“Oh. I see. You think this has nothing to do with you. You go to your closet and you select, oh, I don’t know—that lumpy blue sweater, for instance. Because you’re trying to tell the world that you take yourself too seriously to care about what you put on your back. But what you don’t know is that that sweater is not just blue, it’s not turquoise, it’s not lapis. It’s actually cerulean. You’re also blithely unaware of the fact that in 2002, Oscar De La Renta did a collection of cerulean gowns. And then I think it was Yves St Laurent, wasn’t it, who showed cerulean military jackets? And then cerulean quickly showed up in the collections of eight different designers. Then it filtered down through the department stores and then trickled on down into some tragic casual corner where you, no doubt, fished it out of some clearance bin. However, that blue represents millions of dollars and countless jobs. So it’s sort of comical how you think that you’ve made a choice that exempts you from the fashion industry when, in fact, you’re wearing the sweater that was selected for you by the people in this room. From a pile of stuff.”—Miranda Priestly (The Devil Wears Prada)
The doctor and the lawyer and the poet and the priest. You have passed your mind down like an inheritance, from one to the next to the next and so on, and the words that you breathe are lifeless with the dust of decades. Ash escapes your nostrils, the remnants of a fire long burned out, a passion long since dead and gone and buried with an average epitaph.
And I welcome you, your words, the tired trivia of your personality and the idiosyncrasies of your soul. I have no interest in your life, hold no love for your inspiration that is so clearly drawn from others. Empty inside and glossy on the out, I stare and smile and you are charmed.
And around you, I weave myself, flowing in and out of the conversation seamlessly, threatening you with the power of my words, but always pulling back to be gentle. It’s not until we fight that you are aware of what I can do, aware of what it is you thought you loved. Wicked and sharp and far too cunning to be combated.
Sinatra spins on an old record machine somewhere, and the ice is melting in my scotch.
You insult my ego and my arrogance and tell me I am stubborn, and try to convince me that I am blind to what it is I’ve seen all along but didn’t show you. This is my fault, but as sadistic as I am, I will not point this out to you. Already, you crumble, tears hiding in your borrowed eyes.
Initially, I am patient, but you begin to wear on my tolerance and I am done. It is time to go, to leave, and never taste your tongue again.
And I cry and cannot breathe, because my father is dead or he is crazy or I am dying and can never apologize for the tantrum over SeaWorld.
I ache and yearn and long and burn, to touch him again or be held or know what it would have been like to have just one more night, aflame and burning bright and crumbling to ash, if we were lucky.
And through my mind a thousand times, I run and run and run and run, but nowhere am I going but round and round and back to the start, which is the finish, which means it’s never really finished. It’s never really over.
Read something, if you don’t read often: a magazine article, a chapter in a book, the back of your cereal box.
Take something off the wall and hang something new up in its place.
Make a cup of tea.
Set aside some time for a nap.
Fix your hair a little differently.
Buy yourself something you’ve been wanting. (No matter how big or small or selfish it may seem to anyone else—it’s for you, remember?)
Take a bubble bath.
Listen to something outside of your comfort zone.
Make a phone call you’ve been putting off.
Hold the door for a stranger.
Put aside some money for a trip you keep telling yourself you can’t afford.
Or buy a plane ticket.
Go to sleep on the opposite side of the bed.
If you don’t take pictures often, carry your camera today. If you do, set it down and look without a lens for a little while.
Compliment a stranger.
Finish something you started and never came back to.
Learn something new about someone you’re closest to.
If you eat out, order something you’ve never had.
Give a second chance.
Take the stairs.
Buy fresh flowers for your apartment/house/dorm room/bedroom.
Write a letter.
Fluff your pillows.
Go to sleep a little later, or set your alarm a little earlier.
Cook something for yourself, if you never do. With an actual recipe and everything.
Buy a candy bar you haven’t had in years.
Open the windows.
Make a decision you’ve been dreading. (It’ll either work out or it won’t, so don’t sweat it.)
Replace an hour (just an hour!) of your habits—TV, Facebook, video games, even if it’s something productive you do often—with an hour of doing something that you’ve been saying or thinking you want to do.
Take a walk. Go for a swim. Run that extra half-mile. Smile a little more or smoke one less cigarette or order your burger with lettuce or drink an extra bottle of water today.
Do something, ask something, make something, find something, be a part of something that will somehow have made today a little different—anything that will take you one step closer to being who you want to be, doing what you want to do. Don’t just read this. Don’t just like it on Facebook or reblog it on Tumblr or retweet it on Twitter. Get out there. Get on it. Make it happen.
Step by step.
Today, make a little change. And then tomorrow, come back to this list and choose something new.
1. Thou shall not hate. 2. Thou shall pay bills. 3. Thou shall confess. 4. Thou shall not bug. 5. Thou shall not give in to temptation. 6. Thou shall not think you got it like that. 7. Thou shall not leave me wondering. 8. Thou shall know when he’s got to go. 9. Thou shall move on to the next. 10. Thou shall get your party on. 11. Thou shall say my name. 12. Thou shall know he can’t love you. 13. If thou can wait, then thou shall stay. 14. Thou shall cherish life.