I'm only 18. By all means, I haven't really lived (You know what I'm talking about. Not the kind of living where you're breathing and existing, but the exhilarating kind of living where you can feel your accomplishments in your bones). I haven't traveled the world. I haven't had my first kiss. I haven't written or published my first novel (although I'm working on it). I haven't figured out what I'm going to do for the rest of my life (which seems daunting, so I've just decided I'm going to do whatever makes me happiest in the moment). I have, however, experienced heartbreak and loss and gone through many quarter-life crises where I just couldn't breathe anymore.
I full-heartedly embraced the phrase "I'd rather be numb than dumb" during my senior year, and since then, I completely shut down whenever I felt overwhelmed. My preferred method of coping (can I even call it coping if all it's doing is hurting me?) is curling up in my comfiest pajamas and binge-watching "Gilmore Girls" while I try my best to shut out the nagging voice in the back of my head that is yelling at me to get up and conquer the day. By nighttime, I'm usually a big unhappy mess of stress that tries to finish three hours of work in the 30 minutes I have before I need to go to bed in order to get a (semi) good amount of sleep.
For a long time, I felt like I was drowning (whether that be under a pile of homework or a pile of depression pressing down on my chest and my cheekbones and the corners of my eyes and the bridge of my nose). And then I found Liz Gilbert (mostly because my mom kept on telling me to follow her on Facebook). I read her posts and I felt like my sinuses were opening up (she's kind of like the human version of Vaporub). I felt like I could breathe again. So, I compiled ten of my favorite quotes that have helped me through the days when the world just seems too big and scary to conquer on my own:
1. “Embrace the glorious mess that you are.”
2. “You are allowed to completely change your life if it isn’t working. I’m dead serious about this. YOU ARE ALLOWED. Don’t marry suffering."
3. “Do not apologize for crying. Without this emotion, we are only robots.”
4. “It doesn’t all have to work. It doesn’t all have to magnitude. All it has to do is be in motion, which is the definition of vitality.”
5. “I'm choosing happiness over suffering, I know I am. I'm making space for the unknown future to fill up my life with yet-to-come surprises."
6. “I’m here. I love you. I don’t care if you need to stay up crying all night long, I will stay with you. If you need the medication again, go ahead and take it—I will love you through that, as well. If you don’t need the medication, I will love you, too. There’s nothing you can ever do to lose my love. I will protect you until you die, and after your death I will still protect you. I am stronger than depression and I am braver than Loneliness and nothing will ever exhaust me.”
7. "And God gave you a human soul to take care of, too. (Your own.) You are in your own care. You have been placed in your own custody. You have been released on your own recognizance. You must learn to embrace yourself even when you're screwing everything up left and right. And that embrace means simply this: BE NICE TO YOU."
8. “May every step of your journey be blessed, and may you be braver than you ever knew you could be. But most of all, may you offer limitless patience to yourself along the way. Changing your life is hard, and — like all hard things — it requires love and endurance. But you are worthy, and you are strong, and you can do this.”
9. “Be kind to you, then. Put down the knife that you have been holding to your own throat. Stop beating up upon the poor animal that you are. Take the chains off. Open the door of the cage you've been forcing yourself to live in. Bring yourself out of the cold. Allow yourself the comfort of the warm blanket at the end of the couch. Protect yourself from those who injure you — yourself, most of all. The punishment ends today. Coax yourself forward, and say to the life that you have been entrusted with: "It's OK. I'm here now. I will take care of you now. I'm sorry if I ever hurt you. I didn't know that you were just a defenseless animal, deserving of care. Now I do know."
10. "Darling, you're doing the best you can. You are merely a human being, like all other human beings. You are not a superstar, and you are not the lowest rat who ever lived... You are just one of us, just a person trying to live in peace with herself in the world. It doesn't matter if your work disappoints you — that's a very natural human response. Let's not take it so hard or so seriously, OK? We're going to continue being creative, because we know that creativity is interesting and good for us. Now put down the donuts, and turn off the reality television, and take that goddamn scrunchie out of your hair, and throw those limp and stinky pajamas into the laundry, and wash your face, and slap on some lipstick, and put on some dance music, and have a big drink of water, and let's start again... With love."