t need these things to be admired. I did my left cheek myself, and then looked at myself in the mirror. I thought I was glowing. Now I do my makeup everyday and I don’t feel pretty without it. You never saw my bare skin and you never told me I was beautiful. If I had listened to my mother I would have more confidence without beauty products. If I had listened to her maybe I wouldn’t have hid from you and maybe I wouldn’t have longed for the validation you never gave me.
7. When I was fourteen years old my mother asked me if I was happy. I hesitated before telling her that yes, of course I was. I didn’t know what she meant by happy and even though I told her I was, I wasn’t quite sure if I knew. She told me she was glad and to make sure it stayed that way. And the way, she said, was by keeping only the people in your life that made you smile without reason. If I had listened to her maybe I wouldn’t have held onto our relationship like I had glue on my fingertips. Maybe I would have let you go easier and we could have both been unfoundedly happy.
8. When I turned sixteen years old my mother told me she was proud of me for all of the things I have accomplished. She told me that my future would be positive if I keep working as hard as I have been to get to this point. Maybe I should listen to my mother this time.