The Longer I Look

“She sips her coffee, sets it down, stretches her arms. This is one of the most singular experiences, waking on what feels like a good day, preparing to work but not yet actually embarked. At this moment there are infinite possibilities, whole hours ahead.” -Michael Cunningham

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“Start telling the stories that only you can tell, because there’ll always be better writers than you and there’ll always be smarter writers than you. There will always be people who are much better at doing this or doing that— but you are the only you.” -Neil Gaiman

“I used to dislike being sensitive. I thought it made me all sorts of things, none of them very good. But take away that single trait, and you take away the very essence of who I am. You take away my conscience, my ability to empathize, my intuition, my creativity, my deep appreciation of the little things, my vivid inner life, my keen awareness to others’ pain — and my passion for it all.” -Unknown

“You deserve the most pure, whole, and authentic love. I hope you know that.” -Unknown

“Almost every time I go to this cafe in the late afternoon, I see the couple sitting at the same window table. They are both attractive, middle aged, and well dressed. The one really noticeable thing about them is the woman’s auburn red hair. I’m always pleased to see them because they appear to be genuinely content with each other’s company. They are almost always reading magazines or newspapers and drinking something. They rarely speak to each other but there is a peace around them, a balance you can almost physically see in certain couples. When one has finished with their reading material they automatically hand it to their partner. The other takes it without a word and lays it down on the seat between them. The person without the magazine drinks their coffee or looks out the window until the other is finished reading. Then they talk for a brief time, sometimes laughing quietly, always paying full attention to what is being said. They are like an island of tranquility in the middle of all the human rush. Seeing them, watching them, invariably makes me feel a little better.” -Jonathan Carroll

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“Her sentences were icebergs, with just the tip of her thought coming out and the rest kept up in her head, which I was starting to think was more and more beautiful the longer I looked at her.” -Gregory Galloway

“It is terrifying to think that one day you will trust somebody enough to let them see you naked. You will undress and remind them that you’ve stretch marks and birthmarks and scars from having chicken pox when you were little and scars from all of the other things now. You will blush thousands of shades of red, painting yourself as a rose losing its petals. And that person — that person will take it all in. And I wonder if they will reassure you. But mostly, I wonder if they will even see anything worth reassuring you about. I hope they see each freckle on your back as if it’s a star. I hope you are the whole universe to them.” -K.P.K

“Why this obsession with perfection? Then you will be tense, anxious, nervous, always uneasy, troubled, in conflict. The English word ‘agony’ comes from a root that means to be in conflict. To be constantly wrestling with oneself — that is the meaning of agony. You will be in agony if you are not at ease with yourself. Don’t demand the impossible. Be natural, at ease, loving yourself, loving others.” -Osho

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“Wherever perfectionism is driving, shame is riding shotgun. Perfectionism is basically a cognitive behavioral process that says if I look perfect, work perfect, and do everything perfectly, I can avoid shame, ridicule, and criticism. It is a defense mechanism.” -Brené Brown

“Defend your right to heal at your own pace. You are taking your time. You are allowed to take your time.” -Unknown

“The people who make a difference in your life are not the ones with the most credentials, the most money, or the most awards. They simply are the ones who care the most.” -Unknown

“It’s easy to feel uncared for when people aren’t able to communicate and connect with you in the way you need. And it’s so hard not to internalize that silence as a reflection of your worth. But the truth is that the way other people operate is not about you. Most people are so caught up in their own responsibilities, struggles, and anxiety that the thought of asking someone else how they’re doing doesn’t even cross their mind. They aren’t inherently bad or uncaring — they’re just busy and self-focused. And that’s okay. It’s not evidence of some fundamental failing on your part. It doesn’t make you unlovable or invisible. It just means that those people aren’t very good at looking beyond their own world. But the fact that you are — that despite the darkness you feel, you have the ability to share your love and light with others — is a strength. Your work isn’t to change who you are; it’s to find people who are able to give you the connection you need. Because despite what you feel, you are not too much. You are not too sensitive or too needy. You are thoughtful and empathetic. You are compassionate and kind. And with or without anyone’s acknowledgment or affection, you are enough.” -Daniell Koepke

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“People need to be encouraged. People need to be reminded of how wonderful they are. People need to be believed in — told that they are brave and smart and capable of accomplishing all the dreams they dream and more. Remind each other of this.” -S.J.S

“Love is hard to come by — we count affection like children count coins, and every penny is precious. My collection looks like this: three bottle caps, two nights in a row crying myself to sleep, and four hugs from people who were just being nice. We become adults and still haven’t found our place and suddenly feel lied to. Why didn’t anyone tell us that growing up is full of so much wondering? I want to know where the answers are — the ones I was sure the adults had when I was small. If you go to bed feeling belonging, you’re one of the lucky ones.” -Rebeka Anne

“Where would the fun be, if we already knew all there is to know?” -Walter Bishop

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“Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.” -Martin Luther King, Jr.

“You shouldn’t try to stop everything from happening. Sometimes you’re supposed to feel awkward. Sometimes you’re supposed to be vulnerable in front of people. It’s necessary. It’s all part of you getting to the next part of yourself, the next day.” -Cecelia Ahern

“There is no recipe for happiness. No number of kisses, farmer markets, cups of tea, or core-shaking laughs will fix you. You have to save yourself. You have to fight for that peace.” -Michelle K

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“Edit your life frequently and ruthlessly. It’s your masterpiece, after all.” -Nathan W. Morris

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