Cheryl Strayed shares her words of inspiration in ‘Brave Enough’

strayedIf you haven’t caught on to my Cheryl Strayed obsession yet, I may doubt how well you know me, or how closely you follow my writing. It’s been a year to the date since I first picked up her New York Times best-selling memoir, Wild, and I am here to remind you (yet again) that Strayed is one of the most bad ass writers of our time. She has entire websites dedicated to her quotes, and a cult fan following including celebrities like Oprah Winfrey and Reese Witherspoon. Her words of inspiration and courage are laid across coffee mugs, clothing, and even inked permanently on skin. Her prose is both haunting and poetic, as she often reminds readers to use the world as a teacher and bravery as a guiding force.

This fall you can carry Strayed’s words of wisdom with you in her upcoming book, Brave Enough. The book will be released October 27 as a collection of quotes from her novels and memoir, Wild. In a statement, Strayed explains the power quotes have had in her own life, “From the comic to the profound, the simple to the complex, the sorrowful to the ecstatic, the inspiring to the stern, whenever I need consolation or encouragement, a clear-eyed perspective or a swift kick in the pants — which is often — quotes are what I turn to.”

Allow Strayed’s words to bring you to new truths, and give yourself the opportunity to get to know the woman who is a true warrior of love. And, should you find yourself needing more convincing, check out some of my favorite quotes she’s written below.

Don’t surrender all your joy for an idea you used to have about yourself that isn’t true anymore.

Forward is the direction of real life.

Forgiveness doesn’t just sit there like a pretty boy in a bar. Forgiveness is the old fat guy you have to haul up the hill.

Be brave enough to break your own heart.

The best thing you can possibly do with your life is to tackle the motherf*cking shit out of it.

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Lessons I Learned from Cheryl Strayed’s ‘Wild’

Cheryl Strayed (Image Credit: Joni Kabana)

Cheryl Strayed (Image Credit: Joni Kabana)

Dear Cheryl Strayed,

I don’t think I’ll ever forget the moment I finished reading your memoir, Wild. Partly because I sat on a plane in-between two large men, sobbing into the sleeves of my sweater while dodging looks of concerned passengers that seemed to say “get this psycho off our flight.” But mostly because your story, above anything else I’ve ever read, captures exactly what it’s like to be human. For many writers, that’s the ultimate dream, and, well, Cheryl Strayed, you nailed it. You presented yourself to the world in the most real and vulnerable light. You are the warrior of love. Your spirit is etched on each page, and your story will transcend generations. Because you told the story so many of us are living each day, women and men around the world no longer feel ashamed of their messy, complicated, so very human life.

When I first finished reading your book, I’m almost ashamed to admit, I was hesitant to share it with others. I felt like you had let me in on a big secret. In my mind, we had become good friends. To share the memoir with my peers meant we no longer shared this secret understanding of one another. Do I sound crazy yet? Probably. But I’m sure you would be happy to know my selfish possessiveness over you and your story was short lived. I’ve passed my copy of Wild around to friends, family and the like. My second copy sits on my nightstand, and, yes, I’ve also downloaded the Kindle version. I practically preach your words like they’re my own. And maybe that’s because, although I’ve never hiked the Pacific Crest Trail, your story feels like my story, and I know I’m not alone. To know debilitating loss, unconditional love, darkness, lightness, wholeness, rawness, complication, hope, forgiveness, and strength are, in a way, the stories we all live. The lessons you learned within each step you took along the trail are very much so the lessons each of us can learn from as we walk along the messy journey known as life.

TDQ readers, if you haven’t read Wild yet, here’s a sneak peak at the words of Strayed. I wouldn’t make a promise I can’t keep, and I can promise you her story will move you. There’s also a good chance you might find a little bit of your story hidden within each page.

“I knew that if I allowed fear to overtake me, my journey was doomed. Fear, to a great extent, is born of a story we tell ourselves, and so I chose to tell myself a different story.”

“I’m a free-spirit who never had the balls to be free.”

“Alone had always felt like an actual place to me, as if it weren’t a state of being, but rather a room where I could retreat to be who I really was.”

“How wild it was, to let it be.”

“Fear begets fear. Power begets power. I willed myself to beget power. And it wasn’t long before I actually wasn’t afraid.”

Cheryl Strayed, Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail

Strayed is also the author of best-selling advice column collection, Tiny Beautiful Things and a novel, Torch. She currently resides in Portland Oregon with her husband and children.

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Why Everyone Needs to Read ‘Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar’

Tiny-Beautiful-Things1There are a million and one ways your heart can break, and sometimes all you need is a reminder you’re not alone in your suffering. Cheryl Strayed’s Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar will, quite literally, wake you up from your moments of uncertainty and pain. She offers the kind of advice that’s a combination between a gentle push forward, a harsh reality check, and a shoulder to cry on when you literally feel so stuck you can’t imagine moving on. From the first page on, you will be hooked.

Originally an anonymous columnist for The Rumpus, Strayed responded to thousands of readers with advice on love, sex, pain and loss, using the pen name Sugar, thus, Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar, is born.  As you read through the readers’ questions and Strayed’s responses to them, it becomes clear she has a natural ability to connect to people of all ages and backgrounds. She uses her gift of language and her own personal experiences to guide readers on the path to forgiveness, and, above all, love. She offers guidance without judgment, and with the kind of raw openness that leaves you feeling both vulnerable and naked.  Her words ask readers to be honest with themselves, and most importantly, with the life they are choosing to live.

To look in the mirror and accept your flaws, mistakes, insecurities, and confusions are all some of life’s biggest challenges. Sugar asks not only that you try to accept the sometimes unthinkable, but that you do it with a genuine love and brave openness.

She says, “Most things will be okay eventually, but not everything will be. Sometimes you’ll put up a good fight and lose. Sometimes you’ll hold on really hard and realize there is no choice but to let go. Acceptance is a small, quiet room.”

Her words are both powerful and stunning. If you let them, they will change you. Thank you again, Cheryl Strayed—your compassion and realness are in a realm of their own.

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