However mean your life is, meet it and live it; do not shun it and call it hard names. It is not so bad as you are. It looks poorest when you are richest. The fault-finder will find faults even in paradise. Love your life, poor as it is. You may perhaps have some pleasant, thrilling, glorious hours, even in a poorhouse. The setting sun is reflected from the windows of the almshouse as brightly as from the rich man’s abode; the snow melts before its door as early in the spring. I do not see but a quiet mind may live as contentedly there, and have as cheering thoughts, as in a palace.
—Henry David Thoreau, Walden (via observando)
Three years later, a new girl sits cross-legged on your bed.
She tastes like a different flavor of bubblegum than you are used to.
She opens up a book that you had to read in high school, and a folded picture of us falls out of chapter three.
Now there are two unfinished stories resting in her lap.
Inevitably, she asks, and you tell her.
You say: I dated her a while back.
You don’t say: Sometimes, when I’m holding you, I imagine the smell of her vanilla perfume.
You say: She was younger than me.
You don’t say: The sixteen summers in her bones warmed the eighteen winters my skin had weathered.
You say: It’s nothing now.
You don’t say: But it was everything then.
I am sorry for filling you with beer and bad thoughts and then asking you why you shook. I am sorry for pinching you, for hitting you, for bruising the thin-skinned parts of you. I am sorry for the names I called you when we were fighting. You are not ugly. You are not useless. You would not be better off gone. I’m sorry for almost throwing you out into the street because my sadness was too much for me. I’m sorry for carving my fingernails into your thigh and then resenting the way people asked, “How’d that happen?” I’m sorry for plucking you and nicking your calves with drugstore razors. I’m sorry I let some people see you in the moonlight. They didn’t deserve to know the color of your hips like I do. I’m sorry for leaving you convulsing over a toilet bowl over some boy. I’m sorry I did not thank you for simply trying to take me where I wanted to go. I’m sorry I screamed at you to shrink, shrink, shrink when all you could do was grow. I’m sorry that this apology is ten years too late. I’m sorry that it will probably come again. I’m sorry that I do not treat anybody else as poorly as I have treated you. I’m sorry that I am constantly learning how to love you, when you have never once doubted how you feel about me. I’m sorry in ways I have not yet learned to communicate.
It’s easy to feel uncared for when people aren’t able to communicate and connect with you in the way you need. And it’s so hard not to internalize that silence as a reflection on your worth. But the truth is that the way other people operate is not about you. Most people are so caught up in their own responsibilities, struggles, and anxiety that the thought of asking someone else how they’re doing doesn’t even cross their mind. They aren’t inherently bad or uncaring — they’re just busy and self-focused. And that’s okay. It’s not evidence of some fundamental failing on your part. It doesn’t make you unloveable or invisible. It just means that those people aren’t very good at looking beyond their own world. But the fact that you are — that despite the darkness you feel, you have the ability to share your love and light with others — is a strength. Your work isn’t to change who you are; it’s to find people who are able to give you the connection you need. Because despite what you feel, you are not too much. You are not too sensitive or too needy. You are thoughtful and empathetic. You are compassionate and kind. And with or without anyone’s acknowledgment or affection, you are enough.
13 things my uncle told me before he died:
not everyone has the blessing to understand sadness
when waiting at the bus stop, it’s okay to smoke cigarettes
never touch anyone else’s clothes at the laundromat
it’s okay to miss the people who were bullets to you
when your grandmother asks you how you are, be honest
never be afraid to say “no” even after you’ve said “yes”
if someone tells you graffiti isn’t art, prove them wrong
remember people by their eye color not their clothes
you’re allowed to like dark chocolate with tangerines
don’t lie that you don’t have a lighter when you really do
turn your phone off every once in a while and find the moon
if you want a tattoo, don’t let anyone tell you not to get it
if you ever find yourself at the graveyard, read the names
She loved, had a capacity to love, for love, to give and accept love. Only she tried twice and failed twice to find somebody not just strong enough to deserve, earn it, match it, but even brave enough to accept it.
—William Faulkner, The Town (via misswallflower)
What if clouds and lakes switched spots and every time you looked up you’d see waves being pulled by the moon and we’d wade through the clouds on a hot day. What if birds grew grass and the ground grew feathers. What if flowers were as tall as trees and trees as small as flowers.
I’ll never know, and neither will you, of the life you don’t choose. We’ll only know that whatever that sister life was, it was important and beautiful and not ours. It was the ghost ship that didn’t carry us. There’s nothing to do but salute it from the shore.
—Cheryl Strayed (via observando)
And at some point you realize that there are more flavors of pain than coffee. There’s the little empty pain of leaving something behind ‒ graduating, taking the next step forward, walking out of something familiar and safe into the unknown. There’s the big, whirling pain of life upending all of your plans and expectations. There’s the sharp little pains of failure, and the more obscure aches of successes that didn’t give you what you thought they would. There are the vicious, stabbing pains of hopes being torn up. The sweet little pains of finding others, giving them your love, and taking joy in their life as they grow and learn. There’s the steady pain of empathy that you shrug off so you can stand beside a wounded friend and help them bear their burdens.
And if you are very, very lucky, there are a few blazing hot little pains you feel when you realize that you are standing in a moment of utter perfection, an instant of triumph, or happiness, or mirth which at the same time cannot possibly last ‒ and yet will remain with you for life.
Everyone is down on pain, because they forget something important about it: Pain is for the living. Only the dead don’t feel it.
—Jim Butcher, White Night (via observando)
10 BETTER BODY AFFIRMATIONS FOR YOUNG WOMEN
1. Your body is in flux for the rest of your life. Think of your body as fluid instead of static — it’s always going to change. So get comfortable with those changes.
2. No one will love you or not love you because of your body. You are lovable because you’re you, not because your body looks a certain way.
3. The most intensely personal relationship you’ll ever have is with your body. It’s a lifelong relationship that’s well worth investing in and nurturing the same way you would with loved ones.
4. You don’t owe your body to anyone. Not sexually, not aesthetically. Your body is yours. Period.
5. What someone else says about your body says more about them than it does about you. Look past the actual snark to the person who’s saying it, because it’s only a reflection of what they think of themselves. That’s when you’ll see how little power their words have.
6. Your body is not a reflection of your character. It’s a physical home for the complex and wondrous and unique being that is you.
7. Take up as much space as you want. You don’t have to be small, or quiet, or docile, regardless of your physical size.
8. Everything you need to accept your body is already inside you. There’s no book, or diet, or workout routine or external affirmation that you need to feel good about your body right now.
9. Your body is a priority. It’s always trying to tell you things. Taking the time to listen to is of the utmost importance.
10. Wear whatever you want. Your body shape does not dictate your personal style, and fashion rules that say otherwise are wrong. Dress yourself in a way that makes you feel happy and confident and beautiful, because guess what? You are.