“If someone is being unkind or petty or jealous or distant or weird, you don’t have to take it in. You don’t have to turn it into a big psychodrama about your worth. That behavior so often is not even about you. It’s about the person who’s being unkind or petty or jealous or distant or weird. If this were summed up on a bumper sticker it would say: Don’t own other people’s crap. The world would be a better place if we all did that.”—Cheryl Strayed
“ You don't have to be young. You don't have to be thin. You don't have to be "hot" in a way that some dumbfuckedly narrow mindset has construed that word. You don't have to have taut flesh or a tight ass or an eternally upright set of tits. You have to find a way to inhabit your body while enacting your deepest desires. You have to be brave enough to build the intimacy you deserve. You have to take off all of your clothes and say, "I'm right here. " ”—Dear Sugar: Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed
“The useless days will add up to something. The shitty waitressing jobs. The hours writing in your journal. The long meandering walks. The hours reading poetry and story collections and novels and dead people's diaries and wondering about sex and God and whether you should shave under your arms or not. These things are your becoming.”—Cheryl Strayed, “Tiny Beautiful Things”
One of my friends on Facebook posted this today. It’s from a letter called “Tiny Beautiful Things”. I thought it was relevant/worth sharing.
My question is short and sweet: What would you tell your twenty-something self if you could talk to her now?
Dear Seeking Wisdom,
“Stop worrying about whether you’re fat. You’re not fat. Or rather you’re sometimes a little bit fat but who gives a shit? There is nothing more boring and fruitless than a woman lamenting the fact that her stomach is round. Feed yourself. Literally. The sort of people worthy of your love will love you more for this.
You are not a terrible person for wanting to break up with someone you love. You don’t need a reason to leave. Wanting to leave is enough. Leaving doesn’t mean that you’re incapable of real love or that you’ll never love anyone else again. It doesn’t mean you’re morally bankrupt or psychologically demented or a nymphomaniac. It means you wish to change the terms of one particular relationship.That’s all. Be brave enough to break your own heart.
When the really sweet but fucked-up gay couple invites your over to their cool apartment to do Ecstasy with them, say no. There are some things you can’t understand yet. Your life will be a great and continuous unfolding. It’s good that you’ve worked hard to resolve childhood issues while in your twenties, but understand that these issues will need to be resolved again. And again. Some things can be known only with the wisdom of age and the grace of years. Most of then have to do with forgiveness.
One evening you will be rolling around on the wooden floor with a man who will tell you he doesn’t have a condom. You will smile in that spunky way you think makes you look hot and tell him to fuck you anyway. This will be a mistake for which you alone will pay.
Don’t lament so much about how your career is going to turn out. You don’t have a career. You have a life. Do the work. Keep the faith. Be true blue. You are a writer because you write. Keep writing, and quit your bitching. Your book has a birthday. You just don’t know what it is yet.
You cannot convince people to love you. This is an absolute rule. No one will ever give you love simply because you want him or her to give it. Real love moves freely in both directions. Don’t waste your time on anything else.
Most things will be OK eventually, but not everything. Sometimes you’ll put up a good fight and lose. Sometimes you’ll hold on really hard and realize there is no choice but to let go. Acceptance is a small, quiet room.
One hot afternoon, during the era in which you’ll have gotten yourself tangled up in heroin, you will be riding the bus and thinking what a worthless piece of crap you are when a little girl will get on holding the strings of two purple balloons. She’ll offer you one of the balloons, but you won’t take it, because you believe you not longer have the right to such tiny, beautiful things. You’ll be wrong. You do.
Your assumptions about the lives of others are in direct relation to your naive pomposity. Many people you believe to be rich are not. Many people you think have it easy have worked hard for what they’ve got. Many people who seem to be gliding right along have suffered and are suffering. Many people who appear to be old and stupidly saddled down with kids and cars and houses were once every bit as young and pompous as you.
When you meet a man in the doorway of a Mexican restaurant who later kissed you while explaining that this kiss “doesn’t mean anything” because as much as he likes you, he is not interested in having a relationship with anyone right now, just laugh and kiss him back. Your daughter will have his sense of humor. Your son will have his eyes.
The useless days will add up to something. The shitty waitressing jobs. The hours writing in your journal. The long meandering walks. The evenings reading poetry and short stories and novels and dead people’s diaries and wondering about sex and God and whether you should shave your armpits or not. These things are your becoming.
One Christmas, at the very beginning of your twenties, when your mother gives you a warm coat that she has saved for months to buy and think is perfect for you, don’t look at it skeptically. Don’t hold it up and say it’s longer than you like your coats to be and too puffy and possibly even too warm. Your mother will be dead by spring. The coat will be the last gift she ever gives you. For the rest of your life you will regret the small things you didn’t say.
Say thank you.”