By Brianna WiestDrink water and pay the bills and love people. Paint, make art, make love, make lists, make whatever the hell you want. Travel on the weekends and dress for the weather. See movies and go out to eat and stay in touch with friends and wear clothes just because you like them. Know that there is a time to work, a time to rest, a time to be sure and a time to choose: all of which will arrive and pass as you are ready. Become a proponent of peace. Love those who don’t love you. You don’t have to agree, but you must tolerate and respect, even if such courtesies are not given to you. Most of all, never let anybody shame you for living your truth. Let your soul out. Experience and immerse yourself in the only thing you really have– right now.
-The best and most transformative kind of love, the real, genuine, love-you-so-much-it-hurts-and-changes-me-at-my-core-kind-of-love, is a striking bliss mixed with the reality of someone unveiling who you really are– and the realization that some parts may not be pretty. We can get so ugly in so many ways after this happens. This kind of love, the kind that reaches into you and touches you at every level that anything undealt with rises is sometimes painful, sometimes excruciating, sometimes all effed up but always wonderful, undeniable and somehow, beautiful. Don’t destroy yourself over this kind of love, create yourself.
-You can fill yourself with guilt, shame and remorse that you didn’t choose a different path. That you didn’t put your best self forward. That you weren’t better. But it’s pointless, and will deprive you of enjoying today. So choose to love and accept yourself– the good, bad and the ugly. Love yourself the way you want to love someone else, the way you hope they would love you: for all your little quirks and flaws. You do not have to be perfect to be loved. Life does not have to be perfect to be absolutely wonderful– it has not and will never be.
-The future has an ancient heart. Cheryl Strayed once said that in an advice column and it always stuck with me. Your life is no accident. Things don’t come out of nowhere. You will be perplexed but amazed at where life takes you, and in retrospect, all the little twists and turns in the story will make sense. Logic will rarely get you anywhere extraordinary. Love is not logical. Miracles are not logical. Signs and messages and signals are everywhere if you just pay attention. They have been there for all your life, and as the years unfold, you will put the pieces together and see how what preceded prepared you for now.
-You will always be in an equilibrium between doing what you want to now and what will be best for the long term. But you have to learn to live in the grey space sometimes. Learn to use your heart and head in tandem, but always in that order. Sometimes your passions and what brings your income in don’t overlap. That’s okay. Life rarely comes neatly packaged. At some point, you probably won’t know whether to stay or to go– from your job, relationship, home. You won’t be sure whether or not you should give up or keep trying. That’s also okay. You don’t have to know. Life is never clearly black and white, it’s most often a masterpiece of greys that make it dynamic and complex and interesting. You shouldn’t want it any other way. Uncertainty is nothing to run from. It keeps you guessing, trying different things and going down paths you wouldn’t have otherwise. Be patient.
-People are going to dislike you regardless of how beautiful and kind and successful you are. The idea that you will one day reach a point where everybody likes you is absolutely delusional. These people, unfortunately, are being true to themselves by being aware that they don’t like you. A natural part of being human is conflicting tastes and opinions, and sometimes that applies to people. It is their problem if they choose to act on it. It is your problem if you let it affect you. Otherwise, it is nothing. It is noise. It is irrelevant because the negative opinions of others will not affect how the people worth being in your life will feel about you. That is what I’ve found that concerns people most, because we don’t really care what strangers or acquaintances think, they aren’t in our lives that much. It’s the threat of what those opinions can do to what and who is.
-We build our own cages and live within them because we think they will keep us safe. Some of us are internal about it but I think in many ways that safety net is legitimate and physical. I think we see something that threatens our being, confidence, any sense of knowing that we’re okay—and we set up a bar. We know to not go there again. But when we start living within that cage, and decorating its steel bars with pretty little flowers, we’re brainwashed into thinking that it’s the real, free universe. That’s the stuff of breakdowns. We stop building cages and start digging graves. Free yourself from the confines that bind you. Maybe you built steel bars around your heart because you thought they had to be there. You wanted to protect yourself from being hurt so badly again. Take them down. Walk out. This may be physical or it may be metaphorical. But either way, know that there’s nothing worse than not experiencing life for the fear of what it may bring.
-There is no wrong way to live. You can love who you love. No excuses or justifications required. You need not feel guilty or have to explain your choices to anybody if you don’t feel the need to. It is your body and if it leads you to your mistakes, then so be it. They are your lessons to learn, nobody else’s. Your mistakes are yours to make. Your successes and glories are yours to embrace. It is greater to be free and to make mistakes than to be caged and unable to learn and experience for yourself.
-”Tomorrow” will never come. You will always be waiting for tomorrow if you don’t start living for today. You will always be waiting for the next big thing to come: the job, the degree, the partner, the house, the time to travel, the money, I could go on. Once you get into the mindset of perpetually waiting, you’ll also fall into the habit of not being okay with things as they are. Because more likely than not, you will get most of those things, and when they come, you won’t enjoy hem because you will only be looking forward to the next thing. You may want to retaliate with, well, there’s nothing to be happy about now, but you have to learn to make it for yourself. You have to learn to see it. You have to learn to be grateful and gracious and enjoy the very simple things. You cannot expect life to deliver to you what you feel you deserve. Because everybody deserves the best and not everybody gets it handed to them, so many times, you have to go and get it yourself.