Jenny Lawson · 329 pages
Rating: (81.5K votes)
“When you come out of the grips of a depression there is an incredible relief, but not one you feel allowed to celebrate. Instead, the feeling of victory is replaced with anxiety that it will happen again, and with shame and vulnerability when you see how your illness affected your family, your work, everything left untouched while you struggled to survive. We come back to life thinner, paler, weaker … but as survivors. Survivors who don’t get pats on the back from coworkers who congratulate them on making it. Survivors who wake to more work than before because their friends and family are exhausted from helping them fight a battle they may not even understand. I hope to one day see a sea of people all wearing silver ribbons as a sign that they understand the secret battle, and as a celebration of the victories made each day as we individually pull ourselves up out of our foxholes to see our scars heal, and to remember what the sun looks like.”
“Like my grandmother always said, “Your opinions are valid and important. Unless it’s some stupid bullshit you’re being shitty about, in which case you can just go fuck yourself.”
“Don’t sabotage yourself. There are plenty of other people willing to do that for free.”
“Don’t make the same mistakes that everyone else makes. Make wonderful mistakes. Make the kind of mistakes that make people so shocked that they have no other choice but to be a little impressed.”
“There will be moments when you have to be a grown-up. Those moments are tricks. Do not fall for them.”
“I AM GOING TO BE FURIOUSLY HAPPY, OUT OF SHEER SPITE.”
“Last month, as Victor drove me home so I could rest, I told him that sometimes I felt like his life would be easier without me. He paused a moment in thought and then said, “It might be easier. But it wouldn’t be better.”
“Without the dark there isn’t light. Without the pain there is no relief. And I remind myself that I’m lucky to be able to feel such great sorrow, and also such great happiness. I can grab on to each moment of joy and live in those moments because I have seen the bright contrast from dark to light and back again. I am privileged to be able to recognize that the sound of laughter is a blessing and a song, and to realize that the bright hours spent with my family and friends are extraordinary treasures to be saved, because those same moments are a medicine, a balm. Those moments are a promise that life is worth fighting for, and that promise is what pulls me through when depression distorts reality and tries to convince me otherwise.”
“Depression is like … when you don’t want cheese anymore. Even though it’s cheese.”
“I wish someone had told me this simple but confusing truth: Even when everything’s going your way you can still be sad. Or anxious. Or uncomfortably numb. Because you can’t always control your brain or your emotions even when things are perfect.”
“I can tell you that “Just cheer up” is almost universally looked at as the most unhelpful depression cure ever. It’s pretty much the equivalent of telling someone who just had their legs amputated to “just walk it off.” Some people don’t understand that for a lot of us, mental illness is a severe chemical imbalance rather just having “a case of the Mondays.” Those same well-meaning people will tell me that I’m keeping myself from recovering because I really “just need to cheer up and smile.” That’s when I consider chopping off their arms and then blaming them for not picking up their severed arms so they can take them to the hospital to get reattached.”
“I can’t think of another type of illness where the sufferer is made to feel guilty and question their self-care when their medications need to be changed.”
“Normal is boring. Weird is better. Goats are awesome, but only in small quantities.”
“Do you know about the spoons? Because you should. The Spoon Theory was created by a friend of mine, Christine Miserandino, to explain the limits you have when you live with chronic illness. Most healthy people have a seemingly infinite number of spoons at their disposal, each one representing the energy needed to do a task. You get up in the morning. That’s a spoon. You take a shower. That’s a spoon. You work, and play, and clean, and love, and hate, and that’s lots of damn spoons … but if you are young and healthy you still have spoons left over as you fall asleep and wait for the new supply of spoons to be delivered in the morning. But if you are sick or in pain, your exhaustion changes you and the number of spoons you have. Autoimmune disease or chronic pain like I have with my arthritis cuts down on your spoons. Depression or anxiety takes away even more. Maybe you only have six spoons to use that day. Sometimes you have even fewer. And you look at the things you need to do and realize that you don’t have enough spoons to do them all. If you clean the house you won’t have any spoons left to exercise. You can visit a friend but you won’t have enough spoons to drive yourself back home. You can accomplish everything a normal person does for hours but then you hit a wall and fall into bed thinking, “I wish I could stop breathing for an hour because it’s exhausting, all this inhaling and exhaling.” And then your husband sees you lying on the bed and raises his eyebrow seductively and you say, “No. I can’t have sex with you today because there aren’t enough spoons,” and he looks at you strangely because that sounds kinky, and not in a good way. And you know you should explain the Spoon Theory so he won’t get mad but you don’t have the energy to explain properly because you used your last spoon of the morning picking up his dry cleaning so instead you just defensively yell: “I SPENT ALL MY SPOONS ON YOUR LAUNDRY,” and he says, “What the … You can’t pay for dry cleaning with spoons. What is wrong with you?” Now you’re mad because this is his fault too but you’re too tired to fight out loud and so you have the argument in your mind, but it doesn’t go well because you’re too tired to defend yourself even in your head, and the critical internal voices take over and you’re too tired not to believe them. Then you get more depressed and the next day you wake up with even fewer spoons and so you try to make spoons out of caffeine and willpower but that never really works. The only thing that does work is realizing that your lack of spoons is not your fault, and to remind yourself of that fact over and over as you compare your fucked-up life to everyone else’s just-as-fucked-up-but-not-as-noticeably-to-outsiders lives. Really, the only people you should be comparing yourself to would be people who make you feel better by comparison. For instance, people who are in comas, because those people have no spoons at all and you don’t see anyone judging them. Personally, I always compare myself to Galileo because everyone knows he’s fantastic, but he has no spoons at all because he’s dead. So technically I’m better than Galileo because all I’ve done is take a shower and already I’ve accomplished more than him today. If we were having a competition I’d have beaten him in daily accomplishments every damn day of my life. But I’m not gloating because Galileo can’t control his current spoon supply any more than I can, and if Galileo couldn’t figure out how to keep his dwindling spoon supply I think it’s pretty unfair of me to judge myself for mine. I’ve learned to use my spoons wisely. To say no. To push myself, but not too hard. To try to enjoy the amazingness of life while teetering at the edge of terror and fatigue.”
“You don’t have to go to some special private school to be an artist. Just look at the intricate beauty of cobwebs. Spiders make them with their butts.”
“To all who walk the dark path, and to those who walk in the sunshine but hold out a hand in the darkness to travel beside us: Brighter days are coming. Clearer sight will arrive. And you will arrive too. No, it might not be forever. The bright moments might be for a few days at a time, but hold on for those days. Those days are worth the dark.”
“Even when everything’s going your way you can still be sad.”
“It’s about taking those moments when things are fine and making them amazing, because those moments are what make us who we are, and they’re the same moments we take into battle with us”
“The amount of money I would pay for people to stop fucking up grammar is only slightly lower than the amount I’d give to ensure I never have grammatical errors in the statements I make calling others out on their grammatical errors.”
“Don't compare your insides with someone else's outsides.”
“We wish you a merry Christmas” is the most demanding song ever. It starts off all nice and a second later you have an angry mob at your door scream-singing, “Now bring us some figgy pudding and bring it RIGHT HERE. WE WON’T GO UNTIL WE GET SOME SO BRING IT RIGHT HERE.” Also, they’re rhyming “here” with “here.” That’s just sloppy. I’m not rewarding unrequested, lazy singers with their aggressive pudding demands. There should be a remix of that song that homeowners can sing that’s all “I didn’t even ask for your shitty song, you filthy beggars. I’ve called the cops. Who is this even working on? Has anyone you’ve tried this on actually given you pudding? Fig-flavored pudding? Is that even a thing?” It doesn’t rhyme but it’s not like they’re trying either. And then the carolers would be like, “SO BRING US SOME GIN AND TONIC AND LET’S HAVE A BEER,” and then I’d be like, “Well, I guess that’s more reasonable. Fine. You can come in for one drink.” Technically that would be a good way to get free booze. Like trick-or-treat but for singy alcoholics. Oh my God, I finally understand caroling.”
“AWESOME. In fact, I’m starting a whole movement right now. The FURIOUSLY HAPPY movement. And it’s going to be awesome because first of all, we’re all going to be VEHEMENTLY happy, and secondly because it will freak the shit out of everyone that hates you because those assholes don’t want to see you even vaguely amused, much less furiously happy, and it will make their world turn a little sideways and will probably scare the shit out of them. Which will make you even more happy. Legitimately. Then the world tips in our favor. Us: 1. Assholes: 8,000,000. That score doesn’t look as satisfying as it should because they have a bit of a head start. Except you know what? Fuck that. We’re starting from scratch. Us: 1. Assholes: 0.”
“I’m having one of those rare days where I love people and all of the amazing wonder they’re capable of and if someone fucks that up for me I will stab them right in the face.”
“Sometimes stunned silence is better than applause.”
“most of my favorite people are dangerously fucked up but you’d never guess it because we’ve either become adept at hiding it or we’ve learned to bare it so honestly that it becomes the new normal. There’s a quote from The Breakfast Club that goes “We’re all pretty bizarre. Some of us are just better at hiding it.” I have it on a poster but I took a Sharpie to it and scratched out the word “hiding” because it reminds me that there’s a certain pride and freedom that comes from wearing your unique bizarreness like a badge of honor.”
“If you put a bunch of chameleons on top of a bunch of chameleons on top of a bowl of Skittles what would happen? Is that science? Because if so, I finally get why people want to do science.”
“The only person you need to be better than is the person you were yesterday”
“There’s something about depression that allows you (or sometimes forces you) to explore depths of emotion that most “normal” people could never conceive of.”
“What I want you to know: Dying is easy. Comedy is hard. Clinical depression is no fucking picnic.”
“In the silent aftermath, I said, "We'll give them a second chance."
With my right hand, I reached to the other pocket. I had known as soon as I lifted the false bottom in the gun case and looked underneath what it meant. I had tried without ceasing to find some alternative to Attolia's ruthless advice and I had failed. Gen's gift told me that I had not failed for lack of trying. I'd lifted out the matching gun and read its archaic inscription. Realisa onum. Not 'the queen made me,' but 'I can make the king.'
Looking at Akretenesh's startled face down the long barrel of the handgun, I smiled, until I felt the scar tissue tighten. That one expression, I'd never showed him. My face gave away my humiliation, my rage, my surprise, and my embarrassment, but I had never let him see what I looked like when I smiled: my uncle.
His diplomatic mask dissolved, and he backed away.
In Attolia, I had been in front of a mirror at last, and I had understood what made Oerus back in Hanaktos ask me if my expression was a happy one or not. The smile rumpled the scar tissue under my skin, and it dragged my face askew, giving me the leer of a man who'd never had a moment of self-doubt, who'd never regretted a life lost. I'd worried that I wouldn't have the nerve to carry this off, but in the moment, it was easy. Seeing Akretenesh recoil, I laughed out loud.”
“And tell them what?" Jace said witheringly. "That invisible people are bothering you? Trust me, little girl, the police aren't going to arrest someone they can't see”
“Gabriel glanced over. "So I made coffee." He'd set up the game, too, for whatever reason. Then he'd sobbed into his mug for forty five minutes, until his coffee went cold and Michael found him sitting there. Gabriel had been worried his brother would bitch about the coffee or the crying or something--he rarely needed a reason in those days. But Michael had just poured himself a cup of coffee and pushed the dice across the table. "You go first.”
“the greatest secret of life is that we find exactly what we’re looking for. In spite of what happens to us, ultimately we decide whether our lives are good or bad, ugly or beautiful.”
“The mold in which a key is made would be a strange thing, if you had never seen a key: and the key itself a strange thing if you had never seen a lock. Your soul has a curious shape because it is a hollow made to fit a particular swelling in the infinite contours of the divine substance, or a key to unlock one of the doors in the house with many mansions.
Your place in heaven will seem to be made for you and you alone, because you were made for it -- made for it stitch by stitch as a glove is made for a hand.”
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