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Am I Brave Enough?

contributed by Jenna

Cheryl Strayed's Book, Brave Enough


I fell in love with quotes a long time ago - maybe when I realized that I needed them. My best friend, Kennedy, had always talked about making a quote wall in college but never actually got to, as she passed away before she moved in for her second year. For some reason, I took it upon myself to make that wall instead in my own apartment. I gathered quotes I loved, quotes that made me laugh, quotes that other people sent me, and more and wrote them all on index cards in different colored thin Sharpies.


Every morning, I'd wake up to see these quotes on my wall. And no matter what mood I woke up in, there was at least one of them that would give me just enough of a push to get out of bed. I needed that. In the time after my best friend passed away, the time after I was assaulted, the times after my grandparents passed away. I needed something to tell me to get the fuck up. There was still a world outside that I was supposed to be living in - even if I didn't really feel like it that day.



Cheryl Strayed's book Brave Enough made me realize, I think, why I not just love quotes, but need them. She starts the book with a beautiful explanation, writing, "Most of all, they [quotes] tell us we're not alone. Their existence is proof that others have questioned, grappled with, and come to know the same truths we question and grapple with, too." I love that! It made me feel less crazy. Less crazy for needing a quote to get our of bed. Less crazy for having a quote be the thing that could get me through a day sometimes.


To be clear - this isn't a book review (I'm definitely not qualified to do that), but more a rationale for why some people love quotes and rely on them. I've been mocked for it before. A cute quote isn't going to cure your depression. You're fucking right! It sure as shit is not going to! But if it helps me for the day, you know what? I'm fine with that.



I'll leave off with two quotes: one of my favorites from her book, and one of my all-time favorites.



"You go on by doing the best you can. You go on by being generous. You go on by being true. You go on by offering comfort to others who can't go on. You go on by allowing the unbearable days to pass and by allowing the pleasure in others days. You go on by finding a channel for your love and another for your rage." - Cheryl Strayed



“If you feel too much, there’s still a place for you here. If you feel too much, don’t go. If this world is too painful, stop and rest. It’s okay to stop and rest. If you need a break, it’s okay to say you need a break. This life — it’s not a contest, not a race, not a performance, not a thing that you win. It’s okay to slow down. You are here for more than grades, more than a job, more than a promotion, more than keeping up, more than getting by. This life is not about status or opinion or appearance. You don’t have to fake it. You do not have to fake it. Other people feel this way too. If your heart is broken, it’s okay to say your heart is broken. If you feel stuck, it’s okay to say you feel stuck. If you can’t let go, it’s okay to say you can’t let go. You are not alone in these places. Other people feel how you feel. You are more than just your pain. You are more than wounds, more than drugs, more than death and silence. There is still some time to be surprised. There is still some time to ask for help. There is still some time to start again. There is still some time for love to find you. It’s not too late. You’re not alone. It’s okay — whatever you need and however long it takes — it’s okay. It’s okay. If you feel too much, there’s still a place for you here. If you feel too much, don’t go. There is still some time.” - Jamie Tworkowski

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