An essay that I have been working on for a very long time (like, since before Halloween) was published on HelloGiggles today. The article, titled “I spent a week giving myself the advice I’d give a friend—here’s what I learned” (originally “My week giving myself the advice I’d give a friend”), was based on some very good advice from my dad that popped into my head at just the moment I needed it.
The actual “experiment” may have only taken a week, but the process of turning the idea into a finished, shareable article took much longer—and seemingly, longer than it usually does for me to finish an essay for the web. There were days when I would sit down, write for an hour, and realize I had only finished about a sentence. Not that I wasn’t working, or was “working” but also crafting a playlist and updating my Snapchat story and staring off into space. Rather, I would write a sentence, cross it out, and write it again—potentially, slightly better. That process was more time-consuming and perfectionistic than I was used to, but, for the most part, I didn’t mind it. Because I realized that the same qualities that at times contribute to me feeling bad—e.g., my ability to think too much—were helping me create something potentially great.
So, check out the article, and please, let me know what you think! If you have other strategies for working through bad days, I would love to hear them as well.
I apologize for my radio (internet?) silence during recent months. I’m hoping and planning to start posting regularly again. In the spirit of doing so, I’m including below some of my favorite quotes about overcoming challenges by women I admire.
I’ve been working on an article for one of my favorite sites about a technique for getting through tough moments. Funnily enough, the process of writing the article has been challenging in itself at times. I’m very invested in the piece, but my desire to make it great has occasionally lead to frustration. So today, when I’d passed the verge of tears while trying to edit the introduction, I decided it was time to hit pause on that project and turn my attention to words of wisdom from women (real and fictional) who have channeled their challenges into greatness.
Without further ado:
“When I’m not feeling my best, I ask myself, ‘What are you gonna do about it?’ I use the negativity to fuel the transformation into a better me.” – Beyoncé
“Since I went to treatment, there have been days when it’s felt really easy, and I’ve felt great about where I am. But then I have moments when it’s not. That’s life. You can’t just take your mind and your body into the shop and get it fixed. It doesn’t come out repaired. It’s not like a car. It takes time—pace yourself. Every day is a new opportunity to change your life and be who you want to be.” – Demi Lovato
“Just take it ten seconds at a time. Everything will be okay.” – Kimmy Schmidt, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”
This one is even better with a little context. On the Netflix original series “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” Kimmy is a incredibly cheerful and sometimes naive young woman adjusting to life in New York after being trapped in a cult for 15 years. The show is very funny, but one of my favorite parts is when Kimmy insightfully tells the boy she is nannying that “all you gotta do is take it ten seconds at a time.” She was referring to her time in the bunker, where she took on the responsibility of “turning a heavy crank, the purpose of which is unknown to this day.” She found she could get through the laborious task if she approached it ten seconds at a time. I’ve been able to apply the same principle to less drastic situations. When you’re struggling, the first thing to do—always—is seek help. But sometimes, you’ve gotten help, and you know what to do, but it’s still emotionally difficult. So, what you can do then is break it down, and just focus on the next ten seconds—or ten minutes, or hour—at a time.
You can watch a clip from that episode here, and stream the entire first season on Netflix.
“You go on by doing the best you can. You go on by being generous. You go on by being true. You go on by offering comfort to others who can’t go on. You go on by allowing the unbearable days to pass and by allowing the pleasure in other days. You go on by finding a channel for your love and another for your rage.” – Cheryl Strayed
Cheryl Strayed is an excellent writer, and recently released a book of quotations (cover pictured below). It was hard to choose just one of the quotes to include on this list!
“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face . . . You must do what you think you cannot do.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
Do you have any favorite quotes that inspire you in tough times? Please share them in the comments below!
I wanted to share some exciting news: another one of my essays, entitled “In Celebration of Being Uncool,” was published on HelloGiggles this weekend! You can view it here.
The idea for this essay (originally called “In Celebration of Weirdness”) came from a few major changes that occurred in my life over the past six months. Personally, I started dating someone whose weirdness matches my weirdness. Writing-wise, I finished my master’s program and had a few of my essays published on a couple of well-known websites.
Those publications were a big deal to me in more ways than one. Yes, they seemed like signs that maybe I could really “make it” at this writing thing. More than that, though, they were kind of like my big reveal. Suffice to say, I’d been a bit guarded and secretive about my writing for a long time. I truly believed if I told people the type of stuff I was spending hours working on – an analysis of the effects of Facebook and Kim Kardashian on identity formation, or musings on the metaphorical and psychological implications of makeovers and hair dye – that they’d think I was weird. Not a serious, sophisticated, writerly weird. Just lowbrow, navel-gazing, writer-in-air-quotes weird.
Having my work read and responded to by others, however, made me realize that maybe I’m not that weird after all. Or perhaps, we’re all a bit weird, and when we share our weirdness, we can relate to each other on a whole new level.
I’ll admit, it’s cloud-nine exciting to not only have your work published, but to see it shared thousands of times on social media (yes, I’m shameless, and I was tracking the shares all weekend). But the coolest thing to come out of this was that one woman followed the links in my bio to not only read this blog but to personally message me on Instagram, saying she enjoyed and related to my essay – that in fact, one of her school breaks involved a Disney-Channel-star concert with a parent (for her, the Jonas Brothers with her mom). Being able to hear from and connect with someone I’d never have known otherwise makes all those hours of writing, and all of my so-called “weirdness,” totally worth it.