I have so much homework to do, it hurts.
So naturally, I have spent the larger portion of my evening drinking wine and putting together a collection of my absolute favourite quotes – a collection that is constantly growing.
I am a quote junkie. I don’t know when it began, but at some point I started finding peace in mismatched words. I started to recognize pieces of myself in what other people wrote, and I think I put parts of myself together when I found meaning in quotes.
I guess it’s about feeling recognizable – as if somebody understands even if you’ll never really know that somebody – they’re out there. Because there’s a lot to understand and it’s hard enough for me to figure myself out let alone expecting somebody else to do it.
But I like the process – I really, really do. I like reading something and thinking, “oh my god, that’s me” and feeling as though my heart has met calmness for the first time.
I like reading things and finding that they make sense, and I don’t mind when I share it with somebody else who really doesn’t understand. I don’t need everybody to understand.
So I collect quotes on an irregular daily basis, and over the years I’ve even learned to formulate my own. I like the context – I like the way I look on paper – I like it a lot.
And thus, the following is a small portion of some of the best things I have ever read.
Lately I’ve been thinking about who I want to love, and how I want to love, and why I want to love the way I want to love, and what I need to learn to love that way, and who I need to become to become the kind of love I want to be…and when I break it all down, when I whittle it into a single breath, it essentially comes out like this: Before I die, I want to be somebody’s favorite hiding place, the place they can put everything they know they need to survive, every secret, every solitude, every nervous prayer, and be absolutely certain I will keep it safe. I will keep it safe.
It is both a blessing
And a curse
To feel everything
So very deeply.
I’m overwhelmed. My biggest downfall is my brightest blessing, I feel too much, all the time. Ya Allah, if it’ll keep my heart soft, break my heart every day.
You’ve got hands like a spinning
and a heart looking for north,
they ask you where it hurts
you almost pull out a map
to show them.
you almost say,
these are all the countries
that couldn’t pronounce my name
and these are all the mountains
I couldn’t climb,
and these are the rivers
I almost drowned
but here I am,
living to tell you about it.
and here are
all the places that
almost belonged to me
because I couldn’t get their language
and here’s where I survived
and here’s where all the ghosts
feast on my rotting heart’
but instead of speaking
you stay quiet enough
to make the dead seem loud,
and so they ask again,
‘where does it hurt?’
and you point to the empty
locket hanging off of your neck,
and they ask to see what’s inside
and when they do,
they ask why it’s empty.
and you say,
‘I couldn’t find anything small
enough to fit it’
but what you really mean
is you couldn’t find
anything big enough,
so it stays empty,
hovering above your heart
for a reminder of all
the people who couldn’t stay
no matter how badly
you wanted them to
and how hard you loved
Y.Z. Things you can’t say over dinner
My mother tells me
that when I meet someone I like,
I have to ask them three questions:
1. what are you afraid of?
2. do you like dogs?
3. what do you do when it rains?
of those three, she says the first one is the most important.
“They gotta be scared of something, baby. Everybody is. If they aren’t afraid of anything, then they don’t believe in anything, either.”
I met you on a Sunday, right
one look and my heart fell into
my stomach like a trap door.
on our second date,
I asked you what you were afraid of.
“spiders, mostly. being alone. little children, like, the ones who just learned how to push a kid over on the playground. oh and space. holy shit, space.”
I asked you if you liked dogs.
“I have three.”
I asked you what you do when it rains.
“sleep, mostly. sometimes I sit at the window and watch the rain droplets race. I make a shelter out of plastic in my backyard for all the stray animals; leave them food and a place to sleep.”
he smiled like he knew.
like his mom told him the same
“how about you?”
I’m scared of everything.
of the hole in the o-zone layer,
of the lady next door who never
smiles at her dog,
and especially of all the secrets
the government must be breaking
it’s back trying to keep from us.
I love dogs so much, you have no idea.
I sleep when it rains.
I want to tell everyone I love them.
I want to find every stray animal and bring them home.
I want to wake up in your hair
and make you shitty coffee
and kiss your neck
and draw silly stick figures of us.
I never want to ask anyone else
Today I saw cancer, cigarettes, and shortness of breath. This is why I walk to the ocean. Swim with sharks and jellyfish. I may never get this chance again. This is why if you want to kiss, you should kiss. If you want to cry, you should cry. And if you want to live, you should live. You don’t have to love me. You already did.
And then one student said that happiness is what happens when you go to bed on the hottest night of the summer, a night so hot you can’t even wear a tee-shirt and you sleep on top of the sheets instead of under them, although try to sleep is probably more accurate. And then at some point late, late, late at night, say just a bit before dawn, the heat finally breaks and the night turns into cool and when you briefly wake up, you notice that you’re almost chilly, and in your groggy, half-consciousness, you reach over and pull the sheet around you and just that flimsy sheet makes it warm enough and you drift back off into a deep sleep. And it’s that reaching, that gesture, that reflex we have to pull what’s warm – whether it’s something or someone – toward us, that feeling we get when we do that, that feeling of being sad in the world and ready for sleep, that’s happiness.
Paul Schmidtberger, Design Flaws of the Human Condition
Scientists, somewhere, are still looking for stillness.
They don’t know the silence of
This is the love they were trying
to tell us about.
At night I listen to my dead heart
and name it after a dead country.
The birds in my blood stop mid-flight.
When I think of you,
a war ends.
You tell me about the time your world went quiet.
How you howled at love like a
You warn me of your dark,
I swallow your shadows whole.
After a while you learn the subtle difference
Between holding a hand and chaining a soul,
And you learn that love doesn’t mean leaning
And company doesn’t mean security.
And you begin to learn that kisses aren’t contracts
And presents aren’t promises,
And you begin to accept your defeats
With your head up and your eyes open
With the grace of a woman, not the grief of a child,
And you learn to build all your roads on today
Because tomorrow’s ground is too uncertain for plans
And futures have a way of falling down in mid-flight.
After a while you learn…
That even sunshine burns if you get too much.
So you plant your garden and decorate your own soul,
Instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.
Jorge Luis Borges, You Learn
A bouquet of clumsy words:
You know that place between sleep and awake where you’re still dreaming, but it’s slowly slipping? I wish we could feel like that more often.
I also wish I could click my fingers three times and be transported to anywhere I like.
I wish that people didn’t always say “just wondering” when you both know there was a real reason behind them asking.
And I wish I could get lost in the stars.
Listen, there’s a hell of a universe out there. Let’s go.
Remember this, girl,
you are half sea.
No one ever asks
the ocean to quiet her storm,
so why do you keep
apologizing for yours?
Kiss her. Slowly, take your time, there’s no place you’d rather be. Kiss her but not like you’re waiting for something else, like your hands beneath her shirt or her skirt or tangled up in her bra straps. Nothing like that. Kiss her like you’ve forgotten any other mouth that your mouth has ever touched. Kiss her with a curious childish delight. Laugh into her mouth, inhale her sighs. Kiss her until she moans. Kiss her with her face in your hands. Or your hands in her hair. Or pulling her closer at the waist. Kiss her like you want to take her dancing. Like you want to spin her into an open arena and watch her look at you like you’re the brightest thing she’s ever seen. Kiss her like she’s the brightest thing you’ve ever seen. Take your time. Kiss her like the first and only piece of chocolate you’re ever going to taste. Kiss her until she forgets how to count. Kiss her silent. Come away, ask her what 2+2 is and listen to her say your name in answer.
Azra.T, This is how you keep her
I’m running because I can, because I must. Because I want to see how far I can go before I have to stop.
Some people are born with tornados in their lives,
but constellations in their eyes.
Other people are born with stars at their feet,
but their souls are lost at sea.
Nikita Gill, Perspectives
Never take a chance with a tattoo artist whose arms are bare. Never put your money on a fighter without any scars. But most importantly, never trust someone who only knows how to tell you they love you with their lips.
I was told
The average girl begins to plan her wedding at the age of 7
She picks the colors and the cake first
By the age of 10
She knows time,
She’s already chosen a gown
And a maid of honor
She’s waiting for a man
Who wont break out in hives when he hears the word “commitment”
Someone who doesn’t smell like a Band-Aid drenched in lonely
Someone who isn’t a temporary solution to the empty side of the bed
Who’ll hold her hand like it’s the only one they’ve ever seen
To be honest
I don’t know what kind of tux I’ll be wearing
I have no clue what my wedding will look like
But I imagine
The women who pins my last name to hers
Will butterfly down the aisle
Like a 5 foot promise
Will be so large that you’ll see it on google maps
And know exactly where our wedding is being held
The woman that I plan to marry
Will have champagne in her walk
And I will get drunk on her footsteps
When the pastor asks
If I take this woman to be my wife
I will say yes before he finishes the sentence
I’ll apologize later for being impolite
But I will also explain to him
That our first kiss happened 6 years ago
And I’ve been practicing my “Yes”
For the past 2, 165 days
When people ask me about my wedding
I never really know what to say
But when they ask me about my future wife
I always tell them
Her eyes are the only Christmas lights that deserve to be seen all year long
She thinks too much
Misses her father
Loves to laugh
And she’s terrible at lying
Because her face never figured out how to do it correctly
I tell them
If my alarm clock sounded like her voice
My snooze button would collect dust
I tell them
If she came in a bottle
I would drink her until my vision is blurry and my friends take away my keys
If she was a book
I would memorize her table of contents
I would read her cover-to-cover
Hoping to find typos
Just so we can both have a few things to work on
Because aren’t we all unfinished?
Don’t we all need a little editing?
Aren’t we all waiting to be proofread by someone?
Aren’t we all praying they will tell us that we make sense
She don’t always make sense
But her imperfections are the things I love about her the most
I don’t know when I will be married
I don’t know where I will be married
But I do know this
Whenever I’m asked about my future wife
I always say
…She’s a lot like you
If you’re gonna bail, bail early. This applies to relationships, college classes, and sledding.
Advice from a high school science teacher, Mr. Miller
‘Let’s do that,’ she said suddenly.
‘Say something to each other in the dark.’
Jhumpa Lahiri, “A Temporary Matter” in Interpreter of Maladies
So what I’m trying to say is you should text me back.
Because there’s a precedent. Because there’s an urgency.
Because there’s a bedtime.
Because when the world ends I might not have my phone
If you don’t respond soon,
I won’t know if you’d wanna leave your shadow next to mine.