Posts Tagged ‘inspiration’

Dear You,

Don’t be afraid. It won’t be long before you get to be my age, but do enjoy the time you have in between. Remember that you do not know everything, and more importantly, although it may not feel this way, you are not expected to know everything. You have more to learn than you can even imagine.

Don’t give up yet. You have so many wonderful things to do, places to see, and people to meet. You will travel. You will marvel at things. You will make so many people smile. You will fall for a person who loves you for reasons that had never even occurred to you, and although it will be difficult, you will learn to accept this love. You will leave every place better for you having been there, and the world will be glad that you did not give up.

You will cry yourself to sleep with your face buried in your pillow or your lover’s chest, sometimes alternating between the two, but the sun will rise the next morning to remind you that it always will, and it will be beautiful.

You will make glorious mistakes, which you will learn from just enough that you only have to make the same ones a few more times in order to learn how not to make them again. You will be awkward at times. You will wonder why you were put on this earth, and wonder if perhaps God made a mistake. You will probably lie, and will most certainly be lied to. You will work at awful jobs in order to pay your bills for a while. You will try new things, and sometimes you will fail. But other times, you will succeed spectacularly, and it is only then that you will realize: the times you failed were worth it, because they were only leading you to this.

You will make many gut-wrenching sacrifices, and have just as many made for you. Your life will not be empty. It will be filled with wonder and an unlimited amount of love. You will make a positive difference in the world.

I know the tunnel may seem dark now, but hold on, because it won’t be long before you can see the light at the end of it. And in the face of any other darkness in your life, just hold on. Hold on to love. Hold on to faith. Hold on to hope. Because I promise, I promise, it will get better.

Someday, you are going to have the life you deserve, because your spirit is beautiful and strong and it cannot be conquered without your permission. Hold onto that. Don’t give up.


You, a few years down the road


What advice would you give to your younger self? Please share in the comments!


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“I’m here. I love you. I don’t care if you need to stay up crying all night long, I will stay with you. There’s nothing you can ever do to lose my love. I will protect you until you die, and after your death, I will protect you still. I am strong than Depression, and I am braver than Loneliness, and nothing will ever exhaust me.” – Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat Pray Love

You know the articles: “Top Ten Ways to Feel Better Now! … Number one: get outside and go for a jog! Number two: volunteer with the homeless!” And so on. Unfortunately, these “genius tips” are often not useful to someone who has been diagnosed with clinical depression, like me. When I am having a “bad” day, the last thing I feel like doing is going outside and exercising. Are you kidding me?!

Well, having gotten fed up with these bogus Top Ten lists, I decided to make my own. These are coping skills (arranged in no particular order) that I have personally tried when I am feeling especially low (I’m talking, sobbing in a fetal position under my covers), and they have helped, at least for a little while. I hope that you may find some comfort in them, as well.

  1. If you can do nothing else, go to sleep. Life may seem less daunting after you’ve rested a while.
  2. If you can manage to get out of bed, change out of your pajamas and into “real” clothes, even if you don’t plan on going anywhere. Even something this small can affect how you feel.
  3. Call a close, trusted friend or family member and see how they’re doing. You don’t have to talk about yourself if you don’t want to.
  4. Make a quick mental list of five (even tiny) ways you have made the world a better place.
  5. Watch an episode of your favorite show or log onto Pinterest. Just do something to distract yourself from your depression.
  6. Call a friend you haven’t seen in a while and make plans to meet up in the next few days.
  7. Close your eyes and repeat positive affirmations, even silently, like, “I am beautiful, inside and out.” Or, “I am strong and capable.” Or, “My depression does not define who I am.” This may sound corny, but it has helped me immensely.
  8. Find someone you love and let them hold you.
  9. Go for a drive. This can be surprisingly soothing. You don’t have to worry about looking presentable, either, since you don’t even have to get out of the car.
  10. But, if you want, do stop and buy yourself something nice, even if it’s something very small.

Above all, remember: You are uniquely beautiful and more wonderful than you can imagine. You are loved, and what’s more, you are worthy of that love. You are worthy of being happy, and you deserve all the joy that awaits you in your life. You have made it this far; you have survived. In today’s world, that’s not such an easy task, so you must be doing something right.

I want to hear from you! What do you do on your bad days, regardless of whether or not you’ve been diagnosed with depression or another mental disorder? Please let me know in the comments!

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Is there a person in your life who has encouraged you to follow your dreams, relentlessly and passionately? I do: my aunt, and today is her birthday.

With her, my dreams have never felt dismissed or silly; if anything, they feel premature, in the sense that she encourages me to develop them, to be as ambitious as I can possibly imagine. When I present an idea to her, she has never once rolled her eyes or said, “You can’t do that.” Her most discouraging remark (which wasn’t really discouraging at all) has been, “Well, that might be difficult, but you can do it.” After explaining an idea to her, she generally gives me one instruction: dream bigger. Think of the grandest dream your mind can conjure, and aim for it. I can’t tell you what a difference this has made in my life.

During my freshman year of college, I felt pressure to choose a concentrated area of study quickly. When I addressed these concerns with my aunt, her response was essentially this: don’t worry about it. Do what you love now, and what you seek will find you in its own time.

I can’t begin to convey how deeply my aunt’s presence has changed my life for the better, and I know that it hasn’t just been mine. So many lives are so much better for her having lived. Her generosity, wisdom, and courage inspire me every day.

Who has been the most inspirational person in your life? Let me know in the comments!

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“Don’t bend; don’t water it down; don’t try to make it logical; don’t edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly.” – Franz Kafka

You have been trained to believe that if your life is not moving continually along one linear path with a glowing reward at the end of it, then what you are doing is worthless; you’re wasting your time. But is it worthless to travel without buying a souvenir, or to read literature without pursuing an English degree, or to love without the expectation of something in return? Fill your heart with things like this and the path will begin to matter less and less.

Stop asking yourself where your life is going, and instead start asking: “Am I going to allow myself to die before my body does? Do I want to spend my time on Earth accumulating things to be buried with me, or do I want to leave behind a legacy of love so extraordinarily grand that no one can force it to stay inside a coffin?”

(If anyone knows the source of this image, please inform me and credit will be given!)

Your purpose is not to take as much as you can with you into death, but to give as much of yourself as possible before you die, because in that way, you will live forever in the world.

I often hear of death reduced to a moment, to a single last breath. It’s true that we only die one time, but the amount of time it takes a person can vary. Sure, you exist–you eat sushi and drink Coke, you sleep on mattresses and brush your teeth in the morning because you can’t afford a cavity right now, you tell other people out of habit that you love them even if you don’t feel it every time.

These things can be enjoyable and offer satisfaction, a reassurance that your life is all right and has a steady direction, but do they allow your soul to breathe? You must do what makes you feel alive, or you will suffer a death that is longer and more excruciating than any you could imagine.

(If anyone knows the source of this image, please inform me and credit will be given!)

You must read books that are not good for you but that make you laugh in spite of yourself, and write the same kinds of things that you read. Make a list of the things that you wanted to do before someone told you that they couldn’t be done, and then sneak away from your children at night to go and do them. Think of places that beckon you and bribe families that are driving there to take you with them. Do whatever makes you marvel at your own humanity, and do it well and with unprecedented joy.

Before you die, live.

What is your passion? What makes you feel alive?

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(Source of image unknown. If anyone knows it and informs me, credit will be given.)

“Writing is a form of therapy; sometimes I wonder how all those who do not write, compose, or paint can manage to escape the madness, the melancholia, the panic fear, which is inherent in a human condition.” – Graham Greene

(Source of image unknown. If anyone knows it and informs me, credit will be given.)

“I’m going to make everything around me beautiful — that will be my life.” – Elsie de Wolfe

(Source of image unknown. If anyone knows it and informs me, credit will be given.)


What have you created recently? How do you find your inspiration?

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“In exploring the shared language and poetic sensibilities of all animals, I am working towards rediscovering the common ground that once existed when people lived in harmony with animals. The images depict a world that is without beginning or end, here or there, past or present.” – Gregory Colbert, photographer

Visit his website here.

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I watched Anis Mojgani, a spoken word poet, perform his poem “Come Closer” at the Sarah Lawrence College Annual Poetry Festival in 2010, and I fell in love with him. His humble presence is almost more magical than his words. Almost.

Anis is a two time National Poetry Slam Champion and winner of the International World Cup Poetry Slam. Read his poem below if you want, but only watching the video can do it justice.

Watch the YouTube video here.

Visit his official website here.

Come Closer

come into this. come closer.
you are quite the beauty. if no one has ever told you that before know that now. you are quite the beauty. there is joy in how your mouth dances with your teeth. your smile is a sign of how sacred your life truly is. come into this. true of heart come into this. you are true of heart. come closer. come closer. know that whatever God prays to He asked it to help Him make something of worth. He woke from His dreams scraped the soil from the spaces inside Himself made you and was happy. you make the Lord happy.
come into this.
come closer.

know that something softer than us but just as holy planted the pieces of Himself into our feet that we might one day find our way back to Him. you are almost home.
come closer. come into this. there are birds beating their wings beneath your breastplate gentle sparrows aching to sing come aching hearts come soldiers of joy doormen of truth come true of heart come into this.
my heart was too big for my body so I let it go and most days this world has thinned me to where I am just another cloud forgetting another flock of swans but believe me when I tell you my soul has squeezed into narrow spaces. place your hand beneath your head when you sleep tonight and you may find it there making beauty as we sleep as we dream as we turn over when I turn over in the ground may the ghosts that I have asked answers of do the turning kneading me into crumbs of light and into this thing love thing called life. come into it.

come you wooden museums
you gentle tigers
negro faces in two broken scenes
come rusting giants
I see teacups in your smiles upside down glowing. your hands are like my heart. some days all they do is tremble. I am like you. I am like you. I too at times am filled with much fear. but like a hallway must find the strength to walk through it. walk through this with me. through this church, this church of bone, birthed of blood and muscle. this church of ours. there is a doorknob glowing like chance. clutch it. turn and pull. step through. chin up. back straight. eyes open bones in our throats hearts loud and bending. walk through this with me. walk through this with me.

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