If you need someone — how they make you feel, what they do for you, how they keep you whole — then you don’t actually love them, you just love the role they play in your life. The further you can push away from that need, the closer you’ll get to loving the human.
(This is an idea from Joko Beck’s Everyday Zen, which I *highly highly highly* recommend for anxious and/or ADD types, but this is true for everyone.)
“Girls are trained to say, ‘I wrote this, but it’s probably really stupid.’ Well, no, you wouldn’t write a novel if you thought it was really stupid. Men are much more comfortable going, ‘I wrote this book because I have a unique perspective that the world needs to hear.’ Girls are taught from the age of seven that if you get a compliment, you don’t go, ‘Thank you’, you go, ‘No, you’re insane.’”—Lena Dunham, in an interview with The Guardian (x)
Some new years resolutions twentysomethings can actually follow?
1. Wash your bedsheets.
2. Spend half as much time feeling sorry for yourself as you spend doing something about it.
3. The word “twentysomething” describes your age. Stop using it as a crutch to drown in your limitations. The economy is shitty, healthcare is hard, and college loans are steeped. Still: you’re not a goddamn Time Magazine thinkpiece. You are a person who steers your own ship. Start being a captain.
4. Maintain a savings account that you can survive on for 3 “i’m fucked” months.
5. Take a leap. If you don’t do something you’re scared of now, you’re wasting your mortality.
6. Get back to doing some of the things you loved before all of that noise drowned it out.
7. You are an adult. Learn to drink like one.
8. Be fucking nicer.
9. Maintain your: friendships, fridge, and gmail folder
I just finished “Wild” by Cheryl Strayed. I felt, as I always do when reading something stupendous and heartbreaking, both exhilarated and insanely jealous. I would finish a sentence, stop and let it wash over me, and then feel small and inadequate and embarrassed about everything I’ve ever written.
I remember the first time I read something by her, an essay a mutual friend had posted it on Facebook, feeling empty but also changed. “You will never write like she does,” said an 8th grade mean-girl voice in my head. “Why bother, when there are people like her who can write things like this?”
But writing, or making art, or music, or any pursuit that begins inside you and then is proudly or quietly offered to the world, is more craft than divine inspiration. It is slogging through vast periods of mediocrity and frustration and slowly improving. It’s doing it whether you feel like it or not.
It is also — and this is the hard part, at least for me — not putting yourself up against anyone else. Instead of feeling sad that you can’t make the things someone else can make, spend that emotional energy writing more.