I’ve been collecting quotes for most of my life. I collect quotes wildly and frantically. I read with a pen in my hand, because if there’s one on the page, I need it to capture it. (Need.)
I’ve been writing them on the insides of book covers, on 3×5 notecards, on the pages of my journals, in the margins of love letters. I’ve stopped just short of writing them on my body or on the wall of a bathroom stall, but that’s only because I can’t decide on the font for my body and I don’t have a pen with me in the bathroom.
The first quote I remember loving are the words of Eleanor Roosevelt: “Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent.” I read her words when I was probably eleven, and I found the power to be who I would become. That’s somehow all it took. That, and a lot of trial and error and good parenting and great books.
I love this one that’s more than two hundred years old: “If I could not have both, I would rather have a pretty face at fifty than at twenty-five. The one at twenty-five might marry me, but the one at fifty would show I was worth marrying.” (Ladies Home Journal, 1892)
I just caught this one this week, straight from the newest pages of Jen Hatmaker, which I am noting and flagging like a wild woman. “Creators create. It is one of their main characteristics, as a point of fact. Makers don’t wait for someone else to tell them they should or can. They already know they should and can.”
My college roommate and I decorated an entire wall of our apartment with our favorite quotes. That was my “I’m-here-to-get-a-degree-and-not-a-husband, and I’m-also-sort-of-a-feminist” phase, so the wall said things like, “A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle.” (from Gloria Steinem, but actually Iria Dunn)
During my years as a mom of a very strong-willed toddler, when this was on my refrigerator: “I am the lord, your mother. I do not change.”
I’m currently in love with a coffee mug quote, which doubles as one of my life mottos: “Live imperfectly and with great delight.”
And presently on my refrigerator is a quote from one of my favorite pastors and communicators: “God is at work in my tomorrow, so I will not give up today.” (Steve Garcia)
There is this one, which carries me through the bumpy days of writing: “I’m writing a first draft and reminding myself that I’m simply shoveling sand into a box so that later I can build castles.” (Shannon Hale)
Cheryl Strayed said, “Quotes, at their core, almost always shout Yes!“
She’s right. They do. Because that might be because I pretty much do too. I may not shout, but I’ll nod my head in the thoughtful way that is my silent shout of agreement. “Yes. That.”
When we identify with what someone else has said, we find our voice in their own. We become more of who we are, because they said so.
Please tell me your favorite quotes.
Share so I can nod in knowing affirmation and add them to my collection.
I need your words. (Need.)