Most commencement speeches suggest you take up something or other: the challenge of the future, a vision of the twenty-first century. Instead I’d like you to give up. Give up the backpack. Give up the nonsensical and punishing quest for perfection that dogs too many of us through too much of our lives. It is a quest that causes us to doubt and denigrate ourselves, our true selves, our quirks and foibles and great leaps into the unknown, and that is bad enough.

But this is worse: that someday, sometime, you will be somewhere, maybe on a day like today—a berm overlooking a pond in Vermont, the lip of the Grand Canyon at sunset. Maybe something bad will have happened: you will have lost someone you loved, or failed at something you wanted to succeed at very much.

And sitting there, you will fall into the center of yourself. You will look for that core to sustain you. If you have been perfect all your life, and have managed to meet all the expectations of your family, your friends, your community, your society, chances are excellent that there will be a black hole where your core ought to be.

Don’t take that chance. Begin to say no to the Greek chorus that thinks it knows the parameters of a happy life when all it knows is the homogenization of human experience. Listen to that small voice from inside you, that tells you to go another way. George Eliot wrote, ‘It is never too late to be what you might have been.’ It is never too early, either. And it will make all the difference in the world. Take it from someone who has left the backpack full of bricks far behind. Every day feels light as a feather.

Some periods of our growth are so confusing that we don’t even recognize that growth is happening. We may feel hostile or angry or weepy and hysterical, or we may feel depressed. It would never occur to us, unless we stumbled on a book or a person who explained to us, that we were in fact in the process of change, of actually becoming larger, spiritually, than we were before. Whenever we grow, we tend to feel it, as a young seed must feel the weight and inertia of the earth as it seeks to break out of its shell on its way to becoming a plant. Often the feeling is anything but pleasant. But what is most unpleasant is the not knowing what is happening. Those long periods when something inside ourselves seems to be waiting, holding its breath, unsure about what the next step should be, eventually become the periods we wait for, for it is in those periods that we realize that we are being prepared for the next phase of our life and that, in all probability, a new level of the personality is about to be revealed.

How much we each want to have sex, what kinds of people we find attractive, what pleasures bring us to orgasm, how we feel about all of it, and any other variable can shift for a number of reasons. Sooner or later, almost everyone is going to find themselves outside the statistically defined norm, at least in some way. If someone never diverged from that middle portion of any of the distribution curves, they’d be so uncommon that they would, in fact, be abnormal. The only thing that’s normal about sex is that nobody is actually normal.

starmaps:

careers to consider when I finish uni:

  • girl in 1960s Paris with winged eyeliner and a fringe who sits in cafes and bars and drinks sherry
  • WWII war nurse
  • muse for a late 19th century artist
  • archaeologist in the 30s
  • suffragette
  • background character in a Wodehouse story
  • incorporeal sense of vague dissatisfaction

hmm

oh my god all of this except perhaps the war nurse.

(via lady-yeongyang)

So called ‘late-bloomers’ get a bad rap. Sometimes the people with the greatest potential often take the longest to find their path because their sensitivity is a double edged sword- it lives at the heart of their brilliance, but it also makes them more susceptible to life’s pains. Good thing we aren’t being penalized for handing in our purpose late. The soul doesn’t know a thing about deadlines.

incidentalcomics:

The National Department of Poetry
Each year, billions of dollars are spent on our country’s vast, complex poetry system. Our goal: to promote the practice of poetry among our own people, and to share the joys of poetry with all the nations of the world. 
Posters are available at my shop.

texturism:

in effect, the cost of being who you are is that you can’t possibly meet everyone’s expectations, and so, there will inevitably, be external conflict to deal with - the friction of being visible.

still, the cost of not being who you are is that while you are busy pleasuring everyone around you, a precious part of you is dying inside; in this case, there will be internal conflict to deal with – the friction of being invisible.

- mark nepo | via mystic mama [emphasis mine]