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How to Tell Your Story Honestly

how to tell your story honestly

Acclaimed writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie recently gave this goosebump-worthy advice at the 2015 Girls Write Now awards ceremony:

I think that what our society teaches young girls, and I think it’s also something that’s quite difficult for even older women and self-professed feminists to shrug off, is that idea that likability is an essential part of you, of the space you occupy in the world, that you’re supposed to twist yourself into shapes to make yourself likable, that you’re supposed to hold back sometimes, pull back, don’t quite say, don’t be too pushy, because you have to be likable.

And I say that’s bullshit.

So what I want to say to young girls is forget about likability. If you start thinking about being likable you are not going to tell your story honestly, because you are going to be so concerned with not offending, and that’s going to ruin your story, so forget about likability. And also the world is such a wonderful, diverse, and multifaceted place that there’s somebody who’s going to like you; you don’t need to twist yourself into shapes.

So much yes. Read more…

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At Ease

at ease 2

As you may recall, last fall, I had the LIFE HONOR of seeing Oprah live. Talk about one for the bucket list. I scribbled pages of notes as she talked, and still come back to them time and again when certain phrases hit me in new ways.

Lately, the one I have been particularly moved by is the notion of being at ease.

As someone who has always been naturally inclined to follow the rules (you saw my childhood photo, right?) (: I was always happy to oblige, but I never paid a lot of attention to how situations made me feel. I smiled candidly at social gatherings; participated in activities that built my resume; and stuck it out in a few relationships a little longer than I probably should have. I considered any feeling of unease, anxiety or apathy, to be something to fight through – but I never considered that it was actually a gift. Read more…

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The Small, Happy Life

small happy life

The other night, I was talking to one of my dearest friends as the sun set over my building’s rooftop. It had been a busy day/week/month/year at work, and as we sipped bubbly wine, nibbled on cheese and crackers from Pike Place Market, and eased into the soft padding of the lounge chairs, we had a really genuine conversation about life and adulthood and meaning and purpose… and if we were succeeding at finding any of it.

And then I read this article entitled “The Small, Happy Life” (the NY Times has been crushing it lately), and this excerpt really resonated with me:

Kim Spencer writes, “I used to be one of the solid ones — one of the people whose purpose was clearly defined and understood. My purpose was seeing patients and ‘saving lives.’ I have melted into the in-between spaces, though. Now my purpose is simply to be the person … who can pick up the phone and give you 30 minutes in your time of crisis. I can give it to you today and again in a few days. … I can edit your letter. … I can listen to you complain about your co-worker. … I can look you in the eye and give you a few dollars in the parking lot. I am not upset if you cry. I am no longer drowning, so I can help keep you afloat with a little boost. Not all of the time, but every once in a while, until you find other people to help or a different way to swim. It is no skin off my back; it is easy for me.” [click to continue…]

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The Moral Bucket List

moral bucket list

David Brooks recently wrote an article entitled The Moral Bucket List in the New York Times. I’ve read and re-read it since. It’s so much fun to dream up bucket list ideas, such as wine tasting in Tuscany or living in New York City… but what about experiences that stretch and challenge us, that make us stronger, kinder, more humble and compassionate human beings? I thought it was a really beautiful, interesting read, and I’d highly recommend it if you have a few moments. An excerpt:

ABOUT once a month I run across a person who radiates an inner light. These people can be in any walk of life. They seem deeply good. They listen well. They make you feel funny and valued. You often catch them looking after other people and as they do so their laugh is musical and their manner is infused with gratitude. They are not thinking about what wonderful work they are doing. They are not thinking about themselves at all.

It occurred to me that there were two sets of virtues, the résumé virtues and the eulogy virtues. The résumé virtues are the skills you bring to the marketplace. The eulogy virtues are the ones that are talked about at your funeral — whether you were kind, brave, honest or faithful. Were you capable of deep love?

A few years ago I set out to discover how those deeply good people got that way. I didn’t know if I could follow their road to character (I’m a pundit, more or less paid to appear smarter and better than I really am). But I at least wanted to know what the road looked like. [click to continue…]

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Spring Activities

spring activities tulips

This past weekend, Seattle temperatures soared to 70 degrees, and it seemed like just about everyone was out and about. I sipped coffee and watched seal pups play early one morning at Sculpture Park, walked up to Capitol Hill, and tried to soak up as much sun as possible. Every season, I like to make a list of everything I hope to do before the season changes. To make the most of the rest of spring, I would like to… Read more…

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Everything Anne Lamott Knows about Life

anne lammot sixtieth birthday life knowledge

To celebrate her birthday, writer Anne Lamott compiled a list of everything she knows to be true. I thought the list was extremely inspiring and tender. A few of my favorite excerpts:

All truth is a paradox. Life is a precious unfathomably beautiful gift; and it is impossible here, on the incarnational side of things. It has been a very bad match for those of us who were born extremely sensitive. It is so hard and weird that we wonder if we are being punked. And it filled with heartbreaking sweetness and beauty, floods and babies and acne and Mozart, all swirled together.

Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.

There is almost nothing outside of you that will help in any kind of lasting way, unless you are waiting for an organ. You can’t buy, achieve, or date it. This is the most horrible truth.

Everyone is screwed up, broken, clingy, and scared, even the people who seem to have it more or less together. They are much more like you than you would believe. So try not to compare your insides to their outsides. [click to continue…]

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More than Mason Jars

mason jars on wall

I came across this beautiful piece by Erin Loechner, about how the soundbites of words we use to describe each other and ourselves, like labels on a mason jar, fall short. It’s a quick and poignant read; here is one of my favorite excerpts:

And still, my favorite people in life are the ones that package an element of surprise. Surely the entertainment attorney with the fast-paced lifestyle and the $350K paychecks and the house in Cabo – surely she doesn’t knit on the airplane? Surely she doesn’t call her aging grandmother every Saturday at 4, and surely she doesn’t eat grilled cheese sandwiches whilst sitting cross-legged on her kitchen counter, crumbs spilling onto her silk pajamas?

And yet, surely she does. Surely we all do, acting in ways that seem unfit for our characters. We are this and that, half something and half something else entirely, and I’ve often thought about the repercussions of defining ourselves so flippantly online. Writer, mama, scrambled egg-maker is what currently sits atop my Instagram profile, like a pitchy mockingbird resting on my shoulder. I know as well as you do that we are more. [click to continue…]

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On The Horizon

on the horizon

Hi lovelies! As I mentioned last week, I have some exciting blog projects underway that are requiring my full attention for the next few weeks. I can’t wait to share more with you when the time is right! In the mean time, I will be posting a little less frequently so I can dedicate my focus, but you should still hear from me at least once a week until I can reveal the full project.

{Image via Her Paperweight}

 

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Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

I’ve always ebbed between love/hate phases with breakfast. I’ve never been someone who has to have it, but I try to give my body enough fuel to get me through the morning and into lunchtime, when I really start to feel the hunger pangs. So, I’ve been trying to make friends with breakfast — that is, find a healthy breakfast recipe that is tasty enough that I actually look forward to it and want to make time for it in my routine, and nutritious enough that it keeps me satisfied and going strong all morning. And lo and behold, I found a recipe that fits the bill!

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset Read more…

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Heart Swells

heart swells

This was a really good week and I can hardly believe another Friday has already come around again. There is always a lot to be thankful for, even on weeks when it’s harder to find, but the last few days contained many gems. The moments that brought a smile to my face: Read more…

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