Poem for the Day: October 30th, 2021

go to the movies & see a rom-com by yourself. go to your favorite restaurant & request a table for one. go to a café & order a coffee & a pastry for yourself. lie in the grass & cloudgaze without holding someone else’s hand while you do it. we need to stop seeing these things as pathetic. you are the only person you have to be with every day, so why shouldn’t you find ways to appreciate you? 

keep falling in love with yourself.

Today’s poem is from shine your icy crown by amanda lovelace. She is the author of several bestselling poetry collections, among them the titles in the “women are some kind of magic” series, the “you are your own fairy tale” trilogy, and the “things that h(a)unt” duology. shine your icy crown was published in January 2021 by Andrews McMeel Publishing and is available to purchase wherever books are sold.

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please like, comment, follow, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at fred.slusher@thevoraciousbibliophile.com or catch me on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.

Manifesting My Goals

Please save your gatekeeping nonsense for someone who gives a fluck because I do not.

First off, my number one goal right now is to actually make my Goodreads Reading Challenge goal this year. I only missed it by two last year, and that ish hurt bad. Am I probably going to have to read a crap ton of short books to make it? Yes. Do they count? Absolutely. Please save your gatekeeping nonsense for someone who gives a fluck because I do not.

My bigger and longer-term goal is to become someone like Oprah. I want to be someone who lives their life authentically and is able to translate that into influence on other people. Honestly, nothing would make me happier than being able to post a list of my favorite things and have people try them out just because I said they were awesome.

I do not want to work until I die. I want to sit down. A lot. Preferably with a good book in one hand and a glass of wine in the other.

Finally, my last goal is to retire by the age of 40. I do not want to work until I die. I want to sit down. A lot. Preferably with a good book in one hand and a glass of wine in the other. I mean, I’ll probably need to exercise some too, but I’m still holding out hope that science will figure out a way for me to do nothing and be skinny. Let me qualify that. I do not have a problem, aesthetically, with being fat. I know I’m the sexiest motherflucker God ever did carve from clay. That’s not my issue. My issue is that the world we live in makes it incredibly difficult for people of my girth to shop off the rack, and this bish here doesn’t like to shop from a catalog. I want to roll up into my local department stores like Ariana Grande and see it, like it, want it, and got it.

I do not have a problem, aesthetically, with being fat. I know I’m the sexiest motherflucker God ever did carve from clay. That’s not my issue. My issue is that the world we live in makes it incredibly difficult for people of my girth to shop off the rack, and this bish here doesn’t like to shop from a catalog. I want to roll up into my local department stores like Ariana Grande and see it, like it, want it, and got it.

Now, are all of these goals super-specific? No. And right now I don’t want them to be. For most of my life, my anxiety disorder has forced me to exert a large amount of (read: perceived) control over every aspect of my life. And you miss out on a lot of life by trying to force your will on everything. So for me I feel like the best course is operate from a state of grace, to focus on day-to-day living and on taking the next right actions. I know that by doing this, wherever I end up will be the right place for me.

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please like, comment, follow, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at fred.slusher@thevoraciousbibliophile.com or catch me on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.

A Little Motivation

My mental health has been total garbage lately. And I know I’m not the only one. In fact, most of the people I know who ride the struggle bus now need a whole garage full to carry their mental baggage.

Just like Ivermectin won’t prevent or treat COVID-19, magic crystals and appropriating other cultures’ spiritual practices won’t prevent you from being human.

Let’s be honest, most self-help stuff out there is nothing more than a pen full of prosperity gospel pigs wearing Instagram influencer lipstick. It’s nonsense. No matter how many mindfulness exercises you do while sipping Evian water and inhaling spritzes from your essential oil diffuser, sometimes your mental health is just crap. Just like Ivermectin won’t prevent or treat COVID-19, magic crystals and appropriating other cultures’ spiritual practices won’t prevent you from being human.

You are not worth less just because your brain doesn’t produce the right configuration of chemicals when you need them. You are not broken. I guess what I really want you to know is that it’s okay not to be okay. It’s okay if all you do today is make it through to the end. Don’t let anyone dull your sparkle. A unicorn doesn’t concern itself with the opinions of a jackass. Remember that.

It’s okay if all you do today is make it through to the end.

And on the bright side, when all else fails, you can just do as Beyoncé said and “Middle fingers up, put ‘em hands high”. I promise you’ll feel better.

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please like, comment, follow, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at fred.slusher@thevoraciousbibliophile.com or catch me on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.

Quote for the Day: October 16th, 2021

Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation and that is an act of political warfare.

Audre Lorde

You can’t fight the good fight without fuel, and that fuel comes from intentionally carving out space to take care of yourself first. If you make yourself a priority, you have so much more to give the world. And you owe yourself that.

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please like, comment, follow, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at fred.slusher@thevoraciousbibliophile.com or catch me on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.

Quote for the Day: October 15th, 2021

Note to self: I can allow painful feelings to visit me without allowing them to move all their shit into my guest room, leave their gross dishes in my sink, and not pay rent.

Emily McDowell (@emilyonlife)

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please like, comment, follow, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at fred.slusher@thevoraciousbibliophile.com or catch me on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.

Self Care Pinterest Board

As someone who lives with multiple mental health issues, I know how daunting it can be at times to perform even the most rudimentary acts of self-care. In that vein, I’ve been curating a Pinterest board full of positive messages and self care tips for people who want to take better care of themselves but don’t really know where or how to begin. I’ve also got a couple of designs that I made myself that I’ve not yet pinned, but more on that later.

For now, if you’d like to check out my Pinterest board dedicated to self care, check out the code below.

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please like, comment, follow, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at fred.slusher@thevoraciousbibliophile.com or catch me on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.

Quote for the Day: October 4th, 2021

Compete with no one but yourself.

Dionne Alexander

Do you ever feel like you’re constantly measuring yourself against people you know in real life or people you follow online?

In a world where success is measured by the number of likes or followers you have, it’s easy to turn a numbers game into a measurement of self-worth, and it’s not.

It’s a toxic practice that seems unavoidable most of the time. In a world where success is measured by the number of likes or followers you have, it’s easy to turn a numbers game into a measurement of self-worth, and it’s not. Something I’ve been thinking a lot about for years now but that I’m just now starting to internalize is the fact that value is inherent. I’m going to repeat that: VALUE IS INHERENT. You cannot, as a human being, become more or less valuable based on your characteristics or actions. It’s just not possible.

I’m going to add to Maggie’s quote and say that nothing you can say or do can fuck up the space for God. That connection, like our inherent value, is irrevocable and impregnable.

When you really think about it, it’s incredibly freeing. It reminds me of another quote I feel like I’ve shared on here (not entirely sure, my apologies) by Maggie Nelson. In her book The Argonauts, she says, “Nothing you can say can fuck up the space for God.” That’s a slow burn, isn’t it? I’m going to add to Maggie’s quote and say that nothing you can say or do can fuck up the space for God. That connection, like our inherent value, is irrevocable and impregnable.

We believe the things we repeat, so repeat good things about yourself to yourself.

There’s an exercise I’d like for all of you to try with me. Every day when you wake up, I want you to find a mirror (the front-facing camera on your phone will work just fine) and repeat these words: “I do not have to earn my value.” The first few times you do this might me awkward and embarrassing, but eventually you’ll come to believe the words you can hear yourself saying. We believe the things we repeat, so repeat good things about yourself to yourself.

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please like, comment, follow, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at fred.slusher@thevoraciousbibliophile.com or catch me on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.

Pinworthy: Cheryl Strayed Quote About Fear

I don’t have any tattoos (yet) but if I ever decide to get one, it’ll probably either be a mockingjay in flight or a Cheryl Strayed quote.

Anyone who’s been reading this blog for any amount of time whatsoever can probably tell you how much I love Cheryl Strayed. She is possibly the most quotable woman on the planet at the moment. I don’t have any tattoos (yet) but if I ever decide to get one, it’ll probably either be a mockingjay in flight or a Cheryl Strayed quote.

I saw that it was possible to not only not feel regret, but to be thankful for the mistakes I’ve made because ultimately they’ve shaped me into the person I’ve become.

When I read Wild for the first time, it really opened my eyes to the possibility of living in a state of acceptance. I saw that it was possible to not only not feel regret, but to be thankful for the mistakes I’ve made because ultimately they’ve shaped me into the person I’ve become. And is it even right to call them mistakes? You see, I grew up in an extremely religious household where sin was vile, hell was hot, and you most certainly wanted to do everything you could to avoid ending up there. That legalistic framework conditioned me to feel intense shame and regret every time I behaved outside the bounds of what was considered “acceptable” behavior.

You get treats (eternal life and salvation) for good behavior and punishments (eternal damnation and torment via hellfire) for bad behavior.

No one really talks about the paranoia of living that way. You live every day slobbering like a Pavlov dog. You get treats (eternal life and salvation) for good behavior and punishments (eternal damnation and torment via hellfire) for bad behavior. I can already hear my mom saying, “That’s not how it works. We are saved by grace, not by good behavior.” And I will give her points for that, but the act of living in grace and in a state of constant penitence functions exactly like the kind of conditioning Pavlov used on those pooches.

…the act of living in grace and in a state of constant penitence functions exactly like the kind of conditioning Pavlov used on those pooches.

I’m aware that I’m taking the long way around here, but I want you to try something for me. Think of fear as a border. Imagine it as a literal line of demarcation fencing you in. Fear tells you not only where you can go, but how you must behave there, what your limitations are, and ultimately, when you are allowed to leave. Fear is limiting. Now, don’t misread me. The opposite of fear is not bravery or courage—it is water. It simply flows.

Sometimes you must tell yourself you are safe and you are loved over and over again until it becomes the only story you know and the only sound that reverberates.

And like Cheryl says in the quote I’ve shared above, fear is borne out of the narratives we tell ourselves, the ones we play on a loop. Sometimes you must tell yourself you are safe and you are loved over and over again until it becomes the only story you know and the only sound that reverberates.

What I want for myself and what I want for all of you is for us to learn to tell ourselves a different story. From the time we were born, we’ve had narratives projected onto us. You’re too fat. You’re too thin. You’re too gay. You’re so needy. You’re too loud. You don’t fit in here. You can’t sit with us. You can’t show your skin if it’s not flawless. You can’t bare your midriff if it has stretch marks. The way you eat is disgusting. You must have a thigh gap. You must buy your clothes at Walmart. You must have muscles. Boys can’t wear skirts. That lipstick shade is slutty. Give more. Give less. Be quiet. Speak up. Sit down. Disappear. Become nothing.

What do all of these narratives have in common? They’re all lies. Tell your own story and live in your own truth. I promise you won’t regret it.

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please like, comment, follow, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at fred.slusher@thevoraciousbibliophile.com or catch me on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.

A Small Reminder for You Today…

Alt Text: Reminder: You only get one shot at life. Do not waste your time or energy on people or things that don’t nourish your soul, invigorate your mind, and bring you happiness.

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please like, comment, follow, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at fred.slusher@thevoraciousbibliophile.com or catch me on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.