Everyone needs a bit of Cheryl Strayed in their lives. In fact, everyone needs as much of Cheryl Strayed as they can get in their lives. Since I read Wild, her memoir, two years ago, she has become this source of inspiration and comfort. She has had an incredibly tough life, from being abused by her grandfather to losing her mother to lung cancer, having a dabble with drugs and so much more. Cheryl's most notable work is possibly Wild, where she tells her own story of how she walked the Pacific Crest Trail on her own to put herself back together. It is a story about deep grief described in the most honest, authentic and raw way I have ever seen before.
And rawness, honesty and authenticity is what Cheryl Strayed is all about. Her book Tiny Beautiful Things is a collection of letters that she received while she was writing an online advice column called Dear Sugar, but this isn't your average agony aunt column. It is so powerful!
Her work is so inspiring to so many that people started sending Cheryl their favourite quotes, which led her to publish Brave Enough: A Mini Instruction Manual for the Soul, which is a compilation of those quotes. I have two copies of this, one on my Kindle and a hard copy I keep on my bedside table. Both are full of highlighted sentences and marked pages, so I thought this week I would share some of my favourite quotes with you.
The following quote is one of the last moments in Wild and it has a very deep and personal meaning for me. Cheryl's books, and Wild very specifically, show grief in a way that I had never heard before, much closer to what I had experienced, and how I am sure many others will have done. After my dad passed away I spent years blaming myself for things I could have done differently, things I could have done better. I should have never let him carry the laptop bag and he wouldn't have fallen and broken his collarbone. I should have caught him mid air. I should have spent more time there. I should have been there when he died. My eyes fill with tears as I am typing this, unsure as to whether I will keep it here. It feels too private to share with the world. But those are thoughts and feelings that are no longer true, that do not have a place in my head or, more importantly, in my heart anymore. The beginning of their end was this next quote. When I read it in the book, it stopped me in my tracks. I didn't quite understand it logically, but I knew it was important, and I was to read it again and again until I believed it. When I heard it in the film, I sobbed, because I knew it was time to start letting them go. It was a long time until I did.
PURE SELF INDULGENCE
Apart from the message behind this quote, there is another reason why I love it. My full name (Inmaculada) literally means immaculate, so this makes me feel like Cheryl is speaking directly to me, and I couldn't resist not including it here!