I was asked what some of my favorite quotes were from Cheryl Strayed’s Brave Enough and I am more than happy to oblige this request. I cannot seem to shut up about how much I love Cheryl Strayed and how incredibly meaningful her words have been to help me heal.
My copy of Brave Enough is filled with sticky notes marking quotes that resonated strongly. I wish some of them weren’t so dang true and completely spot on. Cheryl Strayed has a way of making cold, hard truths sound beautiful. But, as she reminded me, you have to stay brave and face those truths. (Click on any image for a better view.)
I loved this quote about how we treat grief in our society. We comfort loved ones till about the time of a funeral/memorial, then we look away from their grief because it makes us uncomfortable. We want them to hurry up and “get over it.” We want them to stop reminding us that one day we might have to face that same deep and wrenching loss and that we ourselves will also be grieved. I think we are so uncomfortable with grief and death because it reminds us of our own mortality and what we all must face.
Oh, how I wish this was not true, but I am finding more and more that true strength lies in the ability to lay it out there with those you trust and sometimes, even with those you do not. I find my biggest struggle is being vulnerable with myself. I have a hard time saying, “I can’t do this” “this is too much” or “you are being unrealistic.” I have to get really honest with myself sometimes and find my strength in that truth.
Ugh. Another one that I wish was not true. I have found that working through childhood issues is not a one-time therapy session and you are “over it.” Some of those past issues have surfaced at various points in my life, to be worked out, only to re-surface again in a different manner. I love/hate the last line that emphasizes most of these things have to do with forgiveness. I feel this is a constant force I try to run from, but end up having to face if I want true resolution to a lingering issue.
This was one of my favorites from Wild. It came about at a point where Cheryl was hiking the PCT and putting so much effort into figuring herself and her grief out. She was putting in so much physical exertion and mentally working through the loss of her mother. She finally comes to the point where she realizes she needs to JUST BE. She finds peace with what is and stops trying to change it. I have definitely had my struggles with learning how to JUST BE (and still do). When something is wrong, I want to fix it. Immediately. I have no problem with hard work. However, it is so much more difficult to just be at be at peace with an uncomfortable situation.
Ugh. Another unwanted, but needed reminder that healing comes from doing that real, honest, gut-wrenching work. In my grief, I remember thinking, “I just want to feel “normal” again, I don’t want to feel this way anymore.” I could not just wish those feelings away though or ignore them. I had to face them, deal with them and do that hard work to be at peace.
This was one of those passages from Wild that I read very shortly after my dad was killed. I was barely working out my loss. The wound was still so fresh I was in denial that it was even there, I was refusing to look at it completely. These words forced me to see it. They gave my own pain words that I did not even realize I needed yet. Cheryl Strayed articulated losing a parent so honestly and beautifully that it gave me a map for the grief I would soon have to navigate.
Another hard truth. It is a wonderful reminder that no one is above suffering. No matter how much we try to hide from it or avoid it, we will all face it at some point and although we can ask for help along the way, we need to eventually face it ourselves.
My last favorite is simply fun.
Have you read Brave Enough? Do you have a favorite quote?