Anyone can hide. Facing up to things, working through them, that's what makes you strong.
People always think that happiness is a faraway thing," thought Francie, "something complicated and hard to get. Yet, what little things can make it up; a place of shelter when it rains - a cup of strong hot coffee when you're blue; for a man, a cigarette for contentment; a book to read when you're alone - just to be with someone you love. Those things make happiness.
Betty Smith (A Tree Grows in Brooklyn)
We women are a sad lot, aren't we?"
"What do you mean?"
"Strong enough to take on the world with our bare hands, yet we permit ridiculous boys to make fools of us."
"I am not a fool."
"No, you're not. Not yet.
Renée Ahdieh (The Wrath and the Dawn (The Wrath and the Dawn, #1))
When you will not fly into a passion people know you are stronger than they are, because you are strong enough to hold in your rage, and they are not, and they say stupid things they wish they hadn't said afterward. There's nothing so strong as rage, except what makes you hold it in--that's stronger. It's a good thing not to answer your enemies.
Frances Hodgson Burnett (A Little Princess)
Do you love me?' I asked her. She smiled. 'Yes.' 'Do you want me to be happy?' as I asked her this I felt my heart beginning to race. 'Of course I do.' 'Will you do something for me then?' She looked away, sadness crossing her features. 'I don't know if I can anymore.' she said. 'but if you could, would you?' I cannot adequately describe the intensity of what I was feeling at that moment. Love, anger, sadness, hope, and fear, whirling together sharpened by the nervousness I was feeling. Jamie looked at me curiously and my breaths became shallower. Suddenly I knew that I'd never felt as strongly for another person as I did at that moment. As I returned her gaze, this simple realization made me wish for the millionth time that I could make all this go away. Had it been possible, I would have traded my life for hers. I wanted to tell her my thoughts, but the sound of her voice suddenly silenced the emotions inside me. 'yes' she finally said, her voice weak yet somehow still full of promise. 'I would.' Finally getting control of myself I kissed her again, then brought my hand to her face, gently running my fingers over her cheek. I marveled at the softness of her skin, the gentleness I saw in her eyes. even now she was perfect. My throat began to tighten again, but as I said, I knew what I had to do. Since I had to accept that it was not within my power to cure her, what I wanted to do was give her something that she'd wanted. It was what my heart had been telling me to do all along. Jamie, I understood then, had already given me the answer I'd been searching for, the answer my heart needed to find. She'd told me outside Mr. Jenkins office, the night we'd asked him about doing the play. I smiled softly, and she returned my affection with a slight squeeze of my hand, as if trusting me in what I was about to do. Encouraged, I leaned closer and took a deep breath. When I exhaled, these were the words that flowed with my breath. 'Will you marry me?
Nicholas Sparks (A Walk to Remember)
You're going to meet many people with domineering personalities: the loud, the obnoxious, those that noisily stake their claims in your territory and everywhere else they set foot on. This is the blueprint of a predator. Predators prey on gentleness, peace, calmness, sweetness and any positivity that they sniff out as weakness. Anything that is happy and at peace they mistake for weakness. It's not your job to change these people, but it's your job to show them that your peace and gentleness do not equate to weakness. I have always appeared to be fragile and delicate but the thing is, I am not fragile and I am not delicate. I am very gentle but I can show you that the gentle also possess a poison. I compare myself to silk. People mistake silk to be weak but a silk handkerchief can protect the wearer from a gunshot. There are many people who will want to befriend you if you fit the description of what they think is weak; predators want to have friends that they can dominate over because that makes them feel strong and important. The truth is that predators have no strength and no courage. It is you who are strong, and it is you who has courage. I have lost many a friend over the fact that when they attempt to rip me, they can't. They accuse me of being deceiving; I am not deceiving, I am just made of silk. It is they who are stupid and wrongly take gentleness and fairness for weakness. There are many more predators in this world, so I want you to be made of silk. You are silk.
C. JoyBell C.
Just be you-strong and honest. The rest falls into place if you do that. It always has. It always will. Remember that. No matter what happens over the . . . centuries ahead of you, remember to be honest with yourself. And if you fail, forgive yourself. You'll make mistakes. The whole world is new, and they have so many more years in the then you.
Melissa Marr (Fragile Eternity (Wicked Lovely, #3))
You’ve got a lot of responsibility now,” Jace said to Julian. “You’ll have to make sure Emma winds up with a guy who deserves her.”
Julian was strangely white-faced. Maybe he was feeling the effects of the ceremony, Emma thought. It had been strong magic; she still felt it sizzling through her blood like champagne bubbles. But Jules looked as if he’d been slapped.
“What about me?” Emma said, quickly. “Don’t I have to make sure Jules winds up with someone who deserves him?”
“Absolutely. I did it for Alec, Alec did it for me — well, actually, he hated Clary at first, but he came around.”
“I BET you didn’t like Magnus much, either,” said Julian, still with the same odd, stiff look on his face.
“Maybe not,” said Jace, “but I never would have said so.”
“Because it would have hurt Alec’s feelings?” Emma asked.
“No,” said Jace, “because Magnus would have turned me into a hat rack.
Cassandra Clare (Lady Midnight (The Dark Artifices, #1))
It's just like when you've got some coffee that's too black, which means it's too strong. What do you do? You integrate it with cream, you make it weak. But if you pour too much cream in it, you won't even know you ever had coffee. It used to be hot, it becomes cool. It used to be strong, it becomes weak. It used to wake you up, now it puts you to sleep.
Celeste walked up, as strong as I’d ever seen her, and whispered something into Maxon’s ear.
When she was done, he smiled. “I don’t think that will be necessary.”
“Good.” She left, closing the door behind her, and I stood to take whatever was coming.
“What was that about?” I asked, nodding toward the door.
“Oh, Celeste was making it clear that if I hurt you, she’d make me cry,” he said with a smile.
I laughed. “I’ve been on the receiving end of those nails, so be careful there.”
Kiera Cass (The One (The Selection, #3))
When people are insulting you, there is nothing so good for them as not to say a word -- just to look at them and think. When you will not fly into a passion people know you are stronger than they are, because you are strong enough to hold in your rage, and they are not, and they say stupid things they wished they hadn't said afterward. There's nothing so strong as rage, except what makes you hold it in -- that's stronger. It's a good thing not to answer your enemies.
Frances Hodgson Burnett (A Little Princess)
I have a new name for pain.
The Obliterator. Because when you’re in pain, nothing else can exist. Not thought. Not emotion. Only the drive to escape the pain. When it’s strong enough, the Obliterator strips us of everything that makes us who we are, until we’re reduced to creatures less than animals, creatures with a single desire and goal: escape.
A good name, then.
Christopher Paolini (Eldest (The Inheritance Cycle, #2))
When you go through difficult times, make sure you pass the test. Don’t be stubborn and hardheaded. Recognize that God is refining you, knocking off some of your rough edges. Stand strong and fight the good fight of faith. God has called each of us to be champions; you are destined to win. If you will work with God and keep a good attitude, then no matter what comes against you, the bible says that all things – not just the good things in life, but all things – work together for your good.
Joel Osteen (Your Best Life Now: 7 Steps to Living at Your Full Potential)
Love is a wonderful gift. It's a present so precious words can barely begin to describe it. Love is a feeling, the deepest and sweetest of all. It's incredibly strong and amazingly gentle at the very same time. It is a blessing that should be counted every day. It is nourishment for the soul. It is devotion, constantly letting each person know how supportive it's certainty can be. Love is a heart filled with affection for the most important person in your life. Love is looking at the special someone who makes your world go around and absolutely loving what you see. Love gives meaning to one's world and magic to a million hopes and dreams. It makes the morning shine more brightly and each season seem like it's the nicest one anyone ever had. Love is an invaluable bond that enriches every good thing in life. It gives each hug a tenderness, each heart a happiness, each spirit a steady lift. Love is an invisible connection that is exquisitely felt by those who know the joy, feel the warmth, share the sweetness, and celebrate the gift!
Oh," the girl said, shaking her head. "Don't be so simple. People adore monsters. They fill their songs and stories with them. They define themselves in relation to them. You know what a monster is, young shade? Power. Power and choice. Monsters make choices. Monsters shape the world. Monsters force us to become stronger, smarter, better. They sift the weak from the strong and provide a forge for the steeling of souls. Even as we curse monsters, we admire them. Seek to become them, in some ways." Her eyes became distant. "There are far, far worse things to be than a monster.
Jim Butcher (Ghost Story (The Dresden Files, #13))
Watch a movie that makes you laugh or listen to a song that makes you cry. Embrace your emotions and be proud of what you feel.
Demi Lovato (Staying Strong: 365 Days a Year)
I don't want to live in a world where the strong rule and the weak cower. I'd rather make a place where things are a little quieter. Where trolls stay the hell under their bridges and where elves don't come swooping out to snatch children from their cradles. Where vampires respect the limits, and where the faeries mind their p's and q's. My name is Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden. Conjure by it at your own risk. When things get strange, when what goes bump in the night flicks on the lights, when no one else can help you, give me a call. I'm in the book.
Jim Butcher (Storm Front (The Dresden Files, #1))
The centripetal force on our planet is still fearfully strong, Alyosha. I have a longing for life, and I go on living in spite of logic. Though I may not believe in the order of the universe, yet I love the sticky little leaves as they open in spring. I love the blue sky, I love some people, whom one loves you know sometimes without knowing why. I love some great deeds done by men, though I’ve long ceased perhaps to have faith in them, yet from old habit one’s heart prizes them. Here they have brought the soup for you, eat it, it will do you good. It’s first-rate soup, they know how to make it here. I want to travel in Europe, Alyosha, I shall set off from here. And yet I know that I am only going to a graveyard, but it’s a most precious graveyard, that’s what it is! Precious are the dead that lie there, every stone over them speaks of such burning life in the past, of such passionate faith in their work, their truth, their struggle and their science, that I know I shall fall on the ground and kiss those stones and weep over them; though I’m convinced in my heart that it’s long been nothing but a graveyard. And I shall not weep from despair, but simply because I shall be happy in my tears, I shall steep my soul in emotion. I love the sticky leaves in spring, the blue sky — that’s all it is. It’s not a matter of intellect or logic, it’s loving with one’s inside, with one’s stomach.
Fyodor Dostoevsky (The Brothers Karamazov)
The question is frequently asked: Why does a man become a drug addict?
The answer is that he usually does not intend to become an addict. You don’t wake up one morning and decide to be a drug addict. It takes at least three months’ shooting twice a day to get any habit at all. And you don’t really know what junk sickness is until you have had several habits. It took me almost six months to get my first habit, and then the withdrawal symptoms were mild. I think it no exaggeration to say it takes about a year and several hundred injections to make an addict.
The questions, of course, could be asked: Why did you ever try narcotics? Why did you continue using it long enough to become an addict? You become a narcotics addict because you do not have strong motivations in the other direction. Junk wins by default. I tried it as a matter of curiosity. I drifted along taking shots when I could score. I ended up hooked. Most addicts I have talked to report a similar experience. They did not start using drugs for any reason they can remember. They just drifted along until they got hooked. If you have never been addicted, you can have no clear idea what it means to need junk with the addict’s special need. You don’t decide to be an addict. One morning you wake up sick and you’re an addict. (Junky, Prologue, p. xxxviii)
William S. Burroughs (Junky)
A magician is strong because he feels pain. He feels the difference between what the world is and what he would make of it. Or what did you think that stuff in your chest was? A magician is strong because he hurts more than others. His wound is his strength.
Lev Grossman (The Magicians (The Magicians, #1))
I look at the blanked-out faces of the other passengers--hoisting their briefcases, their backpacks, shuffling to disembark--and I think of what Hobie said: beauty alters the grain of reality. And I keep thinking too of the more conventional wisdom: namely, that the pursuit of pure beauty is a trap, a fast track to bitterness and sorrow, that beauty has to be wedded to something more meaningful.
Only what is that thing? Why am I made the way I am? Why do I care about all the wrong things, and nothing at all for the right ones? Or, to tip it another way: how can I see so clearly that everything I love or care about is illusion, and yet--for me, anyway--all that's worth living for lies in that charm?
A great sorrow, and one that I am only beginning to understand: we don't get to choose our own hearts. We can't make ourselves want what's good for us or what's good for other people. We don't get to choose the people we are.
Because--isn't it drilled into us constantly, from childhood on, an unquestioned platitude in the culture--? From William Blake to Lady Gaga, from Rousseau to Rumi to Tosca to Mister Rogers, it's a curiously uniform message, accepted from high to low: when in doubt, what to do? How do we know what's right for us? Every shrink, every career counselor, every Disney princess knows the answer: "Be yourself." "Follow your heart."
Only here's what I really, really want someone to explain to me. What if one happens to be possessed of a heart that can't be trusted--? What if the heart, for its own unfathomable reasons, leads one willfully and in a cloud of unspeakable radiance away from health, domesticity, civic responsibility and strong social connections and all the blandly-held common virtues and instead straight toward a beautiful flare of ruin, self-immolation, disaster?...If your deepest self is singing and coaxing you straight toward the bonfire, is it better to turn away? Stop your ears with wax? Ignore all the perverse glory your heart is screaming at you? Set yourself on the course that will lead you dutifully towards the norm, reasonable hours and regular medical check-ups, stable relationships and steady career advancement the New York Times and brunch on Sunday, all with the promise of being somehow a better person? Or...is it better to throw yourself head first and laughing into the holy rage calling your name?
Donna Tartt (The Goldfinch)
If you’re concerned about your health, you should probably avoid products that make health claims. Why? Because a health claim on a food product is a strong indication it’s not really food, and food is what you want to eat
Michael Pollan (In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto)
In truth a family is what you make it. It is made strong, not by number of heads counted at the dinner table, but by the rituals you help family members create, by the memories you share, by the commitment of time, caring, and love you show to one another, and by the hopes for the future you have as individuals and as a unit.
Do you know what makes you weak?” said Holland. “You’ve never had to be strong. You’ve never had to try. You’ve never had to fight. And you’ve certainly never had to fight for your life.
V.E. Schwab (A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic, #1))
Authority, as you usually think of it, is merely the excuse the strong use to make others conform to what they want.
William Paul Young (The Shack)
I am always amazed that so many people are concerned with wanting to be what they are not;What is the point of making yourself look ridiculous?
You don't always have to pretend to be strong,there is no need to prove all the time that everything is going well,you shouldn't be concerned about what other people are thinking.
Cry if you need to,it's good to cry out all your tears,because only then you will be able to smile again...
Paulo Coelho (Like the Flowing River)
Love will make you weak and indecisive, remember?" she murmured.
What a fool he had been. For a journey like theirs, love was the only thing that would make him strong enough.
"Don't ever listen to an idiot like me," he answered.
Sherry Thomas (The Burning Sky (The Elemental Trilogy, #1))
I have a little theory that I'd like to air here, if I may. What is it that you think makes you magicians?" More silence. Fogg was well into rhetorical-question territory now anyway. He spoke more softly. "Is it because you are intelligent? Is it because you are brave and good? Is is because you're special?
Maybe. Who knows. But I'll tell you something: I think you're magicians because you're unhappy. A magician is strong because he feels pain. He feels the difference between what the world is and what he would make of it. Or what did you think that stuff in your chest was? A magician is strong because he hurts more than others. His wound is his strength.
Most people carry that pain around inside them their whole lives, until they kill the pain by other means, or until it kills them. But you, my friends, you found another way: a way to use the pain. To burn it as fuel, for light and warmth. You have learned to break the world that has tried to break you.
Lev Grossman (The Magicians (The Magicians, #1))
There’s only one question that matters, Ms. Lane, and it’s the one you never get around to asking. People are capable of varying degrees of truth. The majority spend their entire lives fabricating an elaborate skein of lies, immersing themselves in the faith of bad faith, doing whatever it takes to feel safe. The person who truly lives has precious few moments of safety, learns to thrive in any kind of storm. It’s the truth you can stare down stone-cold that makes you what you are. Weak or strong. Live or die. Prove yourself. How much truth can you take, Ms. Lane?
Karen Marie Moning (Dreamfever (Fever, #4))
I hope you'll have the kind of life where what you stand for is so important that it makes some people outright hostile. You won't know how strong your beliefs really are until you have to defend them.
Joan Bauer (Best Foot Forward (Rules of the Road, #2))
But depression wasn't the word. This was a plunge encompassing sorrow and revulsion far beyond the personal: a sick, drenching nausea at all humanity and human endeavor from the dawn of time. The writhing loathsomeness of the biological order. Old age, sickness, death. No escape for anyone. Even the beautiful ones were like soft fruit about to spoil. And yet somehow people still kept fucking and breeding and popping out new fodder for the grave, producing more and more new beings to suffer like this was some kind of redemptive, or good, or even somehow morally admirable thing: dragging more innocent creatures into the lose-lose game. Squirming babies and plodding, complacent, hormone-drugged moms. Oh, isn't he cute? Awww. Kids shouting and skidding in the playground with no idea what future Hells await them: boring jobs and ruinous mortgages and bad marriages and hair loss and hip replacements and lonely cups of coffee in an empty house and a colostomy bag at the hospital. Most people seemed satisfied with the thin decorative glaze and the artful stage lighting that sometimes, made the bedrock atrocity of the human predicament look somewhat more mysterious or less abhorrent. People gambled and golfed and planted gardens and traded stocks and had sex and bought new cars and practiced yoga and worked and prayed and redecorated their homes and got worked up over the news and fussed over their children and gossiped about their neighbors and pored over restaurant reviews and founded charitable organizations and supported political candidates and attended the U.S. Open and dined and travelled and distracted themselves with all kinds of gadgets and devices, flooding themselves incessantly with information and texts and communication and entertainment from every direction to try to make themselves forget it: where we were, what we were. But in a strong light there was no good spin you could put on it. It was rotten from top to bottom.
Donna Tartt (The Goldfinch)
Drink it,” I told her. “It’s good for what ails you. Caffeine and sugar. I don’t drink it, so I ran over to your house and stole the expensive stuff in your freezer. It shouldn’t be that bad. Samuel told me to make it strong and pour sugar into it. It should taste sort of like bitter syrup.”
She gave me a smile smile, then a bigger one, and plugged her nose before she drank it down in one gulp. “Next time," she said in a hoarse voice, “I make the coffee.
Patricia Briggs (Moon Called (Mercy Thompson, #1))
Plus there’s the fact,” he went on, making it clear he didn’t need me to reply anyway, “that music is a total constant. That’s why we have such a strong visceral connection to it, you know? Because a song can take you back instantly to a moment, or a place, or even a person. No matter what else has changed in you or the world, that one song stays the same, just like that moment. Which is pretty amazing, when you actually think about it.
Sarah Dessen (Just Listen)
We learn more from people who challenge our thought process than those who affirm our conclusions. Strong leaders engage their critics and make themselves stronger. Weak leaders silence their critics and make themselves weaker. This reaction isn’t limited to people in power. Although we might be on board with the principle, in practice we often miss out on the value of a challenge network.
Adam M. Grant (Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don't Know)
God! You'll do anything to avoid it.'
Avoid what?' my mother said.
The past,' Caroline said. 'Our past. I'm tired of acting like nothing ever happened, of pretending he was never here, of not seeing his pictures in the house, or his things Just because you're not able to let yourself grieve.'
Don't,' my mother said, her voice low, 'talk to me about grief. You have no idea.'
I do, though.' Caroline's voice caught, and she swallowed. 'I'm not trying to hide that I'm sad. I'm not trying to forget. You hide here behind all these plans for houses and townhouses because they're new and perfect and don't remind you of anything.'
Stop it,' my mother said.
And look at Macy,' Caroline continued, ignoring this.' Do you even know what you're doing to her?'
My mother looked at me, and I shrank back, trying to stay out of this. 'Macy is fine,' my mother said.
No, she's not. God you always say that, but she's not.' Caroline looked at me, as if she wanted me to jump in, but I just sat there. 'Have you even been paying the least bit of attention to what's going on with her? She's been miserable since Dad died, pushing herself so hard to please you. And then, this summer, she finally finds some friends and something she likes to do. But then one tiny slipup, and you take it all away from her.'
That has nothing to do with what we're talking about,' my mother said.
It has everything to do with it,' Caroline shot back. 'She was finally getting over what happened. Couldn't you see the change in her? I could, and I was berely here. She was different.'
Exactly,' my mother said. 'She was-'
Happy,' Caroline finished for her. 'She was starting to live her life again, and it scared you. Just like me redoing the beach house scares you. You think you're so strong becasue you never talk about Dad. Anyone can hide. Facing up to things, working through them, that's what makes you strong.
Sarah Dessen (The Truth About Forever)
Straight guys only feel three ways about girls . . . First, either they love you, and they show it by writing a song about you, like Gabriel, and asking you out, and everything is nice and fun like it should be. Second, they love you, but they’re scared of their passion for you because it’s so strong, like your boy Christopher, so they stuff it way, way down and ignore you, or do stupid things like make fun of you because they don’t know how to express it any other way, because they’re immature little babies and are too shy to, say, write a song about you. Or third, there’s something wrong with them, and they start out nice and loving and then turn around and do stupid things like sleep with other girls behind your back, like Justin Bay. But we’ll never figure out what went wrong with them, and neither will they, so it’s not worth thinking about. Okay? That’s it. The end.”
Meg Cabot (Airhead (Airhead, #1))
I think there’s nothing left for me. I don’t think that for everyone else.”
“So what do they have that you don’t at this point?”
I press my lips together. I don’t want to talk about this anymore. I don’t want to talk about how everyone has something even if they don’t really have it anymore, that what they had makes them strong enough for this, to keep going.
Courtney Summers (This is Not a Test (This is Not a Test, #1))
You sense my loneliness, (...) my bitterness at being shut out of life. My bitterness that I'm evil, that I don't deserve to be loved and yet I need love hungrily. My horror that I can never reveal myself to mortals. But these things don't stop me, Mother. I'm too strong for them to stop me. As you said yourself once, I am very good at being what I am. These things merely now and then make me suffer, that's all
Anne Rice (The Vampire Lestat (The Vampire Chronicles, #2))
Anything is one of a million paths. Therefore you must always keep in mind that a path is only a path; if you feel you should not follow it, you must not stay with it under any conditions. To have such clarity you must lead a disciplined life. Only then will you know that any path is only a path and there is no affront, to oneself or to others, in dropping it if that is what your heart tells you to do. But your decision to keep on the path or to leave it must be free of fear or ambition. I warn you. Look at every path closely and deliberately. Try it as many times as you think necessary.
This question is one that only a very old man asks. Does this path have a heart? All paths are the same: they lead nowhere. They are paths going through the bush, or into the bush. In my own life I could say I have traversed long long paths, but I am not anywhere. Does this path have a heart? If it does, the path is good; if it doesn't, it is of no use. Both paths lead nowhere; but one has a heart, the other doesn't. One makes for a joyful journey; as long as you follow it, you are one with it. The other will make you curse your life. One makes you strong; the other weakens you.
Before you embark on any path ask the question: Does this path have a heart? If the answer is no, you will know it, and then you must choose another path. The trouble is nobody asks the question; and when a man finally realizes that he has taken a path without a heart, the path is ready to kill him. At that point very few men can stop to deliberate, and leave the path. A path without a heart is never enjoyable. You have to work hard even to take it. On the other hand, a path with heart is easy; it does not make you work at liking it.
Carlos Castaneda (The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge)
Is there no context for our lives? No song, no literature, no poem full of vitamins, no history connected to experience that you can pass along to help us start strong? You are an adult. The old one, the wise one. Stop thinking about saving your face. Think of our lives and tell us your particularized world. Make up a story. Narrative is radical, creating us at the very moment it is being created. We will not blame you if your reach exceeds your grasp; if love so ignites your words they go down in flames and nothing is left but their scald. Or if, with the reticence of a surgeon's hands, your words suture only the places where blood might flow. We know you can never do it properly - once and for all. Passion is never enough; neither is skill. But try. For our sake and yours forget your name in the street; tell us what the world has been to you in the dark places and in the light. Don't tell us what to believe, what to fear. Show us belief s wide skirt and the stitch that unravels fear's caul. You, old woman, blessed with blindness, can speak the language that tells us what only language can: how to see without pictures. Language alone protects us from the scariness of things with no names. Language alone is meditation.
Toni Morrison (The Nobel Lecture In Literature, 1993)
To be with another in this [empathic] way means that for the time being, you lay aside your own views and values in order to enter another's world without prejudice. In some sense it means that you lay aside your self; this can only be done by persons who are secure enough in themselves that they know they will not get lost in what may turn out to be the strange or bizarre world of the other, and that they can comfortably return to their own world when they wish.
Perhaps this description makes clear that being empathic is a complex, demanding, and strong - yet subtle and gentle - way of being.
Carl R. Rogers (A Way of Being)
For a moment nothing happens. The figure stands still and I stand cold and alive and-
He starts to run. I make my way down the rocks, slipping, sliding, trying to get to the plain. I wish, I think, my feet clumsy, moving too fast, not fast enough, I wish i could run, I wish I'd written a whole poem, I wish I kept the compass-
And then I reach the plain and wish for nothing but what I have. Ky. Running toward me. I have never seen him run like this, fast, free, strong, wild. He looks so beautiful, his body moves so right. He stops just close enough for me to see the blue of his eyes and forget the red on my hands and the green I wish I wore. "You're here," he says, breathing hard and hungry. sweat and dirt cover his face, and he looks at me as though I'm the only thing he ever needed to see. I open my mouth to say yes. But I only have time to breathe in before he closes the last of the distance. All I know is the kiss.
Ally Condie (Crossed (Matched, #2))
You think you're so strong because you never talk...anyone can hide. Facing up to things, working through them, that's what makes you strong.
Sarah Dessen (The Truth About Forever)
I personally have a cunt. Sometimes it's 'flaps' or 'twat', but most of the time, it's my cunt. Cunt is a proper, old, historic, strong word. I like that my fire escape also doubles up as the most potent swearword in the English language. Yeah. That's how powerful it is, guys. If I tell you what I've got down there, old ladies and clerics might faint. I like how shocked people are when you say 'cunt'. It's like I have a nuclear bomb in my pants, or a tiger, or a gun.
Compared to this the most powerful swearword men have got out of their privates is 'dick', which is frankly vanilla, and I believe you're allowed to use on, like, Blue Peter if something goes wrong. In a culture where nearly everything female is still seen as squeam-inducing, and/or weak - menstruation, menopause, just the sheer simple act of calling someone 'a girl' - I love that 'cunt' stands, on its own, as the supreme unvanquishable word. It has almost mystic resonance. It is a cunt - we all know it's a cunt - but we can't call it a cunt. We can't say the actual word. It's too powerful. Like Jews can never utter the Tetragrammaton - an must make do with 'Jehovah', instead.
Caitlin Moran (How to Be a Woman)
There's nothing so strong as rage, except what makes you hold it in—that's stronger. It's a good thing not to answer your enemies. I scarcely ever do.
Frances Hodgson Burnett (A Little Princess)
It was Leslie who had taken him from the cow pasture into Terabithia and turned him into a king. He had thought that was it. Wasn't king the best you could be? Now it occurred to him that perhaps Terabithia was like a castle where you came to be knighted. After you stayed for a while and grew strong you had to move on. For hadn't Leslie, even in Terabithia, tried to push back the walls of his mind and make him see beyond to the shining world—huge and terrible and beautiful and very fragile? (Handle with care—everything—even the predators.)
Now it was time for him to move out. She wasn't there, so he must go for both of them. It was up to him to pay back to the world in beauty and caring what Leslie had loaned him in vision and strength.
As for the terrors ahead—for he did not fool himself that they were all behind him—well, you just have to stand up to your fear and not let it squeeze you white. Right, Leslie?
Katherine Paterson (Bridge to Terabithia)
What makes life in Indian organizations difficult is the widespread prevalence of this very contemptuous pride. It stops us from listening to our juniors, subordinates and people down the line. You cannot expect a person to deliver results if you humiliate him, nor can you expect him to be creative if you abuse him or despise him. The line between firmness and harshness, between strong leadership and bullying, between discipline and vindictiveness is very fine, but it has to be drawn.
A.P.J. Abdul Kalam (Wings of Fire)
Do not diminish who you are. Your gender, your heritage, your identity. That's what makes you unique. - Strong by Kailin Gow
You are honest enough by nature to be able to see and judge your own self clearly - and that is a great thing. Never lose that honesty, Bobby - always be honest with yourself, know your own motives for what they are, good or bad, make your own decisions firmly and justly - and you will be a fine, strong character, of some real use in this muddled world of ours!
Enid Blyton (Summer Term at St Clare's)
It's your job to tell others about Jesus, about what He's done in your life and what He can do in theirs, but you can never make someone believe, no matter how strong or pure your intentions. Salvation is between that person and God,' Piper said.
Dani Pettrey (Stranded (Alaskan Courage, #3))
What about me? I love you so much. And I tried to make you go away. I killed you and it didn't help. And I hate it! I hate that it's so hard and that you can hurt me so much. I know everything that you did, because you did it to me. Oh, God! I wish that I wished you dead. I don't. I can't. Strong is fighting! It's hard, and it's painful, and it's every day. It's what we have to do. And we can do it together. But if you're too much of a coward for that, then burn. If I can't convince you that you belong in this world, then I don't know what can. But do not expect me to watch. And don't expect me to mourn for you, because...
Change the negative, self-loathing thoughts to positive, self-affirming ones. When you’re positive about yourself and everything around you, you begin to see the world in a different light. Your life today is what you make of it.
Demi Lovato (Staying Strong: 365 Days a Year)
I've heard fate talked of. It's not a word I use. I think we make our own choices. I think how we live our lives is our own doing, and we cannot fully hope on dreams and stars. But dreams and stars can guide us, perhaps. And the heart's voice is a strong one. Always is.
Your heart's voice is your true voice. It is easy to ignore it, for sometimes it says what we'd rather it did not - and it is so hard to risk the things we have. But what life are we living, if we don't live by our hearts? Not a true one. And the person living it is not the true you.
Susan Fletcher (Corrag)
Struggle does not make you weak,” she whispers back. “Struggling against those who hold us is what makes us, over time, stronger than they are. Strong enough to fight back. Strong enough to win.
Kennedy Ryan (Long Shot (Hoops, #1))
Mother, I am young. Mother, I am just eighteen. I am strong. I will work hard, Mother. But I do not want this child to grow up just to work hard. What must I do, mother, what must I do to make a different world for her? How do I start?"
"The secret lies in the reading and the writing. You are able to read. Every day you must read one page from some good book to your child. Every day this must be until the child learns to read. Then she must read every day, I know this is the secret
Betty Smith (A Tree Grows in Brooklyn)
Will you stop eating it,” I growled.
“No,” Andrea said. She was sitting on the ground and chewing on some unidentifiable chunk of bull flesh.
“It’s a piece of meat from something a djinn summoned.”
“You don’t know that.”
“Who else would send a bull made of fire to my house after I helped kill a djinn-possessed giant? Stop eating. It might have been a person,” I told her.
“I don’t care.”
“Andrea! You don’t know what this will do to the baby!”
“It will make it nice and strong.
Ilona Andrews (Magic Shifts (Kate Daniels, #8))
Betrayal is too kind a word to describe a situation in which a father says he loves his daughter but claims he must teach her about the horrors of the world in order to make her a stronger person; a situation in which he watches or participates in rituals that make her feel like she is going to die. She experiences pain that is so intense that she cannot think; her head spins so fast she can't remember who she is or how she got there.
All she knows is pain. All she feels is desperation. She tries to cry out for help, but soon learns that no one will listen. No matter how loud she cries, she can't stop or change what is happening. No matter what she does, the pain will not stop. Her father orders her to be tortured and tells her it is for her own good. He tells her that she needs the discipline, or that she has asked for it by her misbehavior. Betrayal is too simple a word to describe the overwhelming pain, the overwhelming loneliness and isolation this child experiences.
As if the abuse during the rituals were not enough, this child experiences similar abuse at home on a daily basis. When she tries to talk about her pain, she is told that she must be crazy. "Nothing bad has happened to you;' her family tells her Each day she begins to feel more and more like she doesn't know what is real. She stops trusting her own feelings because no one else acknowledges them or hears her agony. Soon the pain becomes too great. She learns not to feel at all. This strong, lonely, desperate child learns to give up the senses that make all people feel alive. She begins to feel dead.
She wishes she were dead. For her there is no way out. She soon learns there is no hope.
As she grows older she gets stronger. She learns to do what she is told with the utmost compliance. She forgets everything she has ever wanted. The pain still lurks, but it's easier to pretend it's not there than to acknowledge the horrors she has buried in the deepest parts of her mind. Her relationships are overwhelmed by the power of her emotions. She reaches out for help, but never seems to find what she is looking for The pain gets worse. The loneliness sets in. When the feelings return, she is overcome with panic, pain, and desperation.
She is convinced she is going to die. Yet, when she looks around her she sees nothing that should make her feel so bad. Deep inside she knows something is very, very wrong, but she doesn't remember anything. She thinks, "Maybe I am crazy.
Margaret Smith (Ritual Abuse: What It Is, Why It Happens, and How to Help)
Elodin pointed down the street. "What color is that boy's shirt?"
"What do you mean by blue? Describe it."
I struggled for a moment, failed. "So blue is a name?"
"It is a word. Words are pale shadows of forgotten names. As names have power, words have power. Words can light fires in the minds of men. Words can wring tears from the hardest hearts. There are seven words that will make a person love you. There are ten words that will break a strong man's will. But a word is nothing but a painting of a fire. A name is the fire itself."
My head was swimming by this point. "I still don't understand."
He laid a hand on my shoulder. "Using words to talk of words is like using a pencil to draw a picture of itself, on itself. Impossible. Confusing. Frustrating." He lifted his hands high above his head as if stretching for the sky. "But there are other ways to understanding!" he shouted, laughing like a child. He threw both arms to the cloudless arch of sky above us, still laughing. "Look!" he shouted tilting his head back. "Blue! Blue! Blue!
Patrick Rothfuss (The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle, #1))
Change your thoughts, change your life. —LAO TZU When I was fighting depression, I remember hearing this expression and not understanding it at first. When I decided to implement it in my life, a whole new world opened up for me. Change the negative, self-loathing thoughts to positive, self-affirming ones. When you’re positive about yourself and everything around you, you begin to see the world in a different light. Your life today is what you make of it. Goal: Be mindful of the tone of your thoughts.
Demi Lovato (Staying Strong: 365 Days a Year)
What is the hypothesis of generosity? What is the most generous assumption you can make about this person’s intentions or what this person said?
Brené Brown (Rising Strong: The Reckoning. The Rumble. The Revolution.)
There's nothing so strong as rage, except what makes you hold it in—that's stronger.
Frances Hodgson Burnett (A Little Princess)
Gintoki: Listen up! Let’s say you drink too much strawberry milk, and have to use the bathroom in the middle of the night, but it’s cold outside your bed. You don’t want to get up, but the urge to urinate is just too strong! You make up your mind to go! You run to the bathroom, stand in front of the toilet, and let loose! You think that all your life has led to this moment! But then you realize. It isn’t the bathroom! You’re still in bed! That feeling of lukewarm wetness spreads like wildfire! But you don’t stop! You can’t stop! That’s what I’m talking about! That’s the truth of the strawberry milk! Do you get it?
Maybe you lost someone you never expected you would lose. Maybe you lost yourself. That’s even worse. When you have bad days that just won’t let up, I just hope that you will look in the mirror and remind yourself of what you are and what you are not.
You are not your mistakes.
You are not damaged goods or money from your failed explorations.
You are not the opinion of someone who doesn’t know you.
You are a product of the lessons that you’ve learned.
You are wiser because you went through something terrible.
And you are the person who survived a bunch of rainstorms and kept walking.
I now believe that pain makes you stronger. And now I believe that walking through a lot of rainstorms gets you clean.
A NATION'S GREATNESS DEPENDS ON ITS LEADER
To vastly improve your country and truly make it great again, start by choosing a better leader. Do not let the media or the establishment make you pick from the people they choose, but instead choose from those they do not pick. Pick a leader from among the people who is heart-driven, one who identifies with the common man on the street and understands what the country needs on every level. Do not pick a leader who is only money-driven and does not understand or identify with the common man, but only what corporations need on every level.
Pick a peacemaker. One who unites, not divides. A cultured leader who supports the arts and true freedom of speech, not censorship. Pick a leader who will not only bail out banks and airlines, but also families from losing their homes -- or jobs due to their companies moving to other countries. Pick a leader who will fund schools, not limit spending on education and allow libraries to close. Pick a leader who chooses diplomacy over war. An honest broker in foreign relations. A leader with integrity, one who says what they mean, keeps their word and does not lie to their people. Pick a leader who is strong and confident, yet humble. Intelligent, but not sly. A leader who encourages diversity, not racism. One who understands the needs of the farmer, the teacher, the doctor, and the environmentalist -- not only the banker, the oil tycoon, the weapons developer, or the insurance and pharmaceutical lobbyist.
Pick a leader who will keep jobs in your country by offering companies incentives to hire only within their borders, not one who allows corporations to outsource jobs for cheaper labor when there is a national employment crisis. Choose a leader who will invest in building bridges, not walls. Books, not weapons. Morality, not corruption. Intellectualism and wisdom, not ignorance. Stability, not fear and terror. Peace, not chaos. Love, not hate. Convergence, not segregation. Tolerance, not discrimination. Fairness, not hypocrisy. Substance, not superficiality. Character, not immaturity. Transparency, not secrecy. Justice, not lawlessness. Environmental improvement and preservation, not destruction. Truth, not lies.
Most importantly, a great leader must serve the best interests of the people first, not those of multinational corporations. Human life should never be sacrificed for monetary profit. There are no exceptions. In addition, a leader should always be open to criticism, not silencing dissent. Any leader who does not tolerate criticism from the public is afraid of their dirty hands to be revealed under heavy light. And such a leader is dangerous, because they only feel secure in the darkness. Only a leader who is free from corruption welcomes scrutiny; for scrutiny allows a good leader to be an even greater leader.
And lastly, pick a leader who will make their citizens proud. One who will stir the hearts of the people, so that the sons and daughters of a given nation strive to emulate their leader's greatness. Only then will a nation be truly great, when a leader inspires and produces citizens worthy of becoming future leaders, honorable decision makers and peacemakers. And in these times, a great leader must be extremely brave. Their leadership must be steered only by their conscience, not a bribe.
Suzy Kassem (Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem)
It's not where you're born
It's not where you belong
It's not how weak
But what will make you strong
- Summer Rain
Tell your prospective client what your weak points are, before he notices them. This will make you more credible when you boast about your strong points.
David Ogilvy (Ogilvy on Advertising (Vintage))
A man who seeks only the light, while shirking his responsibilities, will never find illumination. And one who keep his eyes fixed upon the sun ends up blind..."
"It doesn't matter what others think -because that's what they will think, in any case. So, relax. Let the universe move about. Discover the joy of surprising yourself."
"The master says: “Make use of every blessing that God gave you today. A blessing cannot be saved. There is no bank where we can deposit blessings received, to use them when we see fit. If you do not use them, they will be irretrievably lost. God knows that we are creative artists when it comes to our lives. On one day, he gives us clay for sculpting, on another, brushes and canvas, or a pen. But we can never use clay on our canvas, nor pens in sculpture. Each day has its own miracle. Accept the blessings, work, and create your minor works of art today. Tomorrow you will receive others.”
“You are together because a forest is always stronger than a solitary tree,” the master answered. "The forest conserves humidity, resists the hurricane and helps the soil to be fertile. But what makes a tree strong is its roots. And the roots of a plant cannot help another plant to grow. To be joined together in the same purpose is to allow each person to grow in his own fashion, and that is the path of those who wish to commune with God.”
“If you must cry, cry like a child. You were once a child, and one of the first things you learned in life was to cry, because crying is a part of life. Never forget that you are free, and that to show your emotions is not shameful. Scream, sob loudly, make as much noise as you like. Because that is how children cry, and they know the fastest way to put their hearts at ease. Have you ever noticed how children stop crying? They stop because something distracts them. Something calls them to the next adventure. Children stop crying very quickly. And that's how it will be for you. But only if you can cry as children do.”
“If you are traveling the road of your dreams, be committed to it. Do not leave an open door to be used as an excuse such as, 'Well, this isn't exactly what I wanted. ' Therein are contained the seeds of defeat. “Walk your path. Even if your steps have to be uncertain, even if you know that you could be doing it better. If you accept your possibilities in the present, there is no doubt that you will improve in the future. But if you deny that you have limitations, you will never be rid of them. “Confront your path with courage, and don't be afraid of the criticism of others. And, above all, don't allow yourself to become paralyzed by self-criticism. “God will be with you on your sleepless nights, and will dry your tears with His love. God is for the valiant.”
"Certain things in life simply have to be experienced -and never explained. Love is such a thing."
"There is a moment in every day when it is difficult to see clearly: evening time. Light and darkness blend, and nothing is completely clear nor completely dark."
"But it's not important what we think, or what we do or what we believe in: each of us will die one day. Better to do as the old Yaqui Indians did: regard death as an advisor. Always ask: 'Since I'm going to die, what should I be doing now?'”
"When we follow our dreams, we may give the impression to others that we are miserable and unhappy. But what others think is not important. What is important is the joy in our heart.”
“There is a work of art each of us was destined to create. That is the central point of our life, and -no matter how we try to deceive ourselves -we know how important it is to our happiness. Usually, that work of art is covered by years of fears, guilt and indecision. But, if we decide to remove those things that do not belong, if we have no doubt as to our capability, we are capable of going forward with the mission that is our destiny. That is the only way to live with honor.
Paulo Coelho (Maktub)
No, you're not free," he said. "The string you're tied to is perhaps no longer than other people's. That's all. You're on a long piece of string, boss; you come and go, and think you're free, but you never cut the string in two. And when people don't cut that string . . ."
"I'll cut it some day!" I said defiantly, because Zorba's words had touched an open wound in me and hurt.
"It's difficult, boss, very difficult. You need a touch of folly to do that; folly, d'you see? You have to risk everything! But you've got such a strong head, it'll always get the better of you. A man's head is like a grocer; it keeps accounts: I've paid so much and earned so much and that means a profit of this much or a loss of that much! The head's a careful little shopkeeper; it never risks all it has, always keeps something in reserve. It never breaks the string. Ah no! It hangs on tight to it, the bastard! If the string slips out of its grasp, the head, poor devil, is lost, finished! But if a man doesn't break the string, tell me, what flavor is left in life? The flavor of camomile, weak camomile tea! Nothing like rum-that makes you see life inside out!
Nikos Kazantzakis (Zorba the Greek)
People save their strong opinions for women. Why don’t they look at men? If I have to read another book or see another movie about a woman being courageous, I’ll throw up. Where are the books and movies about the men who do this stuff? But no, it’s always about the women. They not only have to get through it, they’re supposed to stand up, become a symbol, allow their whole lives to become derailed and defined by it. What if you don’t want to? People bang on about women having the right to make choices—well, they need to realise women have the right to choose in these matters, too.
Kirsty Eagar (Summer Skin)
Once there was a boy,” said Jace.
Clary interrupted immediately. “A Shadowhunter boy?”
“Of course.” For a moment a bleak amusement colored his voice. Then it was gone. “When the boy was six years old, his father gave him a falcon to train. Falcons are raptors – killing birds, his father told him, the Shadowhunters of the sky.
“The falcon didn’t like the boy, and the boy didn’t like it, either. Its sharp beak made him nervous, and its bright eyes always seemed to be watching him. It would slash at him with beak and talons when he came near: For weeks his wrists and hands were always bleeding. He didn’t know it, but his father had selected a falcon that had lived in the wild for over a year, and thus was nearly impossible to tame. But the boy tried, because his father told him to make the falcon obedient, and he wanted to please his father.
“He stayed with the falcon constantly, keeping it awake by talking to it and even playing music to it, because a tired bird was meant to be easier to tame. He learned the equipment: the jesses, the hood, the brail, the leash that bound the bird to his wrist. He was meant to keep the falcon blind, but he couldn’t bring himself to do it – instead he tried to sit where the bird could see him as he touched and stroked its wings, willing it to trust him. Hee fed it from his hand, and at first it would not eat. Later it ate so savagely that its beak cut the skin of his palm. But the boy was glad, because it was progress, and because he wanted the bird to know him, even if the bird had to consume his blood to make that happen.
“He began to see that the falcon was beautiful, that its slim wings were built for the speed of flight, that it was strong and swift, fierce and gentle. When it dived to the ground, it moved like likght. When it learned to circle and come to his wrist, he neary shouted with delight Sometimes the bird would hope to his shoulder and put its beak in his hair. He knew his falcon loved him, and when he was certain it was not just tamed but perfectly tamed, he went to his father and showed him what he had done, expecting him to be proud.
“Instead his father took the bird, now tame and trusting, in his hands and broke its neck. ‘I told you to make it obedient,’ his father said, and dropped the falcon’s lifeless body to the ground. ‘Instead, you taught it to love you. Falcons are not meant to be loving pets: They are fierce and wild, savage and cruel. This bird was not tamed; it was broken.’
“Later, when his father left him, the boy cried over his pet, until eventually his father sent a servant to take the body of the bird away and bury it. The boy never cried again, and he never forgot what he’d learned: that to love is to destroy, and that to be loved is to be the one destroyed.
Cassandra Clare (City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments, #1))
This is the thing: If you have the option to not think about or even consider history, whether you learned it right or not, or whether it even deserves consideration, that’s how you know you’re on board the ship that serves hors d’oeuvres and fluffs your pillows, while others are out at sea, swimming or drowning, or clinging to little inflatable rafts that they have to take turns keeping inflated, people short of breath, who’ve never even heard of the words hors d’oeuvres or fluff. Then someone from up on the yacht says, "It's too bad those people down there are lazy, and not as smart and able as we are up here, we who have built these strong, large, stylish boats ourselves, we who float the seven seas like kings." And then someone else on board says something like, "But your father gave you this yacht, and these are his servants who brought the hors d'oeuvres." At which point that person gets tossed overboard by a group of hired thugs who'd been hired by the father who owned the yacht, hired for the express purpose of removing any and all agitators on the yacht to keep them from making unnecessary waves, or even referencing the father or the yacht itself. Meanwhile, the man thrown overboard begs for his life, and the people on the small inflatable rafts can't get to him soon enough, or they don't even try, and the yacht's speed and weight cause an undertow. Then in whispers, while the agitator gets sucked under the yacht, private agreements are made, precautions are measured out, and everyone quietly agrees to keep on quietly agreeing to the implied rule of law and to not think about what just happened. Soon, the father, who put these things in place, is only spoken of in the form of lore, stories told to children at night, under the stars, at which point there are suddenly several fathers, noble, wise forefathers. And the boat sails on unfettered.
Tommy Orange (There There)
I remembered what Morrie said during our visit: “The culture we have does not make people feel good about themselves. And you have to be strong enough to say if the culture doesn’t work, don’t buy it.”
"Morrie true to these words, had developed his own culture – long before he got sick. Discussion groups, walks with friends, dancing to his music in the Harvard Square church. He started a project called Greenhouse, where poor people could receive mental health services. He read books to find new ideas for his classes, visited with colleagues, kept up with old students, wrote letters to distant friends. He took more time eating and looking at nature and wasted not time in front of TV sitcoms or “Movies of the Week.” He had created a cocoon of human activities– conversations, interaction, affection–and it filled his life like an overflowing soup bowl.
If you have ever seen the play Peter Pan you will remember how the pirate chief was always making his dying speech because he was afraid that possibly when the time came for him to die he might not have time to get it off his chest. It is much the same with me, and so, although I am not at this moment dying, I shall be doing so one of these days and I want to send you a parting word of goodbye.
Remember, it is the last you will ever hear from me, so think it over.
I have had a most happy life and I want each one of you to have as happy a life too.
I believe that God put us in this jolly world to be happy and enjoy life. Happiness doesn't come from being rich, nor merely from being successful in your career, nor by self-indulgence. One step towards happiness is to make yourself healthy and strong while you are a boy, so that you can be useful and so can enjoy life when you are a man.
Nature study will show you how full of beautiful and wonderful things God has made the world for you to enjoy. Be contented with what you have got and make the best of it. Look on the bright side of things instead of the gloomy one.
But the real way to get happiness is by giving out happiness to other people. Try and leave this world a little better than you found it and when your turn come to die, you can die happy in feeling that at any rate you have not wasted your time but have done your best. "Be Prepared" in this way, to live happy and to die happy—stick to your Scout promise always—even after you have ceased to be a boy—and God help you do it.
We gather here today,” said Robert, reaching out his arms expansively, “to honor my son, Alexander Gideon Lightwood, who has single-handedly destroyed the forces of the Endarkened and who defeated in battle the son of Valentine Morgenstern. Alec saved the life of our third son, Max. Along with his parabatai, Jace Herondale, I am proud to say that my son is one of the greatest warriors I have ever known.” He turned and smiled at Alec and Magnus. “It takes more than a strong arm to make a great warrior,” he went on. “It takes a great mind and a great heart. My son has both. He is strong in courage, and strong in love. Which is why I also wanted to share our other good news with you. As of yesterday, my son became engaged to be married to his partner, Magnus Bane—”
A chorus of cheers broke out. Magnus accepted them with a modest wave of his fork. Alec slid down in his chair, his cheeks burning. Jace looked at him meditatively.
“Congratulations,” he said. “I kind of feel like I missed an opportunity.”
“W-what?” Alec stammered.
Jace shrugged. “I always knew you had a crush on me, and I kind of had a crush on you, too. I thought you should know.”
“What?” Alec said again.
Clary sat up straight. “You know,” she said, “do you think there’s any chance that you two could ...” She gestured between Jace and Alec. “It would be kind of hot.”
“No,” Magnus said. “I am a very jealous warlock.”
“We’re parabatai,” Alec said, regaining his voice. “The Clave would—I mean—it’s illegal.”
“Oh, come on,” said Jace. “The Clave would let you do anything you wanted. Look, everyone loves you.” He gestured out at the room full of Shadowhunters. They were all cheering as Robert spoke, some of them wiping away tears. A girl at one of the smaller tables held up a sign that said, ALEC LIGHTWOOD, WE LOVE YOU.
Cassandra Clare (City of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments, #6))
And I got a strong feeling of the passage of time. Not the time of clouds and sun and rain and the moving stars that adorn the night, not spring when its time comes or fall, not the time that makes leaves bud on branches and then tears them off or folds and unfolds and colors the flowers, but the time inside me, the time you can't see but it molds us. The time that rolls on and on in people's hearts and makes them roll along with it and gradually changes us inside and out and makes us what we'll be on our dying day.
Mercè Rodoreda (The Time of the Doves)
I've been called promiscuous. Not a pretty word, is it? Makes you think of the gloop that comes out of your nose or what comes up your throat when you're gagging, if you're trying to swallow down something you didn't necessarily mean to swallow. Promiscuous: your face has to pucker when you say it.
I prefer to think of myself as an adventurer. Charting the souls of so many of god's creatures, and of the floaty beings that populate the land of notions. It's a job. It's a calling. It takes strong thigh muscles, intelligence, cunning, a good pair of boots. It takes heart, in fact. The heart to stay on. To not be defeated.
Sylvia Brownrigg (Ten Women Who Shook The World)
The wish of death had been palpably hanging over this otherwise idyllic paradise for a good many years.
All business and politics is personal in the Philippines.
If it wasn't for the cheap beer and lovely girls one of us would spend an hour in this dump.
They [Jehovah's Witnesses] get some kind of frequent flyer points for each person who signs on.
I'm not lazy. I'm just motivationally challenged.
I'm not fat. I just have lots of stored energy.
You don't get it do you? What people think of you matters more than the reality. Marilyn.
Despite standing firm at the final hurdle Marilyn was always ready to run the race.
After answering the question the woman bent down behind the stand out of sight of all, and crossed herself.
It is amazing what you can learn in prison. Merely through casual conversation Rick had acquired the fundamentals of embezzlement, fraud and armed hold up.
He wondered at the price of honesty in a grey world whose half tones changed faster than the weather.
The banality of truth somehow always surprises the news media before they tart it up.
You've ridden jeepneys in peak hour. Where else can you feel up a fourteen-year-old schoolgirl without even trying? [Ralph Winton on the Philippines finer points]
Life has no bottom. No matter how bad things are or how far one has sunk things can always get worse.
You could call the Oval Office an information rain shadow.
In the Philippines, a whole layer of criminals exists who consider that it is their right to rob you unhindered. If you thwart their wicked desires, to their way of thinking you have stolen from them and are evil.
There's honest and dishonest corruption in this country.
Don't enjoy it too much for it's what we love that usually kills us.
The good guys don't always win wars but the winners always make sure that they go down in history as the good guys.
The Philippines is like a woman. You love her and hate her at the same time.
I never believed in all my born days that ideas of truth and justice were only pretty words to brighten a much darker and more ubiquitous reality.
The girl was experiencing the first flushes of love while Rick was at least feeling the methadone equivalent.
Although selfishness and greed are more ephemeral than the real values of life their effects on the world often outlive their origins.
Miriam's a meteor job. Somewhere out there in space there must be a meteor with her name on it.
Tsismis or rumours grow in this land like tropical weeds.
Surprises are so common here that nothing is surprising.
A crooked leader who can lead is better than a crooked one who can't.
Although I always followed the politics of Hitler I emulate the drinking habits of Churchill.
It [Australia] is the country that does the least with the most.
Rereading the brief lines that told the story in the manner of Fox News reporting the death of a leftist Rick's dark imagination took hold.
Didn't your mother ever tell you never to trust a man who doesn't drink?
She must have been around twenty years old, was tall for a Filipina and possessed long black hair framing her smooth olive face. This specter of loveliness walked with the assurance of the knowingly beautiful. Her crisp and starched white uniform dazzled in the late-afternoon light and highlighted the natural tan of her skin. Everything about her was in perfect order. In short, she was dressed up like a pox doctor’s clerk. Suddenly, she stopped, turned her head to one side and spat comprehensively into the street. The tiny putrescent puddle contrasted strongly with the studied aplomb of its all-too-recent owner, suggesting all manner of disease and decay.
John Richard Spencer
To make matters worse, everyone she talks to has a different opinion about the nature of his problem and what she should do about it. Her clergyperson may tell her, “Love heals all difficulties. Give him your heart fully, and he will find the spirit of God.” Her therapist speaks a different language, saying, “He triggers strong reactions in you because he reminds you of your father, and you set things off in him because of his relationship with his mother. You each need to work on not pushing each other’s buttons.” A recovering alcoholic friend tells her, “He’s a rage addict. He controls you because he is terrified of his own fears. You need to get him into a twelve-step program.” Her brother may say to her, “He’s a good guy. I know he loses his temper with you sometimes—he does have a short fuse—but you’re no prize yourself with that mouth of yours. You two need to work it out, for the good of the children.” And then, to crown her increasing confusion, she may hear from her mother, or her child’s schoolteacher, or her best friend: “He’s mean and crazy, and he’ll never change. All he wants is to hurt you. Leave him now before he does something even worse.” All of these people are trying to help, and they are all talking about the same abuser. But he looks different from each angle of view.
Lundy Bancroft (Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men)
When you push someone's head under water for 5 minutes, they will drown. It doesn't matter if the person is a sinner or a saint. It's just a natural process. If their head is under water, the lack of oxygen will make them drown. That rule applies to everyone, good or bad, equally. It doesn't matter if the drowning person has strong moral fiber.
And it doesn't matter if you're a good or a bad person, once you become addicted to drugs. What happens next is inevitable. It's a natural process that happens in everyone's brain, once the drugs take over. So don't ever fool yourself into thinking that only weak or bad people get addicted.
Oliver Markus Malloy (Bad Choices Make Good Stories - The Heroin Scene in Fort Myers (How the Great American Opioid Epidemic of The 21st Century Began #2))
I'll sing you a song of the long ago -
Seven shine the shiners, oh!
What did the Seven do way back when?
Why, they wove the Charter then!
Five for the warp, from beginning to end.
Two for the woof, to make and mend.
That's Seven, but what of the Nine -
What of the two who chose not to shine?
The Eighth did hide, hide all away,
But the Seven caught him and made him pay.
The Ninth was strong and fought with might,
But lone Orannis was put out of the light,
Broken in two and buried under hill,
For ever to lie there, wishing us ill.
Garth Nix (Lirael (Abhorsen, #2))
But the truth is it’s hard for me to know what I really think about any of the stuff I’ve written. It’s always tempting to sit back and make finger-steeples and invent impressive sounding theoretical justifications for what one does, but in my case most of it’d be horseshit. As time passes I get less and less nuts about anything I’ve published, and it gets harder to know for sure when its antagonistic elements are in there because they serve a useful purpose and when their just covert manifestations of this "look-at-me-please-love-me-I-hate you" syndrome I still sometimes catch myself falling into. Anyway, but what I think I meant by "antagonize" or "aggravate" has to do with the stuff in the TV essay about the younger writer trying to struggle against the cultural hegemony of TV. One thing TV does is help us deny that we’re lonely. With televised images, we can have the facsimile of a relationship without the work of a real relationship. It’s an anesthesia of "form." The interesting thing is why we’re so desperate for this anesthetic against loneliness. You don’t have to think very hard to realize that our dread of both relationships and loneliness, both of which are like sub-dreads of our dread of being trapped inside a self (a psychic self, not just a physical self), has to do with angst about death, the recognition that I’m going to die, and die very much alone, and the rest of the world is going to go merrily on without me. I’m not sure I could give you a steeple-fingered theoretical justification, but I strongly suspect a big part of real art fiction’s job is to aggravate this sense of entrapment and loneliness and death in people, to move people to countenance it, since any possible human redemption requires us first to face what’s dreadful, what we want to deny.
David Foster Wallace
Boundaries—You respect my boundaries, and when you’re not clear about what’s okay and not okay, you ask. You’re willing to say no. Reliability—You do what you say you’ll do. At work, this means staying aware of your competencies and limitations so you don’t overpromise and are able to deliver on commitments and balance competing priorities. Accountability—You own your mistakes, apologize, and make amends. Vault—You don’t share information or experiences that are not yours to share. I need to know that my confidences are kept, and that you’re not sharing with me any information about other people that should be confidential. Integrity—You choose courage over comfort. You choose what is right over what is fun, fast, or easy. And you choose to practice your values rather than simply professing them. Nonjudgment—I can ask for what I need, and you can ask for what you need. We can talk about how we feel without judgment. Generosity—You extend the most generous interpretation possible to the intentions, words, and actions of others. Self-trust is often a casualty
Brené Brown (Rising Strong: The Reckoning. The Rumble. The Revolution.)
I wanted so much to live. I wanted so much to stay and not to leave. In a moment no answer would matter to me, but just the same, I wanted to know what I guess any dying person wants to know.
"Answer this, Ellimist: Did I . . . did I make a difference? My life, and my . . . my death . . . was I worth it? Did my life really matter?"
"Yes," he said. "You were brave. You were strong. You were good. You mattered."
"Yeah. Okay, then. Okay, then.
SPIDER-MAN (thinking): I can bench press a car. I can climb up the
side of a wall. Fight twenty guys to a standstill. Swing across chasms thirty stories deep. Feel a bullet coming my way and move fast enough to get clear. But something in her makes me gentle. Makes me shy. Makes me strong. Makes me happy to be alive. And maybe that's it. Maybe that's what it really comes down to. She makes me. Makes me whole . . . She completes me . . .
So here's the thing, God . . . I know I complain a lot, and I know that you and me, we've got issues, but right now, just for tonight . . . Thank you for her. Thank you. Amazing Spider-Man #53 (Volume 2)
J. Michael Straczynski
... You did what none of us could do.”
“Only because the poison didn’t affect me the same way—”
“Does that matter? We couldn’t do it. You did. We saw what you looked like when you got out. How many times did you fall in order to batter your knees like that? But you kept going.”
“That makes me stubborn, not strong,” she mumbled.
“Strength comes in many forms...
Annette Marie (Dark Tempest (Red Winter Trilogy, #2))
I paint my nails black,
I dye my hair a darker shade of brown
'Cause you like your women Spanish, dark, strong and proud
I paint the sky black
You said if you could have your way
You'd make a night time of today
So it'd suit the mood of your soul
Oh, what can I do?
Nothing, my sparrow blue
Oh, what can I do?
Life is beautiful but you don't have a clue
Sun and ocean blue
Their magnificence, it don't make sense to you
Black beauty, oh oh oh
Black beauty, oh oh oh
I paint the house black
My wedding dress black leather too
You have no room for light
Love is lost on you
I keep my lips red
The same like cherries in the spring
Darling, you can't let everything
Seem so dark blue
Oh, what can I do?
To turn you on or get through to you
Oh, what can I do?
Life is beautiful but you don't have a clue
Sun and ocean blue
Their magnificence, it don't make sense to you
Black beauty, oh oh oh
Black beauty, oh oh oh
Black beauty, ah ah
Black beauty, ah ah
Black beauty, ah ah ah ah
Black beauty, baby
Black beauty, baby
Oh, what can I do?
Life is beautiful but you don't have a clue
Sun and ocean blue
Their magnificence, it don't make sense to you
Black beauty, oh oh oh
Black beauty, oh oh oh
Black beauty, oh oh oh
Black beauty, oh oh oh
Lana Del Rey
I will tell you, too, that every fairy tale has a moral. The moral of my story may be that love is a constraint, as strong as any belt. And this is certainly true, which makes it a good moral. Or it may be that we are all constrained in some way, either in our bodies, or in our hearts or minds, an Empress as well as the woman who does her laundry. ... Perhaps it is that a shoemaker's daughter can bear restraint less easily than an aristocrat, that what he can bear for three years she can endure only for three days. ... Or perhaps my moral is that our desire for freedom is stronger than love or pity. That is a wicked moral, or so the Church has taught us. But I do not know which moral is the correct one. And that is also the way of a fairy tale.
Theodora Goss (In the Forest of Forgetting)
They tell you that if you're assaulted, there's a kingdom, a courthouse, high up on a mountain where justice can be found. Most victims are turned away at the base of the mountain, told they don't have enough evidence to make the journey. Some victims sacrifice everything to make the climb, but are slain along the way, the burden of proof impossibly high. I set off, accompanied by a strong team, who helped carry the weight, until I made it, the summit, the place few victims reached, the promised land. We'd gotten an arrest, a guilty verdict, the small percentage that gets a conviction. It was time to see what justice looked like. We threw open the doors, and there was nothing. It took the breath out of me. Even worse was looking back down to the bottom of the mountain, where I imagined expectant victims looking up, waving cheering, expectantly. What do you see? What does it feel like? What happens when you arrive? What could I tell them? A system does not exist for you. The pain of this process couldn't be worth it. These crimes are not crimes but inconveniences. You can fight and fight and for what? When you are assaulted, run and never look back. This was not one bad sentence. This was the best we could hope for.
Chanel Miller (Know My Name)
Did you have a rough month? I did :( but, you know what? There’s no time to dwell on a missed opportunity or worry about what I should’ve done or said, beating myself up & making myself miserable about my mistakes. That doesn’t work. So will take notes from that, put it behind me, move on & finish the year STRONG
You did the right thing," Manthara told me.
"No matter what is said about you, Kaikeyi, remember that you did the right thing. You are not wicked."
"Then why do I feel wicked?" I whispered.
"Because those who are good question themselves. Because those who are good always wonder if there was a better way, a way that could have helped more and hurt less. That feeling is why you are good." She too pressed a kiss to my forehead.
"This will be terrible, but you are so strong. You can make it through.
Vaishnavi Patel (Kaikeyi)
In the Bhagavad Gita they say, "The mind under control is your best friend, the mind wandering about is your worst enemy." Make it your best friend, to the point where you can rely on it. Your mind makes you strong from within. It is your wise companion. The sacrifices you make will be rewarded. Life doesn't change, but your perception does. It's all about what you focus on. Withdraw from the world's influence and no longer be controlled by your emotions. If you can grab the wheel of your mind, you can steer the direction of where your life will go.
Wim Hof (Becoming the Iceman)
I have the right to try to overcome the challenges in my own life, she continued fiercely. Who's to say that's not what makes as strong and decent? How much character and strength do you think someone who's never had any sorrow or loss of hardship possesses, My lord?
Joey W. Hill (A Mermaid's Kiss (Daughters of Arianne, #1))
At the time, it was romance novels that reminded me. Since you’ve never read one, that probably sounds weird. But it’s all about emotion, Dan—the whole thing, the whole story, the whole point. Just book after book about people facing their issues head on, and handling it, and never, ever failing—at least, not for good. I felt like my world had already ended unhappily, but every book I read about someone who’d been through the worst and found happiness anyway seemed to say the opposite. Like my story didn’t need to be over if I didn’t want it to. Like, if I could just be strong enough to reclaim my emotions, and to work through them, maybe I’d be okay again. That’s kind of what inspired me to, er, keep going. To make good choices, even when feeling better seemed impossible.
Talia Hibbert (Take a Hint, Dani Brown (The Brown Sisters, #2))
In my experience, God rarely makes our fear disappear. Instead, He asks us to be strong and take courage. What is courage? As Ordinary discovered, courage is not the absence of fear; rather, it's choosing to act in spite of the fear. You could say that without fear, you can't have genuine courage.
Bruce H. Wilkinson
Your daddy is standing in a swimming pool out a little bit from the edge. You are, let’s say, three years old and standing on the edge of the pool. Daddy holds out his arms to you and says, “Jump, I’ll catch you. I promise.” Now, how do you make your daddy look good at that moment? Answer: trust him and jump. Have faith in him and jump. That makes him look strong and wise and loving. But if you won’t jump, if you shake your head and run away from the edge, you make your daddy look bad. It looks like you are saying, “he can’t catch me” or “he won’t catch me” or “it’s not a good idea to do what he tells me to do.” And all three of those make your dad look bad.
But you don’t want to make God look bad. So you trust him. Then you make him look good–which he really is. And that is what we mean when we say, “Faith glorifies God” or “Faith gives God glory.” It makes him look as good as he really is. So trusting God is really important.
And the harder it seems for him to fulfill his promise, the better he looks when you trust him. Suppose that you are at the deep end of a pool by the diving board. You are four years old and can’t swim, and your daddy is at the other end of the pool. Suddenly a big, mean dog crawls under the fence and shows his teeth and growls at you and starts coming toward you to bite you. You crawl up on the diving board and walk toward the end to get away from him. The dog puts his front paws up on the diving board. Just then, your daddy sees what’s happening and calls out, “Johnny, jump in the water. I’ll get you.”
Now, you have never jumped from one meter high and you can’t swim and your daddy is not underneath you and this water is way over your head. How do you make your daddy look good in that moment? You jump. And almost as soon as you hit the water, you feel his hands under your arms and he treads water holding you safely while someone chases the dog away. Then he takes you to the side of the pool.
We give glory to God when we trust him to do what he has promised to do–especially when all human possibilities are exhausted. Faith glorifies God. That is why God planned for faith to be the way we are justified.
It's important that you identify what the best things are in your life. The things that do more than just get you through the day. The things that make you want the next day to come. And once you identify those things, it's critical that you nurture them and keep them strong.
Michael Baron (When You Went Away)
The world is getting weirder. Darker every single day. Things are spinning around faster and faster, and threatening to go completely awry. Falcons and falconers. The center cannot hold. But in my corner of the country, I'm trying to nail things down. I don't want to live in Victor's jungle, even if it did eventually devour him. I don't want to live in a world where the strong rule and the weak cower. I'd rather make a place where things are a little quieter. Where trolls stay the hell under their bridges and where elves don't come swooping out to snatch children from their cradles. Where vampires respect the limits, and where the faeries mind their p's and q's. My name is Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden. Conjure by it at your own risk. When things get strange, when what goes bump in the night flicks on the lights, when no one else can help you, give me a call. I'm in the book.
Jim Butcher (Storm Front (The Dresden Files, #1))
You are my life.” Though his words were barely a whisper, they seemed to echo from somewhere deep within him, enveloping my body and infusing me with something unshakable. “There is nothing I would not do to make you happy. Before I met you, my world was a string of days that were gray and empty. I had nothing to look forward to, and I cannot tell you what it was like, facing down eternity alone. Every day I wished for you. Every day I held on in hopes that eventually we would meet. And when I finally found you...”
He leaned in and kissed me again, astenderly as before. His hand slid underneath my shirt, splaying across my stomach, but the touch wasn’t sexual. It was as if he were trying to memorize me, just as I was trying to memorize him.
“I have existed for more eons than I remember. I have seen the sun rise and fall so many times that the days lost all meaning. For so long, they passed me by in a blur. But that night we met by the river—the night you gave up yourself in order to save a virtual stranger—my heart began to beat again.”
He took my hand and pressed it against his chest, and there it was—thump thump, thump thump, strong and beautiful. I would’ve given anything to keep his heart beating. The black abyss that had become my world in those hours I’d thought he was dead had faded, but it was a scar I would always bear. I couldn’t go back to that. Even if I had Milo, I would never have another Henry.
Aimee Carter (The Goddess Inheritance (Goddess Test, #3))
Once upon a time there was a king who had three beautiful daughters.
No, no, wait.
Once upon a time there were three bears who lived in a wee house in the woods.
Once upon a time there were three soldiers, tramping together down the road after the war.
Once upon a time there were three little pigs.
Once upon a time there were three brothers.
No, this is it. This is the variation I want.
Once upon a time there were three Beautiful children, two boys and a girl. When each baby was born, the parents rejoiced, the heavens rejoiced, even the fairies rejoiced. The fairies came to christening parties and gave the babies magical gifts.
Bounce, effort, and snark.
Contemplation and enthusiasm. Ambition and strong coffee.
Sugar, curiosity, and rain.
And yet, there was a witch.
There's always a witch.
This which was the same age as the beautiful children, and as she and they grew, she was jealous of the girl, and jealous of the boys, too. They were blessed with all these fairy gifts, gifts the witch had been denied at her own christening.
The eldest boy was strong and fast, capable and handsome. Though it's true, he was exceptionally short.
The next boy was studious and open hearted. Though it's true, he was an outsider.
And the girl was witty, Generous, and ethical. Though it's true, she felt powerless.
The witch, she was none of these things, for her parents had angered the fairies. No gifts were ever bestowed upon her. She was lonely. Her only strength was her dark and ugly magic.
She confuse being spartan with being charitable, and gave away her possessions without truly doing good with them.
She confuse being sick with being brave, and suffered agonies while imagining she merited praise for it.
She confused wit with intelligence, and made people laugh rather than lightening their hearts are making them think.
Hey magic was all she had, and she used it to destroy what she most admired. She visited each young person in turn in their tenth birthday, but did not harm them out right. The protection of some kind fairy - the lilac fairy, perhaps - prevented her from doing so.
What she did instead was cursed them.
"When you are sixteen," proclaimed the witch in a rage of jealousy, "you shall prick your finger on a spindle - no, you shall strike a match - yes, you will strike a match and did in its flame."
The parents of the beautiful children were frightened of the curse, and tried, as people will do, to avoid it. They moved themselves and the children far away, to a castle on a windswept Island. A castle where there were no matches.
There, surely, they would be safe.
There, Surely, the witch would never find them.
But find them she did. And when they were fifteen, these beautiful children, just before their sixteenth birthdays and when they're nervous parents not yet expecting it, the jealous which toxic, hateful self into their lives in the shape of a blonde meeting.
The maiden befriended the beautiful children. She kissed him and took them on the boat rides and brought them fudge and told them stories.
Then she gave them a box of matches.
The children were entranced, for nearly sixteen they have never seen fire.
Go on, strike, said the witch, smiling. Fire is beautiful. Nothing bad will happen.
Go on, she said, the flames will cleanse your souls.
Go on, she said, for you are independent thinkers.
Go on, she said. What is this life we lead, if you did not take action?
And they listened.
They took the matches from her and they struck them. The witch watched their beauty burn,
Their open hearts,
Their dreams for the future.
She watched it all disappear in smoke.
E. Lockhart (We Were Liars)
talk like that again! You’re not allowed to use the words ‘I’ and ‘die’ in the same sentence. You’re not allowed to die before me, ever! You think you couldn’t bear to lose our sons? Well, I couldn’t lose you and stay sane. Kitten, I know what life is without you. “If I died…” Shocked, Beth tried to stop his words, but his finger pressed against her lips, halting her words. “If I died,” he continued, “you would be strong enough to carry on and raise our children. Eventually, you would make it through life until we could be together again. Me, on the other hand, I am an asshole. If I couldn’t have you, then there wouldn’t be anything of me left to give anyone.
Jamie Begley (King (The VIP Room, #3))
...condemning Nyasha to whoredom, making her a victim of her femaleness, just as I had felt victimised at home in the days when Nhamo went to school and I grew my maize. The victimisation, I saw, was universal. It didn't depend on poverty, on lack of education or on tradition. It didn't depend on any of the things I had thought it depended on. Men took it everywhere with them. Even heroes like Babamukuru did it. And that was the problem. You had to admit Nyasha had no tact. You had to admit she was altogether too volatile and strong-willed. You couldn't ignore the fact that she had no respect for Babamukuru when she ought to have had lots of it. But what I didn't like was the way that all conflicts came back to the question of femaleness. Femaleness as opposed and inferior to maleness.
Tsitsi Dangarembga (Nervous Conditions)
The young people
nowadays – men and women, amateurs and pros – generally fall
into one of two categories: either they don’t know what it is
that’s most important to them, or they know but don’t have the
power to go after it. But this girl’s different. She knows what’s
most important to her and she knows how to get it, but she
doesn’t let on what it is. I’m pretty sure it’s not money, or
success, or a normal happy life, or a strong man, or some weird
religion, but that’s about all I can tell you. She’s like smoke: you
think you’re seeing her clearly enough, but when you reach for
her there’s nothing there. That’s a sort of strength, I suppose.
But it makes her hard to figure out.
Ryū Murakami (Audition)
People aren’t all brought up the same way, and they have different perspectives on what is right and wrong. That being the case, you can’t assume anything about anyone without having some concrete basis to make a determination. - Raising A Strong Daughter: What Fathers Should Know by Finlay Gow JD and Kailin Gow MA
You want to know why I love you. You brought light into my formerly gray existence.” He touched her cheek. “Until you, I never knew a woman could be both friend and lover. You saved me from the dark. I love you for what you are; strong and brave and kind. When I walk into a room and you are there, my heart lifts. When I’m away, just thinking of you makes me smile. Being with you makes me happy. No one else has ever done that. When I am with you, I am whole. Better than whole, for on my own, I’m a worthless fool.
Carolyn Jewel (Lord Ruin (The Sinclair Sisters, #1))
The tavern keeper, a wiry man with a sharp-nosed face, round, prominent ears and a receding hairline that combined to give him a rodentlike look, glanced at him, absentmindedly wiping a tankard with a grubby cloth. Will raised an eyebrow as he looked at it. He'd be willing to bet the cloth was transferring more dirt to the tankard then it was removing.
"Drink?" the tavern keeper asked. He set the tankard down on the bar, as if in preparation for filling it with whatever the stranger might order.
"Not out of that," Will said evenly, jerking a thumb at the tankard. Ratface shrugged, shoved it aside and produced another from a rack above the bar.
"Suit yourself. Ale or ouisgeah?"
Ousigeah, Will knew, was the strong malt spirit they distilled and drank in Hibernia. In a tavern like this, it might be more suitable for stripping runt than drinking.
"I'd like coffee," he said, noticing the battered pot by the fire at one end of the bar.
"I've got ale or ouisgeah. Take your pick." Ratface was becoming more peremptory. Will gestured toward the coffeepot. The tavern keeper shook his head.
"None made," he said. "I'm not making a new pot just for you."
"But he's drinking coffee," Will said, nodding to one side.
Inevitably the tavern keeper glanced that way, to see who he was talking about. The moment his eyes left Will, an iron grip seized the front of his shirt collar, twisting it into a knot that choked him and at the same time dragged him forward, off balance, over the bar,. The stranger's eyes were suddenly very close. He no longer looked boyish. The eyes were dark brown, almost black in this dim light, and the tavern keeper read danger there. A lot of danger. He heard a soft whisper of steel, and glancing down past the fist that held him so tightly, he glimpsed the heavy, gleaming blade of the saxe knife as the stranger laid it on the bar between them.
He looked around for possible help. But there was nobody else at the bar, and none of the customers at the tables had noticed what was going on.
"Aach...mach co'hee," he choked.
The tension on his collar eased and the stranger said softly, "What was that?"
"I'll...make...coffee," he repeated, gasping for breath.
The stranger smiled. It was a pleasant smile, but the tavern keep noticed that it never reached those dark eyes.
"That's wonderful. I'll wait here.
John Flanagan (Halt's Peril (Ranger's Apprentice, #9))
There is so much I hope to teach you, little one. I hope that I may do so by example, but I feel the need
to put the words to
paper as well. It is a quirk of mine, one which I expect you will recognize and find amusing by the time
you read this letter.
Be conscientious. There is never anything to be gained by taking the easy road. (Unless, of course, the
road is an easy one to begin with. Roads sometimes are. If that should be the case, do not forge a new,
more difficult one. Only martyrs go out
looking for trouble.)
Love your siblings. You have two already, and God willing, there will be more. Love them well, for they
are your blood,
and when you are unsure, or times are difficult, they will be the ones to stand by your side.
Laugh. Laugh out loud, and laugh often. And when circumstances call for silence, turn your laugh into a
Don't settle. Know what you want and reach for it. And if you don't know what you want, be patient.
The answers will
come to you in time, and you may find that your heart s desire has been right under your nose all the
And remember, always remember that you have a mother and a father who love each other and love
I feel you growing restless. Your father is making strange gasping sounds and will surely lose his temper
altogether if I
do not move from my escritoire to my bed.
Welcome to the world, little one. We are all so delighted to make your acquaintance.
Julia Quinn (To Sir Phillip, With Love (Bridgertons, #5))
She knows Daddy better than I do. I think it's because she's felt since we were children that our Daddy maybe loved me more than he loves her. This isn't true, and she knows that now--people love different people in different ways--but it must have seemed that way to her when we were little. I look as though I just can't make it, she looks like can't nothing stop her. If you look helpless, people react to you in one way and if you look strong, or just come on strong, people react to you in another way, and, since you don't see what they see, this can be very painful. I think that's why Sis was always in front of that damn mirror all the time, when we were kids. She was saying, 'I don't care. I got me.' Of course, this only made her come on stronger than ever, which was the last effect she desired: but that's the way we are and that's how we can sometimes get so fucked up. Anyway, she's past all that. She knows who she is, or, at least, she knows who she damn well isn't.
James Baldwin (If Beale Street Could Talk)
But I want you to know," Cleo continued, "that there is hope. And that I am living proof of that hope. Because, even though I was forced into this marriage against my will, I have come to know Prince Magnus Lukas Damora very well these last months. And one thing I've learned is that Prince Magnus is nothing like his father. Prince Magnus is brave and compassionate, and he truly wants what's just and best for this kingdom. Kindness is what makes a good king who will put the needs and rights of his people before his own desires.
Morgan Rhodes (Frozen Tides (Falling Kingdoms, #4))
Empowered Women 101: If they made you an option you will always be an option vs. the person they really wanted. Don't ever settle for someone that makes you go through hell only to stay with you because they don't have the confidence to go get what they really want. Fear will always follow your rules when they know they don't have options that make them stay comfortable. You won't grow real love in this type of a relationship. You will water weeds and call it a garden.
Shannon L. Alder
Love is the divine Mother's arms; when those arms are spread, every soul falls into them.
The Sufis of all ages have been known for their beautiful personality. It does not mean that among them there have not been people with great powers, wonderful powers and wisdom. But beyond all that, what is most known of the Sufis is the human side of their nature: that tact which attuned them to wise and foolish, to poor and rich, to strong and weak -- to all. They met everyone on his own plane, they spoke to everyone in his own language. What did Jesus teach when he said to the fishermen, 'Come hither, I will make you fishers of men?' It did not mean, 'I will teach you ways by which you get the best of man.' It only meant: your tact, your sympathy will spread its arms before every soul who comes, as mother's arms are spread out for her little ones.
Hazrat Inayat Khan
Now I'm dreaming, will I ever find you now?
I walk in circles but I'll never figure out
What I mean to you, do I belong
I try to fight this but I know I'm not that strong
And I feel so helpless here
Watch my eyes are filled with fear
Tell me do you feel the same
Hold me in your arms again
I need your love
I need your time
When everything's wrong
You make it right
I feel so high
I come alive
I need to be free with you tonight
I need your love
I’ve shared more breakfasts with you than
any woman I’ve dated in the last year and a half,” Mitch returned.
“I know what you look like in the morning. I know what you act like
when you come home tired after work. I know that you pick the least
expensive thing on the menu either to be nice or to be annoying in
order to put me off. But I think it’s to be nice because you
are nice and also both times you thought you’d be spending
time with just me, you dressed in a way that would not, in any way,
put me off. I know you cuddle when you’re sleeping. I know you take
only milk in your coffee and you make coffee strong. I know you’re
really good with kids. And I know that you use music and scents to
regulate your mood. So I’m thinking this is not a first date. This
is more like us hittin’ the six month mark. And the six month mark
is when you stop talkin’ about shit that really doesn’t matter and
start talkin’ about shit that means everything.
There’s all this pressure in our society to be beautiful, to be strong, to be sexy. So we spend our time and money on trying to become these things. We put on the high heels, the suits, the makeup, the mask. Then, we feel more awkward than confident, so we drink away our anxieties. That doesn’t make us look any sexier – it just makes us stop caring about how we look.
Everyone is beautiful. Everyone is sexy. Everyone is strong. It’s lunacy. We’re all running around trying to become something that we already are.
You know what’s really sexy? A person who’s 100% comfortable with themselves. And you know what’s really funny? It is just as time consuming and difficult to learn to accept yourself as it is to pretend to be someone else. The only difference is – with self acceptance, one day, it’s not hard anymore. One day, you feel like your sexiest, strongest self just rolling out of bed in the morning.
You’re either going to spend the little time you have in your life on trying to know yourself or trying to hide yourself. The choice is yours. You can’t do both.
And you know what’s really amazing about choosing self-love? You’ll be setting an example for all the people around you and all the kids of the coming generation. You’ll be part of a revolution to take back the precious moments of our lives out of the hands of shame-inducing advertisers and back into the hands and hearts of real people like you, like me, like all of us.
I know you’ve dreamt about changing the world. So this is your chance. Learn to love yourself, accept yourself, and unleash your strongest, sexiest self. It’s in there. You just have to believe it.
I remember your parents' funeral, JJ. It was the hardest one I'd ever done in my career... I didn't think I was going to make it through the service, but I looked out and saw you, JJ, standing there in the pew. Your eyes were dry. Your chin was up. I saw such strength. I wondered what your parents did that made you so strong at such a young age. But then I noticed you were holding Phillip's hand tightly, just like you are now, and I knew where all that strength came from. It's from each other. You get strength from each other. Whatever you face in life, I hope you face it like you are now. Han in hand. United. If you do that, you'll make it. You'll have a wonderful marriage.
Jillian Dodd (That Wedding (That Boy, #2))
I’ve had a lot of sucks in life
My parents died almost four years ago, right after I turned seven
With every day that goes by I remember them less and less
Like my mom…I remember that she used to sing.
She was always happy,
Other than what I’ve seen of her in pictures, I don’t really remember what she looks like.
Or what she smells like
Or what she sounds like
And my Dad
I remember more things about him, but only because I thought he was the most amazing man in the world.
He was smart. He knew the answer to everything.
And he was strong.
And he played the guitar.
I used to love lying in bed at night, listening to the music coming from the living room.
I miss that the most.
After they died, I went to live with my grandma and grandpaul.
Don’t get me wrong…I love my grandparents.
But I loved my home even more.
It reminded me of them.
Of my mom and dad.
My brother had just started college the year they died.
He knew how much I wanted to be home.
He knew how much it meant to me,
so he made it happen.
I was only seven at the time, so I let him do it.
I let him give up his entire life just so I could be home.
Just so I wouldn’t be so sad.
If I could do it all over again, I would have never let him take me.
He deserved a shot, too. A shot at being young.
But sometimes when you’re seven, the world isn’t in 3-D.
I owe a lot to my brother.
A lot of ‘thank you’d’
A lot of ‘I’m sorry’s’
A lot of ‘I love you’s’
I owe a lot to you, Will
For making the sucks in my life a little less suckier
And my sweet?
My sweet is right now.
Colleen Hoover (Point of Retreat (Slammed, #2))
Just another case of sometimes. Sometimes fates plans are different from your own. Sometimes the beautiful things are right in your reach but you settle for things that are good enough to make you happy. Sometimes people that should be trying harder than ever, give up on you. Sometimes feelings are so strong that you decide its time to give up. Sometimes giving up is the worst thing you can do. Sometimes people think it'll all work out. Sometimes people think it'll get better in time. Sometimes people do what they can do today, tomorrow. Sometimes the most beautiful emotions are the ones that are most neglected. Sometimes people mistaken love for lust. Sometimes people miscommunicate. Sometimes people say things that they don't really mean. Sometimes people say things that they mean and just say them wrong. Sometimes people think they've moved on. Sometimes people think that they will never move on. Sometimes people share they're lives with people that they don't really love. Sometimes people let the people they really love pass through they're lives. Sometimes people chose to stay alive. Sometimes people chose to live.
Now, my dear little girl, you have come to an age when the inward life develops and when some people (and on the whole those who have most of a destiny) find that all is not a bed of roses. Among other things there will be waves of terrible sadness, which last sometimes for days; irritation, insensibility, etc., etc., which taken together form a melancholy. Now, painful as it is, this is sent to us for an enlightenment. It always passes off, and we learn about life from it, and we ought to learn a great many good things if we react on it right. (For instance, you learn how good a thing your home is, and your country, and your brothers, and you may learn to be more considerate of other people, who, you now learn, may have their inner weaknesses and sufferings, too.) Many persons take a kind of sickly delight in hugging it; and some sentimental ones may even be proud of it, as showing a fine sorrowful kind of sensibility. Such persons make a regular habit of the luxury of woe. That is the worst possible reaction on it. It is usually a sort of disease, when we get it strong, arising from the organism having generated some poison in the blood; and we mustn't submit to it an hour longer than we can help, but jump at every chance to attend to anything cheerful or comic or take part in anything active that will divert us from our mean, pining inward state of feeling. When it passes off, as I said, we know more than we did before. And we must try to make it last as short as time as possible. The worst of it often is that, while we are in it, we don't want to get out of it. We hate it, and yet we prefer staying in it—that is a part of the disease. If we find ourselves like that, we must make something ourselves to some hard work, make ourselves sweat, etc.; and that is the good way of reacting that makes of us a valuable character. The disease makes you think of yourself all the time; and the way out of it is to keep as busy as we can thinking of things and of other people—no matter what's the matter with our self.
My greatest hope is that you never have to read this. Vee knows to give you this letter only if my feather is burned and I’m chained in hell or if Blakely develops a devilcraft prototype strong enough to kill me. When war between our races ignites, I don’t know what will become of our future. When I think about you and our plans. I feel a desperate aching. Never have I wanted things to turn out right as as I do now.
Before I leave this world, I need to make certain you know that all my love belongs to you. You are the same to me now as you were before you swore the Changeover Vow. You are mine. Always. I love the strength, courage, and gentleness of your soul. I love your body too. How could someone so sexy and perfect be mine? With you I have purpose-someone to love, cherish and protect.
There are secrets in my past that weigh on your mind. You've trusted me enough not to ask about them, and it's your faith that has made me a better man. I don’t want to leave you with anything hidden between us. I told you I was banished from heaven for falling in love with a human girl. The I way I explained it, I risked everything to be with her. I said those words because they simplified my motivations.
But they weren't the truth. The truth is I had become disenchanted with the archangels’s shifting goals and wanted to push back against them and their rules. That girl was an excuse to let go of an old way of living and accept a new journey that would eventually lead me to you. I believe in destiny, Angel. I believe every choice I've made has brought me closer to you. I looked for you for a very long time. I may have fallen from heaven but I fell for you.
I will do whatever it takes to make sure you win this war. Nephilim will come out on top. You’ll fulfill your vow to the Black Hand and be safe. This is my priority even if the cost is my life. I suspect this will make you angry. It may be hard to forgive me. I promised that we would be together at the end of this and you may resent me for the breaking that vow. I want you to know I did everything to keep my word. As I write this I am going over ever possibility that will see us through this. I hope I find a way. But if this choice I have to make comes down to your or me, I choose you.
I always have.
All my love,
Becca Fitzpatrick (Finale (Hush, Hush, #4))
Going back to the basis, the phrase ‘Fight Like A Girl’, and we’ve all heard that growing up. And by that they mean that you’re some kind of weakling and have no skills as a male. It’s said to little boys when they can’t fight yet, and it ridicules us. By the time we were born, the most of us hear things which program you to accept and know that you are less than your male counter part. It comes apparent in the way you’re paid for your job, it comes apparent when yóu are not allowed to go outside after a certain hour because you stand a good chance of getting raped while no one says that to your boyfriend. While women, anywhere, live in some kind of fear, there is no equality and that is mathematically impossible. We cannot see that change or solved in our lifetimes, but we have to do everything that we can. We should remind ourselves that we are fifty-one percent. Everyone should know that fighting like a girl is a positive thing and that there is not inherently anything wrong with us by the fact that we are born like ladies. That is a beautiful thing that we should never be put down because of. Being compared to a woman should only make a man feel stronger. It should be a compliment. In this world we’re creating it actually is.
I remember this one guy who came to our show in Texas or something and he had painted his shirt “real men fight like a girl”, and I cried, because he was going away in the army next day. He bought my book because he wanted something he could read over there. I just hoped that this men, fully straight and fully male can maintain and retain all of those things that make him understand us, and what makes him so beautiful. A lot of military training is step one: you take all those guys and put them in front of bunch of hardcore videogames where you kill a bunch of people and become desensitised. But that is NOT power! I will not do that. I will not become less of a human being and I refuse to give up my femininity because that’s bullshit. I’m not going to have to shave my head and become all buff and all that to be able to say “now I’m powerful” because that’s bullshit. All of this, all of us, we are power. You don’t have to change anything to be strong.
You will never be able to end any battle if the people involved are unable to see their own hypocrisy, or how their insecurity contributed to their problems. Wounded people often choose to play the victim, so they can restore their dignity in unhealthy ways. Sadly, they do this through feeling justified, by making bad choices or actions (that honestly no diety would want them to do). This inability to accept their part in their unhappiness keeps them from growing. They need your prayers more than your anger. Just walk away. Let it go and pray that one day they will understand your pain, as much as you do theirs. Remember: The sexiest woman alive is one that can walk away from a place that God doesn't want them to be. Do so with your head held high and forgive yourself and others. When you can do this, you will know what God's definition of class is-- YOU!
Shannon L. Alder
I'll be strong for you, Syn …if you need it. You don’t always have to be the strong one. I'll be your glue if you want to crumble. I'll hold you together," he said, lifting his eyes and meeting mine.
"And what if you're what's making me crumble, Ryder? What then?"
His lips lifted into his sexy smirk. "Then I'll put you back together. I will never tear you down, Syn. I will always protect you from anything and everything that would.
Amelia Hutchins (Fighting Destiny (The Fae Chronicles, #1))
You are so beautiful,” he whispered. He stepped closer, but before she could touch him he took her hand and brought it to his lips.
“When I saw you tonight I think my heart stopped beating.”
“And is it now?” she whispered.
He took her hand and laid it over his heart. She could feel it pounding beneath his skin, almost hear it reverberating through her own body. He was so strong, and so solid, and so wonderfully male.
“Do you know what I wanted to do?” he murmured.
She shook her head, too entranced by the low heat of his voice to make a noise of her own.
“I wanted to turn you around and push you right back through the door before anyone else saw you. I didn’t want to share you.” He traced her lips with his finger. “I still don’t.
Julia Quinn (Because of Miss Bridgerton (Rokesbys, #1))
He tunneled into stories where weak men changed into strong half-animals or used eye beams or magic hammers to power through steel or climb up the sides of skyscrapers. He was the Hulk when angry and Spidey the rest of the time. When he felt his heart hurt he turned into something stronger than a little boy, and he grew up this way. A heart that flashed from heart to stone, heart to stone. As I watched I thought of what Grandma Lynn liked to say when Lindsey and I rolled our eyes or grimaced behind her back. "Watch out what faces you make. You'll freeze that way.
Alice Sebold (The Lovely Bones)
in live current
events: your eyes.
All power can be
you, socket to me.
Plugged in and the grid
particular friction, a charge
strong enough to stop
or start it
again; volt, re-volt--
I shudder, I stutter, I start
to life. I've got my ion
so watch how you
newsflash: a battery of rolling
blackouts in California, sudden,
like lightning kisses:
darkness and you're
here, fumbling for
that small switch
with an urgent surge
strong enough to kill
Static makes hair raise,
makes things cling,
makes things rise like
a gathering storm
our darkened house
and here I am:
tempest, pouring out
of tsunami on the ground,
I've got that rain-soaked kite,
that drenched key.
You know what it's for,
circuit-breaker, you know
how to kiss until it's hertz.
Daphne Gottlieb (Why Things Burn)
I can't wait for him to visit me again. He's just so handsome, don't you think?" she asked.
I paused. "Yeah, he's cute."
"Come on, America! You have to have noticed those eyes and his voice..."
"Except when he laughs!" Just remembering Maxon's laugh had me grinning. It was cute but awkward. He pushed his breaths out, and then made a jagged noise when he inhaled, almost like another laugh in itself.
"Yes, okay, he does have a funny laugh, but it's cute."
"Sure, if you like the lovable sound of an asthma attack in your ear every time you tell a joke."
Marlee lost it and doubled over in laughter.
"All right, all right," she said, coming up for air. "You have to think there's something attractive about him."
I opened my mouth and shut it two or three times. I was tempted to take another jab at Maxon, but I didn't want Marlee to see him in a negative light. So I thought about it.
What was attractive about Maxon?
"Well, when he lets his guard down, he's okay. Like when he just talks without checking his words or you catch him just looking at something like...like he's really looking for the beauty in it."
Marlee smiled, and I knew she'd seen that in him, too.
"And I like that he seems genuinely involved when he's there, you know? Like even though he's got a country to run and a thousand things to do, it's like he forgets it all when he's with you. He just dedicates himself to what's right in front of him. I like that.
"And...well, don't tell anyone this, but his arms. I like his arms."
I blushed at the end. Stupid...why hadn't I just stuck to the general good things about his personality? Luckily, Marlee was happy to pick up the conversation.
"Yes! You can really feel them under those thick suits, can't you? He must be incredibly strong." Marlee gushed.
"I wonder why. I mean, what's the point of him being that strong? He does deskwork. It's weird."
"Maybe he likes to flex in front of the mirror," Marlee said, making a face and flexing her own tiny arms.
"Ha, ha! I bet that's it. I dare you to ask him!"
Kiera Cass (The Selection (The Selection, #1))
Boy, there are people who conquered half the world, slaughtered whole populations, wiped cultures off the face of the planet, and you know what history calls them? Heroes! Kings, presidents, champions, explorers. You think America was settled by white men because the Indians invited us her? No, we took this land because we were stronger, and that's how every page of human history is written. It's just our nature. We're a predator species, top of the food chain. Survival of the fittest is written in our blood, it's stenciled on every gene of our DNA. The strong take and the strong make, and the weak are there only to help them do it. End of story.
Jonathan Maberry (Rot & Ruin (Rot & Ruin, #1))
And then,” Steris said softly, “perhaps I came along because of the way it feels.…”
Marasi looked sharply back at her sister.
“Like the whole world has been upended,” Steris said, looking toward the ceiling. “Like the laws of nature and man no longer hold sway. They’re suddenly flexible, like a string given slack. We’re the spheres.… I love the idea that I can break out of it all—the expectations, the way I’m regarded, the way I regard myself—and soar.
“I saw it in his eyes, first. That hunger, that fire. And then I found it in myself. He’s a flame, Waxillium is, and fire can be shared. When I’m out here, when I’m with him, I burn, Marasi. It’s wonderful.”
Marasi’s jaw dropped, and she gawked at her sister. Had those words left Steris’s mouth? Careful, monotonous, boring Steris? She glanced toward Marasi and blushed.
“You actually love him, don’t you?” Marasi asked.
“Well, love is a strong emotion, one that requires careful deliberation to—”
“Yes.” She looked down at her notebook. “It’s foolish, isn’t it?”
“Of course it is,” Marasi said. “Love is always a foolish emotion. That’s what makes it work.
Brandon Sanderson (The Bands of Mourning (Mistborn, #6))
I think you are talented and passionate, Isabella. More than you think and less than you expect. But there are a lot of people with talent and passion, and many of them never get anywhere. This is only the first step for achieving anything in life. Natural talent is like an athlete's strength. You can be born with more or less ability, but nobody can become an athlete just because he or she was born tall, or strong, or fast. What makes the athlete, or the artist, is the work, the vocation and the technique. The intelligence you are born with is just ammunition. To achieve something with it you need to transform your mind into a high-precision weapon.
Carlos Ruiz Zafón (The Angel's Game (The Cemetery of Forgotten Books, #2))
Naruto… I now remember the words you once said to me. That when you're with me, you finally understand what it's like to have a brother… And when I think of it that way… That feeling… I finally get it now. I've been travelling around the world and I seem to recall these memories a lot. We were alone and starved of love. Kids that lived in a world full of hate. And from that point on, we went our separate ways… and fought. But time has passed and now I'm thinking… Could it be that… just like how the hope and and pain from my father, mother and my brother, Itachi flowed into me… I'd understand your pain and hopes too, Naruto? You never abandoned me, no matter what. And you never gave up on me, coming closer when I pulled away. It wouldn't have surprised me if you hated me, but you didn't… You kept insisting that we were friends. And even that, I nearly destroyed. You fought to stop me… to the point you lost an arm. All because you were my friend. You saved me. The us that quarrelled over the smallest things… are now able to share the pain in each other's hearts. On my journey around the world, I noticed… That all these feelings of mine aren't just about us, I'm sure it's the same for everything else. But… there aren't a lot of people like you. And things won't go as planned, look at us. It's especially true when it comes to bigger things. I think it's the same as praying. And until I can do it, I'll stay strong. The beings that have been entrusted with hope… that's us. That's what makes us shinobi.
Take me as I am
Take me, baby, in stride
Only you can save me tonight
There's nowhere to run
Nowhere to hide
You let me in, don't leave me out
Or leave me dry
Even when I'm alone
I'm not lonely
I hear the sweetest melodies (sweetest melodies)
On the fire escapes of the city
Sounds like I am free
It's got me singing
God bless America, and all the beautiful women in it
God bless America, and all the beautiful women in it
May you stand proud and strong
Like Lady Liberty shining all night long
God bless America
Take me as I am
Don't see me for what I'm not
Only you can hear me tonight
Keep your light on, babe
I might be standing outside
You let me in, don't leave me out
Or leave me dry
Even walking alone, I'm not worried
I feel your arms all around me (arms around me)
In the air on the streets of the city
Feels like I am free
It's got me thinking
God bless America, and all the beautiful women in it
God bless America, and all the beautiful women in it
May you stand proud and strong
Like Lady Liberty shining all night long
God bless America (sweetest melodies)
Even with you I've got nothing to lose
So you'd better believe that nobody can make me feel lonely
Because I hear (sweetest melodies)
Even when you talk that talk with those lips I'm most certain in hell
I'll never feel, never feel lonely
I have no fear
It's got me thinking (Yeah)
God bless America, and all the beautiful women in it
God bless America, and all the beautiful people in it
May they stand proud and strong
Like Lady Liberty shining all night long
God bless America, and all the beautiful people in it
And all the beautiful people in it
Lana Del Rey
What a Crazy Woman Thinks About While Walking Down the Street She tries to walk not too fast and not too slow. She doesn’t want to attract any attention. She pretends she doesn’t hear the whistles and catcalls and lewd comments. Sometimes she forgets and leaves her house in a skirt or a tank top because it’s a warm day and she wants to feel warm air on her bare skin. Before long, she remembers. She keeps her keys in her hand, three of them held between her fingers, like a dull claw. She makes eye contact only when necessary and if a man should catch her eye, she juts her chin forward, makes sure the line of her jaw is strong. When she leaves work or the bar late, she calls a car service and when the car pulls up to her building, she quickly scans the street to make sure it’s safe to walk the short distance from the curb to the door. She once told a boyfriend about these considerations and he said, “You are completely out of your mind.” She told a new friend at work and she said, “Honey, you’re not crazy. You’re a woman.
Roxane Gay (Difficult Women)
Because our world is not the same as Othello’s world. You can’t make flivvers without steel-and you can’t make tragedies without social instability. The world’s stable now. People are happy; they get what they want, and they never want what they can’t get. They’re well off; they’re safe; they’re never ill; they’re not afraid of death; they’re blissfully ignorant of passion and old age; they’re plagued with no mothers or fathers; they’ve got no wives, or children, or lovers to feel strongly about; they’re so conditioned that they practically can’t help behaving as they ought to behave. And if anything should go wrong, there’s soma. Which you go and chuck out of the window in the name of liberty, Mr. Savage. Liberty!” He laughed. “Expecting Deltas to know what liberty is! And now expecting them to understand Othello! My good boy!
Aldous Huxley (Brave New World)
Don’t make assumptions. Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness, and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life. —MIGUEL ANGEL RUIZ It’s better to take the time to ask questions and to find the words to say what you really feel. Often we leave so much room for interpretation either because we are rushing or because we are afraid to speak the whole truth, but this is where miscommunications start.
Demi Lovato (Staying Strong: 365 Days a Year)
Don’t make assumptions. Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness, and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life. —MIGUEL ANGEL RUIZ It’s better to take the time to ask questions and to find the words to say what you really feel. Often we leave so much room for interpretation either because we are rushing or because we are afraid to speak the whole truth, but this is where miscommunications start. So even if you aren’t sure about what someone means or how they feel, just ask them. Goal: When was the last time you assumed something and were wrong? Make a point to know the truth and not assume it.
Demi Lovato (Staying Strong: 365 Days a Year)
There was nothing left for me to do, but go.
Though the things of the world were strong with me still.
Such as, for example: a gaggle of children trudging through a side-blown December flurry; a friendly match-share beneath some collision-titled streetlight; a frozen clock, a bird visited within its high tower; cold water from a tin jug; towering off one’s clinging shirt post-June rain.
Pearls, rags, buttons, rug-tuft, beer-froth.
Someone’s kind wishes for you; someone remembering to write; someone noticing that you are not at all at ease.
A bloody ross death-red on a platter; a headgetop under-hand as you flee late to some chalk-and-woodfire-smelling schoolhouse.
Geese above, clover below, the sound of one’s own breath when winded.
The way a moistness in the eye will blur a field of stars; the sore place on the shoulder a resting toboggan makes; writing one’s beloved’s name upon a frosted window with a gloved finger.
Tying a shoe; tying a knot on a package; a mouth on yours; a hand on yours; the ending of the day; the beginning of the day; the feeling that there will always be a day ahead.
Goodbye, I must now say goodbye to all of it.
Loon-call in the dark; calf-cramp in the spring; neck-rub in the parlour; milk-sip at end of day.
Some brandy-legged dog proudly back-ploughs the grass to cover its modest shit; a cloud-mass down-valley breaks apart over the course of a brandy-deepened hour; louvered blinds yield dusty beneath your dragging finger, and it is nearly noon and you must decide; you have seen what you have seen, and it has wounded you, and it seems you have only one choice left.
Blood-stained porcelain bowl wobbles face down on wood floor; orange peel not at all stirred by disbelieving last breath there among that fine summer dust-layer, fatal knife set down in pass-panic on familiar wobbly banister, later dropped (thrown) by Mother (dear Mother) (heartsick) into the slow-flowing, chocolate-brown Potomac.
None of it was real; nothing was real.
Everything was real; inconceivably real, infinitely dear.
These and all things started as nothing, latent within a vast energy-broth, but then we named them, and loved them, and in this way, brought them forth.
And now we must lose them.
I send this out to you, dear friends, before I go, in this instantaneous thought-burst, from a place where time slows and then stops and we may live forever in a single instant.
Goodbye goodbye good-
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
Maybe you'll come to know that every man in every generation is refired. Does a craftsman, even in his old age, lose his hunger to make a perfect cup--thin, strong, translucent?" He held his cup to the light. " All impurities burned out and ready for a glorious flux, and for that-- more fire. And then either the slag heap or, perhaps what no one in the world ever quite gives up, perfection." He drained his cup and he said loudly, "Cal, listen to me. Can you think that whatever made us-- would stop trying?
John Steinbeck (East of Eden)
Did it fall out?" Leo asked. "Is she bald?"
"No, not at all. It's just that her hair is...green."
To look at Leo's face, one would think it was Christmas morning. "What shade of green?"
"Leo, hush," Win said urgently. "You are not to torment her. It's been a very trying experience. We mixed a peroxide paste to take the green out, and I don't know if it worked or not. Amelia was helping her to wash it a little while ago. And no matter what the result is, you are to say nothing."
"You're telling me that tonight, Marks will be sitting at the supper table with hair that matches the asparagus, and I'm not supposed to remark on it?" He snorted. "I'm not that strong."
"Please, Leo," Poppy murmured, touching his arm. "If it were one of your sisters, you wouldn't mock."
"Do you think that little shrew would have any mercy on me, were the situations reversed?" He rolled his eyes as he saw their expressions. "Very well, I'll try no to jeer. But I make no promises."
Leo sauntered toward the house in no apparent hurry. He didn't deceive either of his sisters.
"How long do you think it will take him to find her?" Poppy asked Win.
"Two, perhaps three minutes," Win replied, and they both sighed.
Lisa Kleypas (Tempt Me at Twilight (The Hathaways, #3))
Petra Ral, 10 kills, 48 assists. Oluo Bozado, 39 kills, 9 assists. Eld Jinn, 14 kills, 32 assists. Gunther Schultz, 7 kills, 40 assists. "Come back home alive, and you're a full-fledged member," is the common view in the Survey Corps... but *those people* have lived through hell again and again, producing results all the way. They've learned how to live... When facing a titan, you never know enough. Think all you want. A lot of the time, you're going into a situation you know nothing about. So what you need is to be quick to act... and make tough decisions in worst-case scenarios. Still, that doesn't mean they've got no heart. Even when they had their weapons pointed at you, they had strong feelings. However... they have no regrets.
Hajime Isayama (Attack on Titan, Vol. 6 (Attack on Titan, #6))
I just want to know...if I am special,’ finished September, halfway between a whisper and a squeak. ‘In stories, when someone appears in a poof of green clouds and asks a girl to go away on an adventure, it’s because she’s special, because she’s smart and strong and can solve riddles and fight with swords and give really good speeches, and . . . I don’t know that I’m any of those things. I don’t even know that I’m as ill-tempered as all that. I’m not dull or anything, I know about geography and chess, and I can fix the boiler when my mother has to work. But what I mean to say is: Maybe you meant to go to another girl’s house and let her ride on the Leopard. Maybe you didn’t mean to choose me at all, because I’m not like storybook girls. I’m short and my father ran away with the army and I wouldn’t even be able to keep a dog from eating a bird.
Catherynne M. Valente (The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making (Fairyland, #1))
These times are hard, but I won't walk away jaded, darker, different. I feel. I cry to heal. If you saw me in those moments, maybe you'd think I was a mess. But I don't call it a mess. I call it strength.
Real strength isn't about building walls. Real strength is about staying open, no matter what. It's about taking life—with all the pleasures that fade and all the pain that sticks around for too long—and not shutting down, not closing down, not building up those walls.
Resilience isn't hard, impenetrable, iron. Resilience is flexible, soft, warm.
Stay strong. The real kind of strong. Don't let your automatic mind reflexes make you jump away from pain and towards pleasure. Make choices. See clearly. And never, ever, stop feeling.
Don't go numb. The world, even with all its horror, is too beautiful to miss.
Oh, all right,” she said balefully, beginning to shake all over. “I’ll admit it—I want you. There, are you satisfied? I want you.”
“In what capacity? Lover, or husband?”
Annabelle stared at him in shock. “What?” His arms slid around her, holding her quivering frame securely against his. He said nothing, only watched her intently as she tried to grasp the implications of the question.
“But you’re not the marrying kind,” she managed to say weakly. He touched her ear, his fingertip tracing the fragile outer curve. “I’ve discovered that I am when it comes to you.” The subtle caress set fire to her blood, making it difficult to think.
“We would probably kill each other within the first month.” “Probably,” Hunt conceded, his smiling mouth brushing over her temple. The warmth of his lips sent a rush of dizzying pleasure through her.
“But marry me anyway, Annabelle. As I see things, it would solve most of your problems …and more than a few of mine.” His big hand slid gently down her spine, calming her tremors.
“Let me spoil you,” he whispered. “Let me take care of you. You’ve never had anyone to lean on, have you? I’ve got strong shoulders, Annabelle.” A deep laugh rumbled in his chest. “And I may possibly be the only man of your acquaintance who’ll be able to afford you.
Lisa Kleypas (Secrets of a Summer Night (Wallflowers, #1))
With time to think, the full reality of what had happened hit Thomas like a falling boulder. Ever since Thomas had entered the Maze, Newt had been there for him. Thomas hadn’t realized just how much of a friend he’d become until now. His heart hurt.
He tried to remind himself that Newt wasn’t dead. But in some ways this was worse. In most ways. He’d fallen down the slope of insanity, and he was surrounded by bloodthirsty Cranks. And the prospect of never seeing him again was almost unbearable. [...]
He pulled the envelope out of his pocket and ripped it open, then took out the slip of paper. The soft lights that ringed the mirror lit up the message in a warm glow. It was two short sentences:
Kill me. If you’ve ever been my friend, kill me.
Thomas read it over and over, wishing the words would change. To think that his friend had been so scared that he’d had the foresight to write those words made him sick to his stomach. And he remembered how angry Newt had been at Thomas specifically when they’d found him in the bowling alley. He’d just wanted to avoid the inevitable fate of becoming a Crank.
And Thomas had failed him. [...]
“Newt suddenly twisted around and grabbed Thomas by the hand holding the gun. He yanked it toward himself, forcing it up until the end of the pistol was pressed against his own forehead. “Now make amends! Kill me before I become one of those cannibal monsters! Kill me! I trusted you with the note! No one else. Now do it!”
Thomas tried to pull his hand away, but Newt was too strong. “I can’t, Newt, I can’t.”
“Make amends! Repent for what you did!” The words tore out of him, his whole body trembling. Then his voice dropped to an urgent, harsh whisper. “Kill me, you shuck coward. Prove you can do the right thing. Put me out of my misery.”
The words horrified Thomas. “Newt, maybe we can—”
“Shut up! Just shut up! I trusted you! Now do it!”
“I can’t!” How could Newt ask him to do something like this? How could he possibly kill one of his best friends?
“Kill me or I’ll kill you. Kill me! Do it!”
“Do it before I become one of them!”
“KILL ME!” And then Newt’s eyes cleared, as if he’d gained one last trembling gasp of sanity, and his voice softened. “Please, Tommy. Please.”
With his heart falling into a black abyss, Thomas pulled the trigger.
James Dashner (The Death Cure (The Maze Runner, #3))
The more doors you open to the mysteries, or sacred knowledge, the smaller you feel. And because you begin to feel smaller and smaller until your ego disappears, the more humble you become. Therefore, any man who behaves arrogantly with what little he knows, or claims to know all, only reveals to all that he really knows nothing. Real greatness does not reside inside those who feel large. The truly wise are meek. Yet being small and meek do not make one weak. Arming oneself with true knowledge generates strong confidence and a bold spirit that makes you a lion of God. The Creator does not want you to suffer, yet we are being conditioned by society to accept suffering, weak and passive dispositions under the belief that such conditions are favorable by God. Weakness is not a virtue praised by God. How could he desire for you to be weak if he tells us to stand by our conscience? Doing so requires strength. However, there is a difference between arrogance when inflating your ego, and confidence when one truly gets closer to God. One feels large, while the other feels small. Why? Because a man of wisdom understands that he is just a small pea in a sea of infinite atoms, and that in the end — we are all connected. And did you not know that the smaller a creature is, the bolder its spirit?
Suzy Kassem (Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem)
I know you're scared. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little scared, too, but I have to believe that this time around everything will be fine. And it will be.
We've been through so much together. More than most people in such a short time. But no matter what, the one thing that has never changed is that we're still together. Death couldn't take me away from you. Weakness couldn't make me look at you in a bad light. Drugs and all the shit that comes with them couldn't take you away from me. I think it's more safe to say that we're indestructable.
Maybe all of this has been a test. Yeah, I think about that a lot and I've convinced myself of it. A lot of people take Fate for granted. Some have everything they've ever wanted right at their fingertips, but they abuse it. Others walk right past their only opportunity because they never open their eyes long enough to see that it's there. But you and I, even before we met, took all the risks, made our own decisions without listening to everybody around us telling us, in so many ways, that what we're doing is wrong. Hell no, we did it our way, no matter how reckless, or crazy or unconventional. It's like the more we pushed and the more we fought, the harder the obstacles. Because we had to prove we were the real deal.
And I know we've done just that.
Camryn, I want you to read this letter to yourself once a week. It doesn't matter what day or what time, just read it. Every time you open it, I want you to see that another week has passed and you're still pregnant. That I'm still in good health. That we're still together. I want you to think about the three of us, you, me and our son or daughter, traveling Europe and Soth America. Because we're going to do it. I promise you that.
You're everything to me, and I want you to stay strong and not let your fear of the past taint the path to our future. Everything will work out this time, Camryn, everything will, I swear to you.
Just trust me.
Until next week...
J.A. Redmerski (The Edge of Always (The Edge of Never, #2))
Those unearthly eyes were so close, she could see the reflection of her own furious expression in their depths. “I’d rather watch you take a lover than die at my hands.”
She knew how much those words must’ve tortured him. Even now, the air was staining bloodred with anger. “And would you let that man live?” she whispered.
No response. That gave her hope even when hope seemed impossible. “Then we fight, Judd.” She dared to place her hand gently on his chest. He flinched but didn’t move away. “We fight until every avenue is closed and then we dig under the roadblocks. Because I am not walking away from us.” Strong words, but she was shaking. He could destroy her with a few careless comments.
“You’re the strongest, most determined woman I know.” He played his fingers along the strands of her hair. “You’d make mincemeat out of a lesser man. It’s a good thing you belong to me.”
Relief almost collapsed her knees. “Not funny.”
“I’m serious.” Something very male moved over his face. “If you say yes now, I won’t let you go if you decide I’m not what you want later on down the road. You say yes, you say yes forever. Be sure.
Nalini Singh (Caressed by Ice (Psy-Changeling #3))
Let me tell you about gods," said Wiggin. "No matter how smart or strong you are, there's always somebody smarter or stronger, and when you run into somebody who's stronger and smarter than anybody, you think, This is a god. This is perfection. But I can promise you that there's somebody else somewhere else who'll make your god look like a maggot by comparison. And somebody smarter or stronger or better in some way. So let me tell you what I think about gods. I think a real god is not going to be so scared or angry that he tries to keep other people down. For Congress to genetically alter people to make them smarter and more creative, that could have been a godlike, generous gift. But they were scared, so they hobbled the people of Path. They wanted to stay in control. A real god doesn't care about control. A real god already has control of everything that needs controlling. Real gods would want to teach you how to be just like them.
Orson Scott Card (Xenocide (Ender's Saga, #3))
Sports contained the truth, I decided, the unspoken truth (how quickly we damn ourselves when we start to talk, how small and inglorious we always sound), and it seemed hard to believe that I had never understood this before. They rewarded effortlessness and unself-consciousness; they confirmed that yes, there are rankings of skill and value and that everyone knows what they are (seeing those guys who were subbed with two seconds left before the end of a quarter, I’d think how girls’ coaches were never that heartless); they showed that the best things in the world to be were young and strong and fast. To play a great game of high school basketball-it was something I myself had never done, but I could tell-made you know what it was to be alive. How much in an adult life can compare to that? Granted, there are margaritas, or there’s no homework, but there are also puffy white bagels under neon lights in the conference room, there’s waiting for the plumber, making small talk with your boring neighbor.
Curtis Sittenfeld (Prep)
Autumn is always a time of Fear and Greed and Hoarding for the winter coming on. Debt collectors are active on old people and fleece the weak and helpless. They want to lay in enough cash to weather the known horrors of January and February. There is always a rash of kidnapping and abductions of schoolchildren in the football months. Preteens of both sexes are traditionally seized and grabbed off the streets by gangs of organized perverts who traditionally give them as Christmas gifts to each other to be personal sex slaves and playthings.
Most of these things are obviously Wrong and Evil and Ugly — but at least they are Traditional. They will happen. Your driveway will ice over, your furnace will blow up, and you will be rammed in traffic by an uninsured driver in a stolen car.
But what the hell? That's why we have Insurance, eh? And the Inevitability of these nightmares is what makes them so reassuring. Life will go on, for good or ill. But some things are forever, right? The structure may be a little Crooked, but the foundations are still strong and unshakable.
Hunter S. Thompson (Kingdom of Fear: Loathsome Secrets of a Star-Crossed Child in the Final Days of the American Century)
Because it has lived its life intensely
the parched grass still attracts the gaze of passers-by.
The flowers merely flower,
and they do this as well as they can.
The white lily, blooming unseen in the valley,
Does not need to explain itself to anyone;
It lives merely for beauty.
Man, however, cannot accept that 'merely'.
If tomatoes wanted to be melons,
they would look completely ridiculous.
I am always amazed
that so many people are concerned
with wanting to be what they are not;
what's the point of making yourself look ridicuolous?
You don't always have to pretend to be strong,
there's no need to prove all the time that everything is going well,
you shouldn't be concerned about what other people are thinking,
cry if you need to,
it's good to cry out all your tears
(because only then will you be able to smile again).
Why is taste, the crudest of our senses, exempted from the ethical rules that govern our other senses? If you stop and think about it, it’s crazy. Why doesn’t a horny person have as strong a claim to raping an animal as a hungry one does to killing and eating it? It’s easy to dismiss that question but hard to respond to it. And how would you judge an artist who mutilated animals in a gallery because it was visually arresting? How riveting would the sound of a tortured animal need to be to make you want to hear it that badly? Try to imagine any end other than taste for which it would be justifiable to do what we do to farmed animals.
Jonathan Safran Foer (Eating Animals)
I want to be in the arena. I want to be brave with my life. And when we make the choice to dare greatly, we sign up to get our asses kicked. We can choose courage or we can choose comfort, but we can’t have both. Not at the same time. Vulnerability is not winning or losing; it’s having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome. Vulnerability is not weakness; it’s our greatest measure of courage. A lot of cheap seats in the arena are filled with people who never venture onto the floor. They just hurl mean-spirited criticisms and put-downs from a safe distance. The problem is, when we stop caring what people think and stop feeling hurt by cruelty, we lose our ability to connect. But when we’re defined by what people think, we lose the courage to be vulnerable. Therefore, we need to be selective about the feedback we let into our lives. For me, if you’re not in the arena getting your ass kicked, I’m not interested in your feedback.
Brené Brown (Rising Strong)
Before the Law stands a doorkeeper on guard. To this doorkeeper there comes a man from the country who begs for admittance to the Law. But the doorkeeper says that he cannot admit the man at the moment. The man, on reflection, asks if he will be allowed, then, to enter later. 'It is possible,' answers the doorkeeper, 'but not at this moment.' Since the door leading into the Law stands open as usual and the doorkeeper steps to one side, the man bends down to peer through the entrance. When the doorkeeper sees that, he laughs and says: 'If you are so strongly tempted, try to get in without my permission. But note that I am powerful. And I am only the lowest doorkeeper. From hall to hall keepers stand at every door, one more powerful than the other. Even the third of these has an aspect that even I cannot bear to look at.' These are difficulties which the man from the country has not expected to meet, the Law, he thinks, should be accessible to every man and at all times, but when he looks more closely at the doorkeeper in his furred robe, with his huge pointed nose and long, thin, Tartar beard, he decides that he had better wait until he gets permission to enter. The doorkeeper gives him a stool and lets him sit down at the side of the door. There he sits waiting for days and years. He makes many attempts to be allowed in and wearies the doorkeeper with his importunity. The doorkeeper often engages him in brief conversation, asking him about his home and about other matters, but the questions are put quite impersonally, as great men put questions, and always conclude with the statement that the man cannot be allowed to enter yet. The man, who has equipped himself with many things for his journey, parts with all he has, however valuable, in the hope of bribing the doorkeeper. The doorkeeper accepts it all, saying, however, as he takes each gift: 'I take this only to keep you from feeling that you have left something undone.' During all these long years the man watches the doorkeeper almost incessantly. He forgets about the other doorkeepers, and this one seems to him the only barrier between himself and the Law. In the first years he curses his evil fate aloud; later, as he grows old, he only mutters to himself. He grows childish, and since in his prolonged watch he has learned to know even the fleas in the doorkeeper's fur collar, he begs the very fleas to help him and to persuade the doorkeeper to change his mind. Finally his eyes grow dim and he does not know whether the world is really darkening around him or whether his eyes are only deceiving him. But in the darkness he can now perceive a radiance that streams immortally from the door of the Law. Now his life is drawing to a close. Before he dies, all that he has experienced during the whole time of his sojourn condenses in his mind into one question, which he has never yet put to the doorkeeper. He beckons the doorkeeper, since he can no longer raise his stiffening body. The doorkeeper has to bend far down to hear him, for the difference in size between them has increased very much to the man's disadvantage. 'What do you want to know now?' asks the doorkeeper, 'you are insatiable.' 'Everyone strives to attain the Law,' answers the man, 'how does it come about, then, that in all these years no one has come seeking admittance but me?' The doorkeeper perceives that the man is at the end of his strength and that his hearing is failing, so he bellows in his ear: 'No one but you could gain admittance through this door, since this door was intended only for you. I am now going to shut it.
Franz Kafka (The Trial)
If you put a frog into a pot of boiling water, the fucker will jump right back out. It knows it’s wrong, it hurts, it will kill him. But if you put him in a pot and slowly raise it up to boiling, he’ll stay. That’s what abuse is like. You might not even notice it’s happening at first. You’d brush it off as him having a bad day, you pissing him off. But then it starts getting worse in small ways until you’re in so deep and you’re so hot and your skin is peeling and you don’t know if you even remember you can jump anymore. That doesn’t make you weak. You got out of that shit, baby. That makes you stronger, a lot stronger, I think, than you even realize.
Jessica Gadziala (Shane (Mallick Brothers, #1))
Anytime I talk about my work informally, I inevitably encounter someone who wants to know why addicts become addicts. They use words like “will” and “choice,” and they end by saying, “Don’t you think there’s more to it than the brain?” They are skeptical of the rhetoric of addiction as disease, something akin to high blood pressure or diabetes, and I get that. What they’re really saying is that they may have partied in high school and college but look at them now. Look how strong-willed they are, how many good choices they’ve made. They want reassurances. They want to believe that they have been loved enough and have raised their children well enough that the things that I research will never, ever touch their own lives.
I understand this impulse. I, too, have spent years creating my little moat of good deeds in an attempt to protect the castle of myself. I don’t want to be dismissed the way that Nana was once dismissed. I know that it’s easier to say Their kind does seem to have a taste for drugs, easier to write all addicts off as bad and weak-willed people, than it is to look closely at the nature of their suffering. I do it too, sometimes. I judge. I walk around with my chest puffed out, making sure hat everyone knows about my Harvard and Stanford degrees, as if those things encapsulate me, and when I do so, I give in to the same facile, lazy thinking that characterizes those who think of addicts as horrible people. It’s just that I’m standing on the other side of the moat. What I can say for certain is that there is no case study in the world that could capture the whole animal of my brother, that could show how smart and kind and generous he was, how much he wanted to get better, how much he wanted to live. Forget for a moment what he looked like on paper, and instead see him as he was in all of his glory, in all of his beauty. It’s true that for years before he died, I would look at his face and think, What a pity, what a waste. But the waste was my own, the waste was what I missed out on whenever I looked at him and saw just his addiction.
Yaa Gyasi (Transcendent Kingdom)
He wanted you to be the small, quiet girl from Abnegation," Four says softly. "He hurt you because your strength made him feel weak. No other reason."
I nod and try to believe him.
"The others won't be as jealous if you show some vulnerability. Even if it isn't real."
"You think I have to pretend to be vulnerable?" I ask, raising an eyebrow.
"Yes,I do." He takes the ice pack from me, his fingers brushing mine, and holds it against my head himself. I put my hand down, too eager to relax my arm to object. Four stands up. I stare at the hem of his T-shirt.
Sometimes I see him as just another person, and sometimes I feel the sight of him in my gut, like a deep ache.
"You're going to want to march into breakfast tomorrow and show your attackers they had no effect on you," he adds, "but you should let that bruise on your cheek show, and keep your head down."
The idea nauseates me.
"I don't think I can do that," I say hollowly. I lift my eyes to his.
"You have to."
"I don't think you get it." Heat rises into my face. "They touched me."
His entire body tightens at my words, his hand clenching around the ice pack. "Touched you," he repeates, his dark eyes cold.
"Not...in the way you're thinking." I clear my throat. I didn't realize when I said it how awkward it would be to talk about. "But...almost."
I look away.
He is silent and still for so long that eventually,I have to say something.
"What is it?"
"I don't want to say this," he says, "but I feel like I have to.It is more important for you to be safe than right, for the time being. Understand?"
His straight eyebrows are drawn low over his eyes. My stomach writhes, partly because I know he makes a good point but I don't want to admit it, and partly because I want something I don't know how to express; I want to press against te space between us until it disappears.
"But please,when you see an opportunity..." He pesses his hand to my cheek,cold and strong, and tilts my head up so I have to look at him. His eyes glint. They look almost predatory. "Ruin them."
I laugh shakily. "You're a little scary, Four."
"Do me a favor," he says, "and don't call me that."
"What should I call you,then?"
"Nothing." He takes his hand from my face. "Yet.
Veronica Roth (Divergent (Divergent, #1))
You might not see it now, but you are stronger than you can ever imagine.
You cannot become comfortable in your pain. You have to let the pain that you feel turn you into a rose without thorns. There are sixteen pieces on the chess board. The king is the most important piece, but the difference is that the queen is the most powerful piece!
You are a queen, you can maneuver around your opponents; they do not have the power over your life, your mind or soul. You might think you’ve been a prisoner, but that is your past’ Look in the now and work your way to how you want your future to be. Exercise your thoughts into a pattern of letting go, and think positively about more of what you want than what you do not want.
You are a queen! As a matter of fact, you are the queen! Act as if you know it!
You are powerful, determined, strong, and you can make the biggest and most extravagant move and put it into action.
Lights, camera, strike a pose and own it!
It is yours to own!
Charlena E. Jackson (A Woman's Love Is Never Good Enough)
Performance without rehearsal.
Body without alterations.
Head without premeditation.
I know nothing of the role I play.
I only know it’s mine. I can’t exchange it.
I have to guess on the spot
just what this play’s all about.
Ill-prepared for the privilege of living,
I can barely keep up with the pace that the action demands.
I improvise, although I loathe improvisation.
I trip at every step over my own ignorance.
I can’t conceal my hayseed manners.
My instincts are for happy histrionics.
Stage fright makes excuses for me, which humiliate me more.
Extenuating circumstances strike me as cruel.
Words and impulses you can’t take back,
stars you’ll never get counted,
your character like a raincoat you button on the run —
the pitiful results of all this unexpectedness.
If only I could just rehearse one Wednesday in advance,
or repeat a single Thursday that has passed!
But here comes Friday with a script I haven’t seen.
Is it fair, I ask
(my voice a little hoarse,
since I couldn’t even clear my throat offstage).
You’d be wrong to think that it’s just a slapdash quiz
taken in makeshift accommodations. Oh no.
I’m standing on the set and I see how strong it is.
The props are surprisingly precise.
The machine rotating the stage has been around even longer.
The farthest galaxies have been turned on.
Oh no, there’s no question, this must be the premiere.
And whatever I do
will become forever what I’ve done.
Wisława Szymborska (Map: Collected and Last Poems)
Intriguing isn't it? One day you are the king of your world. And the next day, you stand aside, watching it all burn. Ashes slipping out of your hand, you just stand and stare, your glassy gaze fixed on something no one else could see, no one else could know...
People will talk as people do talk. And they will walk over the ashes. And the ashes will dance in front of you, reminding you every second of what was and what might have been. And you will almost give in.
But my advice is, don’t give in. Because one day, you will decide to turn the corner. Put it all behind you. Just stand strong and still as the great wind comes and takes all the ashes away with with it, leaving fresh air behind. Fresh for you to make a new world, a better world.
People always, always talk about confidence, it’s supposed to be such an attractive thing. I wonder why though, why is it supposed to be such an attractive thing? When confidence hides so many other things that are so much more beautiful! When you think of being confident, you think of tucking away all those other things that you consider to be nuisances; but those nuisances make up whom you are! And those nuisances are beautiful. They are beautiful and they are you and they’re always going to be there, even when you try to cover them up! So what happens when they all come out one day? Are you going to feel like less of a person? Are the people who are supposed to love you, going to see you as less of a person? I say that it’s not about going out into the world and putting on a certain face— it’s just about going out into the world. I’ve gone out into the world! And I don’t put on that face! Or any other face, as a matter of fact! I don’t want to hide the way I play with my hair to feel more secure or the way I laugh at all the wrong times. I don’t want to hide those things because those things are a part of me. And I can still go out into the world— and all alone, too! I know so, because I’ve actually done it! So more important than confidence— is serenity and acceptance. The serenity comes from having a deep acceptance of all those little things about you that add up like the trillions of molecules and atoms you are made up of! And that’s just beautiful. Being beautiful is something rooted and strong; being confident is just a matter of putting on something that isn’t even a real part of you. Falling in love with the molecules that make up your essence is so much more attractive. And maybe that’s what confidence really means— the acceptance and belief in every single atom that you are.
C. JoyBell C.
I can't think of anything that anyone has ever accomplished without having some sort of self-discipline. Without knowing how to work for it. Without learning how to earn it. I talk to my friends who are writers. I say, "Well, how do you do it?" Most all of them will say, "I sit down. I force myself every day to sit down and write for at least two hours. Whether something comes out of it or doesn't come out of it, whether I finish my fifty pages or two, I sit down and I do that because I have to make myself do it."
That's what a work ethic is. Any person I know who is successful in my business or any other business is so because they work their asses off for it, because nothing is for free. If you want something, if you want to achieve success in any area of life, you must apply your discipline and your work ethic. Because discipline is what helps you consciously do things in order to reach a desired goal. Discipline is a rejection of entitlement and expectation. Discipline is having a strong awareness that your choices have impact and that your actions make a difference.
Cameron Díaz (The Body Book: The Law of Hunger, the Science of Strength, and Other Ways to Love Your Amazing Body)
Don’t forget that the land is always out there, making its way, doing everything it can so you can breathe fresh air; so you can eat fresh food; so you can move and see and feel and think, and it’s on your side. The world is out there doing what it’s been doing way before you came here, it’s firm and strong and it takes a lot to bring it down.
so from time to time, just go outside and look at this spectacle. This pure painting right in front of your eyes. No one created it. No one owns it. It doesn’t want anything. It doesn’t need to prove anything to anyone. It simply is.
So maybe, try a little tenderness. Just give it a chance to do what it can do. Just let it help you
and maybe just try to live your life in a way that doesn’t kill this force of nature
that is just trying to give you a world worth living in. A clean world. A fresh world.
Paths, forests, oceans, animals, oxygen, water. That’s all it takes.
Just try a little tenderness towards this world we’ve been lucky enough to build our homes on.
If you take care of it, it will take care of you.
That goes for old wounds, too, you know. I really wish we'd had the chance to talk before this," he says, cracking the window so the smoke can escape. "There's a Longfellow quote I have stuck on my bulletin board at the church office- 'There is no grief like the grief that does not speak'- and it's true. I've found that keeping pain inside doesn't give it a chance to heal, but bringing it out into the light, holding it right there in your hands and trusting that you're strong enough to make it through, not hating the pain, not loving it, just seeing it for what it really is can change how you go on from there. Time alone doesn't heal emotional wounds, Sayre, and you don't want to live the rest of your life bottled up with anger and guilt and bitterness. That's how people self-destruct.
Laura Wiess (Ordinary Beauty)
Get Comfortable Not Knowing There once was a village that had among its people a very wise old man. The villagers trusted this man to provide them answers to their questions and concerns. One day, a farmer from the village went to the wise man and said in a frantic tone, “Wise man, help me. A horrible thing has happened. My ox has died and I have no animal to help me plow my field! Isn’t this the worst thing that could have possibly happened?” The wise old man replied, “Maybe so, maybe not.” The man hurried back to the village and reported to his neighbors that the wise man had gone mad. Surely this was the worst thing that could have happened. Why couldn’t he see this? The very next day, however, a strong, young horse was seen near the man’s farm. Because the man had no ox to rely on, he had the idea to catch the horse to replace his ox—and he did. How joyful the farmer was. Plowing the field had never been easier. He went back to the wise man to apologize. “You were right, wise man. Losing my ox wasn’t the worst thing that could have happened. It was a blessing in disguise! I never would have captured my new horse had that not happened. You must agree that this is the best thing that could have happened.” The wise man replied once again, “Maybe so, maybe not.” Not again, thought the farmer. Surely the wise man had gone mad now. But, once again, the farmer did not know what was to happen. A few days later the farmer’s son was riding the horse and was thrown off. He broke his leg and would not be able to help with the crop. Oh no, thought the man. Now we will starve to death. Once again, the farmer went to the wise man. This time he said, “How did you know that capturing my horse was not a good thing? You were right again. My son is injured and won’t be able to help with the crop. This time I’m sure that this is the worst thing that could have possibly happened. You must agree this time.” But, just as he had done before, the wise man calmly looked at the farmer and in a compassionate tone replied once again, “Maybe so, maybe not.” Enraged that the wise man could be so ignorant, the farmer stormed back to the village. The next day troops arrived to take every able-bodied man to the war that had just broken out. The farmer’s son was the only young man in the village who didn’t have to go. He would live, while the others would surely die. The moral of this story provides a powerful lesson. The truth is, we don’t know what’s going to happen—we just think we do. Often we make a big deal out of something. We blow up scenarios in our minds about all the terrible things that are going to happen. Most of the time we are wrong. If we keep our cool and stay open to possibilities, we can be reasonably certain that, eventually, all will be well. Remember: maybe so, maybe not.
Richard Carlson (Don't Sweat the Small Stuff ... and it's all small stuff: Simple Ways to Keep the Little Things from Taking Over Your Life)
Here are the essentials of a happy life,
my dear friend: money not worked for,
but inherited; some land not unproductive;
a hearth fire always going; law suits never;
the toga rarely worn; a calm mind;
a gentleman’s strong and healthy body;
circumspect candor, friends who are your equals;
relaxed dinner parties, a simple table,
nights not drunken, but free from anxieties;
a marriage bed not prudish, and yet modest;
plenty of sleep to make the dark hours short. Wish
to be what you are, and prefer nothing more.
Don’t fear your last day, or hope for it either.
Translated from original text:
Vitam quae faciant beatiorem,
Iucundissime Martialis, haec sunt:
Res non parta labore, sed relicta;
Non ingratus ager, focus perennis;
Lis numquam, toga rara, mens quieta;
Vires ingenuae, salubre corpus;
Prudens simplicitas, pares amici;
Convictus facilis, sine arte mensa;
Nox non ebria, sed soluta curis;
Non tristis torus, et tamen pudicus;
Somnus, qui faciat breves tenebras:
Quod sis, esse velis nihilque malis;
Summum nec metuas diem nec optes.
Marcus Valerius Martialis
Because I kissed you? Seriously? You only like me because I’m a good kisser? That’s it. We’re not doing this. I’m not letting you risk your life just
because you can’t think with your upstairs brain.”
“No, you twit.” Ryan laughed. “Because you kissed me that day. I expected the ice queen and got a funny, go-with-the-flow girl that didn’t care what
anyone thought about her. A girl willing to stir up gossip just so that I could win a date with someone else.
“You didn’t have to help me. In fact, you probably should have been insulted, but you weren’t.
You kissed me, you smiled, and then you wished me good luck. No one’s ever surprised me like that. I couldn’t figure out why you did it, and I just
had to get to know you after that.” I had no idea that stupid kiss had that kind of effect on him. Charged him up like a battery, sure, but do all that? All
this time I really thought it was just the superkissing that kept him coming back. I looked down at my lunch, feeling a little ashamed of my lack of faith
in him, but Ryan couldn’t stop there.
Oh, no, not Ryan Miller.
“After that day, every time I was with you I got brief glimpses of the real Jamie, the one who is dying to break out, and she was this fun, relaxed,
smart, funny, caring girl. Finding out the truth about you only made you that much more incredible. You’re so strong. You’ve gone through so much,
you’re going through so much, but you never stop trying. You’re amazing.” I was surprised when I felt Ryan’s hand lift my chin up. I didn’t want to look
at him, I knew what would happen to my heart if I did, but I couldn’t stop myself. I craved him too much.
When we made eye contact, his face lit up and he whispered, “I love you, Jamie Baker.” It came out of nowhere, and it stole the breath from me,
leaving me speechless. Ryan stared at me, just waiting for some kind of reaction, and then I was the one who broke the no-kissing rule.
It wasn’t my fault. He totally cheated! Like anyone could resist Ryan Miller when he’s touching your face and saying he loves you?
I threw myself at him so fast that I startled him for a change, and he was the one who had to pull me off him when his hair started to stick up.
“Sorry,” I breathed as he pulled away.
“Don’t be sorry,” he teased. “Just stop.”
“Sorry,” I said again when I noticed that his leg was now bouncing under the table.
“Yeah. Looks like I don’t get to sleep through economics today.”
“On the bright side, Coach could make you run laps all practice long and you’d be fine.
Kelly Oram (Being Jamie Baker (Jamie Baker, #1))
Sleep tight in the secure arms of your daddy. I know I have. He’ll be good at making you feel safe.
When you’re scared, let him remind you that he’s right there, always ready to hold you when you need it.
More than anything, I want to tell you this: You are a fighter. You are strong. You are brave. You can accomplish anything you set your mind to. This world is yours to make the most of, and I believe you will live a life so full of happiness that I will feel it from above.
Never let others bring you down. Their words don’t change who you are. You are in control of who you are. You, my sweet Lila Kate, are your mother’s daughter. We fight for what we want and what we believe in. We don’t listen to others, and we are secure in who we are. Show the world how amazing Lila Kate Carter is, and climb mountains, baby girl. Climb them all.
Abbi Glines (One More Chance (Rosemary Beach, #8; Chance, #2))
Don’t write with a pen. Ink tends to give the impression the words shouldn’t be changed.
Write with what gives you the most sensual satisfaction.
Write in a hard-covered notebook with green lined pages. Green is easy on the eyes. Blank white pages seems to challenge you to create the world before you start writing. It may be true that you, the modern poet, must make the world as you go, but why be reminded of it before you even have one word on the page?
Don’t erase. Cross out rapidly and violently, never with slow consideration if you can help it.
Start, as some smarty once said, in the middle of things.
Play with syntax.
Never want to say anything so strongly that you have to give up the option of finding something better – if you have to say it, you will.
Read your poem aloud many times. If you don’t enjoy it every time, something may be wrong.
If you ask a question, don’t answer it, or answer a question not asked, or defer. (If you can answer the question, to ask it is to waste time).
Maximum sentence length: seventeen words.
Don’t be afraid to take emotional possession of words. If you don’t love a few words enough to own them, you will have to be very clever to write a good poem.
Richard Hugo (The Triggering Town: Lectures and Essays on Poetry and Writing)
The Tomorrow Man theory. It’s pretty basic. Today, right here, you are who you are. Tomorrow, you will be who you will be. Each and every night, we lie down to die, and each morning we arise, reborn. Now, those who are in good spirits, with strong mental health, they look out for their Tomorrow Man. They eat right today, they drink right today, they go to sleep early today–all so that Tomorrow Man, when he awakes in his bed reborn as Today Man, thanks Yesterday Man. He looks upon him fondly as a child might a good parent. He knows that someone–himself–was looking out for him. He feels cared for, and respected. Loved, in a word. And now he has a legacy to pass on to his subsequent selves…. But those who are in a bad way, with poor mental health, they constantly leave these messes for Tomorrow Man to clean up. They eat whatever the hell they want, drink like the night will never end, and then fall asleep to forget. They don’t respect Tomorrow Man because they don’t think through the fact that Tomorrow Man will be them. So then they wake up, new Today Man, groaning at the disrespect Yesterday Man showed them. Wondering why does that guy–myself–keep punishing me? But they never learn and instead come to settle for that behavior, eventually learning to ask and expect nothing of themselves. They pass along these same bad habits tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow, and it becomes psychologically genetic, like a curse. Looking at you now, Maven, I can see exactly where you fall on this spectrum. You are a man constantly trying to fix today what Yesterday Man did to you. You make up your bed, you clean those dirty dishes from the night before, and pledge not to start drinking until six, thinking that’s the way to keep an even keel. But in reality you’re always playing catch-up. I know this because I’ve been there. The thing is–you can’t fix the mistakes of Yesterday. Yesterday Man is dead, he’s gone forever, and blame and atonement aren’t worth a damn. What you can do is help yourself today. Eat a vegetable. Read a book. Cut that hair of yours. Leave Tomorrow Man something more than a headache and a jam-packed colon. Do for Tomorrow Man what you would have wanted Yesterday Man to do for you.
And what, you think you can fix me?” she asks, turning in her stool to face me, shifting her body closer, so close I can smell the liquor on her warm breath as she whispers, “Think you can make me whole again? Save me from the world? Save me from myself? Fill me up, maybe fuck the feeling back into me, like the big, strong, man you are? Make me a real woman, instead of a broken little girl?”
There’s a sickening sweetness to her voice that sends a chill down my spine. If I never heard a thinly veiled ‘fuck you’ before, that was certainly one for the books. I move closer to her, uncomfortably so, cocking my head slightly as I lean in, watching as her body tenses. She thinks I’m about to kiss her, my mouth just inches from hers, before I stop, my voice gritty as I say, “On the contrary, Scarlet, I don’t think you need to be fixed at all.”
“No,” I say. “I think you’re perfect the way you are.
J.M. Darhower (Menace (Scarlet Scars, #1))
WEIRD DANCING IN ALL-NIGHT computer-banking lobbies. Unauthorized pyrotechnic displays. Land-art, earth-works as bizarre alien artifacts strewn in State Parks. Burglarize houses but instead of stealing, leave Poetic-Terrorist objects. Kidnap someone & make them happy. Pick someone at random & convince them they're the heir to an enormous, useless & amazing fortune--say 5000 square miles of Antarctica, or an aging circus elephant, or an orphanage in Bombay, or a collection of alchemical mss. ...
Bolt up brass commemorative plaques in places (public or private) where you have experienced a revelation or had a particularly fulfilling sexual experience, etc.
Go naked for a sign.
Organize a strike in your school or workplace on the grounds that it does not satisfy your need for indolence & spiritual beauty.
Graffiti-art loaned some grace to ugly subways & rigid public monuments--PT-art can also be created for public places: poems scrawled in courthouse lavatories, small fetishes abandoned in parks & restaurants, Xerox-art under windshield-wipers of parked cars, Big Character Slogans pasted on playground walls, anonymous letters mailed to random or chosen recipients (mail fraud), pirate radio transmissions, wet cement...
The audience reaction or aesthetic-shock produced by PT ought to be at least as strong as the emotion of terror-- powerful disgust, sexual arousal, superstitious awe, sudden intuitive breakthrough, dada-esque angst--no matter whether the PT is aimed at one person or many, no matter whether it is "signed" or anonymous, if it does not change someone's life (aside from the artist) it fails.
PT is an act in a Theater of Cruelty which has no stage, no rows of seats, no tickets & no walls. In order to work at all, PT must categorically be divorced from all conventional structures for art consumption (galleries, publications, media). Even the guerilla Situationist tactics of street theater are perhaps too well known & expected now.
An exquisite seduction carried out not only in the cause of mutual satisfaction but also as a conscious act in a deliberately beautiful life--may be the ultimate PT. The PTerrorist behaves like a confidence-trickster whose aim is not money but CHANGE.
Don't do PT for other artists, do it for people who will not realize (at least for a few moments) that what you have done is art. Avoid recognizable art-categories, avoid politics, don't stick around to argue, don't be sentimental; be ruthless, take risks, vandalize only what must be defaced, do something children will remember all their lives--but don't be spontaneous unless the PT Muse has possessed you.
Dress up. Leave a false name. Be legendary. The best PT is against the law, but don't get caught. Art as crime; crime as art.
Hakim Bey (TAZ: The Temporary Autonomous Zone (New Autonomy))
Hitherto, the Palestinians had been relatively immune to this Allahu Akhbar style. I thought this was a hugely retrograde development. I said as much to Edward. To reprint Nazi propaganda and to make a theocratic claim to Spanish soil was to be a protofascist and a supporter of 'Caliphate' imperialism: it had nothing at all to do with the mistreatment of the Palestinians. Once again, he did not exactly disagree. But he was anxious to emphasize that the Israelis had often encouraged Hamas as a foil against Fatah and the PLO. This I had known since seeing the burning out of leftist Palestinians by Muslim mobs in Gaza as early as 1981. Yet once again, it seemed Edward could only condemn Islamism if it could somehow be blamed on either Israel or the United States or the West, and not as a thing in itself. He sometimes employed the same sort of knight's move when discussing other Arabist movements, excoriating Saddam Hussein's Ba'ath Party, for example, mainly because it had once enjoyed the support of the CIA. But when Saddam was really being attacked, as in the case of his use of chemical weapons on noncombatants at Halabja, Edward gave second-hand currency to the falsified story that it had 'really' been the Iranians who had done it. If that didn't work, well, hadn't the United States sold Saddam the weaponry in the first place? Finally, and always—and this question wasn't automatically discredited by being a change of subject—what about Israel's unwanted and ugly rule over more and more millions of non-Jews?
I evolved a test for this mentality, which I applied to more people than Edward. What would, or did, the relevant person say when the United States intervened to stop the massacres and dispossessions in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo? Here were two majority-Muslim territories and populations being vilely mistreated by Orthodox and Catholic Christians. There was no oil in the region. The state interests of Israel were not involved (indeed, Ariel Sharon publicly opposed the return of the Kosovar refugees to their homes on the grounds that it set an alarming—I want to say 'unsettling'—precedent). The usual national-security 'hawks,' like Henry Kissinger, were also strongly opposed to the mission. One evening at Edward's apartment, with the other guest being the mercurial, courageous Azmi Bishara, then one of the more distinguished Arab members of the Israeli parliament, I was finally able to leave the arguing to someone else. Bishara [...] was quite shocked that Edward would not lend public support to Clinton for finally doing the right thing in the Balkans. Why was he being so stubborn? I had begun by then—belatedly you may say—to guess. Rather like our then-friend Noam Chomsky, Edward in the final instance believed that if the United States was doing something, then that thing could not by definition be a moral or ethical action.
Christopher Hitchens (Hitch 22: A Memoir)
I'd like to start this week with a request, and this one goes out to the followers of the three Abrahamic religions: the Muslims, Christians, and Jews. It's just a little thing, really, but do you think that when you've finished smashing up the world and blowing each other to bits and demanding special privileges while you do it, do you think that maybe the rest of us could sort of have our planet back? I wouldn't ask, but I'm starting to think that there must be something written in the special books that each of you so enjoy referring to that it's ok to behave like special, petulant, pugnacious, pricks.
Forgive the alliteration, but your persistent, power-mad punch-ups are pissing me off. It's mainly the extremists obviously, but not exclusively. It's a lot of 'main-streamers' as well. Let me give you an example of what I'm talking about.
Muslims: listen up my bearded and veily friends! Calm down, ok? Stop blowing stuff up. Not everything that said about you is an attack on the prophet Mohammed and Allah that needs to end in the infidel being destroyed. Have a cup of tea, put on a Cat Stevens record, sit down and chill out. I mean seriously, what's wrong with a strongly-worded letter to The Times?
Christians: you and your churches don't get to be millionaires while other people have nothing at all. They're your bloody rules; either stick to them or abandon the faith. And stop persecuting and killing people you judge to be immoral. Oh, and stop pretending you're celibate -- it's a cover-up for being a gay or a nonce. Right, that's two ticked off.
Jews! I know you're god's 'Chosen People' and the rest of us are just whatever, but when Israel behaves like a violent, psychopathic bully and someone mentions it that doesn't make them antisemitic. And for the record, your troubled history is not a license to act with impunity now.
Jonathan Safran Foer’s 10 Rules for Writing:
1.Tragedies make great literature; unfathomable catastrophes (the Holocaust, 9/11) are even better – try to construct your books around them for added gravitas but, since those big issues are such bummers, make sure you do it in a way that still focuses on a quirky central character that’s somewhat like Jonathan Safran Foer.
2. You can also name your character Jonathan Safran Foer.
3. If you’re writing a non-fiction book you should still make sure that it has a strong, deep, wise, and relatable central character – someone like Jonathan Safran Foer.
4. If you reach a point in your book where you’re not sure what to do, or how to approach a certain scene, or what the hell you’re doing, just throw in a picture, or a photo, or scribbles, or blank pages, or some illegible text, or maybe even a flipbook. Don’t worry if these things don’t mean anything, that’s what postmodernism is all about. If you’re not sure what to put in, you can’t go wrong with a nice photograph of Jonathan Safran Foer.
5. If you come up with a pun, metaphor, or phrase that you think is really clever and original, don’t just use it once and throw it away, sprinkle it liberally throughout the text. One particularly good phrase that comes to mind is “Jonathan Safran Foer.”
6. Don’t worry if you seem to be saying the same thing over and over again, repetition makes the work stronger, repetition is good, it drives the point home. The more you repeat a phrase or an idea, the better it gets. You should not be afraid of repeating ideas or phrases. One particularly good phrase that comes to mind is “Jonathan Safran Foer.”
7. Other writers are not your enemies, they are your friends, so you should feel free to borrow some of their ideas, words, techniques, and symbols, and use them completely out of context. They won’t mind, they’re your friends, just like my good friend Paul Auster, with whom I am very good friends. Just make sure you don’t steal anything from Jonathan Safran Foer, it wouldn’t be nice, he is your friend.
8. Make sure you have exactly three plots in your novel, any more and it gets confusing, any less and it’s not postmodern. At least one of those plots should be in a different timeline. It often helps if you name these three plots, I often use “Jonathan,” “Safran,” and “Foer.”
9. Don’t be afraid to make bold statements in you writing, there should always be a strong lesson to be learned, such as “don’t eat animals,” or “the Holocaust was bad,” or “9/11 was really really sad,” or “the world would be a better place if everyone was just a little bit more like Jonathan Safran Foer.”
10. In the end, don’t worry if you’re unsuccessful as a writer, it probably wasn’t meant to be. Not all of us are chosen to become writers. Not all of us can be Jonathan Safran Foer.
Jonathan Safran Foer
I’m not sure what to say about struggle except that it feels like a long, dark tunnel with no light at the end. You never notice until it’s over the ways it has changed you, and there is no going back. We struggled a lot this year. For everyone who picked a fight with life and got the shit kicked out of them: I’m proud of you for surviving.
This year I learned that cities are beautiful from rooftops even when you’re sad and that swimming in rivers while the sun sets in July will make you feel hopeful, no matter what’s going on at home. I found out my best friend is strong enough to swing me over his shoulder like I’m weightless and run down the street while I’m squealing and kicking against his chest. I found out vegan rice milk whipped cream is delicious, especially when it’s licked off the stomach of a boy you love.
This year I kissed too many people with broken hearts and hands like mousetraps. If I could go back and unhurt them I would. If I could go back even farther and never meet them I would do that too. I turned 21. There’s no getting around it. I’m an adult now. Navigating the world has proved harder than I expected. There were times I was reckless. In my struggle to survive I hurt others. Apologies do not make good bandages.
I’m not sure what to say about change except that it reminds me of the Bible story with the lions’ den. But you are not named Daniel and you have not been praying, so God lets the beasts get a few deep, painful swipes at you before the morning comes and you’re pulled into the light, exhausted and cut to shit.
The good news is you survived. The bad news is you’re hurt and no one can heal you but yourself. You just have to find a stiff drink and a clean needle before you bleed out. And then you get up. And start over.
Clementine von Radics (Mouthful of Forevers)
I came to another passageway and paused to examine the scene. I saw myself dead and lying on the ground with Ren kneeling beside me. He leaned over my inert body investigating. I heard him whisper, “Kelsey? Is it you? Kelsey, please. Talk to me. I need to know if it’s really you.”
He picked my body up and cradled it lovingly in his arms. I checked to make sure he had the gada and the backpack, which he did, but I’d been fooled before. Then he said, “Don’t leave me, Kells.”
I closed my eyes and listened to his voice begging me to live. My heart started thumping wildly, a different reaction than I’d had in the past visions. I took a step closer and hit a barrier again.
I spoke to him softly, “Ren? I’m here. Don’t give up.”
He raised his head as if he’d heard me.
“Kelsey? I can hear you, but I can’t see you. Where are you?” He lowered me, or the body that looked like me, to the ground, and it disappeared.
I told him, “Close your eyes and feel your way to me.” He stood slowly and closed his eyes.
I closed my eyes too, and tried to focus not on his voice but on his heart. I imagined my hand on his chest, feeling the strong thump of his heart beneath my fingers. My body seemed to move of its own volition, and I took several steps forward. I concentrated on Ren, his laugh, his smile, how I felt being near him, then, suddenly, my hand touched his chest, and I could feel his heart beating. He was there. I opened my eyes slowly and looked at him.
He reached out a hand to touch my hair, but then he pulled it back. “Is it really you this time, Kells?”
“Well, I’m no maggoty corpse, if that’s what you mean.”
He grinned. “That’s a relief. No maggoty corpse would be that sarcastic.”
I countered, “Well, how do I know it’s really you?”
He considered my question for a moment and then ducked his head to kiss me. He tugged me flush up against his chest, pulling me closer than I even thought possible, and then his lips touched mine. His kiss started out warm and soft, but quickly turned hungry and demanding. His hands ran up my arms, to my shoulders, and then cupped my neck. I wrapped my arms around his waist and luxuriated in the kiss. When he finally pulled back, my heart was pounding in response.
When the power of speech returned, I quipped, “Well, even if it isn’t really you, I’ll take this version.”
He laughed and relief flooded both of us. “Kells, I think you’d better hold my hand the rest of the way.”
I smiled gaily back at him. “No problem.
Colleen Houck (Tiger's Curse (The Tiger Saga, #1))
I just want to say one thing. If I ever write a novel again, it's going to be in defense of weak women, inept and codependent women. I'm going to talk about all the great movies and songs and poetry that focus on such women. I'm going to toast Blanche DuBois. I'm going to celebrate women who aren't afraid to show their need and their vulnerabilities. To be honest about how hard it can be to plow your way through a life that offers no guarantees about anything. I'm going to get on my metaphorical knees and thank women who fall apart, who cry and carry on and wail and wring their hands because you know what, Midge? We all need to cry. Thank God for women who can articulate their vulnerabilities and express what probably a lot of other people want to say and feel they can't. Those peoples' stronghold against falling apart themselves is the disdain they feel for women who do it for them. Strong. I'm starting to think that's as much a party line as anything else ever handed to women for their assigned roles. When do we get respect for our differences from men? Our strength is our weakness. Our ability to feel is our humanity. You know what? I'll bet if you talk to a hundred strong women, 99 of them would say 'I'm sick of being strong. I would like to be cared for. I would like someone else to make the goddamn decisions, I'm sick of making decisions.' I know this one woman who's a beacon of strength. A single mother who can do everything - even more than you, Midge. I ran into her not long ago and we went and got a coffee and you know what she told me? She told me that when she goes out to dinner with her guy, she asks him to order everything for her. Every single thing, drink to dessert. Because she just wants to unhitch. All of us dependent, weak women have the courage to do all the time what she can only do in a restaurant.
Elizabeth Berg (Home Safe)
If you’re going to build a strong culture, it’s paramount to make diversity one of your core values. This is what separates Bridgewater’s strong culture from a cult: The commitment is to promoting dissent. In hiring, instead of using similarity to gauge cultural fit, Bridgewater assesses cultural contribution.* Dalio wants people who will think independently and enrich the culture. By holding them accountable for dissenting, Dalio has fundamentally altered the way people make decisions. In a cult, core values are dogma. At Bridgewater, employees are expected to challenge the principles themselves. During training, when employees learn the principles, they’re constantly asked: Do you agree? “We have these standards that are stress tested over time, and you have to either operate by them or disagree with them and fight for better ones,” explains Zack Wieder, who works with Dalio on codifying the principles. Rather than deferring to the people with the greatest seniority or status, as was the case at Polaroid, decisions at Bridgewater are based on quality. The goal is to create an idea meritocracy, where the best ideas win. To get the best ideas on the table in the first place, you need radical transparency. Later, I’m going to challenge some of Dalio’s principles, but first I want to explain the weapons he has used to wage a war on groupthink.
Adam M. Grant (Originals: How Nonconformists Move the World)
This is the thing: If you have the option to not think about or even consider history, whether you learned it right or not, or whether it even deserves consideration, that’s how you know you’re on board the ship that serves hors d’oeuvres and fluffs your pillows, while others are out at sea, swimming or drowning, or clinging to little inflatable rafts that they have to take turns keeping inflated, people short of breath, who’ve never even heard of the words hors d’oeuvres or fluff. Then someone from up on the yacht says, “It’s too bad those people down there are lazy, and not as smart and able as we are up here, we who have built these strong, large, stylish boats ourselves, we who float the seven seas like kings.” And then someone else on board says something like, “But your father gave you this yacht, and these are his servants who brought the hors d’oeuvres.” At which point that person gets tossed overboard by a group of hired thugs who’d been hired by the father who owned the yacht, hired for the express purpose of removing any and all agitators on the yacht to keep them from making unnecessary waves, or even referencing the father or the yacht itself. Meanwhile, the man thrown overboard begs for his life, and the people on the small inflatable rafts can’t get to him soon enough, or they don’t even try, and the yacht’s speed and weight cause an undertow. Then in whispers, while the agitator gets sucked under the yacht, private agreements are made, precautions are measured out, and everyone quietly agrees to keep on quietly agreeing to the implied rule of law and to not think about what just happened. Soon, the father, who put these things in place, is only spoken of in the form of lore, stories told to children at night, under the stars, at which point there are suddenly several fathers, noble, wise forefathers. And the boat sails on unfettered.
Tommy Orange (There There)
The Big Lie in the church today is that you are nothing more than “a sinner saved by grace.” You are a lot more than that. You are a new creation in Christ. The New Testament calls you a saint, a holy one, a son of God. In the core of your being you are a good man. Yes, there is a war within us, but it is a civil war. The battle is not between us and God; no, there is a traitor within who wars against our true heart fighting alongside the Spirit of God in us: A new power is in operation. The Spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air, freeing you from a fated lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death . . . Anyone, of course, who has not welcomed this invisible but clearly present God, the Spirit of Christ, won’t know what we’re talking about. But for you who welcome him, in whom he dwells . . . if the alive-and-present God who raised Jesus from the dead moves into your life, he’ll do the same thing in you that he did in Jesus . . . When God lives and breathes in you (and he does, as surely as he did in Jesus), you are delivered from that dead life. (Rom. 8:2–3, 9–11 The Message) The real you is on the side of God against the false self. Knowing this makes all the difference in the world.
John Eldredge (Wild at Heart Revised and Updated: Discovering the Secret of a Man's Soul)
A great sorrow, and one that I am only beginning to understand: we don’t get to choose our own hearts. We can’t make ourselves want what’s good for us or what’s good for other people. We don’t get to choose the people we are.
Because—isn’t it drilled into us constantly, from childhood on, an unquestioned platitude in the culture—? From William Blake to Lady Gaga, from Rousseau to Rumi to Tosca to Mister Rogers, it’s a curiously uniform message, accepted from high to low: when in doubt, what to do? How do we know what’s right for us? Every shrink, every career counselor, every Disney princess knows the answer: “Be yourself.” “Follow your heart.”
Only here’s what I really, really want someone to explain to me. What if one happens to be possessed of a heart that can’t be trusted—? What if the heart, for its own unfathomable reasons, leads one willfully and in a cloud of unspeakable radiance away from health, domesticity, civic responsibility and strong social connections and all the blandly-held common virtues and instead straight towards a beautiful flare of ruin self-immolation, disaster? Is Kitsey right? If your deepest self is singing and coaxing you straight toward the bonfire, is it better to turn away? Stop your ears with wax? Ignore all the perverse glory your heart is screaming at you?
Donna Tartt (The Goldfinch)
Ms. Lane.”Barrons’ voice is deep, touched with that strange Old World accent and mildly pissed off. Jericho Barrons is often mildly pissed off. I think he crawled from the swamp that way, chafed either by some condition in it, out of it, or maybe just the general mass incompetence he encountered in both places. He’s the most controlled, capable man I’ve ever known.
After all we’ve been through together, he still calls me Ms. Lane, with one exception: When I’m in his bed. Or on the floor, or some other place where I’ve temporarily lost my mind and become convinced I can’t breathe without him inside me this very instant. Then the things he calls me are varied and nobody’s business but mine.
I reply: “Barrons,” without inflection. I’ve learned a few things in our time together. Distance is frequently the only intimacy he’ll tolerate. Suits me. I’ve got my own demons. Besides I don’t believe good relationships come from living inside each other’s pockets. I believe divorce comes from that.
I admire the animal grace with which he enters the room and moves toward me. He prefers dark colors, the better to slide in and out of the night, or a room, unnoticed except for whatever he’s left behind that you may or may not discover for some time, like, say a tattoo on the back of one’s skull.
“What are you doing?”
“Reading,” I say nonchalantly, rubbing the tattoo on the back of my skull. I angle the volume so he can’t see the cover. If he sees what I’m reading, he’ll know I’m looking for something. If he realizes how bad it’s gotten, and what I’m thinking about doing, he’ll try to stop me.
He circles behind me, looks over my shoulder at the thick vellum of the ancient manuscript. “In the first tongue?”
“Is that what it is?” I feign innocence.
He knows precisely which cells in my body are innocent and which are thoroughly corrupted. He’s responsible for most of the corrupted ones. One corner of his mouth ticks up and I see the glint of beast behind his eyes, a feral crimson backlight, bloodstaining the whites.
It turns me on. Barrons makes me feel violently, electrically sexual and alive. I’d march into hell beside him.
But I will not let him march into hell beside me. And there’s no doubt that’s where I’m going.
I thought I was strong, a heroine. I thought I was the victor. The enemy got inside my head and tried to seduce me with lies.
It’s easy to walk away from lies.
Power is another thing.
Temptation isn’t a sin that you triumph over once, completely and then you’re free. Temptation slips into bed with you each night and helps you say your prayers. It wakes you in the morning with a friendly cup of coffee, and knows exactly how you take it.
He skirts the Chesterfield sofa and stands over me. “Looking for something, Ms. Lane?”
I’m eye level with his belt but that’s not where my gaze gets stuck and suddenly my mouth is so dry I can hardly swallow and I know I’m going to want to. I’m Pri-ya for this man. I hate it. I love it. I can’t escape it.
I reach for his belt buckle. The manuscript slides from my lap, forgotten. Along with everything else but this moment, this man. “I just found it,” I tell him.
Karen Marie Moning (Burned (Fever, #7))
Dear my strong girls, you will all go through that phase of life making a mistake of helping a toxic girl whose friendship with you turns into her self-interest. This kind of girls is a real burden towards the empowerment of other females as they can never get past their own insecurity and grow out of high-school-like drama. Despite how advanced we are in educating modern women, this type will still go through life living in identity crisis, endlessly looking for providers of any kind at the end of the day. They can never stand up for others or things that matter because they can't stand up for themselves. They care what everyone thinks only doing things to impress men, friends, strangers, everyone in society except themselves, while at the same time can't stand seeing other women with purpose get what those women want in life. But let me tell you, this is nothing new, let them compete and compare with you as much as they wish, be it your career, love or spirit. You know who you are and you will know who your true girls are by weeding out girls that break our girlie code of honor, but do me a favor by losing this type of people for good. Remind yourself to never waste time with a person who likes to betray others' trust, never. Disloyalty is a trait that can't be cured. Bless yourself that you see a person's true colors sooner than later. With love, your mama. XOXO
Shannon L. Alder
One day, a young boy went up to his grandfather, who was an old Cherokee chief. ‘Edudi?’ the boy asked. ‘Why are you so sad?’ The old chief bit his lip and rubbed his belly as if his stomach pained him unmercifully. ‘There is a terrible fight inside me, Uhgeeleesee’, the chief said sternly. ‘One that will not let me sleep of give me peace’. ‘A fight Grandfather? I don’t understand. What kind of fight is inside you?’ The old chief knelt in front of the boy to explain. ‘Deep inside my heart, I have two wolves. Each strong enough to devour the other, they are locked in constant war. One is evil through and through. He is revenge, sorrow, regret, rage, greed, arrogance, stupidity, superiority, envy, guilt, lies, ego, false pride, inferiority, self-doubt, suspicion and resentment. The other wolf is everything kind. He is made of peace, blissful tranquillity, wisdom, love and joy, hope and humility, compassion, benevolence, generosity, truth, faith and empathy. They circle each other inside my heart and they fight one another at all times. Day and night. There is no letup. Not even while I slumber’. The boy’s yes widened as he sucked his breath in sharply. ‘How horrible for you’. His grandfather shook his head at these words and tapped the boy’s chest right where his own heart was located. ‘It’s not just horrible for me. This same fight is also going on inside you and every single person who walks this earth with us’. Those words terrified the little boy. ‘So tell me Grandfather, which of the wolves will win this fight?’ The old chief smiled at his grandson and he cupped his young cheek before he answered with one simple truth. ‘Always the one we feed’.
Be careful what you feed, child. For the beast will follow you home and live with you until you either make a bed for it to stay, or find the temerity to drive it out.
Sherrilyn Kenyon (Time Untime (Dark-Hunter, #21; Hellchaser, #4; Were-Hunter, #7))
One day, I wish to find a man like in my
books. He has to be just like in one of my books.
And he has to love me, love me more than anything
in the world. Most important of all, he has
to think I’m beautiful.”
“Lily, I need to tell you something.” Fazire
was going to tell her about Becky’s wish and his
mistake and let her look forward to something, let
her look forward to the incomparable beauty she
was going to be.
Most of all, he had to stop her wish now. He
didn’t want her wasting it on some fool idea. He
wanted it to be special, perfect, to make her world
better like she had made Becky and Will’s and,
But again she didn’t hear him. Her eyes were
bright and they were steady on his.
“He has to be tall, very tall and dark and
broad-shouldered and narrow-hipped.”
Fazire stared. He didn’t even know what
“And he has to be handsome, unbelievably
handsome, impossibly handsome with a strong,
square jaw and powerful cheekbones and tanned
skin and beautiful eyes with lush, thick lashes.
He has to be clever and very wealthy but hardworking.
He has to be virile, fierce, ruthless and
Now she was getting over his head. He didn’t
think there was such a thing as impossibly handsome.
How cheekbones could be powerful,
Fazire didn’t know. He was even thinking he
might have to look up “virile” in the dictionary
Sarah had given him.
“And he has to be hard and cold and maybe a
little bit forbidding, a little bit bad with a broken
heart I have to mend or one encased in ice I have
to melt or better yet… both!”
Fazire thought this was getting a bit ridiculous.
It was the most complicated wish he’d ever
But she wasn’t yet finished.
“We have to go through some trials and tribulations.
Something to test our love, make it strong
and worthy. And… and… he has to be daring and
very masculine. Powerful. People must respect
him, maybe even fear him. Graceful too and lithe,
like a… like a cat! Or a lion. Or something like
She was losing steam and Fazire had to admit
he was grateful for it.
“And he has to be a good lover.” Lily shocked
Fazire by saying. “The best, so good, he could almost
make love to me just by using his eyes.”
Fazire felt himself blush. Perhaps he should
have a look at these books she was reading and
show them to Becky. Lily was a very sharp girl,
sharp as a tack (another one of Sarah’s sayings,
although Fazire couldn’t imagine a tack ever being
as clever as Lily) but she was too young to
be reading about any man making love to her
with his eyes. Fazire had never made love, never
would, genies just didn’t. But he was pretty certain
fourteen year old girls shouldn’t be thinking
Though, he was wrong about that, or at least
Becky would tell him that later.
Then Fazire realised she’d stopped talking.
“Is that it?” he asked.
She thought for a bit, clearly not wanting to
leave anything out.
Then she nodded.
Kristen Ashley (Three Wishes)
I turn and I walk my tray to the conveyor and I drop it on the belt and I start to walk out of the Dining Hall. As I head through the Glass Corridor separating the men and women, I see Lilly sitting alone at a table. She looks up at me and she smiles and our eyes meet and I smile back. She looks down and I stop walking and I stare at her. She looks up and she smiles again. She is as beautiful a girl as I have ever seen. Her eyes, her lips, her teeth, her hair, her skin. The black circles beneath her eyes, the scars I can see on her wrists, the ridiculous clothes she wears that are ten sizes too big, the sense of sadness and pain she wears that is even bigger. I stand and I stare at her, just stare stare stare. Men walk past me and other women look at me and LIlly doesn’t understand what I’m doing or why I’m doing it and she’s blushing and it’s beautiful. I stand there and I stare. I stare because I know where I am going I’m not going to see any beauty. They don’t sell crack in Mansions or fancy Department Stores and you don’t go to luxury Hotels or Country Clubs to smoke it. Strong, cheap liquor isn’t served in five-star Restaurants or Champagne Bars and it isn’t sold in gourmet Groceries or boutique Liquor stores. I’m going to go to a horrible place in a horrible neighborhood run by horrible people providing product for the worst Society has to offer. There will be no beauty there, nothing even resembling beauty. There will be Dealers and Addicts and Criminals and Whores and Pimps and Killers and Slaves. There will be drugs and liquor and pipes and bottles and smoke and vomit and blood and human rot and human decay and human disintegration. I have spent much of my life in these places. When I leave here I will fond one of the and I will stay there until I die. Before I do, however, I want one last look at something beautiful. I want one last look so that I have something to hold in my mind while I’m dying, so that when I take my last breath I will be able to think of something that will make me smile, so that in the midst of the horror I can hold on to some shred of humanity.
The real problem here is that we’re all dying. All of us. Every day the cells weaken and the fibres stretch and the heart gets closer to its last beat. The real cost of living is dying, and we’re spending days like millionaires: a week here, a month there, casually spunked until all you have left are the two pennies on your eyes.
Personally, I like the fact we’re going to die. There’s nothing more exhilarating than waking up every morning and going ‘WOW! THIS IS IT! THIS IS REALLY IT!’ It focuses the mind wonderfully. It makes you love vividly, work intensely, and realise that, in the scheme of things, you really don’t have time to sit on the sofa in your pants watching Homes Under the Hammer.
Death is not a release, but an incentive. The more focused you are on your death, the more righteously you live your life. My traditional closing-time rant – after the one where I cry that they closed that amazing chippy on Tollington Road; the one that did the pickled eggs – is that humans still believe in an afterlife. I genuinely think it’s the biggest philosophical problem the earth faces. Even avowedly non-religious people think they’ll be meeting up with nana and their dead dog, Crackers, when they finally keel over. Everyone thinks they’re getting a harp.
But believing in an afterlife totally negates your current existence. It’s like an insidious and destabilising mental illness. Underneath every day – every action, every word – you think it doesn’t really matter if you screw up this time around because you can just sort it all out in paradise. You make it up with your parents, and become a better person and lose that final stone in heaven. And learn how to speak French. You’ll have time, after all! It’s eternity! And you’ll have wings, and it’ll be sunny! So, really, who cares what you do now? This is really just some lacklustre waiting room you’re only going to be in for 20 minutes, during which you will have no wings at all, and are forced to walk around, on your feet, like pigs do.
If we wonder why people are so apathetic and casual about every eminently avoidable horror in the world – famine, war, disease, the seas gradually turning piss-yellow and filling with ringpulls and shattered fax machines – it’s right there. Heaven. The biggest waste of our time we ever invented, outside of jigsaws.
Only when the majority of the people on this planet believe – absolutely – that they are dying, minute by minute, will we actually start behaving like fully sentient, rational and compassionate beings. For whilst the appeal of ‘being good’ is strong, the terror of hurtling, unstoppably, into unending nullity is a lot more effective. I’m really holding out for us all to get The Fear. The Fear is my Second Coming. When everyone in the world admits they’re going to die, we’ll really start getting some stuff done.
Young girl, don't cry
I'll be right here when your world starts to fall
Young girl, it's alright
Your tears will dry, you'll soon be free to fly
When you're safe inside your room, you tend to dream
Of a place where nothing's harder than it seems
No one ever wants or bothers to explain
Of the heartache life can bring and what it means
When there's no one else, look inside yourself
Like your oldest friend, just trust the voice within
Then you'll find the strength that will guide your way
You'll learn to begin to trust the voice within
Young girl, don't hide
You'll never change if you just run away
Young girl, just hold tight
Soon you're gonna see your brighter day
Now in a world where innocence is quickly claimed
It's so hard to stand your ground when you're so afraid
No one reaches out a hand for you to hold
When you look outside, look inside to your soul
When there's no one else, look inside yourself
Like your oldest friend, just trust the voice within
Then you'll find the strength that will guide your way
If you will learn to begin to trust the voice within
Life is a journey
It can take you anywhere you choose to go
As long as you're learning
You'll find all you'll ever need to know
You'll break it
You'll make it
Just don't forsake it because
No one can tell you what you can't do
No one can stop you, you know that I'm talking to you
When there's no one else, look inside yourself
Like your oldest friend, just trust the voice within
Then you'll find the strength that will guide your way
You'll learn to begin to trust the voice within
Young girl, don't cry, I'll be right here
When your world starts to fall
Over recent years, [there's been] a strong tendency to require assessment of children and teachers so that [teachers] have to teach to tests and the test determines what happens to the child, and what happens to the teacher...that's guaranteed to destroy any meaningful educational process: it means the teacher cannot be creative, imaginative, pay attention to individual students' needs, that a student can't pursue things [...] and the teacher's future depends on it as well as the students'...the people who are sitting in the offices, the bureaucrats designing this - they're not evil people, but they're working within a system of ideology and doctrines, which turns what they're doing into something extremely harmful [...] the assessment itself is completely artificial; it's not ranking teachers in accordance with their ability to help develop children who reach their potential, explore their creative interests and so on [...] you're getting some kind of a 'rank,' but it's a 'rank' that's mostly meaningless, and the very ranking itself is harmful. It's turning us into individuals who devote our lives to achieving a rank, not into doing things that are valuable and important.
It's highly destructive...in, say, elementary education, you're training kids this way [...] I can see it with my own children: when my own kids were in elementary school (at what's called a good school, a good-quality suburban school), by the time they were in third grade, they were dividing up their friends into 'dumb' and 'smart.' You had 'dumb' if you were lower-tracked, and 'smart' if you were upper-tracked [...] it's just extremely harmful and has nothing to do with education. Education is developing your own potential and creativity. Maybe you're not going to do well in school, and you'll do great in art; that's fine. It's another way to live a fulfilling and wonderful life, and one that's significant for other people as well as yourself. The whole idea is wrong in itself; it's creating something that's called 'economic man': the 'economic man' is somebody who rationally calculates how to improve his/her own status, and status means (basically) wealth. So you rationally calculate what kind of choices you should make to increase your wealth - don't pay attention to anything else - or maybe maximize the amount of goods you have.
What kind of a human being is that? All of these mechanisms like testing, assessing, evaluating, measuring...they force people to develop those characteristics. The ones who don't do it are considered, maybe, 'behavioral problems' or some other deviance [...] these ideas and concepts have consequences. And it's not just that they're ideas, there are huge industries devoted to trying to instill them...the public relations industry, advertising, marketing, and so on. It's a huge industry, and it's a propaganda industry. It's a propaganda industry designed to create a certain type of human being: the one who can maximize consumption and can disregard his actions on others.
I can do anything I believe I can do! I’ve got it, and every day I get more of it. I have talent, skills, and ability. I set goals and I reach them. I know what I want out of life. I go after it and I get it. People like me, and I feel good about myself. I have a sense of pride in who I am, and I believe in myself. Nothing seems to stop me. I have a lot of determination. I turn problems into advantages. I find possibilities in things that other people never give a chance. I have a lot of energy—I am very alive! I enjoy life and I can tell it and so can others. I keep myself up, looking ahead, and liking it. I know that I can accomplish anything I choose, and I refuse to let anything negative hold me back or stand in my way. I am not afraid of anything or anyone. I have strength, power, conviction, and confidence! I like challenges and I meet them head on, face to face—today especially! I am on top of the world and I’m going for it. I have a clear picture in my mind of what I want. I can see it in front of me. I know what I want and I know how to get it. I know that it’s all up to me and I know I can do it. Roadblocks don’t bother me. They just mean that I am alive and running, and I’m not going to stand still for anything. I trust myself I’ve got what it takes—plenty of it—and I know how to use it. Today, more than ever. Today I am unstoppable! I’ve got myself together and I’m getting more together every day. And today—look out world, here I come! Limitations? I don’t even recognize them as limitations. There is no challenge I can’t conquer; there is no wall I can’t climb over. There is no problem I can’t defeat, or turn around and make it work for me. I stand tall! I am honest and sincere. I like to deal with people and they like me. I think well; I think clearly. I am organized; I am in control of myself, and everything about me. I call my shots, and no one has to call them for me. I never blame anyone else for the circumstances of my life. I accept my failings and move past them as easily as I accept the rewards for my victories. I never demand perfection of myself, but I expect the very best of what I have to give—and that’s what I get! I never give myself excuses. I get things done on time and in the right way. Today I have the inner strength to do more than ever. I am an exceptional human being. My goals and my incredible belief in myself turn my goals into reality. I have the power to live my dreams. I believe in them like I believe in myself. And that belief is so strong that there is nothing that diminishes my undefeatable spirit.
Shad Helmstetter (What To Say When You Talk To Your Self)
Tell me what to do."
His warm breath tickled my ear. "Relax."
"Please, Noah, I don't want to do this wrong. Tell me how to make you feel good."
He shifted so that his body rested beside mine, his leg and arm still draped over me. I felt small under his warmth and strength. His chocolate-brown eyes softened. "Being with you feels good. Touching you-"he tucked a curl behind my ear"-feels good. I have never wanted anyone like I want you. There's nothing you can do wrong when just breathing makes everything right."
His hand framed my face and his tone was edget with husky authority. "I want you, but only if you want me."
I kissed him back, allowing my arms to wrap around him. His fingers gently massaged my neck, releasing the tension, erasing my unease. The kiss became a drug and i craved more with every touch. Our bodies twined so tightly to one another, i had no idea where i began and he ended.
Noah felt strong and warm and muscular and safe and he smelled, oh, God, delicious. I couldn't stop kissing him if my life depend it upon it: his lips, his neck, his chest, and Noah seemed as hungry as me. We rolled and we touched and we shed unwanted clothes. I moaned and he moaned and my mind and soul and body stood on the edge of pure ecstasy.
And i waited. I waited for that moment of pausing for protection and the burning pain my friends described, but Noah never stopped and the pain never came, not even when i whispered his name and praise God several times in a row. Both of us gasped for air while kissing each other softly and i struggled to comprehend i was still a virgin.
He shifted off of me and tugged me close to him. My entire body became lazily warm, happy and sated. I listened to his heartbeat and closed my eyes, enjoying the relaxing pull of his hand in my hair. "Noah," i whispered. "I thought..." we were going to make love.
He tipped my chin, forcing me to look at him. "We have forever to work up to that, Echo. Let's enjoy every step of the way."
My mind drifted this way and that. Mostly between focusing on his heart, his touch and the sweetest word i had ever heard: forever.
One clear thought forced my eyes open. "You 're putting me to sleep."
"So?" he asked a little too innocently.
I swallowed. "I'll have nightmares."
"Then we 'll have an excuse to do this again.
Katie McGarry (Pushing the Limits (Pushing the Limits, #1))
TJ frowns; she can’t write about willing wind and water in the official report. Voicing elements is a rumor. However, she remembers what her grandmother said five decades ago when she was a child; (it was shortly after the war): “Anyone who trains hard can be a Grade A by the time they’re forty or fifty. But it takes decades more to become strong enough to voice one element.”
“One element?” TJ asked.
“Do you want to voice the entire universe then?”
Grandmother didn’t answer, not directly anyway, as most great masters do. They never say you can’t do this or no one can do that or that thing is impossible just because they couldn’t do it, or because they hadn’t found it yet. True masters answer differently. Wisely. Like her grandmother answered that day.
“Do you know why we evolve, Tirity?”
“Because we’re supposed to?” TJ replied.
“Yes. It’s in the grand design. We’re ‘supposed to’ evolve. Not just in body, but also in mind,” she said. “In time. You see, time is the key. If given infinite time, you can evolve your mind infinitely. But we live only for a hundred years or so.”
“A hundred years is ‘only’?”
“You’re so young, Tirity! But yes, it is little for a complete cognitive evolution. Most hard trainers can prolong it to a couple of hundred years. They even get to call the wind or grow a giant plant that could touch the clouds. But voicing everything in the universe? I think only God can do it, the God who created everything with only words. And if God created the world so that he could see how far the humans can evolve, then I’d say, yes, even a human could get godly power. Godlier than voicing one or two elements. If. Given. The. Time.”
“How much time?”
“More than thousands of years, maybe. Could even need millions, who knows? …”
TJ smiles drily; she remembers how her eyes sparkled at the thought of becoming a goddess who could voice everything. She dreamed of flying in the air or walking in space. She thought of making her own garden full of giant flowers where only enormous butterflies would dance. Some days, when she played video games in VR, she even dreamed of voicing the thunder and lightning to join her wooden sword. She thought time could help her do it.
But she didn’t know then, time only makes you grow up.
Time steals your dreams.
Time only turns you into an adult.
Misba (The High Auction (Wisdom Revolution, #1))
Who is he?”
Eleanor lowered her voice, the name rolling off her tongue like a dark secret. “Dante Berlin.”
I laughed. “Dante? Like the Dante who wrote the Inferno? Did he pick that name just to cultivate his ‘dark and mysterious’ persona?”
Eleanor shook her head in disapproval. “Just wait till you see him. You won’t be laughing then.”
I rolled my eyes. “I bet his real name is something boring like Eugene or Dwayne.”
I expected Eleanor to laugh or say something in return, but instead she gave me a concerned look. I ignored it.
“He sounds like a snob to me. I bet he’s one of those guys who know they’re good-looking. He probably hasn’t even read the Inferno. It’s easy to pretend you’re smart when you don’t to anyone.”
Eleanor still didn’t respond. “Shh . . .” she muttered under her breath.
But before I could say “What?” I heard a cough behind me. Oh God, I thought to myself, and slowly turned around.
“Hi,” he said with a half grin that seemed to be mocking me.
And that’s how I met Dante Berlin.
So how do you describe someone who leaves you speechless?
He was beautiful. Not Monet beautiful or white sandy beach beautiful or even Grand Canyon beautiful. It was both more overwhelming and more delicate. Like gazing into the night sky and feeling incredibly small in comparison. Like holding a shell in your hand and wondering how nature was able to make something so complex yet to perfect: his eyes, dark and pensive; his messy brown hair tucked behind one ear; his arms, strong and lean beneath the cuffs of his collared shirt.
I wanted to say something witty or charming, but all I could muster up was a timid “Hi.”
He studied me with what looked like a mix of disgust and curiosity.
“You must be Eugene,” I said.
“I am.” He smiled, then leaned in and added, “I hope I can trust you to keep my true identity a secret. A name like Eugene could do real damage to my mysterious persona.”
I blushed at the sound of my words coming from his lips. He didn’t seem anything like the person Eleanor had described.
“And you are—”
“Renee,” I interjected.
“I was going to say, ‘in my seat,’ but Renee will do.”
My face went red. “Oh, right. Sorry.”
“Renee like the philosopher Rene Descartes? How esoteric of you. No wonder you think you know everything. You probably picked that name just to cultivate your overly analytical persona.”
I glared at him. I knew he was just dishing back my own insults, but it still stung. “Well, it was nice meeting you,” I said curtly, and pushed past him before he could respond, waving a quick good-bye to Eleanor, who looked too stunned to move.
I turned and walked to the last row, using all of my self-control to resist looking back.
Yvonne Woon (Dead Beautiful (Dead Beautiful, #1))
One night he sits up. In cots around him are a few dozen sick or wounded. A warm September wind pours across the countryside and sets the walls of the tent rippling.
Werner’s head swivels lightly on his neck. The wind is strong and gusting stronger, and the corners of the tent strain against their guy ropes, and where the flaps at the two ends come up, he can see trees buck and sway. Everything rustles. Werner zips his old notebook and the little house into his duffel and the man beside him murmurs questions to himself and the rest of the ruined company sleeps. Even Werner’s thirst has faded. He feels only the raw, impassive surge of the moonlight as it strikes the tent above him and scatters. Out there, through the open flaps of the tent, clouds hurtle above treetops. Toward Germany, toward home.
Silver and blue, blue and silver.
Sheets of paper tumble down the rows of cots, and in Werner’s chest comes a quickening. He sees Frau Elena kneel beside the coal stove and bank up the fire. Children in their beds. Baby Jutta sleeps in her cradle. His father lights a lamp, steps into an elevator, and disappears.
The voice of Volkheimer: What you could be.
Werner’s body seems to have gone weightless under his blanket, and beyond the flapping tent doors, the trees dance and the clouds keep up their huge billowing march, and he swings first one leg and then the other off the edge of the bed.
“Ernst,” says the man beside him. “Ernst.” But there is no Ernst; the men in the cots do not reply; the American soldier at the door of the tent sleeps. Werner walks past him into the grass.
The wind moves through his undershirt. He is a kite, a balloon.
Once, he and Jutta built a little sailboat from scraps of wood and carried it to the river. Jutta painted the vessel in ecstatic purples and greens, and she set it on the water with great formality. But the boat sagged as soon as the current got hold of it. It floated downstream, out of reach, and the flat black water swallowed it. Jutta blinked at Werner with wet eyes, pulling at the battered loops of yarn in her sweater.
“It’s all right,” he told her. “Things hardly ever work on the first try. We’ll make another, a better one.”
Did they? He hopes they did. He seems to remember a little boat—a more seaworthy one—gliding down a river. It sailed around a bend and left them behind. Didn’t it?
The moonlight shines and billows; the broken clouds scud above the trees. Leaves fly everywhere. But the moonlight stays unmoved by the wind, passing through clouds, through air, in what seems to Werner like impossibly slow, imperturbable rays. They hang across the buckling grass.
Why doesn’t the wind move the light?
Across the field, an American watches a boy leave the sick tent and move against the background of the trees. He sits up. He raises his hand.
“Stop,” he calls.
“Halt,” he calls.
But Werner has crossed the edge of the field, where he steps on a trigger land mine set there by his own army three months before, and disappears in a fountain of earth.
Anthony Doerr (All the Light We Cannot See)
Wanting his mind on other matters, she deliiberately challenged his statement. "You don't know so much about me. There was a man once. He was crazy about me." She tried to look wordly. "Absolutely crazy for me."
His answering laughter was warm against her neck, her throat. His lips touched the skin over her pulse and skimmed lightly up to her ear. "Are you, by any chance, referring to that foppish boy with the orange hair and spiked collar? Dragon something?"
Savannah gasped and pulled away to glare at im. "How could you possibly know about him? I dated him last year."
Gregori nuzzled her neck, inhaling her fragrance, his hand sliding over her shoulder, moving gently over her satin skin to take possession of her breast. "He wore boots and rode a Harley." His breath came out in a rush as his palm cupped the soft weight, his thumb brushing her nipple into a hard peak.
The feel of his large hand-so strong, so warm and possessive on her-sent heat curling through her body. Desire rose sharply. He was seducing her with tenderness. Savannah didn't want it to happen. Her body felt better, but the soreness was there to remind her where this could all lead. Her hand caught at his wrist. "How did you find out about Dragon?" she asked, desperate to distract him, to distract herself. How could he make her body burn for his when she was so afraid of him, of having sex with him?
"Making love," he corrected, his voice husky, caressing, betraying the ease with which his mind moved like a shadow through hers."And to answer your question, I live in you, can touch you whenever I wish.I knew about all of them. Every damn one." He growled the worrds, and her breath caught in her throat. "He was the only one you thought of kissing." His mouth touched hers. Gently. Lightly. Returned for more. Coaxing, teasing, until she opened to him. He stole her breath, her reason, whirling her into a world of feeling.Bright colors and white-hot heat, the room falling away until there was only his broad shoulders,strong arms, hard body, and perfect,perfect mouth.
When he lifted his head, Savannah nearly pulled him back to her.He watched her face,her eyes cloudy with desire, her lips so beautiful, bereft of his. "Do you have any idea how beautiful you are, Savannah? There is such beauty in your soul,I can see it shining in your eyes."
She touched his face, her palm molding his strong jaw. Why couldn't she resist his hungry eyes? "I think you're casting a spell over me. I can't remember what we were talking about."
Gregori smiled. "Kissing." His teeth nibbled gently at her chin. "Specifically,your wanting to kiss that orange-bearded imbecile."
"I wanted to kiss every one of them," she lied indignantly.
"No,you did not.You were hoping that silly fop would wipe my taste from your mouth for all eternity." His hand stroked back the fall of hair around her face.He feathered kisses along the delicate line of her jaw. "It would not have worked,you know.As I recall,he seemed to have a problem getting close to you."
Her eyes smoldered dangerously. "Did you have anything to do with his allergies?" She had wanted someone, anyone,to wipe Gregori's taste from her mouth,her soul.
He raised his voice an octave. "Oh, Savannah, I just have to taste your lips," he mimicked. Then he went into a sneezing fit. "You haven't ridden until you've ridden on a Harley,baby." He sneezed, coughed, and gagged in perfect imitation.
Savannah pushed his arm, forgetting for a moment her bruised fist. When it hurt, she yelped and glared accusingly at him. "It was you doing all that to him! That poor man-you damaged his ego for life. Each time he touched me, he had a sneezing fit."
Gregori raised an eyebrow, completely unrepentant. "Technically,he did not lay a hand on you.He sneezed before he could get that close.
Christine Feehan (Dark Magic (Dark, #4))
Something creaked beneath me! A soft step on rotting wood!
I jumped startled, scared, and turned, expecting to see-God
knows what! Then I sighed, for it was only Chris standing in the gloom, silently staring at me. Why? Did I look prettier than
usual? Was it the moonlight, shining through my airy clothes?
All random doubts were cleared when he said in a voice
gritty and low, "You look beautiful sitting there like that." He
cleared the frog in his throat. "The moonlight is etching you with silver-blue, and I can see the shape of your body through
Then, bewilderingly, he seized me by the shoulders, digging
in his fingers, hard! They hurt. "Damn you, Cathy! You kissed
that man! He could have awakened and seen you, and demanded
to know who you were! And not thought you only a part of his
Scary the way he acted, the fright I felt for no reason at all.
"How do you know what I did? You weren't there; you were
sick that night."
He shook me, glaring his eyes, and again I thought he seemed a stranger. "He saw you, Cathy-he wasn't soundly asleep!"
"He saw me?" I cried, disbelieving. It wasn't possible . . .
"Yes!" he yelled. This was Chris, who was usually in such
control of his emotions. "He thought you a part of his dream!
But don't you know Momma can guess who it was, just by
putting two and two together-just as I have? Damn you and
your romantic notions! Now they're on to us! They won't leave money casually about as they did before. He's counting, she's
counting, and we don't have enough-not yet!"
He yanked me down from the widow sill! He appeared wild
and furious enough to slap my face-and not once in all our
lives had he ever struck me, though I'd given him reason to
when I was younger. But he shook me until my eyes rolled, until
I was dizzy and crying out: "Stop! Momma knows we can't pass
through a looked door!"
This wasn't Chris . . . this was someone I'd never seen
before . . . primitive, savage.
He yelled out something like, "You're mine, Cathy! Mine!
You'll always be mine! No matter who comes into your future,
you'll always belong to me! I'll make you mine . . . tonight . . .
I didn't believe it, not Chris!
And I did not fully understand what he had in mind, nor, if I
am to give him credit, do I think he really meant what he said,
but passion has a way of taking over.
We fell to the floor, both of us. I tried to fight him off. We
wrestled, turning over and over, writhing, silent, a frantic strug-
gle of his strength against mine.
It wasn't much of a battle.
I had the strong dancer's legs; he had the biceps, the greater weight and height . . . and he had much more determination than
i to use something hot, swollen and demanding, so much it stile reasoning and sanity from him.
And I loved him. I wanted what he wanted-if he wanted it
that much, right and wrong.
Somehow we ended up on that old mattress-that filthy,
smelly, stained mattress that must have known lovers long
before this night. And that is where he took me, and forced in
that swollen, rigid male sex part of him that had to be satisfied.
It drove into my tight and resisting flesh which tore and bled.
Now we had done what we both swore we'd never do.
V.C. Andrews (Flowers in the Attic/Petals on the Wind (Dollganger, #1-2))
And more than that - a furlong on - why, there!
What bad use was that engine for, that wheel,
Or brake, not wheel - that harrow fit to reel
Men's bodies out like silk? With all the air
Of Tophet's tool, on earth left unaware
Or brought to sharpen its rusty teeth of steel.
Then came a bit of stubbed ground, once a wood,
Next a marsh it would seem, and now mere earth
Desperate and done with; (so a fool finds mirth,
Makes a thing and then mars it, till his mood
Changes and off he goes!) within a rood -
Bog, clay and rubble, sand, and stark black dearth.
Now blotches rankling, coloured gay and grim,
Now patches where some leanness of the soil's
Broke into moss, or substances like boils;
Then came some palsied oak, a cleft in him
Like a distorted mouth that splits its rim
Gaping at death, and dies while it recoils.
And just as far as ever from the end!
Naught in the distance but the evening, naught
To point my footstep further! At the thought,
A great black bird, Apollyon's bosom friend,
Sailed past, not best his wide wing dragon-penned
That brushed my cap - perchance the guide I sought.
For, looking up, aware I somehow grew,
Spite of the dusk, the plain had given place
All round to mountains - with such name to grace
Mere ugly heights and heaps now stolen in view.
How thus they had surprised me - solve it, you!
How to get from them was no clearer case.
Yet half I seemed to recognise some trick
Of mischief happened to me, God knows when -
In a bad dream perhaps. Here ended, then
Progress this way. When, in the very nick
Of giving up, one time more, came a click
As when a trap shuts - you're inside the den.
Burningly it came on me all at once,
This was the place! those two hills on the right,
Crouched like two bulls locked horn in horn in fight;
While to the left a tall scalped mountain ... Dunce,
Dotard, a-dozing at the very nonce,
After a life spent training for the sight!
What in the midst lay but the Tower itself?
The round squat turret, blind as the fool's heart,
Built of brown stone, without a counterpart
In the whole world. The tempest's mocking elf
Points to the shipman thus the unseen shelf
He strikes on, only when the timbers start.
Not see? because of night perhaps? - why day
Came back again for that! before it left
The dying sunset kindled through a cleft:
The hills, like giants at a hunting, lay,
Chin upon hand, to see the game at bay, -
Now stab and end the creature - to the heft!'
Not hear? When noise was everywhere! it tolled
Increasing like a bell. Names in my ears
Of all the lost adventurers, my peers -
How such a one was strong, and such was bold,
And such was fortunate, yet each of old
Lost, lost! one moment knelled the woe of years.
There they stood, ranged along the hillsides, met
To view the last of me, a living frame
For one more picture! In a sheet of flame
I saw them and I knew them all. And yet
Dauntless the slug-horn to my lips I set,
And blew. 'Childe Roland to the Dark Tower came.
A few months ago on a school morning, as I attempted to etch a straight midline part on the back of my wiggling daughter's soon-to-be-ponytailed blond head, I reminded her that it was chilly outside and she needed to grab a sweater.
"No, I don't want to wear that sweater, it makes me look fat."
"What?!" My comb clattered to the bathroom floor. "Fat?! What do you know about fat? You're 5 years old! You are definitely not fat. God made you just right. Now get your sweater."
She scampered off, and I wearily leaned against the counter and let out a long, sad sigh. It has begun. I thought I had a few more years before my twin daughters picked up the modern day f-word. I have admittedly had my own seasons of unwarranted, psychotic Slim-Fasting and have looked erroneously to the scale to give me a measurement of myself. But these departures from my character were in my 20s, before the balancing hand of motherhood met the grounding grip of running. Once I learned what it meant to push myself, I lost all taste for depriving myself. I want to grow into more of a woman, not find ways to whittle myself down to less.
The way I see it, the only way to run counter to our toxic image-centric society is to literally run by example. I can't tell my daughters that beauty is an incidental side effect of living your passion rather than an adherence to socially prescribed standards. I can't tell my son how to recognize and appreciate this kind of beauty in a woman. I have to show them, over and over again, mile after mile, until they feel the power of their own legs beneath them and catch the rhythm of their own strides.
Which is why my parents wake my kids early on race-day mornings. It matters to me that my children see me out there, slogging through difficult miles. I want my girls to grow up recognizing the beauty of strength, the exuberance of endurance, and the core confidence residing in a well-tended body and spirit. I want them to be more interested in what they are doing than how they look doing it. I want them to enjoy food that is delicious, feed their bodies with wisdom and intent, and give themselves the freedom to indulge. I want them to compete in healthy ways that honor the cultivation of skill, the expenditure of effort, and the courage of the attempt.
Grace and Bella, will you have any idea how lovely you are when you try?
Recently we ran the Chuy's Hot to Trot Kids K together as a family in Austin, and I ran the 5-K immediately afterward. Post?race, my kids asked me where my medal was. I explained that not everyone gets a medal, so they must have run really well (all kids got a medal, shhh!). As I picked up Grace, she said, "You are so sweaty Mommy, all wet." Luke smiled and said, "Mommy's sweaty 'cause she's fast. And she looks pretty. All clean."
My PRs will never garner attention or generate awards. But when I run, I am 100 percent me--my strengths and weaknesses play out like a cracked-open diary, my emotions often as raw as the chafing from my jog bra. In my ultimate moments of vulnerability, I am twice the woman I was when I thought I was meant to look pretty on the sidelines. Sweaty and smiling, breathless and beautiful: Running helps us all shine. A lesson worth passing along.
I’ve been in your skin,” he taunted. “I know you inside and out. There’s nothing there. Do us all a favor and die so we can start working on another plan and quit thinking maybe you’ll grow the fuck up and be capable of something.”
Okay, enough! “You don’t know me inside and out,” I snarled. “You may have gotten in my skin, but you have never gotten inside my heart. Go ahead, Barrons, make me slice and dice myself. Go ahead, play games with me. Push me around. Lie to me. Bully me. Be your usual constant jackass self. Stalk around all broody and pissy and secretive, but you’re wrong about me. There’s something inside me you’d better be afraid of. And you can’t touch my soul. You will never touch my soul!”
I raised my hand, drew back the knife, and let it fly. It sliced through the air, straight for his head.
He avoided it with preternatural grace, a mere whisper of a movement, precisely and only as much as was required to not get hit.
The hilt vibrated in the wood of the ornate mantel next to his head.
“So, fuck you, Jericho Barrons, and not the way you like it. Fuck you—as in, you can’t touch me. Nobody can.”
I kicked the table at him. It crashed into his shins. I picked up a lamp from the end table. Flung it straight at his head. He ducked again. I grabbed a book. It thumped off his chest.
He laughed, dark eyes glittering with exhilaration.
I launched myself at him, slammed a fist into his face. I heard a satisfying crunch and felt something in his nose give.
He didn’t try to hit me back or push me away. Merely wrapped his arms around me and crushed me tight to his body, trapping my arms against his chest.
Then, when I thought he might just squeeze me to death, he dropped his head forward, into the hollow where my shoulder met my neck.
“Do you miss fucking me, Ms. Lane?” he purred against my ear. Voice resonated in my skull, pressuring a reply.
I was tall and strong and proud inside myself. Nobody owned me. I didn’t have to answer any questions I didn’t want to, ever again.
“Wouldn’t you just love to know?” I purred back. “You want more of me, don’t you, Barrons? I got under your skin deep. I hope you got addicted to me. I was a wild one, wasn’t I? I bet you never had sex like that in your entire existence, huh, O Ancient One? I bet I rocked your perfectly disciplined little world. I hope wanting me hurts like hell!”
His hands were suddenly cruelly tight on my waist.
“There’s only one question that matters, Ms. Lane, and it’s the one you never get around to asking. People are capable of varying degrees of truth. The majority spend their entire lives fabricating an elaborate skein of lies, immersing themselves in the faith of bad faith, doing whatever it takes to feel safe. The person who truly lives has precious few moments of safety, learns to thrive in any kind of storm. It’s the truth you can stare down stone-cold that makes you what you are. Weak or strong. Live or die. Prove yourself. How much truth can you take, Ms. Lane?”
Karen Marie Moning
He knew he needed to release her, but once he allowed his physical connection to drop away, he was uncertain if he’d ever have a chance to reconnect. Instinctively, he knew Azami was elusive, like water flowing through fingers, or the wind shifting in the trees. He needed a way to seal her to him.
“How does one court a woman in Japan? Do I need your brothers’ permission?”
She blinked again. Shocked. A hint of uncertainty crept into her eyes. She frowned, and he bent his head to swallow her protest before she could utter it. Her mouth trembled beneath his, and then she opened to him, like a flower, luring him deeper. Her arms slid around his neck, her body pressing tightly against his. He tightened his fingers in her hair.
He was burning, through and through, from the inside out, a hot melting of bone and tissue. He hadn’t known he was lonely or even looking for something. He’d been complete. He loved his wife. He was a man with teammates he trusted implicitly. He lived in wild places of beauty he enjoyed. He hadn’t considered there would be a woman who could ever fit with him, who would ever turn his insides soft and his body hard.
Feel the same way, Azami. He didn’t lift his mouth, kissing her again and again because one he’d made the mistake, he was addicted and what was the use fighting it? Not when it felt so damn right.
Somewhere along the line, his kiss went from sheer aggression and command, to absolute tenderness. The emotion for her rose like a volcano, encompassing him entirely, drawn from some part of him he’d never known even existed. His mouth was gentle, his hands on her, possessive, yet just as gentle. Another claiming, this coming from that deep unknown well.
Feel the same way, Azami, he whispered into her mind. An enticement. A need. He waited, something in him going still, waiting for her answer.
Tell me how you’re feeling?
She hadn’t pulled away. If anything, her arms had tightened around his neck. He shared every single breath she took, feeling the slight movement of her rib cage and breasts against him, the warm air they exchanged.
Like I’m burning alive. Drowning. Like I never want this moment to end. He wasn’t a man to say flowery things to a woman, nor did he even think them, but he shared the honest truth with her. Like we belong.
Once he let her go, the world would slip back into kilter. He wanted her to stay with him, to give him a chance with her.
She didn’t hesitate, and he loved that about her as well. She gave herself in truth in the same way he did. I feel the same, but one of us has to be sane.
She initiated the kiss when he pulled back slightly, chasing after him with her soft mouth, fingers digging tightly into the heavy muscle at his neck, sighing when his lips settled once more over hers. He took his time, kissing her thoroughly, again and again, all the while slipping deeper into her spell and hoping she was falling under his.
Is this your idea of sanity? He’d make it his reality. He was falling further down the rabbit hole and he’d make her his sanity if she’d fall with him.
Her soft laughter slipped inside his heart, winding there until there was no shaking her loose. Not really, but you have to be the strong one.
He kissed her again. And again. Why is that?
You started this.
Christine Feehan (Samurai Game (GhostWalkers, #10))
Things I've Learned in 18 Years of Life 1) True love is not something found, rather [sic] something encountered. You can’t go out and look for it. The person you marry and the person you love could easily be two different people. So have a beautiful life while waiting for God to bring along your once-in-a-lifetime love. Don't allow yourself to settle for anything less than them. Stop worrying about who you're going to marry because God's already on the front porch watching your grandchildren play. 2) God WILL give you more than you can handle, so you can learn to lean on him in times of need. He won't tempt you more than you can handle, though. So don't lose hope. Hope anchors the soul. 3) Remember who you are and where you came from. Remember that you are not from this earth. You are a child of heaven, you're invaluable, you are beautiful. Carry yourself that way. 4) Don't put your faith in humanity, humanity is inherently flawed. We are all imperfect people created and loved by a perfect God. Perfect. So put your faith in Him. 5) I fail daily, and that is why I succeed. 6) Time passes, and nothing and everything changes. Don't live life half asleep. Don't drag your soul through the days. Feel everything you do. Be there physically and mentally. Do things that make you feel this way as well. 7) Live for beauty. We all need beauty, get it where you can find it. Clothing, paintings, sculptures, music, tattoos, nature, literature, makeup. It's all art and it's what makes us human. Same as feeling the things we do. Stay human. 8) If someone makes you think, keep them. If someone makes you feel, keep them. 9) There is nothing the human brain cannot do. You can change anything about yourself that you want to. Fight for it. It's all a mental game. 10) God didn’t break our chains for us to be bound again. Alcohol, drugs, depression, addiction, toxic relationships, monotony and repetition, they bind us. Break those chains. Destroy your past and give yourself new life like God has given you. 11) This is your life. Your struggle, your happiness, your sorrow, and your success. You do not need to justify yourself to anyone. You owe no one an explanation for the choices that you make and the position you are in. In the same vein, respect yourself by not comparing your journey to anyone else's. 12) There is no wrong way to feel. 13) Knowledge is everywhere, keep your eyes open. Look at how diverse and wonderful this world is. Are you going to miss out on beautiful people, places, experiences, and ideas because you are close-minded? I sure hope not. 14) Selfless actions always benefit you more than the recipient. 15) There is really no room for regret in this life. Everything happens for a reason. If you can't find that reason, accept there is one and move on. 16) There is room, however, for guilt. Resolve everything when it first comes up. That's not only having integrity, but also taking care of your emotional well-being. 17) If the question is ‘Am I strong enough for this?’ The answer is always, ‘Yes, but not on your own.’ 18) Mental health and sanity above all. 19) We love because He first loved us. The capacity to love is the ultimate gift, the ultimate passion, euphoria, and satisfaction. We have all of that because He first loved us. If you think about it in those terms, it is easy to love Him. Just by thinking of how much He loves us. 20) From destruction comes creation. Beauty will rise from the ashes. 21) Many things can cause depression. Such as knowing you aren't becoming the person you have the potential to become. Choose happiness and change. The sooner the better, and the easier. 22) Half of happiness is as simple as eating right and exercising. You are one big chemical reaction. So are your emotions. Give your body the right reactants to work with and you'll be satisfied with the products.
Scott Hildreth (Broken People)