It is disgusting to notice the increase in the quantity of coffee used by my subjects, and the amount of money that goes out of the country as a consequence. Everybody is using coffee; this must be prevented. His Majesty was brought up on beer, and so were both his ancestors and officers. Many battles have been fought and won by soldiers nourished on beer, and the King does not believe that coffee-drinking soldiers can be relied upon to endure hardships in case of another war.
Well, I wrote a book. But it’s not about helping my mother die. It’s about helping myself live. It’s about how losing my best friend, the person whose voice I trusted most in this world, called me forth to befriend myself and claim my own voice in deep, unprecedented, and vital ways. And it’s about learning to exchange a fantasy life, fueled by a stark fear of intimacy, for a real life fueled by the vulnerability and messiness of real love.
I had no idea where I was — everything was black. I gathered that I was lying in a puddle of wet sand, as it felt cold, coarse, and prickly all over my back. I opened my eyes, and the first thing I saw was a blinding light — it was piercing. I blinked hard to flush the tears out of my inflamed eyes, but they kept welling up. I could see three big men towering over me like curious giants gathered over their prey. The men flowed and ebbed with my teary vision.
The thing about light is that it really isn’t yours; it’s what you gather and shine back. And it gets more power from reflectiveness; if you sit still and take it in, it fills your cup, and then you can give it off yourself.
~ Anne Lamott, Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith
… Along both sides of the escalator were also hundreds of billboard advertisements, many for cosmetics, jeweled watches, designer clothing, spa services, and beauty salons. Commerce was a big game in Hong Kong, and women’s luxury commerce often seemed to be the biggest game of all.
I let my eyes skip over the ads, feeling them push me toward the usual attitudes of improvement and correction. This manipulation had never bothered me before, but today it felt aggressive, violent even. It made me want to crumple and hide, but also hit back.
“I don’t have to play,” I thought. A years-long frustration took a sudden, surprising, shape. I could stop. I try and try, and it never works; I never become beautiful. So why not give up? What would happen if I simply stopped buying all those new clothes, new shoes, accessories, and hair products I think I need? What if I stopped using concealer, enhancer, and wrinkle corrector, and what if I stopped hoping that they would work? How would I feel then? How would I look? Would doing that silence the nasty inner Voice? Would I start to feel a beauty apart from all the unattainable femaleness around me… or not?