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Mask

“The most important kind of freedom is to be what you really are. You trade in your reality for a role. You trade in your sense for an act. You give up your ability to feel, and in exchange, put on a mask. There can’t be any largescale revolution until there’s a personal revolution, on an individual level. It’s got to happen inside first.”

Jim Morrison

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Float Like a Butterfly

“People sometimes ask me if I’m ever afraid to speak out. My answer is no. Fear is a prison and I have been imprisoned all my life. All my life I have been afraid of the consequences of being myself. All my life I have been afraid of my truth. Whether it be the truth of my nappy hair, the truth of my ghettoness, or the truth of my intelligence, I feared it would make others uncomfortable. I spent 24 years locked in a box labeled ‘The American Dream.’ I spent 24 years dying, burdened by the truth of my own identity. To be afraid now would be a slap in the face. It is an honor to get to be me. I will never succumb to fear. I have to choose this life, even if it kills me, even if I end up penniless. Because the alternative is simply unbearable.”

Muhammad Ali

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A Beautiful Place

“Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let pain make you hate. Do not let bitterness steal your sweetness. Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree, you still believe it to be a beautiful place.”

Kurt Vonnegut

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There is a Little Darkness

“There is a little darkness, a little risk, in any real life. Homeopathic doses of murkiness must be taken if people are to find themselves. Traces of that dose are revealed whenever someone grows up and leaves home, or reinvents themselves. Whenever people fall in love, there is always a touch of manipulation, a little imperfection. A life entirely without shadows cannot be real.”

Jaron Lanier

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The Artist

“The artist appeals to our capacity for delight and wonder, to the sense of mystery surrounding our lives, to our sense of pity, and beauty, and pain, to the subtle invincible conviction of solidarity that joins together the loneliness of innumerable hearts, a solidarity in dreams, in joy, in sorrow, in aspirations, in illusions, in hope, in fear. Art binds us to each other, it binds together all humanity, the dead to the living, and the living to those that impend.​”

Joseph Conrad

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Holding the Sadness

“The ideal of warriorship is that the warrior should be sad and tender and because of that, the warrior can be brave as well. Hold the sadness and pain of samsara in your heart and at the same time the power and vision of the Great Eastern Sun. Then the warrior can make a proper cup of tea.”

Chögyam Trungpa

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A Tighter Hold

Memory

“It never occurred to me that our lives, until then so closely interwoven, could unravel and separate over a thing like that. But the fact was, I suppose, there were powerful tides tugging us apart by then, and it only needed something small to finish the task. If we’d understood that back then, who knows? Maybe we’d have kept a tighter hold.”

Kazuo Ishiguro

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Time Enough for Love

Duty

“Do not confuse duty with what other people expect of you. They are utterly different. Duty is a debt you owe to yourself to fulfill obligations you have assumed voluntarily. Paying that debt can entail anything from years of patient work to instant willingness to die. Difficult it may be, but the reward is self-respect.”

Robert A. Heinlein

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Ode to the One Who Lost

Loss

It is perhaps in failure that they possess the most majesty. Victory, when it is in accord with progress, merits the applause of the people but a heroic defeat merits their tender compassion. The one is magnificent, the other sublime. For certainly it is necessary that some one should take the part of the vanquished.

Victor Hugo

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Feminine Circularity

Friends

There’s an innate feminine circularity in the story I have to tell. In any genetic history, I’m the final clause in a periodic sentence, and that sentence begins a long time ago, in another language, and you have to read it from the beginning to get to the end, which is my arrival.

Jeffrey Eugenides

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