25 years ago Mary Schmidt wrote ‘Tips from a speech never given’. It was read by many people including a teen me. I thought some day I’d be able to tell people how to life right.

I’m at mid-life crisis because how else to describe someone who refuses to act or dress age-appropriate after having done so half their life? Not sure I’m the best role model. But I’ve lived 4 decades so I got advice. Call it Bad Advice.

Don’t fall in love. Especially when you’re young. It’s a vile, disgusting experience that grabs you by your throat (or balls if you have them) & spins you around till you want to throw up all over the object of your affection. It makes you see people as objects. It makes you turn yourself into one. Of course none of this is practical because love like the pandemic you’ll never see coming. You can’t be prepared. But you can admit I told you so.

Eat every experience like a cupcake. Covet it, admire it, Instagram it. Then sink your face into it. Discard regret like the paper cup it came in.

Listen to what your body says under the echoes of media messages & other people’s dramas. Listen to every creak, every snap, every sniffle, every fart. You can’t edit something that hasn’t been expressed. So allow your body to express itself to you.

Have sex before you fall in love. Don’t have sex before you fall in love. Nobody wants to think that love stories may include vaginismus or erectile dysfunction. If you think lovemaking is a soft focus video with violin music, you’d be mistaken. If you imagined it’s like a punk rock video, that may be a mistake too.

Break some rules. Make some rules. Brag about them all. Shut up about the most poignant ones & turn them into poetry instead.

Don’t mistake shared hobbies for understanding. Don’t consume a perfect story without question. Don’t substitute pop culture for your own thoughts. Now this is terrible advice because I contribute to pop culture. So cancel that & consume lots of pop culture.

Read. Cry, laugh, think. Write. I did. Then? Bleed, moan, giggle, fumble. Become the story. It will happen.

Then you can turn around & give others bad advice.

#IWear: White skivvy with face prints, reading glasses, Baby Lips Special Edition New York, silver elephant ring, a pencil. Occasion – Instagram Live

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