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Category: Collected Book Quotes

Collected Book Quotes: A Pain Less Ordinary

From the author’s website.
Page numbers are based on a .pdf sent by the author.

It’s a funny thing about hope. When it dies in you, everything turns black. The world starts to turn angry and mean. And you can try to put hope into other things, like hoping you’ll grow up and never be such an awful mom, but those hopes are bandages to the first wound, which never really heals.

— Chapter 4 – Page 14


Everything gets worse if you don’t deal with it.

— Chapter 5 – Page 15


[…] for the kids who aren’t the best at anything, unless parental dysfunction is a category, there’s a sense of shame. Like I don’t deserve to walk the halls. Like I’m a ghost or worse, like I’m walking around with a horribly contagious disease, one that could cause someone who befriends me permanent social annihilation.

— Chapter 9 – Page 30


Hating men has always been safer than trusting them.

— Chapter 9 – Page 33


Looking at the girl, her desperate eyes searching mine, I realize she’s my reflection. Had I been searching
for answers from strangers when I was her age? Had I been desperate for attention or a treat like her?

— Chapter 18 – Page 86


I wish I didn’t care what others think of me. I don’t want to care, but there’s something about having a nice bag or new clothes that makes you feel acceptable to the world.

— Chapter 22 – Page 106


Familiar in my life means chaos.

— Chapter 23 – Page 115


Everyone’s mixed up. Adults act like kids. Kids have to be adults.

— Chapter 24 – Page 121


Bad memories haunt you until you dig up the roots.

— Chapter 31 – Page 177


Pain is sometimes temporary. Sometimes it lasts a lifetime. The past can haunt for a night and then just as easily vanish in the day. It can hide for years and return when you least expect it. It can kill you, and it can save you.
— Chapter 34 – Page 200

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Collected Book Quotes: Surpassing Certainty — What My Twenties Taught Me

Janet Mock: Surpassing Certainty - What My Twenties Taught Me Book Cover

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And the speaking will get easier and easier. And you will find you have fallen in love with your own vision, which you may never have realized you had. And you will lose some friends and lovers, and realize you don’t miss them. And new ones will find you and cherish you. And you will still flirt and paint your nails, dress up and party…. And at last you’ll know with surpassing certainty that only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth. And that is not speaking.
“Intro.” Surpassing Certainty: What My Twenties Taught Me – Location 12 (Originated by Audre Lorde)

The truth is a whip when wielded by a malicious mouth, lashing you into obedience and confinement, a stinging reminder that despite your best efforts, you are still captive to others.
“Intro.” Surpassing Certainty: What My Twenties Taught Me – Location 37

Forced disclosure always shook me, leaving me in a frightening space where my body served as proof of my realness. The need to prove myself valid was never-ending in its plea to affirm, connect, deny, and erase. I aspired daily to be like Toni Morrison’s Sula, a woman who shuns the demands placed on her by her watchful community, a woman who lacks ego, a woman OK in her otherness. She feels no pressure to verify herself. Her only aim is to be consistent, not with the world or those around her, but with herself.

“Intro.” Surpassing Certainty: What My Twenties Taught Me – Location 83 to 97

There are only so many vigils, so many murals, so many pleas for justice before we must succumb to the fact that our culture is intent on us not existing.
“Intro.” Surpassing Certainty: What My Twenties Taught Me – Location 111

[…] no one had made me feel so wanted and necessary. It was the first time I felt I could be enough for someone.
— “Part One/ Chapter 3.” Surpassing Certainty: What My Twenties Taught Me


He was kind enough, attractive enough, smart enough, but he never moved me in the way that made me feel obligated to him, that pressured me to be vulnerable. Our exchanges were limited to the kind you’d have with a great boyfriend but not necessarily a great love.
—           “Part 2/ Chapter 10.” Surpassing Certainty


I never realized that what I needed was a means to express myself. Hearing myself enabled me to heal myself. For so much of my life, I believed that my silence would protect me, that by keeping my circle small, by holding my truth close, by being cautious of others, I would be able to remain safe. But all it did was isolate me and leave me with delusions. I imagined that the people who cared about me would no longer love me if I spoke my truth. But I had to be open and honest with myself, and that began with telling myself the truth.
— “Part 2/ Chapter 14.” Surpassing Certainty


The first time we fall, we are new to that experience. Nothing can quite compare to it, because you’ll never be that young, that open, and that willing. But when you’ve loved and lost, when you’re forced to grow and move on, let go and love again, you become cautious. You learn to protect yourself, to be on guard. You are never as available. Or that could just be me. I wasn’t comfortable sharing myself with people. I let people in with discretion. It took time for me to open myself up.
—“Part 2/Chapter 13” Surpassing Certainty


This slight shift from ‘I do not have time’ to ‘I can make time for myself’ was the first stage to building a space for writing in my life.

 —           “Part 2/ Chapter 14.” Surpassing Certainty

“My twenties represented a time when I had no other obligation than to figure out who I was. I took the time I needed to just be—to learn how to advocate for myself before becoming an advocate for others. I was accountable to myself. It was a time for me to process the experiences that had shaped me and to be bold enough to seek new ones. It was a time for me to make mistakes and learn from them. It was a time for me to seek my voice, my purpose, and my place in the world. My twenties taught me to create and uphold much-needed boundaries, to take hold and possession of my body, and to stake a claim on my life. My twenties also taught me to improvise and to loosen up. Boundaries are vital, but at times I could be unmoving about these self-imposed restrictions, and that often prevented me from going where I truly wanted, from knowing others as I wanted to be known, from loving and being loved in the way I desired. My twenties prepared me to be seen fully—in my own eyes, in the eyes of the people I know and love, and in the eyes of the public I’ve invited into my life to know me. More than anything, it was my act of being in process during those messy, fun, and formative years—all the decisions and mishaps, all the highs and lows—that brought me to yet another dark room. This time, though, I was free, overwhelmingly secure in who I was and certain that she was—and would be—enough.”

—           “Afterword.” Surpassing Certainty


We couldn’t make forever, but forever isn’t love’s sole ambition. The goal is to be impacted, to be changed forever.

—           “Part 2/ Chapter 15.” Surpassing Certainty

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Collected Book Quotes: This Is Just My Face, Try Not To Stare

The book cover of
Purchase “This Is Just My Face: Try Not To Stare” by clicking the image

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Therapist never really tell you what you should do. They ask you what you think you should do. If they know the correct answer, they hold it close to their vests as if they were in a poker match in a way that lets you know, ‘I’m here to listen, but you will be fucking up your life on your own, kiddo.'”
— “Twelve Sixty-six.” This Is Just My Face, Try Not To Stare (Page 136)


Many people in general, not just celebrities, write about their own lives to find purpose for pain. […] Writing this book has […] allowed me to see people who have hurt me as just that. People. The hurt is no longer part of the equation. People. Just like me. I’m a person who has been hurt, but I’m also a person who has hurt.
— “Next.” This Is Just My Face, Try Not To Stare (Page 234)


My body is not a character description.
— “Will I Still Be Beautiful When I’m Not Fat.” This Is Just My Face, Try Not To Stare (Page 226) | Noted to be said by Amber Riley


[…] my least favorite game ever: the “Is This a Date?” game! Fun for no one! Here’s how it goes. Flirty dude will text me some flirty/ friendly shit a few times, and then say, “We should link up.” Now the word link is some tricky Clinton administration number-one shit. It’s language that makes it hard to tell what’s actually happening. You can link up with your mom to celebrate her birthday but you can also link up with the dweeb you cheat off of in science class to let him cop a feel under the bleachers. What exactly does link up even mean? Nobody knows! And you can’t know until after the linkup!
— “Is This a Date?” This Is Just My Face, Try Not To Stare (Page 170)


Dating seems to conclude with something being wrong with me. I’m not sure the mental gymnastics are worth it. […] In fact, I’m not done with dating just because I’m tired of it. It’s not even really my decision to stop. I’m being forced into retirement.
— “Is This a Date?” This Is Just My Face, Try Not To Stare (Page 166-167)


You keep your horrible boyfriend around because you feel like shit, and he’s the only one around who agrees with you. He validates the part of you that thinks you deserve bad things instead of good things. When you start believing that you deserve good things, you’ll dump him because he won’t fit anymore. But for now, he treats you like shit because that’s what you want.
— “Is This a Date?” This Is Just My Face, Try Not To Stare (Page 166)


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Collected Quotes: Born a Crime – Stories from a South African Childhood

Please note locations correlate with estimated spot, within a ebook, to find the quote.

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Part 1

“Sun’qhela is a phrase with many shades of meaning. It says “don’t undermine me,” “don’t underestimate me,” and “just try me.”
“Chapter 1: Run” Location 182-184


“She wanted to do something, figured out a way to do it, and then she did it. She had a level of fearlessness that you have to possess to take on something like she did. If you stop to consider the ramifications, you’ll never do anything.”
“Chapter 2: Born a Crime” Location 360-362


Language brings with it an identity and a culture, or at least the perception of it. A shared language says “We’re the same.” A language barrier says “We’re different.”
“Chapter 3: Trevor Pray” Location 750-751


“[…] when I was forced to choose, I chose black. The world saw me as colored, but I didn’t spend my life looking at myself. I spent my life looking at other people. I saw myself as the people around me, and the people around me were black. My cousins are black, my mom is black, my gran is black. I grew up black. Because I had a white father, because I’d been in white Sunday school, I got along with the white kids, but I didn’t belong with the white kids. I wasn’t a part of their tribe. But the black kids embraced me. “Come along,” they said. “You’re rolling with us.” With the black kids, I wasn’t constantly trying to be. With the black kids, I just was.”
Chapter 4: Chameleon — Location 919-924


“[…] a knowledgeable man is a free man, or at least a man who longs for freedom.”
Chapter 4: Chameleon — Location 930-931


“British racism said, ‘If the monkey can walk like a man and talk like a man, then perhaps he is a man.’ Afrikaner racism said, ‘Why give a book to a monkey?'”
Chapter 4: Chameleon — Location 945-946


“So many black families spend all of their time trying to fix the problems of the past. That is the curse of being black and poor, and it is a curse that follows you from generation to generation. My mother calls it “the black tax.” Because the generations who came before you have been pillaged, rather than being free to use your skills and education to move forward, you lose everything just trying to bring everyone behind you back up to zero.”
Chapter 5: The Second Girl — Location 997-1000


“Learn from your past and be better because of your past.”
Chapter 5: The Second Girl — Location 1007-1007


As modestly as we lived at home, I never felt poor because our lives were so rich with experience.
Chapter 5: The Second Girl — Location 1112-1113


We tell people to follow their dreams, but you can only dream of what you can imagine, and, depending on where you come from, your imagination can be quite limited.
Chapter 5: The Second Girl — Location 1126-1127


“[…] remember the thing that caused the trauma, but I don’t hold on to the trauma. I never let the memory of something painful prevent me from trying something new. If you think too much about the ass-kicking your mom gave you, or the ass-kicking that life gave you, you’ll stop pushing the boundaries and breaking the rules. It’s better to take it, spend some time crying, then wake up the next day and move on. You’ll have a few bruises and they’ll remind you of what happened and that’s okay. But after a while the bruises fade, and they fade for a reason—because now it’s time to get up to some shit again.”
Chapter 6: Loopholes — Location 1388-1392


Being chosen is the greatest gift you can give to another human being.
Chapter 8: Robert — Location 1636-1637


You’re having sex with a woman in her mind before you’re having sex with her in her vagina.
Chapter 9: The Mulberry Tree — Location 1853-1854


[…] foreplay begins during the day. It doesn’t begin in the bedroom.
Chapter 9: The Mulberry Tree — Location 1854-1855


I wasn’t popular, but I wasn’t an outcast. I was everywhere with everybody, and at the same time I was all by myself.
Chapter 11: Outsider — Location 2016-2017


I don’t regret anything I’ve ever done in life, any choice that I’ve made. But I’m consumed with regret for the things I didn’t do, the choices I didn’t make, the things I didn’t say. We spend so much time being afraid of failure, afraid of rejection. But regret is the thing we should fear most. Failure is an answer. Rejection is an answer. Regret is an eternal question you will never have the answer to.
Chapter 11: Outsider — Location 2021-2024


In Germany, no child finishes high school without learning about the Holocaust. Not just the facts of it but the how and the why and the gravity of it—what it means. As a result, Germans grow up appropriately aware and apologetic. British schools treat colonialism the same way, to an extent. Their children are taught the history of the Empire with a kind of disclaimer hanging over the whole thing. “Well, that was shameful, now wasn’t it?” In South Africa, the atrocities of apartheid have never been taught that way. We weren’t taught judgment or shame. We were taught history the way it’s taught in America. In America, the history of racism is taught like this: “There was slavery and then there was Jim Crow and then there was Martin Luther King Jr. and now it’s done.” It was the same for us. “Apartheid was bad. Nelson Mandela was freed. Let’s move on.” Facts, but not many, and never the emotional or moral dimension. It was as if the teachers, many of whom were white, had been given a mandate. “Whatever you do, don’t make the kids angry.”
Chapter 14: A Young Man’s Long, Awkward, Occasionally Tragic, and Frequently Humiliating Education in Affairs of the Hearty, Pat III: The Dance — Location 2555-2563


People love to say, “Give a man a fish, and he’ll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he’ll eat for a lifetime.” What they don’t say is, “And it would be nice if you gave him a fishing rod.” That’s the part of the analogy that’s missing.
Chapter 15: Go Hitler! — Location 2655-2657


People say, “Oh, that’s a handout.” No. I still have to work to profit by it.
Chapter 15: Go Hitler! — Location 2659-2659


He has been given more potential, but he has not been given more opportunity. He has been given an awareness of the world that is out there, but he has not been given the means to reach it.
Chapter 16: The Cheese Boys — Location 2909


We like to believe we live in a world of good guys and bad guys, and in the suburbs it’s easy to believe that, because getting to know a career criminal in the suburbs is a difficult thing. But then you go to the hood and you see there are so many shades in between. In the hood, gangsters were your friends and neighbors. You knew them. You talked to them on the corner, saw them at parties. They were a part of your world. You knew them from before they became gangsters. It wasn’t, “Hey, that’s a crack dealer.” It was, “Oh, little Jimmy’s selling crack now.”
Chapter 16: The Cheese Boys — Location 2909


When you’re trying to stretch your money, food is where you have to be careful. You have to plan or you’ll eat your profits.
Chapter 16: The Cheese Boys — Location 3006-3007


The biggest thing in the hood is that you have to share. You can’t get rich on your own. You have money? Why aren’t you helping people? The old lady on the block needs help, everyone pitches in. You’re buying beer, you buy beer for everyone. You spread it around. Everyone must know that your success benefits the community in one way or another, or you become a target.
Chapter 16: The Cheese Boys — Location 3092-3096


[…] comfort can be dangerous. Comfort provides a floor but also a ceiling.
Chapter 16: The Cheese Boys — Location 3100-3100


Nelson Mandela once said, “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.” He was so right. When you make the effort to speak someone else’s language, even if it’s just basic phrases here and there, you are saying to them, “I understand that you have a culture and identity that exists beyond me. I see you as a human being.”
Chapter 17: The World Doesn’t Love You — Location 3372-3375


The way my mother always explained it, the traditional man wants a woman to be subservient, but he never falls in love with subservient women. He’s attracted to independent women. “He’s like an exotic bird collector,” she said. “He only wants a woman who is free because his dream is to put her in a cage.”
Chapter 18: My Mother’s Life — Location 3626-3629


Love is a creative act. When you love someone you create a new world for them. My mother did that for me, and with the progress I made and the things I learned, I came back and created a new world and a new understanding for her.
Chapter 18: My Mother’s Life — Location 3782


Growing up in a home of abuse, you struggle with the notion that you can love a person you hate, or hate a person you love. It’s a strange feeling. You want to live in a world where someone is good or bad, where you either hate them or love them, but that’s not how people are.
Chapter 18: My Mother’s Life — Location 3847


My cry was not a cry of sadness. It was not catharsis. It wasn’t me feeling sorry for myself. It was an expression of raw pain that came from an inability of my body to express that pain in any other way, shape, or form.
Chapter 18: My Mother’s Life — Location 3996


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Collected Quotes: All The Ugly and Wonderful Things

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[…] he left spaces for me when he talked. If I saw him again, I decided I might put words in those spaces.
— “Chapter 4: Wavy.” All The Ugly And Wonderful Things: A Novel – Page 26


You make people interested in you by keeping secrets, not by passing them out like candy at Halloween.
“Part 5/ Chapter 1: Renee – September 1987” Page 263


No woman had ever looked at me the way she did, or touched me that way. Like she wanted me, like I was worth wanting.
“Part 5/ Chapter 14: Kellen – July 1990” Page 313


[…] there was no sense in rushing toward being dead. It would find you soon enough, and before it did there were pleasures to make your heart hurt less.

“Part 4/Chapter 11: Wavy – 1986” Page 248


I loved how kissing made me soft between my legs but it made him hard in the same place. It was wonderful magic.

“Part 3/Chapter 12: Wavy – March to June 1983” Page 194


If he wouldn’t touch me, that was bearable, but to have him look away from me wasn’t. I needed him to see me.
“Part 3/Chapter 12: Wavy – March to June 1983” Page 191

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