Maybe it's because my mother is a writer. Maybe it is because my family is descended from oral traditions and has storytelling in every last bit of DNA. Maybe it's because she's wise, or I'm wiser for listening to her. All I know is, my mother is the most quotable person alive -- and if I live by anything, it's "my mom was right".
Here's 51 things my mom has taught me:
1. The frog can't talk about the pond until the frog has left the pond. (I.e... Perspective matters. Time isn't innately bestowing you with experience -- you have to be brave and expansive and driven and travelled. Never stop expanding your horizons. There's always something more beyond the next hurdle.)
2. It's okay to be afraid as long as you never let it stop you.
3. Nothing worth having in life is easy. (If it's hard and you have to fight for it and it scares you: these are good signs.)
4. If your apples slices are too big, you will have crunchy pie and everyone will hate what would otherwise be an iconic masterpiece. If you put a 475 degree glass pan in a sink and run cold water on it, it will shatter. If you use too much oil, your wet vegetables will taste like what sludge looks like no matter how long you cook it. It's better to let something burn than to burn yourself. Mistakes are not a sign of worth. Don't cry over broken glass. It's okay to cry.
5. If you deliberately use words you don't understand, no one else will understand them. And the ones that do understand will know that you don't. Whatever brilliance you naturally have will get lost. Be you. You don't have to try.
6. Failure is in the past. Success is in the future. Focus on good things and live for better days and good things and better things will come. The past is behind you.
7. It doesn't matter what happens. It matters that you tried.
8. It's better to love and live and enjoy what you do and who you are and be true to yourself than it is to do what everyone else wants you to do. Especially when "everyone else" is a small, miserable, judgemental crowd that drowns out all the love and support you have in your corner. Focus on the positive voices.
9. Opinions from bitter people who don't know what the hell they're talking aren't real opinions. They are noise. It doesn't matter how close they are to you.
10. You can't save everybody. When you're being hurt and taken for granted, walk away. A second chance is good. A third sometimes make sense. Infinite chances will only break you, and you don't deserve to be broken by trying to love broken people. Try then Walk away.
11. You can love someone infinitely and know they aren't good for you and don't belong in your life.
12. It's better to be smart and powerful and have made good choices and be yourself and be loved by few people that understand you than to be liked by inconsequential, instant gratification crowds that will mean nothing a year from now.
13. It is better to be happy and liked by people who understand you than to be fake and miserable and act against your values to be liked by everyone.
14. You can only do what you can do. If you did the best you could with good intentions and learn from your mistakes, that's enough.
15. It doesn't make sense to define yourself by the things you hate about yourself and the failures you've had and the hurt you've felt without giving any credit to what you like and what you do right and what you've accomplished and the good choices you've made and the joy you've created for others. You are neither and you've done both. That is true and real.
16. People come in and out of our lives all the time. Cherish who and have now, and don't be crushed when you can't keep it forever. Something else always comes along. It will mean something too.
17. Doing your best is enough.
18. Surviving is more important than perfection.
19. Loving something is a good reason. It's the best reason.
20. Master the polite-nasty. Kill them with kindness. You'll always be happier. You'll always make people happy. You'll usually get what you want.
21. Fake it until you make it.
22. Everything happens for a reason. That doesn't mean what you're feeling isn't real.
23. Self-care. The right to wallow. Hurting "right now", not forever. The power in acknowledging your feelings.
24. You are Wonder Woman but you never have to be Wonder Woman. You can do anything but you never have to do everything.
25. Forgive yourself.
26. Only think about today, tomorrow and 10 years from now. Let go of yesterday.
27. In life, you'll never be asked to get through more than a day. One day at a time.
28. You need to be where you are right now to get where you want to go.
29. Don't stop because of fear. Stop when it's time.
30. You always have a choice. Live your life in such a way that there's always a good one.
31. It matters how you make other people feel. It matters less what other people think.
32. Being right should be a silent victory. If you know, that's enough. That's where the power is. People who have something to prove when there's nothing worth proving have nothing to contribute yet. Their souls are young and reckless. You don't need to waste breath on them and you don't need to be afraid of them.
33. The person who wins is the person who was right - not the one who was loud. Composure is power.
34. Resilience, ambition, work ethic, passion, intelligent, creative, kind, and curious. That's the kind of woman to look up to. Anything on the outside is a mask - by all means, wear a fun one. But never be fooled by them.
35. Learn words. Bathe yourself in them, fashion yourself with them, create yourself with them. Language is an art and a lifestyle and a tool and a medium. Look them up when you don't know them. Don't use them until you do. And never throw sharp ones without knowing who you'll hit.
36. White space is good. Ideas are received more favorably when text is easy on the eyes. Information is better received when your audience, or your friends, or especially your love interest, has to work for it.
37. Give yourself permission to write crap. Focus on actually writing, not on always writing perfectly with infinite foresight. Most "good writers" are actually "great editors".
38. Between anecdote and metaphor, you can explain anything with potatoes.
39. Writing rules apply to any art and any art applies to life. Everyone needs a philosophy. Everyone needs to stand for something. It's just that interesting people reject their first offers, and update as needed for better ones that come later.
40. Verbal literacy and visual literacy are a foundation that you can build anything on, but social literacy is the only thing that can get you through the door.
41. You can do anything. The only people who tell you that you can't are people that believe they can't. If you believe them, and you tell yourself you can't, it's only because you believe you can't - or need an excuse not to try.
42. Never leave a room without making eye contact at least once. If you don't look at people, it won't stop them looking at you. You can't be invisible, so don't act like you are. Take your image, make it your own, and own it.
43. Figure out what your armor is: words, wit, wisdom, faith, confidence, love. Embody it. Embrace it. Wear it always.
44. Don't hurt creatures of the Universe. Not animals, not vulnerable people, not the Earth. They may be silent, but the universe isn't. And it will find its way back to you.
45. If you want positivity, be positive. If you want to be happy, be happy. If you want to have a good time, make it a good time. Your experience of being alive is up to you. Many people who are alive aren't living.
46. You have no idea how long your mom will be here, or how much you'll miss her, or how much losing her scares you until she is terminally diagnosed and you know your time is short. When she says call her, call her. When she tells you to call your mother, it's because she's always right.
47. Love what you have while you have it. Sadly, we do most of our loving when we're losing.
48. Take accountability for yourself. Never take responsibility for someone else.
49. The only people you have to impress are the people worth impressing.
50. Let go. There are few burdens worth carrying. If your heart is broken, let it heal. If wounds are open, let them close. If the page is turning, let the chapter end. Don't be afraid healing will forget. The scars will be there to remind you.
51. You cannot hold up the world with your two hands, but those hands are made for healing, creating, and protecting. Use them wisely.