Oct 18
Samara Spelman's picture

10 Rules

     I live by a series of rules. They keep me going, keep me moving on. Each and every rule must be followed precisely. There is no room for error. Each rule I made to protect myself from getting hurt by others. People are ruthless, and it’s necessary for survival to be as ruthless as them. High School takes the life out of you, and you have to adapt to stay somewhat intact. Sometimes the rules get me in trouble, and my reputation isn’t a desirable one, but I do what I need to do to keep myself from making mistakes twice.

     Rule #1: The most important rule of all, never let anyone in. People too close to your heart will always turn on you and break it.

     I can list off all the times I’ve made this mistake. This rule came later on, one of my last additions, and since then, I haven’t broken it. Letting people in makes it hurt all the more when they finally betray you, which is inevitable.

     Rule #2: Never share a secret. It will always backfire.

     I shared one once. When I was younger, I collected secrets and I never ever let one slip. I could be trusted. I made the mistake of thinking I could share a secret with a friend who had shared one with me, but within an hour, the entire school knew and I became a social outcast for the rest of my elementary school career.

     Rule #3: Before people can decide to dislike you, learn to hate them so their opinion doesn’t matter.

     People will always judge you, and with this distant and hateful mask I wear, any judgment they make of me is bound to be negative. There’s no way to avoid this. I tried changing the way I am—I tried so many times—but once people have a set idea of who you are, it’s near impossible to change anything. The only way to protect yourself from their opinions is to make it so they don’t matter.

     Rule #4: Avoid eye contact at all costs. Keep your head down.

     Rule #5: If eye contact is accidentally established, make it evident that you detest whoever it is you have made the mistake of looking at.

     This one is basic hallway safety. It’s a skill that has to be learned. There’s a proper way to navigate the hallways at school, and it involves making yourself as small as possible in a really crowded hallway so you can pass by unnoticed. If the hallways are less crowded, make yourself as big and scary as possible so all the freshmen move out of your way.

     Rule #6: It is never necessary to give a compliment. It’s not like anyone’s expecting one.

     The more compliments you give out, the more meaningless they are, so why give out any? If they have no meaning and if no one expects one from you, it’s a useless endeavor and your time is better spent elsewhere.

     Rule #7: It is never necessary to accept a compliment. Accepting compliments is tricky business.

     There’s no correct way to accept a compliment, and it’s easier to make yourself one of those people who never gets complimented. It’s easier for all parties around. In the odd occasion where you are complimented—most likely by someone who hasn’t known you for long enough to figure out that you don’t deserve a compliment—your most useful defense mechanism is a scowl. Let it be well known that you don’t believe them for an instant.

     Rule #8: Basic manners should be practiced, but it is unnecessary to go out of your way to be nice to someone.

     Just because you turn a cold shoulder on the world doesn’t mean that you have to lose all manners. There’s a reason your parents taught you those.

     Rule #9: Never go out of your way to help someone. They wouldn’t do the same for you.

    I used to help people. I wasn’t just your average good person, I went out of my way to help people, many times even when it harmed myself. It used to be a sort of coping system when I was younger and just discovering that the world wasn’t so pretty. I focused on other people’s problems in order to ignore my own. Then I grew up and realized it was unhealthy and decided I needed to resolve my problems, and that involved taking other people out of the equation. It’s been so long I’m not sure I remember how to let someone in.

     Rule #10: Above all else, protect yourself before others.

     I’ve tried breaking the rules. I’ve tried changing them, but it’s no use. Change doesn’t happen overnight and I don’t even know where I’d begin. I’ve been distant so long. Maybe if people knew the why—if they knew why I acted the way I did—they might understand. Might.
Samara Spelman's picture
About the Author: Samara Spelman
Samara Spelman
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