Do what you feel in your heart to be right — for you’ll be criticized anyway.
~ Eleanor Roosevelt
Truer words were never spoken.
Or perhaps they were. Regardless, these are up there in the top ten of How to Live Your Life.
Eleanor goes on to say that “you’ll be damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.” Hot damn! She’s right.
You can never please everyone. Let me just go ahead and say that again. You can never. Please. Everyone.
I’m speaking to myself, of course, as I often always do on this blog but I believe these words fiercely.
I know I’m a good person so why don’t I just do what I feel in my heart to be right?
Worrying what others might think or how they may perceive what I do (or don’t do) is a terrible way to live. How people choose to see me is not in my control. (And really not my problem. Unless I make it my problem. Which we’ve just established it’s not.)
The bottom line here is that, yes, you’ll be damned if you do, damned if you don’t. So…
My candle burns at both ends; It will not last the night; But ah, my foes and oh, my friends— It gives a lovely light.
~ Edna St. Vincent Millay
I could dissect this poem, line by line, pondering its possible meanings with regard to Edna’s life and writing. But this is not a lit class, it’s a blog. So I won’t. Also, I don’t want to.
It’s here today because the words are speaking to me and I need to share them.
Right now, I choose to see this poem as a reminder.
To a person who is working too much, overwhelmed and exhausting herself, who knows she cannot keep this up much longer, who addresses those who support her as well as those who do not. In the end, regardless of this knowledge, she cannot help but say how lovely it all is.
I feel these words deeply.
Watch as I go down in flames and see how beautiful the fire is.
How goddamn beautiful.
Life is difficult and stressful and a strange beauty emerges in those moments. If we look. And when we find it, we need to share it. Shout it out to friends and foes.
There is beauty in the moments of madness.
My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.
Are you going through a difficult time? Have you taken on too much? Could you use a break? I’ve got nothing. Sorry. No tips. No fix. Just support, solidarity, and a little bit of poetry.
“The most important thing is to always be true to what we like.”
Author J.D. Estrada said this to me. We were chatting on Twitter about book genres and reading whatever you want regardless of what others say. This statement stuck with me for two reasons.
It can be applied to many situations.
Most of the time you see a quote beginning with “We should always be true to…”, you expect it to end with “who we are”. But he said “what we like”. I find that interesting.
Being true to yourself is crucial and something we tell our children to do. But how often do we ask them what they like and if they stay true to that? I understand this could be considered part of being true to who you are but the words are not the same. They’re more specific and have an entirely different focus.
“Be true to who you are” is a bit abstract for children. Asking them what they like gets you an answer. Asking them if they care what other people think of those things gets you an answer. This leads to a conversation—a way to engage them in a discussion of being true to who they are using concrete examples of what they like.
Both my boys (8 and 10 years old) still love their picture books.