"Wherever perfectionism is driving, shame is riding shotgun. Perfectionism is not about healthy striving, which you see all the time in successful leaders, it’s not about trying to set goals and being the best we can be, perfectionism is basically a cognitive behavioral process that says if I look perfect, work perfect, and do everything perfectly, I can avoid shame, ridicule, and criticism. It’s a defense mechanism."
"But here is the truth of nostalgia: we don’t feel it for who we were, but who we weren’t. We feel it for all the possibilities that were open to us, but that we didn’t take.
Time is like wax, dripping from a candle flame. In the moment, it is molten and falling, with the capability to transform into any shape. Then the moment passes, and the wax hits the table top and solidifies into the shape it will always be. It becomes the past, a solid single record of what happened, still holding in its wild curves and contours the potential of every shape it could have held.
It is impossible not to feel a little sad, looking at that bit of wax. That bit of the past. It is impossible not to think of all the wild forms that wax now will never take. The village, glimpsed from a train window, beautiful and impossible and impossibly beautiful on a mountaintop, and you wonder what it would be if you stepped off the train and walked up the trail to its quiet streets and lived there for the rest of your life. All variety of lost opportunity spied from the windows of public transportation, really. It can be overwhelming, this splattered, inert wax recording every turn not taken.
‘What’s the point?’ you ask. ‘Why bother?’ you say. But then you remember — I remember! — that we are even now in another bit of molten wax. We are in a moment that is still falling, still volatile, and we will never be anywhere else. We will always be in that most dangerous, most exciting, most possible time of all: the Now. Where we never can know what shape the next moment will take. Stay tuned next for, well…let’s just find out together, shall we?"
"At 19, I read a sentence that re-terraformed my head: “The level of matter in the universe has been constant since the Big Bang.”
In all the aeons we have lost nothing, we have gained nothing - not a speck, not a grain, not a breath. The universe is simply a sealed, twisting kaleidoscope that has reordered itself a trillion trillion trillion times over.
Each baby, then, is a unique collision - a cocktail, a remix - of all that has come before: made from molecules of Napoleon and stardust and comets and whale tooth; colloidal mercury and Cleopatra’s breath: and with the same darkness that is between the stars between, and inside, our own atoms.
When you know this, you suddenly see the crowded top deck of the bus, in the rain, as a miracle: this collection of people is by way of a starburst constellation. Families are bright, irregular-shaped nebulae. Finding a person you love is like galaxies colliding. We are all peculiar, unrepeatable, perambulating micro-universes - we have never been before and we will never be again. Oh God, the sheer exuberant, unlikely face of our existences. The honour of being alive. They will never be able to make you again. Don’t you dare waste a second of it thinking something better will happen when it ends. Don’t you dare."
"Be kind to yourself and others, and smile if you’re able. Take care of the people you love, and try to make yourself known and understood. Dial it down, work with your hands, keep it quiet, and share what you know."
— Frank Chimero, “This One’s for Me”