27 THINGS I GUESS I KNOW // No 1: WOMEN SHOULD READ BOOKS FOR WOMEN, BY WOMEN

I turned 27 last week. That’s approximately 324 months old. If this were medieval times, I’d be close to death by now. Anyway rather than dwell on THAT, I decided to consider 27 life lessons I’d learned. I feel like the more I learn, the more I realise that I really don’t know that much. Which in and of itself is a cliche, so don’t even bother reading the next 27 posts on this here blog.

I warned you.

1. Women should read books for women, by women

In the past year or so I’ve found myself reading books by women for women. I know what you’re thinking: it’s sort of a mom-ish thing to do. But really, I can’t get enough of them. Womanhood is incredible, and I love reading about different women from all over the world, from differentiating backgrounds and cultures, each on a journey to maximise the potential of their creativity, intelligence and purpose. I especially love to find books that tell the story of womanhood in honest, funny, tragic ways. I’m grateful for tough women who write about hard things without losing the innate and divine attribute of compassion. I love women who write about their long and fruitful lives. I love even more the women who write about their fruitless endeavours.

In the little traveling I’ve been able to do in my [arguably] short life, I’ve been amazed to find that the language of womanhood is universal. We come from all corners of this mortal experience, occupying drastically different climates. Yet our unity comes in our distinct makeup. We are designed to lead, to inspire, to sustain nations and peoples small and vast. The most sophisticated passion and ambition is found in woman. Are we the fairer sex? There’s no such thing (slash who cares). But the most powerful? Maybe.

Some favourites:

“I’m only marginally qualified to be giving advice at all. My body mass index is certainly not ideal, I frequently use my debit card to buy things that cost less than three dollars because I never have cash on me, and my bedroom is so untidy it looks like vandals ransacked the Anthropologie Sale section. I’m kind of a mess.”

“I’m the kind of person who would rather get my hopes up really high and watch them get dashed to pieces than wisely keep my expectations at bay and hope they are exceeded. This quality has made me a needy and theatrical friend, but has given me a spectacularly dramatic emotional life.”

“I don’t think it should be socially acceptable for people to say they are “bad with names.” No one is bad with names. That is not a real thing. Not knowing people’s names isn’t a neurological condition; it’s a choice. You choose not to make learning people’s names a priority. It’s like saying, “Hey, a disclaimer about me: I’m rude.”

“It makes me cry because it means that fewer and fewer people are believing it’s cool to want what I want, which is to be married and have kids and love each other in a monogamous, long-lasting relationship.”

“Lock up your libraries if you like; but there is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind.”

“Women have served all these centuries as looking glasses possessing the magic and delicious power of reflecting the figure of man at twice its natural size.”

“Literature is strewn with the wreckage of those who have minded beyond reason the opinion of others.”

“All this pitting of sex against sex, of quality against quality; all this claiming of superiority and imputing of inferiority, belong to the private-school stage of human existence where there are ‘sides,’ and it is necessary for one side to beat another side, and of the utmost importance to walk up to a platform and receive from the hands of the Headmaster himself a highly ornamental pot.”

“Don’t waste your energy trying to educate or change opinions; go over, under, through, and opinions will change organically when you’re the boss. Or they won’t. Who cares? Do your thing, and don’t care if they like it.”

“Obviously, as an adult I realize this girl-on-girl sabotage is the third worst kind of female behavior, right behind saying “like” all the time and leaving your baby in a dumpster.”

“It can’t be said enough. Don’t concern yourself with fashion; stick to simple pieces that flatter your body type. By nineteen, I had found my look. Oversize T-shirts, bike shorts, and wrestling shoes. To prevent the silhouette from being too baggy, I would cinch it at the waist with my fanny pack. I was pretty sure I would wear this look forever. The shirts allowed me to express myself with cool sayings like “There’s No Crying in Baseball” and “Universität Heidelberg,” the bike shorts showed off my muscular legs, and the fanny pack held all my trolley tokens. I was nailing it on a daily basis. Find something like this for yourself as soon as possible.”

“I can finally see that all the terrible parts of my life, the embarrassing parts, the incidents I wanted to pretend never happened, and the things that make me “weird” and “different,” were actually the most important parts of my life. They were the parts that made me ME.”

“A friend is someone who knows where all your bodies are buried. Because they’re the ones who helped you put them there.”
And sometimes, if you’re really lucky, they help you dig them back up.”

“Hey, Grandlibby?” I asked. “What’s a ‘turn-on’?” She paled visibly, looking mildly ill. “Well,” she said…struggling for words, “it’s…um…the things that make you happy, I suppose?” I turned to my cousin. “My turn-ons are Rainbow Brite and unicorns.” Michelle smiled back, her two front teeth missing. “My turn-ons are Monchhichis. And Tubble Gum.”

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