“Spend your free time the way you like, not the way you think you’re supposed to. Stay home on New Year’s Eve if that’s what makes you happy. Skip the committee meeting. Cross the street to avoid making aimless chitchat with random acquaintances. Read. Cook. Run. Write a story.”—
Susan Cain, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking (via utterdiscord)
five sets of two hands, fingers spread wide
my best friend lying next to me squeaks out
“never have I ever masturbated”
a chortle and a shrug between the boys as they flick down their obligatory fingers
and I can’t help but feel a twinge in my stomach as my pinky follows suit
the silence in the room is thick and grey and suddenly sliced by
have you ever experienced fun?
I pull away a hair caught in my scarlet lipstick
in my reflection I see my table mate from english class
behind me she blinks twice and scoffs
“who are you trying to impress?”
the bathroom door is closed behind her before I can ask
the last time she did something to impress herself.
before a trip to the mall
one of my friends spends two hours
perfecting her bronzer
and choosing the perfect pair of shoes
the other rubs in dry shampoo
and is out the door in less than five minutes
they are two of the most beautiful girls I’ve ever seen.
my father calls me beautiful through a mouthful of popcorn
as I pour a glass of milk to accompany my now third piece of leftover birthday cake
he plants a kiss on my cheek and I grin as I wipe it away.
she asks me what to do to start loving herself
and I send her away to my full length mirror
and demand to only speak to her
when she’s found something to adore
the way I did with my knobby knees
and tiger-striped hips
and big square teeth
fifteen minutes go by
and she finally points to the freckles on her nose
splits into a grin
the one that makes everyone weak in the knees
and I watch the lightbulb go off above her head
as she realizes
it’s never been her job to hate her body
i tell my sister she looks cute today
and the look on her boyfriend’s face
when she blurts out “damn right I do!”
I used to worry that I’d never find someone who loved me at all
and now my biggest fear
is finding someone who can adore me as much as I’ve come to.
”—seven thoughts on self love that came to me before I got my driver’s license (llb)
i love the term “partners” are we dating? are we robbing a bank? do we run a legal firm? are we the dedicated detectives who investigate these vicious felonies and are members of an elite squad known as the special victims unit? who knows.
“1. push yourself to get up before the rest of the world - start with 7am, then 6am, then 5:30am. go to the nearest hill with a big coat and a scarf and watch the sun rise.
2. push yourself to fall asleep earlier - start with 11pm, then 10pm, then 9pm. wake up in the morning feeling re-energized and comfortable.
3. erase processed food from your diet. start with no lollies, chips, biscuits, then erase pasta, rice, cereal, then bread. use the rule that if a child couldn’t identify what was in it, you don’t eat it.
4. get into the habit of cooking yourself a beautiful breakfast. fry tomatoes and mushrooms in real butter and garlic, fry an egg, slice up a fresh avocado and squirt way too much lemon on it. sit and eat it and do nothing else.
5. stretch. start by reaching for the sky as hard as you can, then trying to touch your toes. roll your head. stretch your fingers. stretch everything.
6. buy a 1L water bottle. start with pushing yourself to drink the whole thing in a day, then try drinking it twice.
7. buy a beautiful diary and a beautiful black pen. write down everything you do, including dinner dates, appointments, assignments, coffees, what you need to do that day. no detail is too small.
8. strip your bed of your sheets and empty your underwear draw into the washing machine. put a massive scoop of scented fabric softener in there and wash. make your bed in full.
9. organise your room. fold all your clothes (and bag what you don’t want), clean your mirror, your laptop, vacuum the floor. light a beautiful candle.
10. have a luxurious shower with your favourite music playing. wash your hair, scrub your body, brush your teeth. lather your whole body in moisturiser, get familiar with the part between your toes, your inner thighs, the back of your neck.
11. push yourself to go for a walk. take your headphones, go to the beach and walk. smile at strangers walking the other way and be surprised how many smile back. bring your dog and observe the dog’s behaviour. realise you can learn from your dog.
12. message old friends with personal jokes. reminisce. suggest a catch up soon, even if you don’t follow through. push yourself to follow through.
14. think long and hard about what interests you. crime? sex? boarding school? long-forgotten romance etiquette? find a book about it and read it. there is a book about literally everything.
15. become the person you would ideally fall in love with. let cars merge into your lane when driving. pay double for parking tickets and leave a second one in the machine. stick your tongue out at babies. compliment people on their cute clothes. challenge yourself to not ridicule anyone for a whole day. then two. then a week. walk with a straight posture. look people in the eye. ask people about their story. talk to acquaintances so they become friends.
“I wonder whether religious advocates of these opt-outs have thought through the implications. Associating Christianity with a desire—no, a determination—to discriminate puts the faithful in open conflict with the value that young Americans hold most sacred. They might as well write off the next two or three or 10 generations, among whom nondiscrimination is the 11th commandment.”—The Great Secession by Jonathan Rauch
“Hard up for cash, the whales began renting out their stomachs to summer vacationers. It was a novelty, staying in the belly of a whale, like the teepee-shaped motels that still exist off the highways in some parts of Arizona. The whales would come right up to the shore and allow tourists to step into their patiently opened mouths, drag wheeled suitcases and whining children over their plankton-flecked baleens. At night, the hastily installed generators—for the tourists’ laptops and hair dryers and light fixtures—caused the whales to hum and glow like bobbing lanterns at the edge of the beach. By day, the whales huddled in pods as their tenants splashed and sunbathed, occasionally summoning one of the animals over so a pair of flip-flops or sunglasses could be retrieved. The older whales refused to participate, at first, in what they perceived to be a grave wound to the species’ dignity, but they died off or came around as the young whales gained influence, their pockets flush with easy money.”—Cassandra de Alba, The Whales (via papercranechronicles)
You know what’s right. Just do right. You don’t really have to ask anybody—the truth is, right may not be expedient, it may not be profitable, but it will satisfy your soul. It brings you the kind of protection that bodyguards can’t give you. Try to be all you can be to be the best human being you can be. Try to be that in your church, in your temple. Try to be that in your classroom. Do it because it is right to do.
You see, people will know you and they will add their prayers to your life. They’ll wish you well. I think If your name is mentioned and people say, ‘oh hell, oh damn,’ I think you’re doing something wrong. But if your name is mentioned and people say, ‘Oh, she’s so sweet, he’s so nice, oh I love, oh, God bless her”— there you are. So try to live your life in a way you will not regret years of useless virtue and inertia and timidity
Take up the battle. Take it up. It’s yours. This is your life. This is your world. I will be leaving it long before you under the ordinary set of circumstances. You make your own choices. You can decide life isn’t worth living. And that would be the worst thing you can do. How do you know so far? Try it, see. So pick it up. Pick up the battle and make it a better world. Just where you are. And it can be better. And it must be better. But it is up to us.