I’ve been reading Tiny Beautiful Things and it’s mostly what’s carried me through today. I start to cry in front of my computer at work and I thank god for the cubicle wall I face, in the cubicle alcove I share. I thank god for the phone not ringing. I thank god for my long hair. Yesterday, two co-workers tried to give me some hair styling tips and I simply nodded because there’s no use explaining that your hair is long because it’s something to hide behind. Short hair is for brave girls, or ones who never cry staring into their computer screens at work.
I read Cheryl Strayed’s words and wonder what would Dear Sugar advise? What heartbreaking true story would she tell to lift me up out of my life and see clearly again? She would say You know better than this. She would remind me that the reason I know better is that I’ve been through worse. I’ve felt worse, hit rockier bottoms. I’ve climbed out of uglier days. She would say You know better, sweet pea, and you are better, and all the angry text messages to your friends about other people who make you feel small will not make you feel any bigger or braver. I think she would tell me to own my mistakes, and then to love them, for teaching me to be better.
Cheryl Stayed will take you down a notch, but she’ll hold your hand while she does it. That’s the way I want the voice in my head to be - reminding me to be more humble, but kindly, gently, carefully. Sugar’s words are the most careful and most kind. Wouldn’t it be nice if the inside of our heads were all like that?
Sugar would say It is possible to beat yourself up until you beat yourself to death. It is possible to think yourself into a knot of anxiety and self-loathing, like a twisted gold necklace with the tiniest links. It also possible to untangle that knot. It takes patience, sweet pea. It takes effort and time, but untangling your pain is worthwhile. Persist. Work at that knot with your two tiny hands. Follow the links like a path and let the knot show you how to work out the snarl. And when you have unraveled it, clasp it around your neck and remember, remember. You’ve hit rockier bottoms than this.