When I was a junior in HS I had an emotional breakdown. (How’s that for an opening line?) I don’t remember a lot from that day (my mind was obviously…elsewhere) but I remember small things like: the smell of the grass I was laying on, or how rough my track coaches hands felt when he picked me up off the ground to carry me back inside. I also recall not being able to organize my thoughts. Like fireflies in the night they scattered whenever I tried to touch them.
After (which should comes as no surprise) I had the great misfortune of being diagnosed as both bi-polar and manic depressive. Not a combination I would wish on my most vile of enemies.
Anyhow, with some help from a fairly intimidating amount of prescription drugs (and a heafty dose of time) I started to emerge from my fog (and stopped telling people I wanted to become a nun.) Unfortunately my brain still functioned on overdrive and getting it to slow down (even the slightest) was a challenge, so my shrink (said with love and affection of course) suggested I keep a journal.
“Let flow the thoughts that keep you up at night!” he said.
I realized rather quickly however, that this was a horrible idea. See…being a reader I had an ill-advised compulsion to go back and read what I wrote days/months before. Doing so would inevitably conjure up the feelings I was trying so hard to escape in the fist place, and BAM a vicious cycle was born. SO,… I did the only other thing I could think to do. I started writing down OTHER peoples words. In hopes that if I reread them they would offer me a modicum of peace vs. anguish. Fortunately (for both those surrounding me in my daily life AND myself) it worked.
There is this saying: “You will never read the same book twice.”
It’s both a brilliant and profound thought if you take the time to really think about it. It’s also 100% spot on.
The thoughts that you had yesterday will never be the same as the thoughts you have today. The way that you look at the people around you, see the world, handle situations will change according to the minute. The complications and scenarios laid out for you in a book will morph to fit where you currently are, not where you have been.
YOU change daily, the way you process things changes daily, therefore the story (and the words you take away from it) will change daily as well.
When I first started to collect quotes I did it blindly. I needed an outlet and pulling words from some of the books I loved seemed like the most logical way to fill that need. BUT, as the years went by and my journals started to fill up I realized the effect they were actually having on me. They were my guiding light, my wise old man, my peace in a raging storm.
At any given point I could read a quote and find meaning. Whether it was about loss, or anger, or even friendship; the two or three sentences (I felt compelled to write down months or even years earlier) would transform themselves into the perfect answer. At times, saving my life.
It sounds silly when you say it out loud, “quotes saved my life,” but the truth of it remains. Wisdom, in which ever format you find it is still and will always be wisdom. What you do with it from there is where the solo journey begins.
These were a few of my journeys…
When a friend’s father passed away recently I offered him this:
“People are going to say a lot of things. And some of it will be helpful, and some of it will be annoying, and lots of it will get on your nerves. But they’re saying it because they found it helpful when they lost someone. They mean well.” – Playlist for the Dead
When I felt I didn’t belong I read this:
“Home isn’t where you’re from, it’s where you find light when all grows dark.” – Golden Son
When I felt my life was running off the rails I read this:
“Life isn’t a linear journey. Sometimes it’s one step backwards, two steps forward and then a jump out to the side.” – The Pact
When I needed to remind myself to smile in the face of hatred:
“Happy is more powerful than mean and vindictive.” – Girl Incredible
When I couldn’t stop looking backwards:
“There’s a price that has to be paid for experience and knowledge, and sometimes it’s a pretty steep price. But you’ve already paid it. So don’t regret that past. Value it. Use it. Be grateful for it.” – Rough Around The Edges Meets Refined
When a challenge seemed to tough:
“Obstacles are sometimes placed in our way to see if what we want is really worth it” – Fighting Envy
When my sadness felt like a weight:
“You will have bad times, but they will wake you up to the stuff you weren’t paying attention to.” – Robin Williams
Quote books aren’t for everyone, but for some they are everything.
Let the words of the world do their work, and if the mood strikes…write them down. You never know when you’ll need to read them again.
Mucho love my darling Kindle-ites and thanks for adding words to this epic journey called “my life.”