You never know the biggest day of your life is your biggest day, not until it's happening. You don't recognize the biggest day of your life, not until you're right in the middle of it. The day you commit to something or someone. The day you get your heart broken. The day you meet your soul mate. The day you realize there's not enough time because you wanna live forever. Those are the biggest days. The perfect days.
They tell you: Follow your dreams. Listen to your spirit. Change the world. Make your mark. Find your inner voice and make it sing. Embrace failure. Dream. Dream and dream big. As a matter of fact, dream and don't stop dreaming until your dream comes true. I think that's crap. I think a lot of people dream. And while they are busy dreaming, the really happy people, the really successful people, the really interesting, powerful, engaged people? Are busy doing.
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There is no list of rules. There is one rule. The rule is: there are no rules. Happiness comes from living as you need to, as you want to. As your inner voice tells you to. Happiness comes from being who you actually are instead of who you think you are supposed to be. Being traditional is not traditional anymore. It's funny that we still think of it that way. Normalize your lives, people. You don't want a baby? Don't have one. I don't want to get married? I won't. You want to live alone? Enjoy it. You want to love someone? Love someone. Don't apologize. Don't explain. Don't ever feel less than. When you feel the need to apologize or explain who you are, it means the voice in your head is telling you the wrong story. Wipe the slate clean. And rewrite it. No fairy tales. Be your own narrator. And go for a happy ending. One foot in front of the other. You will make it.
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You literally can shoot someone in the face on television and a 7-year-old can watch it. But you can't show the slight of a man's hip, because dear God, someone might think of sex. And while we all hope our kids grow up to have sex, we do not hope they grow up to shoot someone in the face.
Finally I want to say this: if you are a kid and you are out there and you are chubby and not so cute and nerdy and shy and invisible and in pain, whatever your race, whatever your gender, whatever your sexual orientation, I'm standing here to tell you: you are not alone. Your tribe of people, they are out there in the world. Waiting for you.
There's a reason I said I'd be happy alone. It wasn't 'cause I thought I'd be happy alone. It was because I thought if I loved someone and then it fell apart, I might not make it. It's easier to be alone. Because what if you learn that you need love and then you don't have it? What if you like it and lean on it? What if you shape your life around it and then it falls apart? Can you even survive that kind of pain? Losing love is like organ damage. It's like dying. The only difference is death ends. This? It could go on forever.
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We all think we're going to be great and we feel a little bit robbed when our expectations aren't met. But sometimes our expectations sell us short. Sometimes the expected simply pales in comparison to the unexpected. You got to wonder why we cling to our expectations, because the expected is just what keeps us steady. Standing. Still. The expected's just the beginning, the unexpected is what changes our lives.
This moment right here, me standing up here all brown with my boobs and my Thursday night of network television full of women of color, competitive women, strong women, women who own their bodies and whose lives revolve around their work instead of their men, women who are big dogs, that could only be happening right now.
Yes, it is hard out there. But hard is relative. I come from a middle-class family, my parents are academics. I was born after the Civil Rights movement, I was a toddler during the women's movement, I live in the United States of America, all of which means I am allowed to own my freedom, my rights, my voice and my uterus.
I don't know if anyone has noticed but I only ever write about one thing: being alone. The fear of being alone, the desire to not be alone, the attempts we make to find our person, to keep our person, to convince our person to not leave us alone, the joy of being with our person and thus no longer alone, the devastation of being left alone. The need to hear the words: You are not alone.
I want my daughters to see me and know me as a woman who works. I want that example set for them. I am a better mother for it. The woman I am because I get to run Shondaland, because I get write all day, because I get to spend my days making things up, that woman is a better person"Š - and a better mother. Because that woman is happy. That woman is fulfilled. That woman is whole. I wouldn't want them to know the me that didn't get to do this all day long. I wouldn't want them to know the me who wasn't doing.
Maybe you know exactly what it is you dream of being, or maybe you're paralyzed because you have no idea what your passion is. The truth is, it doesn't matter. You don't have to know. You just have to keep moving forward. You just have to keep doing something, seizing the next opportunity, staying open to trying something new.
It can be scary to find out you've been wrong about something but we can't be afraid to change our minds, to accept that things are different, that they'll never be the same, for better or for worse. We have to be willing to give up what we used to believe. The more we're willing to accept what is and not what we thought, we'll find ourselves exactly where we belong.
My favorite thing to do is rip the covers off a script when reading for writers to hire and make everybody read without names on the covers of the script. I can't tell you how many times my writers, women and men, will pick people of color and women much more often than they would with a cover on the script.
I'd split up with a boyfriend and gone to Vermont to stare at my navel, and then 9/11 happened, and I spent days being scared of what was happening in the world. So I made a list of all the things I wanted to do, and at the top was adopt a baby. Nine months and two days later, I brought my daughter home.
There's racist casting, and there is normal casting. Normal casting, to me, is a process that strives for representation and, in many cases, strives to simply portray the world as it actually is instead of as falsely non-inclusive. And sadly, sometimes that involves removing the whitewash that exists on history.