How to Ride a Bike—And Other Things my Father Taught Me

1) Fearing someone is a necessary part of loving them. The sooner you accept this, the sooner you will find someone who will tolerate loving you.

2) Never rely on anyone for comfort. The person who wipes away your tears can just as easily be the person who causes them.

3) Food is a weapon.

4) Hands are weapons.

5) Your own vulnerability will be used against you as a weapon.

6) These weapons will be used to harm you until you don’t know the meaning of the word “weapon” anymore. They will be used to harm you, repeatedly, even after an apology. Apologies can not be trusted. As such, weapons should be avoided at all costs.

7) Pain is sometimes a necessary punishment for bad behavior. If there’s no one around to hurt you for what you’ve done, then you must hurt yourself.

8) How to ride a bike.

9) How to recognize the constellations.

10) How to build whole worlds with just your words.

11) The person who taught you these things deserves all of your trust.

12) The person who deserves all of your trust will violate it again and again. And you will give it to them again and again anyways.

13) You are the most brilliant beauty in the world. You are so loved.

14) There is no one more disgusting than you. You should never have been born.

15) You should fear loud noises.

16) You should fear being alone with a man.

17) Above all, you should fear the sound of the door creaking open in the middle of the night.

18) How to make grilled cheese.

19) How to throw a frisbee.

20) How to play video games.

21) You are selfish, you are selfish, you are selfish.

22) You are such a good person. I am so proud of you.

23) Your opinion should align with whoever is the loudest person in the room. You should always keep your head down. If you speak, it should be quietly. Following these rules is the only way to ensure your safety.

24) In addition to food and hands and your own open heart, emotions may be the greatest weapon of them all. The only way to avoid them is to seal yourself off completely.

25) You may never forget how to ride a bike. But you will forget how to name the constellations. The worlds you create with your words will start to feel empty. You will start to feel empty. This is a necessary part of growing up, and the sooner you accept this, the easier it will be to avoid getting hurt.

26) If you are unable to avoid getting hurt, never let it go. Scratch at the scar until the whole world can see you bleed. This way, they’ll give you sympathy. This way, they’ll give you the attention you never had as a kid.

27) How to walk.

28) How to talk.

29) How to point fingers so that you never, ever have to take the blame.

30) How to ride a bike, how to ride a bike, how to ride a bike which is a skill you can never forget, I am a person you can never forget, I will always be in your blood no matter how much of it you spill—

31) It is necessary to fear the people you love.

32) And, in the end, you can not avoid loving the people you fear.

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