15 Awesome Cheryl Strayed Quotes For A Dose Of Inspiration

15 Awesome Cheryl Strayed Quotes For A Dose Of Inspiration

I just started reading Wild by Cheryl Strayed (yes, I have been under a rock for the past few years) and am completely swept away by it. Strayed, who’s also behind the much-adored Dear Sugar advice column at The Rumpus (which has been turned into a book called Tiny Beautiful Things, which you will read and then instantly buy for all your friends), describes tough decisions and what it is to be human in a way that nobody else quite can.

In honor of the campaign to turn one of her best Dear Sugar columns into an animation (and simply because her words never get less awesome), here are some of Strayed’s most wonderful and inspiring quotes about life, love, fear and forgiveness:

1. “Fear, to a great extent, is born of a story we tell ourselves, and so I chose to tell myself a different story from the one women are told.”

2. “Wanting to leave is enough.”

3. “Don’t surrender all your joy for an idea you used to have about yourself that isn’t true anymore.”

4. “It was my life — like all lives, mysterious and irrevocable and sacred. So very close, so very present, so very belonging to me. How wild it was, to let it be.”

5. “One hot afternoon during the era in which you’ve gotten yourself ridiculously tangled up with heroin you will be riding the bus and thinking what a worthless piece of crap you are when a little girl will get on the bus 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 no longer have a right to such tiny beautiful things. You’re wrong. You do.”

6. “The healing power of even the most microscopic exchange with someone who knows in a flash precisely what you’re talking about because she experienced that thing too cannot be overestimated.”

7. “The universe, I’d learned, was never, ever kidding.”

8. “Don’t do what you know on a gut level to be the wrong thing to do…I don’t think there’s a single dumbass thing I’ve done in my adult life that I didn’t know was a dumbass thing to do while I was doing it. Even when I justified it to myself—as I did every damn time—the truest part of me knew I was doing the wrong thing. Always. As the years pass, I’m learning how to better trust my gut and not do the wrong thing, but every so often I get a harsh reminder that I’ve still got work to do.”

9. “What if I forgave myself? I thought. What if I forgave myself even though I’d done something I shouldn’t have? What if I was a liar and a cheat and there was no excuse for what I’d done other than because it was what I wanted and needed to do?…What if I was never redeemed? What if I already was?”

10. “She sat down in the chair near my desk where all the girls sat narrating their horrible stories and she told me another horrible story and I told her something different this time. I told her it was not okay, that it was unacceptable, that it was illegal and that I would call and report this latest, horrible thing. But I did not tell her it would stop. I did not promise that anyone would intervene. I told her it would likely go on and she’d have to survive it. That she’d have to find a way within herself to not only escape the shit, but to transcend it, and if she wasn’t able to do that, then her whole life would be shit, forever and ever and ever…She had to do more than hold on. She had to reach. She had to want it more than she’d ever wanted anything. She had to grab like a drowning girl for every good thing that came her way and she had to swim like fuck away from every bad thing. She had to count the years and let them roll by, to grow up and then run as far as she could in the direction of her best and happiest dreams across the bridge that was built by her own desire to heal…Nobody will protect you from your suffering. You can’t cry it away or eat it away or starve it away or walk it away or punch it away or even therapy it away. It’s just there, and you have to survive it. You have to endure it. You have to live through it and love it and move on and be better for it and run as far as you can in the direction of your best and happiest dreams across the bridge that was built by your own desire to heal.”

11. “Art isn’t anecdote. It’s the consciousness we bring to bear in our lives.”

12. “The narratives we create in order to justify our actions and choices become in so many ways who we are. They are the things we say back to ourselves to explain our complicated lives. Perhaps the reason you’ve not yet been able to forgive yourself is that you’re still invested in your self-loathing. Perhaps not forgiving yourself is the flip side of your stealing-this-now cycle. Would you be a better or worse person if you forgave yourself for the bad things you did? If you perpetually condemn yourself for being a liar and a thief, does that make you good?”

13.  “There were so many other amazing things in this world. They opened up inside of me like a river.”

14. “The story of human intimacy is one of constantly allowing ourselves to see those we love most deeply in a new, more fractured light. Look hard. Risk that.”

15. “Ask better questions, sweet pea. The fuck is your life. Answer it.”

[Image by Brian Lindstom via The Great Discontent]

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