It is likely that, if you’re here, you have turned to stories and poetry for comfort during dark times (or any times). Mental Health Day is around the corner and, while you may already have your go-to validation lit, I’m going to go ahead and share some of my literary chicken broth. I will confess that every fiber of my will power was involved in keeping me from sticking exclusively to Maya Angelou quotes, because that woman’s wisdom could bring me back from the dead on my worst days. So, in addition to two of my favorite tía Maya quotes, I invite you to take in some of these hot-tea-and-a-thick-quilt thoughts and put them in your pocket for the next time you’ve lost faith in humanity or find yourself at a dodgy dead end. I give you no snark as of this point, only vulnerability because I believe in safe spaces.
- “Maybe the hardest part of my life is having the courage to try.” —Rachel Hollis, Party Girl
2. “I respect myself and insist upon it from everybody. And because I do it, I then respect everybody too.” —Maya Angelou
3. “You can’t write a script in your mind and then force yourself to follow it. You have to let yourself be.” —Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Half of a Yellow Sun
4. “Make new mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.” —Neil Gaiman
5. “I think Destiny’s purpose is merely to shock us at moments into a state of awareness; those moments are milestones in between which we have to find our own way.” —Attia Hosain, Sunlight on a Broken Column
6. “We all have an unsuspected reserve of strength inside that emerges when life puts us to the test.” —Isabel Allende
7. “She uttered a quick prayer for him. Let him find balance and moderation in all things; let him listen to himself and not the noise of others.” —Balli Kaur Jaswal, Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows
8. “I know for sure that love saves me and that it is here to save us all.” —Maya Angelou
9. “Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times if only one remembers to turn on the light.” -Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Mental health is often about being seen, and seeing is one of the often unspoken powers of stories. Sure, we hear of readers opening a novel, bumping into a character, and saying “hey, that’s me!” But we seldom hear of that wise Grandma Literature who sits us down wherever we are in life, holds our attention, and says “See? That’s you. You’re not alone.” You’ve heard me say this before, so I’m going to say it again: Abuela has the answers.