I love her handbag. Inside are papers and her wallet and cigarettes and at the bottom, where she never looks, there is loose change, loose mints, specs of tobacco from her cigarettes. Sometimes I bring the bag to my face, open it and inhale as deeply as I can.

My life came complete with a factory-installed biological brother seven years my senior.

Now he was the dish of wrapped peppermints next to the cash register that I didn't want because they were free. Because.

You would be amazed by what you can give up, lose, or break, and yet still be a person who gets happy over brownies.

Not crazy in a 'let's paint the kitchen bright red!' sort of way. But crazy in a 'gas oven, toothpaste sandwich, I am God' sort of way. Gone were the days when she would stand on the deck lighting lemon-scented candles without then having to eat the wax.

It's okay to like me, because I'm just like you. Everybody feels a bit like a dented can inside. Even the slickest, most polished person you can think of is more aware of their shortcomings and flaws than their talents and gifts.

It was a salad bar of phobias.

What I really want is to sit next to someone on an L.L. bean blanket on the beach in the fall and drink coffee from the same mug. I don't want some rusty '73 Ford Pinto with a factory-defective gas tank that causes it to explode when its rear-ended in the parking lot of the supermarket. So why do I keep looking for Pintos?

Handsome people are always interesting to watch. But a handsome person in crisis is riveting.

Just as I had long suspected, a person didn't really need math for anything anyway. Maybe some people did. Some limited people.

The truth behind the truth is this: even if you are a victim, you must never be a victim. Even if you deserve to be one. Because while you wait for somebody to come along and set things right, life has moved forward without you.

Self-pity isn't the most accurate description for this feeling because it describes only half of it: sad for me, I'm hurt. What's missing is the other half: and you need to do something about it.

I said all the wrong things. Except when I was busy saying all the mean ones and in the end I hated everybody and everything.

When your psychiatrist forgets to look at the clock and is hanging on your every word, that's when you know, out of all his patients, you are the sickest.

I missed him so much that I had physical sensations of loss, all over my body. Like one minute I was missing an arm, the next my spleen. It was making me feel sick, like throwing up.

I had the same worry that we wouldn't later be able to undo whatever it was we were doing to ourselves.

George had been surprised by my ability to leave him. He had not seen that in me.

The events of the past cannot be fully understood when you are the only element of the past actively engaged in reliving it.

I knew that if I wrote a new book every six months or every year, if I continued to read great books, eventually I would write something worthy of publication. I understood I might be in my forties or my fifties or even my sixties, but I felt confident that it would happen.

All children should be loved, protected, nurtured—emotionally and intellectually—respected, and never, under any circumstances, underestimated. Especially, most essentially, by themselves.

Signs with missing letters can only mean bad things.

Self-pity is the bestiality of emotions: it absolutely disgusts people. When you're feeling pity for yourself, and somebody says to you 'You think maybe it's time for the pity party to be over? You should stop feeling sorry for yourself and try to think positive,' it makes you wish you could saw their head off.

Normal people who weren't raised by mentally ill goats probably took the feeling of safety for granted. They only noticed when they suddenly felt unsafe. When the hands reach up for under the bed and grab their ankles, they scream, whereas I'm like Wait, can you scratch my knee before you kill me?

Speaking the words aloud so they would exist in the world and begin to become real.

This is what you should know about losing someone you love. They do not travel alone. You go with them.

Give that mint Milano back, you bitch. If you can't at least be polite, you don't get a treat.

All of us are richer and more fascinating and more complex than we can ever know.

I had never before considered the possibility that I might never even want a drink yet still be left with this horrible, throbbing vacancy in the center of my being, right where my mental health and contentment were supposed to be.

So that's what I'm here to become. And suddenly, this word fills me with a brand of sadness I haven't felt since childhood. The kind of sadness you feel at the end of summer. When the fireflies are gone, the ponds have dried up and the plants are wilted, weary from being so green.

How could something have no end, and if it had no end exactly where did it leave us?

Oh, I had a great time. My thirty-three-year-old boyfriend said he wished they could package my cum like ice cream so he could eat it all day.

Shame is the landfill emotion. It's not organic, like joy. It was dumped there by somebody else.

Augusten very distant tonight. Probably because of my games.

My brother had very specific likes and dislikes. Basically, he liked anything until it harmed him and then he was wary.

Hope and God were buddies. Theirs was not a formal relationship steeped in ritual and tradition. It was more of a close yet casual friendship.

Adam had smiled at him and Max had smiled back. And then they both just stood there in that awkward silence that happens when two people are attracted to each other but don't know what to do about it because they are strangers.

My window fogs and this makes me feel like there is no world outside of the car.

My brother shaped my young life. First, he taught me how to walk. Then, armed with sticks and dead snakes, he chased me and I learned how to run.

Like somebody who was just happy because there was macaroni and cheese in the world.

The horrible thing about being sober is you lose your excuse for being so fucked up.

The shame is disguised here as helpful. But both people in this conversation would know it was bullying.

Avoid self-pity by taking responsibility for everything that happens to you, even if somebody else is at fault. By taking responsibility, I don't mean play doormat. I mean, repair yourself. Move forward. Move on. Then, only then, see if you can wrangle some empathy.

Loss creates a greater overall surface area within a person. You expand as a result of it. Though it may very well feel like the opposite.

Before I'm a writer, I'm definitely a reader and when I read memoir, I really want it to be true.

Tracy, the leader of the CDH group, looks at me with eyes that seem to belong to someone three times her age. It's something beyond wisdom, all the way to insanity and back. It's like her eyes are scarred from all the things she's seen.

Only by embracing all that you regret and not denying it, only by placing the highest value on what you've gained because of all you've lost, does regret lose the ability to cripple you.

Never, ever try to impress somebody. Be exactly the person you would be if you were alone or with somebody it was safe to fart around.

Like cubic zirconia, I only look real. I'm an imposter.

Never work with children, puppies or bulimics.