I recently finished Wild, and I have to be honest...my heart was all over the place for the month and a half I was reading it. I bought the book after falling in love with the movie (Reese Witherspoon slays. Every single time. Oh my gosh.). And while I do wish I had read the book first, I loved it just as much.
The story follows a desperately heartbroken Cheryl Strayed as she makes her final attempt at finding her missing pieces and putting herself back together, after searching for her wholeness in places where she just couldn't find it. I won't give it all away, but I will tell you this...ladies, I think we've all had a little bit of pre-hike Cheryl in our hearts. Maybe some of us are stuck in the muck of her now, and maybe others of us still sit and thank our higher powers that she's long gone. Either way, I think this book is worth your time. I think it's an ode to women and how strong we are. I think it's a victory chant from a woman to herself, and I think we can all learn from that. I've made a list of the 10 big, huge things my heart is left with after placing my hardback back on my bookshelf until the next time my soul needs it. These are them. I hope you enjoy them, and I REALLY hope you give Wild a read.
1. Sometimes you need to go where not a single soul knows or cares who you are to find the realest version of yourself. I got a little taste of this realness when I left for college and a big ole second scoop when I moved again for my first job. Familiarity is sweet and warm and cozy. We weren't made to do this whole life thing on our own, and it's honestly the biggest blessing to know that someone knows you in and out and has decided to take you and love you as you are. However, I think we have a tendency to allow ourselves to get complacent and fill up the spaces people want to place us. We get used to how we are associated, and we sometimes adhere to the definitions other people decide to give us. We learn to be the people we want our Instagram followers think we are and laugh the way everyone we love well laughs. So, while it's a beautiful thing to go where everybody knows your name, there is a ton of value in going where not a single soul knows your name...where people will be just fine if they never learn it. That is where I think you will find who you really are when all bets are off and you've got no one's expectations to meet but you're own. That is where you will find what you lack but also what you're made of. You are enough on your own, girlfriend. You are.
2. You don't need to have it all together, and you don't need to know what the end result will be. You just need the heart to go, and keep on going. If you wait until every single thing is in order and every single piece of your life is ready and makes sense to move forward and be brave, you will never move forward and be brave. Go. Please go. Jump, live, take a chance. You don't need to know how, when or why. You just need to know that you can. It'll come, and you will figure it out. Go.
3. Being pretty is cool, but being smart and tough wins. Always. Being pretty will not be the thing you need when life kicks you in the gut. When people fail you, the ball drops or you desperately need to get out of your own way and win...being pretty won't be the thing that does it. Stop any part of your you that believes, in any way, that your face or body is more important than your heart. I know it's hard, and I know what culture says. But please get that you're greater than you how look. It's literally the smallest piece of your magic, babe. It's the part we stress and hate on and pick apart the most, but it's the smallest. Honestly.
4. Boys are not the answer. Not to a single issue. Like, not one.
You are not more or less valuable because more or less guys think you're hot or try to talk to you. There is less of a correlation than you think. Even so, if you're looking to fill an emptiness that's hidden somewhere underneath all your layers, guys aren't it. No one can make you feel happy and beautiful and loved if you don't already feel and believe those things about yourself. If you look to temporary things and imperfect people to fill your empty spaces, you will continuously find yourself just that- empty. You will keep trying to fill it, and you will keep getting disappointed. People will keep letting you. Why would someone deny a situation that benefits them, even if it leaves you empty? Stand up for yourself, and satisfy your soul with stuff that means something.
5. Sometimes, love is not enough. If you aren't happy, content and satisfied with who you are and what you're doing, it's going to be difficult for you to truly welcome, appreciate and be satisfied with the love someone else shows you. If you don't have trust, comfort, safety and confidence in yourself AND in another person, no amount of passion or love will make up for that. You can love someone and know they're no good for you or that you're no good for them. You can love someone and know they will disappoint your or that you're simply not ready. And that's okay. You're allowed to admit that love just isn't always enough reason to stay.
6. Other times, love is all you need. And even if the relationship ends and the feelings fade, sometimes your bond doesn't have to break. I am a firm believer that one of the best friends you can have is someone who used to be in love with you and knows your ins and outs. Can you imagine a better perspective to receive relationship advice from? It's tricky; it doesn't always work. In fact, it's probably rare. However, it's a really cool thing to be able to share support and love with someone even after the box you used to share no longer exists. Cheryl's appreciation and love for her ex-husband reminded me of the relationship Joy (from the movie Joy) had with her ex-husband. Just because you aren't together anymore doesn't mean you have to hate each other. It doesn't mean you can't cheer each other on.
7. You're allowed to forgive other people. You're allowed to forgive yourself. In fact, you should. Then, you should learn to let it go. You were not put here to be an ongoing apology for all of the things you messed up, failed and walked away from. You will fail. You will fail many times. You will do wrong. You will be unfair. You will do all of those things, and you will continue to be worth it. You will continue to be valuable. You will continue to matter. You are not a mistake, and you never will be. You are allowed to look up at the sky one day and decide to forgive yourself for all the ways you've done wrong, and then decide to love yourself anyway. You are allowed to do that so many times. You are allowed to do it, even when other people won't do it for you. YOU ARE ALLOWED TO GIVE YOURSELF GRACE; YOU SHOULD GIVE YOURSELF GRACE. However, you also need to forgive other people. They mess up too, and they are worth the same forgiveness...even if you happen to be the one who gets hurt by their failure. Remember that there are people who have been hurt by yours. We are all people. We all fail. It's hard to forgive people. It's harder to forgive ourselves. But, my goodness, we have to try. We really do.
8. You will surprise yourself with how tough you can be when you don't have a choice. It's a simple thought, but a really big deal. And when you make it to a place where you can look back and see all of the things you've done that you could've sworn you wouldn't have been able to do- I hope you pat yourself on the back and buy yourself a drink.
9. Life isn't about things, but you should appreciate the things you have. I think the most stunning and remarkable thing about this book is that it's a true story. As you read it, you can literally feel the heat, thirst, hunger, agony and desperation Cheryl experiences throughout various stretches of her journey. One of the things that stuck with me so hard was how much she appreciated a burger, a beer or a Snapple lemonade when she was finally able to get her hands on one. There are people in this world who don't have even a 16th of the things we take for granted, and not because they choose to go backpacking through a desert that doesn't have a Walmart. There are people who live their lives every day and find joy in the midst of not having access to things that we pick up, toss to the side and forget about. While we shouldn't feel guilty for our material blessings, I think we should recognize that this life isn't about the stuff we hold. It's not about the things we use to justify our status. It can't be. If it were, people wouldn't find joy without it. If it were, people wouldn't come out as better people after they've lost everything. If it were, we wouldn't find our strength in pain and brokenness.
10. You will win if you decide to win. It may not look the way you pictured or come as fast as you want, but if you decide to keep going and give it all you have, you will win. I believe that. Cheryl believed that, or pretended to until she did, and she won. Decide to win.
With Love & Glitter,