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Becoming Quotes

35 of the best book quotes from Becoming
  1. #1
    “It’s remarkable how a stereotype functions as an actual trap. How many “angry black women” have been caught in the circular logic of that phrase? When you aren’t being listened to, why wouldn’t you get louder? If you’re written off as angry or emotional, doesn’t that just cause more of the same?”
  2. #2
    “Now I think it’s one of the most useless questions an adult can ask a child—What do you want to be when you grow up? As if growing up is finite. As if at some point you become something and that’s the end.”
  3. #3
    “For me, becoming isn’t about arriving somewhere or achieving a certain aim. I see it instead as forward motion, a means of evolving, a way to reach continuously toward a better self. The journey doesn’t end.”
  4. #4
    “Your story is what you have, what you will always have. It is something to own.”
  5. #5
    “As a kid, you learn to measure long before you understand the size or value of anything. Eventually, if you’re lucky, you learn that you’ve been measuring all wrong.”
  6. #6
    “It’s all a process, steps along a path. Becoming requires equal parts patience and rigor. Becoming is never giving up on the idea that there’s more growing to be done.”
  7. #7
    “Friendships between women, as any woman will tell you, are built of a thousand small kindnesses... swapped back and forth and over again.”
  8. #8
    “I wasn’t going to let one person’s opinion dislodge everything I thought I knew about myself. Instead, I switched my method without changing my goal.”
  9. #9
    “No one, I realized, was going to look out for me unless I pushed for it.”
  10. #10
    “Dominance, even the threat of it, is a form of dehumanization. It’s the ugliest kind of power.”
  11. #11
    “This may be the fundamental problem with caring a lot about what others think: It can put you on the established path—the my-isn’t-that-impressive path—and keep you there for a long time.”
  12. #12
    “Bullies were scared people hiding inside scary people.”
  13. #13
    “When it came to the home-for-dinner dilemma, I installed new boundaries, ones that worked better for me and the girls. We made our schedule and stuck to it. ...It went back to my wishes for them to grow up strong and centered and also unaccommodating to any form of old-school patriarchy: I didn’t want them ever to believe that life began when the man of the house arrived home. We didn’t wait for Dad. It was his job now to catch up with us.”
  14. #14
    “Do not bring people in your life who weigh you down.”
  15. #15
    “The lesson being that in life you control what you can.”
  16. #16
    “His money went largely toward books, which to him were like sacred objects, providing ballast for his mind.”
  17. #17
    “Time, as far as my father was concerned, was a gift you gave to other people.”
  18. #18
    “Women endure entire lifetimes of these indignities—in the form of catcalls, groping, assault, oppression. These things injure us. They sap our strength. Some of the cuts are so small they’re barely visible. Others are huge and gaping, leaving scars that never heal. Either way, they accumulate. We carry them everywhere, to and from school and work, at home while raising our children, at our places of worship, anytime we try to advance.”
  19. #19
    “We were planting seeds of change, the fruit of which we might never see. We had to be patient.”
  20. #20
    “I tried not to feel intimidated when classroom conversation was dominated by male students, which it often was. Hearing them, I realized that they weren’t at all smarter than the rest of us. They were simply emboldened, floating on an ancient tide of superiority, buoyed by the fact that history had never told them anything different.”
  21. #21
    “The more popular you became, the more haters you acquired.”
  22. #22
    “I knew from my own life experience that when someone shows genuine interest in your learning and development, even if only for ten minutes in a busy day, it matters. It matters especially for women, for minorities, for anyone society is quick to overlook.”
  23. #23
    “Everything was not lost. This was the message we needed to carry forward. It’s what I truly believed. It wasn’t ideal, but it was our reality—the world as it is. We needed now to be resolute, to keep our feet pointed in the direction of progress.”
  24. #24
    “Since stepping reluctantly into public life, I’ve been held up as the most powerful woman in the world and taken down as an “angry black woman.” I’ve wanted to ask my detractors which part of that phrase matters to them the most—is it “angry” or “black” or “woman”?”
  25. #25
    “You don’t really know how attached you are until you move away, until you’ve experienced what it means to be dislodged, a cork floating on the ocean of another place.”
  26. #26
    “Let’s invite one another in. Maybe then we can begin to fear less, to make fewer wrong assumptions, to let go of the biases and stereotypes that unnecessarily divide us. Maybe we can better embrace the ways we are the same. It’s not about being perfect. It’s not about where you get yourself in the end. There’s power in allowing yourself to be known and heard, in owning your unique story, in using your authentic voice. And there’s grace in being willing to know and hear others. This, for me, is how we become.”
  27. #27
    “For every door that’s been opened to me, I’ve tried to open my door to others.”
  28. #28
    “Do we settle for the world as it is, or do we work for the world as it should be?”
  29. #29
    “If you don’t get out there and define yourself, you’ll be quickly and inaccurately defined by others.”
  30. #30
    “Everyone on Earth, they’d tell us, was carrying around an unseen history, and that alone deserved some tolerance.”
  31. #31
    “Failure is a feeling long before it’s an actual result. It’s vulnerability that breeds with self-doubt and then is escalated, often deliberately, by fear.”
  32. #32
    “Grief and resilience live together.”
  33. #33
    “In my blinding drive to excel, in my need to do things perfectly, I’d missed the signs and taken the wrong road.”
  34. #34
    “It hurts to live after someone has died. It just does. It can hurt to walk down a hallway or open the fridge. It hurts to put on a pair of socks, to brush your teeth. Food tastes like nothing. Colors go flat. Music hurts, and so do memories. You look at something you’d otherwise find beautiful—a purple sky at sunset or a playground full of kids—and it only somehow deepens the loss. Grief is so lonely this way.”
  35. #35
    “Now that I’m an adult, I realize that kids know at a very young age when they’re being devalued, when adults aren’t invested enough to help them learn. Their anger over it can manifest itself as unruliness. It’s hardly their fault. They aren’t “bad kids.” They’re just trying to survive bad circumstances.”
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