146+ Best Cheryl Strayed Quotes: Exclusive Selection

Cheryl Strayed is an American memoirist, novelist, essayist and podcast host. The author of four books, her award-winning writing has been published widely in anthologies and major magazines. Profoundly inspirational Cheryl Strayed quotes will challenge the way you think, and help guide you through any life experience.

If you’re searching for quotes from great authors that perfectly capture what you’d like to say or just want to feel inspired yourself, browse through an amazing collection of quotes from Dale Carnegie, powerful Earl Nightingale quotes and famous Edward Abbey quotes.

Famous Cheryl Strayed Quotes

My concept of an advice giver had been a therapist or a know-it-all, and then I realized nobody listens to the know-it-alls. You turn to the people you know, the friend who has been in the thick of it or messed up – and I’m that person for sure. – Cheryl Strayed

A lot of people go off and have fun adventures, or hard adventures, and their impulse is to write about them right away. What really makes a difference is having some perspective on what happened. – Cheryl Strayed

You will learn a lot about yourself if you stretch in the direction of goodness, of bigness, of kindness, of forgiveness, of emotional bravery. Be a warrior for love. – Cheryl Strayed

Nobody’s going to do your life for you. You have to do it yourself, whether you’re rich or poor, out of money or raking it in, the beneficiary of ridiculous fortune or terrible injustice. And you have to do it no matter what is true. No matter what is hard. No matter what unjust, sad, sucky things befall you. Self-pity is a dead-end road. You make the choice to drive down it. It’s up to you to decide to stay parked there or to turn around and drive out. – Cheryl Strayed

If, as a culture, we don’t bear witness to grief, the burden of loss is placed entirely upon the bereaved, while the rest of us avert our eyes and wait for those in mourning to stop being sad, to let go, to move on, to cheer up. And if they don’t — if they have loved too deeply, if they do wake each morning thinking, I cannot continue to live — well, then we pathologize their pain; we call their suffering a disease. We do not help them: we tell them that they need to get help. – Cheryl Strayed

That my complicated life could be made so simple was astounding. – Cheryl Strayed

The father’s job is to teach his children how to be warriors, to give them the confidence to get on the horse to ride into battle when it’s necessary to do so. If you don’t get that from your father, you have to teach yourself. – Cheryl Strayed

There’s no way to know what makes one thing happen and not another. What leads to what. What destroys what. What causes what to flourish or die or take another course. – Cheryl Strayed

The place of true healing is a fierce place. It’s a giant place. it’s a place of monstrous beauty and endless dark and glimmering light. – Cheryl Strayed

I didn’t feel sad or happy. I didn’t feel proud or ashamed. I only felt that in spite of all the things I’d done wrong, in getting myself here, I’d done right. – Cheryl Strayed

You have to pay your own electric bill. You have to be kind. You have to give it all you got. You have to find people who love you truly and love them back with the same truth. But that’s all. – Cheryl Strayed

Let yourself be gutted. Let it open you. Start here. – Cheryl Strayed

I had diverged, digressed, wandered, and become wild. I didn’t embrace the word as my new name because it defined negative aspects of my circumstances or life, but because even in my darkest days—those very days in which I was naming myself—I saw the power of the darkness. Saw that, in fact, I had strayed and that I was a stray and that from the wild places my straying had brought me, I knew things I couldn’t have known before. – Cheryl Strayed

In my perception, the world wasn’t a graph or formula or an equation. It was a story. – Cheryl Strayed

The most important thing for aspiring writers is for them to give themselves permission to be brave on the page, to write in the presence of fear, to go to those places that you think you can’t write – really that’s exactly what you need to write. – Cheryl Strayed

I had problems a therapist couldn’t solve; grief that no man in a room could ameliorate. – Cheryl Strayed

Don’t do what you know on a gut level to be the wrong thing to do I don’t think there’s a single dumbass thing I’ve done in my adult life that I didn’t know was a dumbass thing to do while I was doing it. Even when I justified it to myself—as I did every damn time—the truest part of me knew I was doing the wrong thing. Always. As the years pass, I’m learning how to better trust my gut and not do the wrong thing, but every so often I get a harsh reminder that I’ve still got work to do. – Cheryl Strayed

What if what made me do all those things everyone thought I shouldn’t have done was what also had got me here? What if I was never redeemed? What if I already was? – Cheryl Strayed

I set my toothbrush down, then leaned into the mirror and stared into my own eyes. I could feel myself disintegrating inside myself like a past-bloom flower in the wind. Every time I moved a muscle, another petal of me blew away. Please, I thought. Please. – Cheryl Strayed

I’d walk and think about my entire life. I’d find my strength again, far from everything that had made my life ridiculous. – Cheryl Strayed

I asked, often out loud: Who is tougher than me? The answer was always the same, and even when I knew absolutely there was no way on this earth that it was true, I said it anyway: No one. – Cheryl Strayed

Alone had always felt like an actual place to me, as if it weren’t a state of being, but rather a room where I could retreat to be who I really was. – Cheryl Strayed

The only way I’ve been able to stay informed without letting fury rule my life is to channel my rage into something that ultimately feels like love to me. The place I do that the best is in my writing. That’s where I feel like I can tap into the power of story and maybe bring something good into the world. – Cheryl Strayed

So release yourself from that. Don’t be strategic or coy. Strategic and coy are for jackasses. Be brave. Be authentic. Practice saying the word ‘love’ to the people you love so when it matters the most to say it, you will. – Cheryl Strayed

Fear begets fear. Power begets power. I willed myself to beget power. And it wasn’t long before I actually wasn’t afraid. – Cheryl Strayed

I can’t say when you’ll get love or how you’ll find it or even promise you that you will. I can only say you are worthy of it and that it’s never too much to ask for it and that it’s not crazy to fear you’ll never have it again, even though your fears are probably wrong. Love is our essential nutrient. Without it, life has little meaning. It’s the best thing we have to give and the most valuable thing we receive. It’s worthy of all the hullabaloo. – Cheryl Strayed

My whole life sort of ended when my mom died. – Cheryl Strayed

But if I could go back in time, I wouldn’t do a single thing differently. What if all those things I did were the things that got me here? – Cheryl Strayed

Don’t worry. Don’t apologize. Don’t cower behind the defeated security of there is no ‘room for someone like me’. There isn’t room for any one of us. It’s up to you to make a place for yourself in the world. So, get to work. – Cheryl Strayed

I walked all those miles; I learned all those lessons. It’s as if my new life was the gift I got at the end of a long struggle. – Cheryl Strayed

Real love moves freely in both directions. Don’t waste your time on anything else. – Cheryl Strayed

Uncertain as I was as I pushed forward. I felt right in my pushing, as if the effort itself meant something. – Cheryl Strayed

If there’s one thing I believe more than I believe anything else, it’s that you can’t fake the core. The truth that lives there will eventually win out. It’s a god we must obey, a force that brings us all inevitably to our knees. – Cheryl Strayed

I was a pebble. I was a leaf. I was the jagged branch of a tree. I was nothing to them and they were everything to me. – Cheryl Strayed

You have to surrender to your mediocrity, and just write. Because it’s hard, really hard, to write even a crappy book. But it’s better to write a book that kind of sucks rather than no book at all, as you wait around to magically become Faulkner. No one is going to write your book for you and you can’t write anybody’s book but your own. – Cheryl Strayed

How wild it was, to let it be. – Cheryl Strayed

You get to define the terms of your life. – Cheryl Strayed

Until we as a gender refuse to wear any shoe that would be uncomfortable to walk a mile in, we’re perfectly screwed. – Cheryl Strayed

It was my life — like all lives, mysterious and irrevocable and sacred. So very close, so very present, so very belonging to me. How wild it was, to let it be. – Cheryl Strayed

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. – Cheryl Strayed

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. – Cheryl Strayed

You don’t have a right to the cards you believe you should have been dealt with. You have an obligation to play the hell out of the ones you’re holding and my dear one, you and I have been granted a mighty generous one. – Cheryl Strayed

The wanting was a wilderness and I had to find my own way out of the woods. – Cheryl Strayed

Blood is thicker than water, my mother had always said when I was growing up, a sentiment I’d often disputed. But it turned out that it didn’t matter whether she was right or wrong. They both flowed out of my cupped palms. – Cheryl Strayed

The healing power of even the most microscopic exchange with someone who knows in a flash precisely what you’re talking about because she experienced that thing too cannot be overestimated. – Cheryl Strayed

People do support themselves as artists and writers, so there’s no need to be all doom and gloom about it. You just have to push forward. You have to follow your vision and hope for the best. You have to write for love. – Cheryl Strayed

Each evening, I ached for the shelter of my tent, for the smallest sense that something was shielding me from the entire rest of the world, keeping me safe not from danger, but from vastness itself. I loved the dim, clammy dark of my tent, the cozy familiarity of the way I arranged my few belongings all around me each night. – Cheryl Strayed

Writing is hard for every last one of us—straight white men included. Coal mining is harder. Do you think miners stand around all day talking about how hard it is to mine for coal? They do not. They simply dig. – Cheryl Strayed

Your life will be a great and continuous unfolding – Cheryl Strayed

Trusting yourself means living out what you already know to be true. – Cheryl Strayed

Don’t surrender all your joy for an idea you used to have about yourself that isn’t true anymore. – Cheryl Strayed

Whatever happens to you belongs to you. Make it yours. Feed it to yourself even if it feels impossible to swallow. Let it nurture you, because it will. – Cheryl Strayed

And every last one of us can do better than give up. – Cheryl Strayed

I knew that if I allowed fear to overtake me, my journey was doomed. Fear, to a great extent, is born of a story we tell ourselves, and so I chose to tell myself a different story from the one women are told. I decided I was safe. I was strong. I was brave. Nothing could vanquish me. – Cheryl Strayed

Nobody will protect you from your suffering. You can’t cry it away or eat it away or starve it away or walk it away or punch it away or even therapy it away. It’s just there, and you have to survive it. You have to endure it. You have to live through it and love it and move on and be better for it and run as far as you can in the direction of your best and happiest dreams across the bridge that was built by your own desire to heal. – Cheryl Strayed

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. – Cheryl Strayed

Run as far as you can in the direction of your best and happiest dreams across the bridge that was built by your own desire to heal. – Cheryl Strayed

If someone is being unkind or petty or jealous or distant or weird, you don’t have to take it in. You don’t have to turn it into a big psychodrama about your worth. That behavior so often is not even about you. Don’t own other people’s crap. – Cheryl Strayed

The story of human intimacy is one of constantly allowing ourselves to see those we love most deeply in a new, more fractured light. Look hard. Risk that. – Cheryl Strayed

Love is our essential nutrient. Without it, life has little meaning. It’s the best thing we have to give and the most valuable thing we receive. It’s worthy of all the hullabaloo. – Cheryl Strayed

I’ll never know, and neither will you of the life you don’t choose. We’ll only know that whatever that sister life was, it was important and beautiful and not ours. It was the ghost ship that didn’t carry us. There’s nothing to do but salute it from the shore. – Cheryl Strayed

You don’t have to get a job that makes others feel comfortable about what they perceive as your success. You don’t have to explain what your plan to do with your life. You don’t have to justify your education by demonstrating its financial rewards. You don’t have to maintain an impeccable credit score. Anyone who expects you to do any of those things has no sense of history of economics or science or the arts. – Cheryl Strayed

A lot of artists give up because it’s just too damn hard to go on making art in a culture that by and large does not support its artists. But the people who don’t give up are the people who find a way to believe in abundance rather than scarcity. They’ve taken into their hearts the idea that there is enough for all of us, that success will manifest itself in different ways for different sorts of artists, that keeping the faith is more important than cashing the check, that being genuinely happy for someone else who got something you hope to get makes you genuinely happier too. – Cheryl Strayed

I’d finally come to understand what it had been: a yearning for a way out, when actually what I had wanted to find was a way in. – Cheryl Strayed

You have to say I am forgiven again and again until it becomes the story you believe about yourself. – Cheryl Strayed

So much of what I’ve learned, so much of what’s good in my life, was learned because something bad happened, or from making the wrong decision. Through bad decisions I learned how to find the ways to make the right ones. – Cheryl Strayed

The people who don’t give up are the people who find a way to believe in abundance rather than scarcity. – Cheryl Strayed

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. – Cheryl Strayed

Be about ten times more magnanimous than you believe yourself capable of. Your life will be a hundred times better for it. – Cheryl Strayed

No’ is golden. ‘No’ is the kind of power the good witch wields. It’s the way whole, healthy, emotionally evolved people manage to have relationships with jackasses while limiting the amount of jackass in their lives. – Cheryl Strayed

Self-pity is a dead-end road. You make the choice to drive down it. It’s up to you to decide to stay parked there or to turn around and drive out. – Cheryl Strayed

Fear, to a great extent, is born of a story we tell ourselves. – Cheryl Strayed

My mother’s death put me in touch with my most savage self. As I’ve grown up and come to terms with her death and accepted it, the pieces of her that I keep don’t exist materially. – Cheryl Strayed

Writing is part intuition and part trial and error, but mostly it’s very hard work. – Cheryl Strayed

Once I was in a cafe in Portland and the woman at the next table and I began chatting and in the course of our conversation she strongly recommend I visit this web site called ‘The Rumpus’ so I could read this advice column called ‘Dear Sugar.’ It was so painful not to tell her that in fact I was Sugar, but I didn’t. – Cheryl Strayed

One thing any backpacker will tell you is that it’s tedious and monotonous. You’re bored sometimes, so you really have to make the fun in your head. – Cheryl Strayed

I am, as they say, the classic starving artist. – Cheryl Strayed

I had to go on without my mother, even though I was suffering terribly, grieving her. – Cheryl Strayed

I taught workshops at universities. I wrote for magazines. This took time and insane amounts of juggling, but it’s how I earned a living. – Cheryl Strayed

I’ve learned so much as both a writer and a human. – Cheryl Strayed

My mother saved hundreds of animals in her life. Wherever she encountered and injured or needy or abandoned animal, she brought it home. – Cheryl Strayed

You have to keep walking, no matter what. If you don’t, it’s a living death. You’re just standing in one place dying. – Cheryl Strayed

Obviously, memoir is subjective truth: It is my memory, my perspective, that’s the beauty. But I still wanted to be as factual as I could. – Cheryl Strayed

If you want to read anything nasty about me, just go to the backpacker websites. There’s this kind of elitist branch where they really believe that I had no business going backpacking. – Cheryl Strayed

When someone you love truly dies, you have to find them over and over again in the world, and I think you do that on a very psychic, unconscious level, and I think in some ways I was calling out to that spirit of my mother when I saw the fox. It doesn’t surprise me it’s in animals that I find my mother. – Cheryl Strayed

I think being a woman alone enhanced the impulse in others to be generous. What we’re told is that to be a woman alone is to be in a dangerous situation. The message is that people are gong to prey on you and do bad things to you. That may be true in some cases, but what I experienced was the other case. – Cheryl Strayed

Music. I could not go without that. My mind would not let me be without music. I hiked the trail in 1995 – before there were iPods or music on our cell phones or even cell phones. So I was truly out there with just my thoughts. After a few days there was a continuous loop of songs playing silently in my mind. – Cheryl Strayed

It’s funny, it never occurred to me that a movie star would play me. But now that she [Reese Witherspoon] is playing me, it’s like, of course, it couldn’t be anyone else! I don’t know if you’ve seen pictures of Reese and me and Reese and my daughter Bobbi, who’s named after my mother, and also plays me. There’s a kind of resemblance. – Cheryl Strayed

I actually don’t have any fear of people reading Wild and going out unprepared. Because one of the best things that ever happened to me was that I went out unprepared. And when you really think about it, all I did wrong was that I took too much stuff, which is the most common backpacker mistake. The part that I wasn’t prepared for is the part you can’t prepare for. – Cheryl Strayed

The complicated thing about friends is that sometimes they are totally wrong about us and sometimes they are totally right and it’s almost always only in retrospect that we know which is which. – Cheryl Strayed

My mom said there’s a sunrise and a sunset every day and you can choose to be there or not. You can put yourself in the way of beauty. – Cheryl Strayed

What if I was never redeemed? What if I already was? – Cheryl Strayed

I could go back in the direction I had come from, or I could go forward in the direction I intended to go. – Cheryl Strayed

There is a path toward the light. The one that goes blink, blink, blink inside your chest when you know what you’re doing is right. Listen to it. Trust it. Let it make you stronger than you are. – Cheryl Strayed

And if you’re gonna be a writer, you just truly have to be a writer. You have to throw yourself into it and deal with the negative consequences of that. And there are negative consequences. I mean, there are. But, it’s also true that you wouldn’t be interviewing me right now if I had worked at the post office. You wouldn’t. I would be still writing, but I wouldn’t have gotten as far as I’ve gotten, because I wouldn’t have had the time. – Cheryl Strayed

Jump high and hard with intention and heart. – Cheryl Strayed

We are all at risk of something. Of ending up exactly where we began, of failing to imagine and find and know and actualize who we could be. The only difference is the distance of the leap. – Cheryl Strayed

Every time I set foot on that trail, I feel grateful for the PCTA for doing the work it does to protect and preserve it – Cheryl Strayed

When I woke the next morning in my room at White’s Motel, I showered and stood naked in front of the mirror, watching myself solemnly brush my teeth. I tried to feel something like excitement but came up only with a morose unease. Every now and then I could see myself-truly see myself-and a sentence would come to me, thundering like a god into my head, and as I saw myself then in front of that tarnished mirror what came was ‘the woman with the hole in her heart’. That was me. – Cheryl Strayed

It’s hard to go. It’s scary and lonely…and half the time you’ll be wondering why the hell you’re in Cincinnati or Austin or North Dakota or Mongolia or wherever your melodious little finger-plucking heinie takes you. There will be boondoggles and discombobulated days, freaked-out nights and metaphorical flat tires. But it will be soul-smashingly beautiful… It will open up your life. – Cheryl Strayed

We love and care for oodles of people, but only a few of them, if they died, would make us believe we could not continue to live. Imagine if there were a boat upon which you could put only four people, and everyone else known and beloved to you would then cease to exist. Who would you put on that boat? It would be painful, but how quickly you would decide: You and you and you and you, get in. The rest of you, goodbye. – Cheryl Strayed

He was the most ordinary man in all the world, and yet in her memory he’d become luminous, like the prince in a fairy tale. – Cheryl Strayed

But compassion isn’t about solutions. It’s about giving all the love that you’ve got. – Cheryl Strayed

She tried to think of what to say to make it all better again, or at least the way it was before she’d made her confession, though she didn’t regret having confessed. Perhaps that was what had been wrong with her all along. Now that the lie wasn’t between them anymore, maybe she could love him again. – Cheryl Strayed

Their leaving made me melancholy, though I also felt something like relief when they disappeared into the dark trees. I hadn’t needed to get anything from my pack; I’d only wanted to be alone. Alone had always felt like an actual place to me, as if it weren’t a state of being, but rather a room where I could retreat to be who I really was. – Cheryl Strayed

It’s a long life, sweetheart, and time heals all wounds. – Cheryl Strayed

Wanting to leave is enough. – Cheryl Strayed

The universe, I’d learned, was never, ever kidding. It would take whatever it wanted, and it would never give it back. – Cheryl Strayed

Art isn’t anecdote. It’s the consciousness we bring to bear in our lives. – Cheryl Strayed

I was amazed that what I needed to survive could be carried on my back. And, most surprising of all, that I could carry it. – Cheryl Strayed

Healing is a small and ordinary and very burnt thing. And it’s one thing and one thing only: it’s doing what you have to do. – Cheryl Strayed

Work hard. Do good. Be incredible! – Cheryl Strayed

Small things such as this have saved me: how much I love my mother—even after all these years. How powerfully I carry her within me. My grief is tremendous, but my love is bigger. So is yours. You are not grieving your son’s death because his death was ugly and unfair. You’re grieving it because you loved him truly. The beauty in that is greater than the bitterness of his death. – Cheryl Strayed

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. – Cheryl Strayed

But the reality is we often become our kindest, most ethical selves only by seeing what it feels like to be a selfish jackass first. – Cheryl Strayed

“Wounded?” was all I could manage. “Yes,” said Pat. “And you’re wounded in the same place. That’s what fathers do if they don’t heal their wounds. They wound their children in the same place. – Cheryl Strayed

The amount that she loved us was beyond her reach. It could not be quantified or contained. It was the ten thousand named things in the Tao Te Ching’s universe and then ten thousand more. Her love was full-throated and all-encompassing and unadorned. Every day she blew through her entire reserve. – Cheryl Strayed

The narratives we create in order to justify our actions and choices become in so many ways who we are. They are the things we say back to ourselves to explain our complicated lives. Perhaps the reason you’ve not yet been able to forgive yourself is that you’re still invested in your self-loathing. Perhaps not forgiving yourself is the flip side of your stealing-this-now cycle. Would you be a better or worse person if you forgave yourself for the bad things you did? If you perpetually condemn yourself for being a liar and a thief, does that make you good? – Cheryl Strayed

There are so many things to be tortured about, sweet pea. So many torturous things in this life. Don’t let the man who doesn’t love you be one of them. – Cheryl Strayed

My mother’s last word to me clanks inside me like an iron bell that someone beats at dinnertime: love, love, love, love, love. – Cheryl Strayed

Forgiveness doesn’t sit there like a pretty boy in a bar. Forgiveness is the old fat guy you have to haul up a hill. – Cheryl Strayed

He kissed me hard and I kissed him back harder, like it was the end of an era that had lasted all of my life. – Cheryl Strayed

I was a terrible believer in things, but I was also a terrible nonbeliever in things. I was as searching as I was skeptical. I didn’t know where to put my faith, or if there was such a place, or even what the word faith meant, in all of it’s complexity. Everything seemed to be possibly potent and possibly fake. – Cheryl Strayed

I made it the mantra of those days; when I paused before yet another series of switchbacks or skidded down knee-jarring slopes, when patches of flesh peeled off my feet along with my socks, when I lay alone and lonely in my tent at night I asked, often out loud: Who is tougher than me? The answer was always the same, and even when I knew absolutely there was no way on this earth that it was true, I said it anyway: No one. – Cheryl Strayed

In your twenties you’re becoming who you’re going to be and so you might as well not be an asshole. – Cheryl Strayed

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. – Cheryl Strayed

I receive a lot of letters like yours. Most go on in length, describing all sorts of maddening situations and communications in bewildered detail, but in each there is the same question at its core: Can I convince the person about whom I am crazy to be crazy about me? The short answer is no. The long answer is no. – Cheryl Strayed

He hadn’t loved me well in the end, but he’d loved me well when it mattered. – Cheryl Strayed

Hiking the PCT was the maddening effort of knitting that sweater and unraveling it over and over again. As if everything gained was inevitably lost – Cheryl Strayed

It isn’t enough to have had an interesting or hilarious or tragic life. Art isn’t anecdote. It’s the consciousness we bring to bear on our lives. For what happened in the story to transcend the limits of the personal, it must be driven by the engine of what the story means. – Cheryl Strayed

Can I convince the person about whom I’m crazy to be crazy about me? The short answer is no. The long answer is no. – Cheryl Strayed

We are savages insides. We all want to be the chosen, the beloved, the esteemed. There isn’t a person reading this who hasn’t at one point, or another had that why not me? voice pop into the interior mix when something good has happened to someone else. – Cheryl Strayed

When going on a date with someone they met online, the number-one fear that straight women have is going on a date with a serial killer. The number-one fear straight men have is going on a date with a fat woman. That says everything. – Cheryl Strayed

There isn’t a thing to eat down there in the rabbit hole of your bitterness except your own desperate heart. – Cheryl Strayed

Because when an artist has to assert that her intended audience is all humans rather than those who happen to be of her particular gender or race, what she’s actually having to assert is the breadth and depth of her own humanity. – Cheryl Strayed

Men’s stories are seen as universal, women’s as particular. What women are up against is the battle to not be marginalized. – Cheryl Strayed

I hope when people ask what you’re going to do with your English degree and/or creative writing degree you’ll say: Continue my bookish examination of the contradictions and complexities of human motivation and desire; or maybe just: Carry it with me, as I do everything that matters. And then smile very serenely until they say, Oh. – Cheryl Strayed

Acceptance is a small quiet room. – Cheryl Strayed

I remember being absolutely rocked to my core by how profoundly I could love another human being. – Cheryl Strayed

The only way out of a hole is to climb out. – Cheryl Strayed

Going down (descending), I realized, was like taking hold of the loose strand of yard on a sweater you’d just spent hours knitting and pulling it until the entire sweater unraveled into a pile of string. Hiking the PCT was the maddening effort of knitting that sweater and unraveling it over and over again. As if everything gained was inevitably lost. – Cheryl Strayed

Be brave enough to break your own heart. – Cheryl Strayed

I was trying to find a new home in the world. – Cheryl Strayed

I felt something growing in me that was strong and real. – Cheryl Strayed

Of course, you want someone special to love you. A majority of the people who write to me inquire about how they can get the same thing… Unique as every letter is, the point each writer reaches is the same: I want love and I’m afraid I’ll never get it. It’s hard to answer those letters because I’m an advice columnist, not a fortune-teller. I have words instead of a crystal ball. I can’t say when you’ll get love or how you’ll find it or even promise that you will. I can only say you are worthy of it and that it’s never too much to ask for it. – Cheryl Strayed

The obliterated place is equal parts destruction and creation. The obliterated place is pitch black and bright light. It is water and parched earth. It is mud and it is manna. The real work of deep grief is making a home there. – Cheryl Strayed

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