“You are not your bra size, nor are you the width of your waist, nor are you the slenderness of your calves. You are not your hair color, your skin color, nor are you a shade of lipstick. Your shoe size is of no consequence. You are not defined by the amount of attention you get from males, females, or any combination thereof. You are not the number of sit-ups you can do, nor are you the number of calories in a day. You are not your mustache. You are not the hair on your legs. You are not a little red dress. You are no amalgam of these things. You are the content of your character. You are the ambitions that drive you. You are the goals that you set. You are the things that you laugh at and the words that you say. You are the thoughts you think and the things you wonder. You are beautiful and desirable not for the clique you attend, but for the spark of life within you that compels you to make your life a full and meaningful one. You are beautiful not for the shape of the vessel, but for the volume of the soul it carries.”—(via kassiedawn)
The interim chapters in the Grapes of Wrath are comprised of some of the most beautiful writing I've ever read.
Especially chapter 9, which in my worn, dog-eared copy is the most highlighted and annotated. :
"Well, take it—all junk—and give me five dollars. You’re not buying only junk, you’re buying junked lives. And more—you’ll see—you’re buying bitterness. Buying a plow to plow your own children under, buying the arms and spirits that might have saved you. Five dollars, not four. I can’t haul ‘em back—Well, take ‘em for four. But I warn you, you’re buying what will plow your own children under. And you won’t see. You can’t see. Take ‘em for four. Now, what’ll you give for the team and wagon? Those fine bays, matched they are, matched in color, matched the way they walk, stride to stride. In the stiff pull—straining hams and buttocks, split-second timed together. And in the morning, the light on them, bay light. They look over the fence sniffing for us, and the stiff ears swivel to hear us, and the black forelocks! I’ve got a girl. She likes to braid the manes and forelocks, puts little red bows on them. Likes to do it. Not any more. I could tell you a funny story about that girl and that off bay. Would make you laugh. Off horse is eight, near is ten, but might of been twin colts the way they work together. See? The teeth. Sound all over. Deep lungs. Feet fair and clean. How much? Ten dollars? For both? And the wagon—Oh, Jesus Christ! I’d shoot ’em for dog feed first. Oh, take ‘em! Take ‘em quick, mister. You’re buying a little girl plaiting the forelocks, taking off her hair ribbon to make bows, standing back, head cocked, rubbing the soft noses with her cheek. You’re buying years of work, toil in the sun; you’re buying a sorrow that can’t talk. But watch it, mister. There’s a premium goes with this pile of junk and the bay horses—so beautiful—a packet of bitterness to grow in your house and to flower, some day. We could have saved you, but you cut us down, and soon you will be cut down and there’ll be none of us to save you. And the tenant men came walking back, hands in their pockets, hats pulled down. Some bought a pint and drank it fast to make the impact hard and stunning. But they didn’t laugh and they didn’t dance. They didn’t sing or pick the guitars. They walked back to the farms, hands in pockets and heads down, shoes kicking the red dust up.
Maybe we can start again, in the new rich land—in California, where the fruit grows. We’ll start over.
But you can’t start. Only a baby can start. You and me—why, we’re all that’s been. The anger of a moment, the thousand pictures, that’s us. This land, this red land, is us; and the flood years and the dust years and the drought years are us. We can’t start again. The bitterness we sold to the junk man—he got it all right, but we have it still. And when the owner men told us to go, that’s us; and when the tractor hit the house, that’s us until we’re dead. To California or any place—every one a drum major leading a parade of hurts, marching with our bitterness. And some day—the armies of bitterness will all be going the same way. And they’ll all walk together, and there’ll be a dead terror from it.”
I find this hilarious, because even though I got things this Christmakkuh that I'd been wanting and lusting over for a really long time, the best thing about today was getting drunk with my mom and brother off bellinis and feeding my dog green beans. It's not about the gifts, people!
i'm getting an ipad and a laptop and $300 worth of clothes and...