We never really talked much or even looked at each other, but it didn't matter because we were looking at the same sky together, which is maybe even more intimate than eye contact anyway. I mean, anybody can look at you. It's quite rare to find someone who sees the same world you see.
The worst part of being truly alone is you think about all the times you wished that everyone would just leave you be. Then they do, and you are left being, and you turn out to be terrible company.
The thing about a spiral is, if you follow it inward, it never actually ends. It just keeps tightening, infinitely.
The problem with happy endings is that they're either not really happy, or not really endings, you know? In real life, some things get better and some things get worse. And then eventually you die.
You remember your first love because they show you, prove to you, that you can love and be loved, that nothing in this world is deserved except for love, that love is both how you become a person and why.
What I love about science is that as you learn, you don't really get answers. You just get better questions.
It’s a weird phrase in English, in love, like it’s a sea you drown in or a town you live in. You don’t get to be in anything else—in friendship or in anger or in hope. All you can be in is love.
One of the challenges with pain—physical or psychic—is that we can really only approach it through metaphor. It can’t be represented the way a table or a body can. In some ways pain is the opposite of language.
Spirals grow infinitely small the farther you follow them inward, but they also grow infinitely large the farther you follow them out.
Everyone wanted me to feed them that story—darkness to light, weakness to strength, broken to whole. I wanted it, too.
We always say we are beneath the stars. We aren't, of course—there is no up or down, and anyway the stars surround us. But we say we are beneath them, which is nice. So often English glorifies the human—we are whos, other animals are that—but English puts us beneath the stars, at least.
And we're such language-based creatures that to some extent we cannot know what we cannot name. And so we assume it isn't real. We refer to it with catch-all terms, like crazy or chronic pain, terms that both ostracise and minimise. The term chronic pain captures nothing of the grinding, constant, ceaseless, inescapable hurt. And the term crazy arrives at us with none of the terror and worry you live with.
I wanted to tell her that I was getting better, because that was supposed to be the narrative of illness: It was a hurdle you jumped over, or a battle you won. Illness is a story told in the past tense.
Most adults are just hollowed out. You watch them try to fill themselves up with booze or money or God or fame or whatever they worship, and it all rots them from the inside until nothing is left but the money or the booze or God they though would save them. Adults think they are wielding power, but really power is wielding them.
Every loss is unprecedented. You can’t ever know someone else’s hurt, not really—just like touching someone else's body isn’t the same as having someone else’s body.
People always talk like there's a bright line between imagination and memory, but there isn't, at least not for me. I remember what I've imagined and imagine what I remember.
It's turtles all the way fucking down, Holmesy. You're trying to find the turtle at the bottom of the pile, but that's not how it works.
It’s so weird, to know you’re crazy and not be able to do anything about it, you know? It’s not like you believe yourself to be normal. You know there is a problem. But you can’t figure a way through to fixing it. Because you can’t be sure, you know?.
She noted, more than once, that the meteor shower was happening, beyond the overcast sky, even if we could not see it. Who cares if she can kiss? She can see through the clouds.
I thought, lying there, that I might love him for the rest of my life. We did love each other—maybe we never said it, and maybe love was never something we were in, but it was something I felt. I loved him, and I thought, maybe I will never see him again, and I'll be stuck missing him, and isn't that so terrible.
And I kept thinking about how sky is a singular noun, as if it's one thing. But the sky isn't one thing. The sky is everything. And last night, it was enough.
Like, the world is billions of years old, and life is a product of nucleotide mutation and everything. But the world is also the stories we tell about it.
Look up long enough and you start to feel your infinitesimality. The difference between alive and not--that's something. But from where the stars are watching, there is almost no difference between varieties of alive, between me and the newly mown grass I'm lying on right now. We are both astonishments, the closest thing in the know universe to a miracle.
And even though I laughed with them, it felt like I was watching the whole thing from somewhere else, like I was watching a movie about my life instead of living it.
When you're on a Ferris wheel all anyone ever talks about is being on the Ferris wheel and the view from the Ferris wheel and whether the Ferris wheel is scary and how many more times it will go around. Dating is like that. Nobody who's doing it ever talks about anything else. I have no interest in dating.
You feeling scared?" "Kinda." "Of what?" "It's not like that. The sentence doesn't have, like, an object. I'm just scared.
Of course, you pretend to be the author. You have to. You think, I now choose to go to lunch, when that monotone beep rings from on high at 12:37. But really, the bell decides. You think you’re the painter, but you’re the canvas.
Him: And the thing is, when you lose someone, you realise you'll eventually lose everyone Me: True. And once you know that, you can never forget it.
We are about to live the American Dream, which is, of course, to benefit from someone else’s misfortune.
I guess at some point, you realize that whoever takes care of you is just a person, and that they have no superpowers and can't actually protect you from getting hurt.
Dr. Karen Singh liked to say that a unwanted thought was like a car driving past you when you're standing on on the side of the road, and I told myself I didn't have to get into that car, that my moment of choice was not whether to have the thought, but whether to be carried away by it. And then I got in the car.
Imagine you're trying to find someone, or even you're trying to find yourself, but you have no senses, no way to know where the walls are which way is forward or backward, what is water and what is air. You're senseless and shapeless—you feel like you can only describe what you are by identifying what you're not, and you're floating around in a body with no control. You don't get to decide who you like or where you live or when you eat or what you fear. You're just stuck in there, totally alone, in this darkness. That's scary.
We squeeze his hand. He squeezes back. You stare up at the same sky together, and after a while he says, I have to go, and you say, Good-bye, and he says Good-bye, Aza, and no one ever says good-bye unless they want to see you again.
The point of the story is they built the city anyway, you know? You work with what you have. they had this shit river, and they managed to build an okay city around it. Not a great city, maybe. But not bad. You're not the river. You're the city.
But what I want to know is, is there a you independent of circumstances? Is there a way-down-deep me who is an actual, real person, the same person if she has money or not, the same if she goes to this school or that school? Or am I only a set of circumstances? -Aza.
My father died suddenly, but also across the years. He was still dying, really - which meant I guess that he was still living, too.
My whole life I though I was the star of an overly earnest romance movie, and it turns out I was in a goddamned buddy comedy all along.
There's an Edna St. Vincent Millay poem that's been rumbling around inside me ever since I first read it, and part of it goes: 'Blown from the dark hill hither to my door/ Three flakes, then four/ Arrive, then many more.' You can count the first three flakes, and the fourth. Then language fails, and you have to settle in and try to survive the blizzard.
It's turtles all the way fucking down, Holmesy. You're trying to find the turtle at the bottom of the pile, but that's not how it works." "Because it's turtles all the way down," I said again, feeling something akin to a spiritual revelation.
There's an expression in classical music. It goes, 'We went out to the meadow.' It's for those evenings that can only be described in that way: There were no walls, there were no music stands, there weren't even any instruments. There was no ceiling, there was no floor, we all went out to the meadow. It describes a feeling. (Tom Waits quote).
Sometimes I wondered why she liked me, or at least tolerated me. Why any of them did. Even I found myself annoying.
The whole problem with boys is that ninety-nine percent of them are, like, okay. If you could dress and hygiene them properly, and make them stand up straight and listen to you and not be dumbasses, they'd be totally acceptable.