“We all get stuck in place on occasion. We all move backward sometimes, Every day we must make the decision to move in the direction of our intentions. Forward is the direction of real life.”
I read Wild by Cheryl Strayed back in 2012 and it remains an incredibly memorable and moving experience. I love Strayed’s writing. She is thoughtful, empathetic and adept at using poetic language to clearly describe her and other’s experiences. So when I heard that she had a new book of quotations coming out, I was very interested. Before picking up Brave Enough (2015) , I didn’t even know whether the quotes were hers or ones she had chosen, but it didn’t make much difference to me. If you look at my review of Strayed’s Tiny Beautiful Things, you’ll see that more than half of it is quotes I loved from the book.
It turns out that Brave Enough is a collection of quotes from Strayed’s varied writing. She makes a point in the beginning to say that she is not in the know-it-all business of telling others how to live their lives. Instead, these quotes came as she struggled to figure out how to live her own life. The quotes are not particularly grouped together or labeled by source, but I recognized many from previous Strayed books. In fact, many of the ones I highlighted were ones I’d already highlighted from previous books, including some of my favorites:
“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.”
“Love is the feeling we have for those we care deeply about and hold in high regard. It can be light as the hug we give a friend or heavy as the sacrifices we make for our children.”
I read some new, inspiring quotes in Brave Enough but on the whole, I prefer more context. Strayed’s comments felt more meaningful in Tiny Beautiful Things when she was responding to someone with a real struggle. Flipping quickly through so many quotes left me feeling less connected to her writing than I usually am. Although I continue to be impressed by Strayed’s writing, and I enjoyed many of her quotes, I’d recommend reading Strayed’s other books before delving into these.
“Your assumptions about the lives of others are in direct relation to your naive pomposity.”
“God is not a granter of wishes. God is a ruthless bitch.”
“Hello, fear. Thank you for being here. You’re my indication that I’m doing what I need to do.”
“Trust your gut. Forgive yourself. Be grateful.”
“You have to be brave enough to build the intimacy you deserve. You have to take off all of your clothes and say, I’m right here. This is not the moment to wilt into the underbrush of your insecurities.”
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