Here’s my reality:
I’m a 33-year-old unmarried, childless, creative type who works 55-plus hours a week between two jobs—which I love even though they try my patience daily— while living back at home with my parents, because well, life is expensive and I’m tired of dancing with the debt devil.
I spend roughly 90 percent of every day feeling exhausted, burnt out and unable to find the energy to do anything that isn’t a basic human function. I dream of naps and chocolate, but usually only find my way to one. Most days I feel like I’m juggling knives while simultaneously trying not to stab myself in the face.
Most days I feel like I’m low-key failing at life.
Here’s my truth:
Even on my worst days—when I want to cry and can’t find the energy, when the thought of turning on my computer or driving to the office feels like leading a small war-torn nation, when my only exercise consists of walking to the kitchen for that glass of water I should’ve drank two hours ago, when I am lonely and tired of taking care of myself by myself, when I long for a space that is entirely mine and void of human contact, when my one day off is a blur of errands and appointments and highways, when my one day off is nothing but naps and Grey’s Anatomy marathons, when I wonder if my life will ever not feel like something I’m trying to handle—I remind myself that I’m doing the best I can.
And sometimes, the best I can do is nowhere near where I want to be. But here I am—being human.
And on the days when being human is all I can manage, I read words from other humans who have failed and cried and zombie-walked through their days and lived to tell the tale. Reading these quotes is my version of self-care. Some of them are inspiring, compassionate words meant to make me feel less alone. Some of them are bold, brutal and meant to kick my ass into high gear.
But they all remind me that even when I feel like I’m failing, I’m also still here…still fighting…still trying.
1. “Some damage is too severe, some harm endures. And what you have to do is accept it. And by accept it I mean, don’t be the paralyzed person in the bed who is waiting to walk again. Realize, it’s never gonna happen. And find some other way to get around—swing from a vine, get a Mad Max wheelchair. Anything but…wait.” ~ Augusten Burroughs
2. “Life is hard—not because we’re doing it wrong, just because it’s hard.” ~ Glennon Doyle Melton
3. “Fear wears so many clever disguises it is virtually impossible to always recognize it. Fear disguises itself as the need to be somewhere else, doing something else, not knowing how to do something or not needing to do something.” ~ Iyanla Vanzant
4. “You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.” ~ Maya Angelou
5. “Sometimes what makes us insecure and vulnerable becomes the fuel we need to be overachievers. The antidote for a snakebite is made from the poison, and the thing that made you go backward is the same force that will push you forward.” ~ T.D. Jakes
6. “It’s a wonder I’m even alive. Sometimes I think that. I think that I can’t believe I haven’t killed myself. But there’s something in me that just keeps going on. I think it has something to do with tomorrow, that there is always one, and that everything can change when it comes.” ~ Augusten Burroughs
7. “You’ve learned a new rule and it’s simple: don’t put yourself in situations you’d like to run away from.” ~ Lena Dunham
8. “Everything that happens to you is a reflection of what you believe about yourself. We cannot outperform our level of self-esteem. We cannot draw to ourselves more than we think we are worth.” ~ Iyanla Vanzant
9. “You can measure your worth by your dedication to your path, not by your successes or failures.” ~ Elizabeth Gilbert
10. If there’s a silver lining to the emptiness, here it is: the unfillable is what brings people together. I’ve never made a friend by bragging about my strengths, but I’ve made countless by sharing my weakness and my emptiness.” ~Glennon Doyle Melton
11. “Her toolbox is full. She has learned to not let go of the pieces of herself that she needs in order to be what someone else wants. She’s learned not to compromise. She’s learned not to settle. She’s learned, as difficult as it is, how to be her own sun.” ~ Shonda Rhimes
12. “But sometimes your light attracts moths and your warmth attracts parasites. Protect your space and energy.” ~ Warsan Shire
13. “Life is long, people change, I would never be foolish enough to think otherwise. But no matter what, nothing can ever be as it was. Everything has changed in a way that sounds trite and borderline offensive when recounted over coffee. I can never be who I was. I can simply watch her with sympathy, understanding, and some measure of awe.” ~ Lena Dunham
14. “I think it’s a mighty act of human love to remind somebody that they can accomplish things by themselves, and that the world does not automatically owe them any reward, and that they are not as weak and hobbled as they may believe.” ~ Elizabeth Gilbert
15. “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” ~ Audre Lorde
16. “You can spend minutes, hours, days, weeks, or even months over-analyzing a situation, trying to put the pieces together, justifying what could’ve, would’ve happened…or you can just leave the pieces on the floor and move the f*ck on.” ~ Tupac Shakur
17. “[Perfectionism] is the satin-lined casket of creativity and originality. If you’re a perfectionist, at least stop announcing you’re one, and try to get over it yourself, alone in your home with the lights off.” ~ Augusten Burroughs
18. “We are the people that we have been waiting for and no one else is coming.” ~ T.D. Jakes
Author: Nicole Cameron