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1.17.2012

i read this and sobbed--the kind of good, big, open tears that unfurl the chest.

so if you read only one thing today, let it be this--
please, God, let it be this:

{i'm posting it in full here, but please, take note: THESE WORDS ARE NOT MINE. the original can be found here}.





Dear Sugar,
I read your column religiously. I’m 22. From what I can tell by your writing, you’re in your early 40s. My question is short and sweet: what would you tell your 20-something self if you could talk to her now?
Love,
Seeking Wisdom

Dear Seeking Wisdom,

Stop worrying about whether you’re fat. You’re not fat. Or rather, you’re sometimes a little bit fat, but who gives a shit? There is nothing more boring and fruitless than a woman lamenting the fact that her stomach is round. Feed yourself. Literally. The sort of people worthy of your love will love you more for this, sweet pea.

In the middle of the night in the middle of your twenties when your best woman friend crawls naked into your bed, straddles you, and says, You should run away from me before I devour you, believe her.

You are not a terrible person for wanting to break up with someone you love. You don’t need a reason to leave. Wanting to leave is enough. Leaving doesn’t mean you’re incapable of real love or that you’ll never love anyone else again. It doesn’t mean you’re morally bankrupt or psychologically demented or a nymphomaniac. It means you wish to change the terms of one particular relationship. That’s all. Be brave enough to break your own heart.




When that really sweet but fucked up gay couple invites you over to their cool apartment to do ecstasy with them, say no.

There are some things you can’t understand yet. Your life will be a great and continuous unfolding. It’s good you’ve worked hard to resolve childhood issues while in your twenties, but understand that what you resolve will need to be resolved again. And again. You will come to know things that can only be known with the wisdom of age and the grace of years. Most of those things will have to do with forgiveness.

One evening you will be rolling around on the wooden floor of your apartment with a man who will tell you he doesn’t have a condom. You will smile in this spunky way that you think is hot and tell him to fuck you anyway. This will be a mistake for which you alone will pay.

Don’t lament so much about how your career is going to turn out. You don’t have a career. You have a life. Do the work. Keep the faith. Be true blue. You are a writer because you write. Keep writing and quit your bitching. Your book has a birthday. You don’t know what it is yet.

You cannot convince people to love you. This is an absolute rule. No one will ever give you love because you want him or her to give it. Real love moves freely in both directions. Don’t waste your time on anything else.

Most things will be okay eventually, but not everything will be. Sometimes you’ll put up a good fight and lose. Sometimes you’ll hold on really hard and realize there is no choice but to let go. Acceptance is a small, quiet room.

One hot afternoon during the era in which you’ve gotten yourself ridiculously tangled up with heroin you will be riding the bus and thinking what a worthless piece of crap you are when a little girl will get on the bus holding the strings of two purple balloons. She’ll offer you one of the balloons, but you won’t take it because you believe you no longer have a right to such tiny beautiful things. You’re wrong. You do.

Your assumptions about the lives of others are in direct relation to your naïve pomposity. Many people you believe to be rich are not rich. Many people you think have it easy worked hard for what they got. Many people who seem to be gliding right along have suffered and are suffering. Many people who appear to you to be old and stupidly saddled down with kids and cars and houses were once every bit as hip and pompous as you.

When you meet a man in the doorway of a Mexican restaurant who later kisses you while explaining that this kiss doesn’t “mean anything” because, much as he likes you, he is not interested in having a relationship with you or anyone right now, just laugh and kiss him back. Your daughter will have his sense of humor. Your son will have his eyes.

The useless days will add up to something. The shitty waitressing jobs. The hours writing in your journal. The long meandering walks. The hours reading poetry and story collections and novels and dead people’s diaries and wondering about sex and God and whether you should shave under your arms or not. These things are your becoming.

One Christmas at the very beginning of your twenties when your mother gives you a warm coat that she saved for months to buy, don’t look at her skeptically after she tells you she thought the coat was perfect for you. Don’t hold it up and say it’s longer than you like your coats to be and too puffy and possibly even too warm. Your mother will be dead by spring. That coat will be the last gift she gave you. You will regret the small thing you didn’t say for the rest of your life.

Say thank you.

Yours,
Sugar



you don't have a career. you have a life.
acceptance is a small, quiet room. 
what you resolve will need to be resolved again. 

the kiss in doorway--that's where i began to really lose it. from there it was all downhill. or up, maybe. this piece will be bookmarked in my tab bar till the end of time.

44 comments:

Vera Elisabeth said...

beautiful. and wise. it's good to hear this. good to know this.

debbiecutieface.com said...

maybe someday I'll write myself a letter like this.

French Lover said...

amazing. thank you so much for sharing. merci merci merci.

Elizabeth said...

Your daughter will have his sense of humor. Your son will have his eyes.

Perfect, just perfect.

God, I'm jealous of her writing. Thanks for sharing the morning chills.

Maria said...

Goodness gracious this is beautiful. It's so good to hear something like this, especially so early in the morning. Thanks for sharing.

Katie said...

Oh dear. I shouldn't have read this at work, I'm crying too.

Too beautiful.

kate said...

"These things are your becoming."

Ramona said...

"Be brave enough to break your own heart". I guess that is what I just did...

The Magnificent Lou said...

I lost it where you lost it, too, in a coffee shop no less. It's so familiar it hurts. The paragraph after the kiss in the Mexican restaurant - that's me too, wandering aimlessly and with so much direction at the same time.

Thank you so much for posting this. So good.

m(elanie) said...

I want to cry, really. Except I already cried publicly in this coffee shop once last week.

This is beautiful. Thanks for sharing little lovely.

Jessica said...

The last part about the mother is where my emotion started to set in.
This made me feel sad.

RetreatingAndAdvancing said...

"When you meet a man in the doorway of a Mexican restaurant who later kisses you while explaining that this kiss doesn’t “mean anything” because, much as he likes you, he is not interested in having a relationship with you or anyone right now, just laugh and kiss him back. Your daughter will have his sense of humor. Your son will have his eyes."

I loved this part. Thanks for showing!

Alexa said...

The kiss in the doorway, the becoming, the mother...ahhh my word. Thanks so much for this. I needed, needed, needed to read this.

Little Tree Vintage said...

god, i loved this. thank you for sharing.

Mish Lovin' Life said...

Loved this. So glad you came across it to share. I think I shall do the same now.

jordan said...

Thank you so much for sharing this. I may have to share it as well.

Mary said...

Oh my gosh this is wonderful!

megan said...

Yep, I needed this. Thanks.

Krysta said...

This was one of my favorite columns of Sugars. Nearly every one of her weekly responses offers something important but this one in particular is special.

Thanks for posting!

nelson said...

I died.

Maria said...

oh wow, wow, wow- so many words of wisdom here. She had me at-

"There is nothing more boring and fruitless than a woman lamenting the fact that her stomach is round. Feed yourself. Literally. The sort of people worthy of your love will love you more for this, sweet pea."

southerngirltravels said...

Amazing! Thank you for sharing. There are just somedays that you need a little kick and this was one of them. Even if this letter was meant for someone else it some how applies to me.

Madeline said...

i love love love this. just what this 20-something needed to hear.

Alex said...

Oh gosh. Wow.
I lost it at the kiss in the doorway, too. And the Last paragraph? My face is a river.

Sarah said...

Thank you for sharing this find. I bawled and sobbed and pondered. Beautiful and just what I needed this week.

Kim Bryant said...

I'm sharing this with as many people as possible. Thank you for sharing with me. "Be brave enough to break your own heart." I needed that paragraph-beautiful!

MandyJean said...

This is so beautiful. Encouraging. Convicting. I love it.

becky said...

Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, YES.

What a treasure to find.

Toni said...

Perhaps the most wise thing Iv'e read in some time.

Ana Magdalena said...

my 22 year old self thanks you for sharing this.

www.therecordologist.blogspot.com

Anna said...

thank you, meg. for sharing this. thank you.

Anonymous said...

Thank you. Just what I needed to hear. Truly. You are wonderful.

Mrs MacKenzie said...

i love this.

thanks for sharing.

ritika said...

is that you who wrote that question? it so sounds like you... and it's beautiful. much thanks for sharing.

meg fee said...

ritika: nope, not me. i'm far too old to pass myself off as 22!

Erin said...

Lost it at the balloon on the bus. This was beautiful, thanks for passing it along.

k8te said...

wow, beautiful. crying over here...the coat really got to me.

Kate said...

That was absolutely wonderful.

Unpublished Life said...

Hi Meg,

I just stumbled on this post from another blog. Great blog. And what a wonderful letter. So true. For me, as an aspiring writer, I love the part where she says your book has a birthday, you just don't know when it is.

Beautiful.

I am now a follower ...

http://unpublishedworksofme.blogspot.com/

nicole addison said...

the kiss in the doorway!! i lost it!

SofiaLoves said...

Yep. Just like you and many others, I lost it at "the kiss at the doorway". Man what great advice. Beautiful words. Thank you for sharing!

Juliette said...

Oh my.. :(

Do you mind if i pass it along on my blog?

Thanks for your insiration Meg

Hello Sundae said...

I just bookmarked this post to come back to over and over. Thank you for sharing this, I really needed these words right now.

alliespence. said...

incredible, beautiful post. thank you for sharing!

you always find the best things :)

allie
http://alliespence.blogspot.com