other people’s words

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Rose and shadow

Well, that was a bit of a break, a little longer than I’d intended. I have been struggling. It feels like almost everyone I know is struggling, except for a few lucky sanguine types. And they have their struggles, I’m sure, even if they don’t speak of them.

One of my struggles, aside from worrying about the state of the world, is depression. Mild and treatable, but I can go to some dark places. I’m not afraid of the dark, most days, but I know when it’s time to seek more lightness. Most days.

It feels like there’s so much going on in the world, in my heart, and in my brain. Things are heavy. And yet, I am here. And so are you. I’m trying to act with kindness and a bit of grace, even when I’m in a shitty mood, even when I want to scream at the willfully unvaccinated*. I don’t scream, at least not outside my own head. Even cranky me is also deserving of grace and compassion. And so are you.

A few ways I see my way toward feeling better: creating with no goal in mind, conversation, walking and noticing what’s around me, crying big, fat cleansing tears, journaling and reading. Often, others’ words can soothe me, too. I’m going to share some here.

“Fireflies love the dark too. There’s beauty in those places.” Lori Gottlieb

“You deserve someone who will love you in all your damaged glory.’” Raphael Bob-Waksberg

“Do you not see how necessary a world of pains and troubles is to school an intelligence and make it a soul?” Charlotte McConaghy

“Our culture doesn’t teach us to tolerate and accept both darkness and joy into our hearts at the same time, or to notice how they mix together to form a more balanced, less fitful, less anxious approach to our life stories. But joy is made up of darkness. Likewise, even the most hideous turn of life events signals the arrival of a new, unfamiliar flavor of joy. But it’s hard to reach that joy if you’re mostly trying to hide from the darkness.” Heather Havrilesky

“I wonder sometimes whether with a slight adjustment of perspective it could be cherished as a sensation on its own terms, since it is as inherent to the human condition as blue is to distance? If you can look across the distance without wanting to close it up, if you can own your longing in the same way that you own the beauty of that blue that can never be possessed?” Rebecca Solnit

This is my give-way—
            to touch what is good in you
            with words your heart can hear
            like ripples from a pebble
            dropped in water
            moving outward growing
            wider touching others.
            You are strong.
            You are kind.
            You are beautiful.

–Gwen Westerman (from Give-Away Song)

Next post (saying “next” is a form of hope), I’m going to talk about commonplace books. I pretty much have one already, only it’s in a million different places, so maybe not a book as much as a bunch of confetti waiting to be made into something new. So many ideas, so many pieces of paper, so many bookmarks (paper and digital), so many apps. But I will pull these together, promise.

*Seriously, if you know anyone dragging their feet, I hope you can talk to them. I’m lucky that people in my circle are well-informed and have been able to get the vaccine. Here are a couple of people on Intstagram who I really like.


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