Cheryl Strayed (; née Nyland; born September 17, 1968) is an American memoirist, novelist, essayist and podcast host. The author of four books, her award-winning writing has been published widely in anthologies and major magazines.
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You need to stop feeling sorry for yourself. I don't say this as a condemnation–I need regular reminders to stop feeling sorry for myself too. I'm going to address you bluntly, but it's a directness that rises from my compassion for you, not my judgement of you. Nobody's going to do your life for you. You have to do it yourself, whether you're rich or poor, out of money or raking it in, the beneficiary of ridiculous fortune or terrible injustice. And you have to do it no matter what is true. No matter what is hard. No matter what unjust, sad, sucky things have befallen you. Self-pity is a dead-end road. You make the choice to drive down it. It's up to you to decide to stay parked there or to turn around and drive out.
What was it about relationships that made you feel so vulnerable? Oh, right. A relationship. In any relationship, you put yourself out there. You exposed all of your sensitive nerve endings and your heart and you just had to hope that you trusted the right person.
The thing about surviving something truly tragic is that it changes your expectations forever. You make do with very little. You're grateful for crumbs. You make the best of small mercies. You endure large trials. You understand that life owes you nothing. You expect nothing, and when something wonderful happens, you don't trust it.