Cheryl Strayed on Being of Service

Feb 24, 2019

I was listening to an episode of the Simplify podcast this morning where the host was interviewing Cheryl Strayed (whom I have loved since her tenure as Sugar on The Rumpus), and Strayed said a couple of things about being of service that struck me.

“I think that there is something about acting, responding, that is always inherently empowering. Like being at the scene of an accident. It’s harder to be the person standing by watching someone bleed than it is to press your t-shirt to that wound.”

“When you’re of service, you actually end up being absorbed and consumed rather than devoured and exhausted.”

Strayed is one of those writers who always seem to have some nugget of wisdom that really resonates with me, whether it’s in an essay, an interview, a story… I keep a mental list of writers whose work feels like home to me and she is definitely on it. To anyone who hasn’t read her work before (or who has only read her memoir Wild), I highly recommend her book Tiny Beautiful Things, a collection of her advice columns from her Dear Sugar column on The Rumpus.