Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling



Which brings me to another thing I learned from Kim Kardashian: haters are just more people paying attention to you.

Playful arguments would become fits of uncontrollable laughter, and, like magic, that experience would be crystallized into a private joke, and the private joke would get boiled down to a simple phrase, which became a souvenir of the entire experience. For years to come, the phrase alone could uncork hours of renewed laughter. And as everyone knows, the best kind of laughter is laughter born of a shared memory.

Work hard, know your shit, show your shit, and then feel entitled. Listen to no one except the two smartest and kindest adults you know, and that doesn’t always mean your parents. If you do that, you will be fine.

People get scared when you try to do something, especially when it looks like you’re succeeding. People do not get scared when you’re failing. It calms them. But when you’re winning, it makes them feel like they’re losing or, worse yet, that maybe they should’ve tried to do something too, but now it’s too late. And since they didn’t, they want to stop you. You can’t let them.

People’s reaction to me is sometimes “Uch, I just don’t like her. I hate how she thinks she is so great.” But it’s not that I think I’m so great. I just don’t hate myself. I do idiotic things all the time and I say crazy stuff I regret, but I don’t let everything traumatize me. And the scary thing I have noticed is that some people really feel uncomfortable around women who don’t hate themselves. So that’s why you need to be a little bit brave.

I will leave you with one last piece of advice, which is: If you’ve got it, flaunt it. And if you don’t got it? Flaunt it. ’Cause what are we even doing here if we’re not flaunting it?

If someone really wants to see you, they always find a way. Always.

People talk about confidence without ever bringing up hard work. That’s a mistake. I know I sound like some dour older spinster on Downton Abbey who has never felt a man’s touch and whose heart has turned to stone, but I don’t understand how you could have self-confidence if you don’t do the work… I have never, ever, ever, met a high confident person and successful person who is not what a movie would call a ‘workaholic.’ Because confidence is like respect; you have to earn it.

I want to say one last thing, and it’s important. Though I am a generally happy person who feels comfortable in my skin, I do beat myself up because I am influenced by a societal pressure to be thin. All the time. I feel it the same way anybody who picks up a magazine and sees Keira Knightley’s elegantly bony shoulder blades poking out of a backless dress does. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen my shoulder blades once. Honestly, I’m dubious that any part of my body could be so sharp and firm as to be described as a “blade.” I feel it when I wake up in the morning and try on every single pair of my jeans and everything looks bad and I just want to go back to sleep. But my secret is: even though I wish I could be thin, and that I could have the ease of lifestyle that I associate with being thin, I don’t wish for it with all of my heart. Because my heart is reserved for way more important things.

The truth is, it’s hard to get people to like you, but it’s even harder to keep people liking you.

Confidence is just entitlement. Entitlement has gotten a bad rap because it’s used almost exclusively for the useless children of the rich, reality TV stars, and Conrad Hilton Jr., who gets kicked off an airplane for smoking pot in the lavatory and calling people peasants or whatever. But entitlement in and of itself isn’t so bad. Entitlement is simply the belief that you deserve something. Which is great. The hard part is, you’d better make sure you deserve it.

Who is the beauty icon that inspires you the most? Is it Sophia Loren? Audrey Hepburn? Halle Berry? Mine is Nosferatu, because that vampire taught me my number-one and number-two favorite beauty tricks of all time: avoid the sun at all costs and always try to appear shrouded in shadows.

I can’t for the life of me not eat something that I want to eat. You know how if you turned on a faucet in your sink to wash your hands, the idea of leaving the bathroom without turning it off is insane? That’s how I am about ignoring delicious food.

Asking your friend to be a bridesmaid is one of the modern paradoxes: no one actually wants to do it, but everyone would be offended if you didn’t ask.

People don’t say “Give me your honest opinion” because they want an honest opinion. They say it because it’s rude to say “Please tell me I’m amazing.

You know when you meet someone so smart and cool that all their tastes and opinions seem like the correct ones? And you instantly think: those are my opinions now too!

“Soul mates” is what you aim for, but soup snakes is what you get sometimes.

If you’re Natalie Dormer, you can take big fashion risks and shave half your head, and it looks good. If you’re a normal person and you try that, you just look like you had recent brain surgery.

I’ve always loved clothes. Like any normal woman, I would see a dress, buy it, rip the tags off with my teeth, save the buttons for ten to twelve years in a drawer, and wear it to work.

Throwing a tantrum feels good because you think you are ruining everyone’s good time when you feel your very worst. But the truth is, you’re not ruining their good time, you’re just giving them another good story.

The result of my not caring so much about what I say allows me to care more about how I say it.

A honeymoon is, after all, a sex vacation you’re giving yourself after a massive party in your honor.

Have you ever used your neighbor’s Wi-Fi when it wasn’t on a password? If you have the opportunity to observe someone at work, you are getting mentoring out of them even if they are unaware or resistant. Make a list of the people you think would make the greatest mentors and try to get close enough to steal their Wi-Fi.

If you’re reading this, you’re probably a woman. Or perhaps you’re a gay man getting a present for your even gayer friend. Maybe you accidentally bought this thinking it was the Malala book.

That’s why every doctor on TV is a drug addict, a sociopath, or just plain mega-rude. Doctors can do anything they want!

It’s weird when you feel your dream slipping away from you. Especially when you have no other dreams.

I think that’s the lesson of this story: you never know what is going to happen.

There is a certain type of greasy hair that you get only when you are writing with no breaks.

I will have a stern man in anything I ever write; I just love a gruff guy with a heart of gold. I guess what I’m saying is Walter Matthau is the man of my dreams.

When you are entitled, you are the most insufferable person ever. If you are entitled and hardworking, which I am, you are still pretty insufferable, but at least you somewhat earned your entitled behavior.

I think it’s a federal crime parking meters won’t accept pennies. Yeah, government, we know pennies suck. But you made them! You have to accept them! Parking meters are literally one of the three things anyone uses coins for and you decide you don’t want to deal with them?

I have the opposite of a dry sense of humor, so I’m always impressed by it. My sense of humor is wet and loud and risqué, like topless day at the water park.

Like every heterosexual woman and gay man in the country, I think James Franco is a very mysterious and sexy weirdo and I’d like to be invited to do a love scene with him in one of his art house movies.

Obviously there’s a part of all of us who wants to pull a full Courtney Love about every breakup—it’s so dramatic and makes you feel like: See?! You’ll remember me one way or another, dammit!

No matter how good you have it, it’s cool to want more.

It’s been proven that writers are funnier when they are demoralized.

We did not stage kiss because we didn’t know any better. It was just lights, camera, tongue-dance.

And that’s all show business is, really. Transitioning panics.

I just sometimes get the sneaking suspicion that corporations are co-opting “girl confidence” language to rally girls into buying body wash. Be careful.

For lunch I usually have something hearty like a burger or tacos. I have always believed lunch should be the biggest meal of the day. People who say breakfast should be the biggest meal are insane. You can’t have dessert at breakfast.

I guess I’m the kind of person who likes to be part of something so much that I won’t care if the something is bad.

The truth is, it’s hard to get people to like you, but it’s even harder to keep people liking you. You’d have to bring in Skittles every single day.

The first thing you need to know is that the hair on your head is worthless. The color, the length, the thickness, everything. You will never see anyone on TV sporting their own God-given hair, unless it’s on, like, a sad miniseries about factory workers in East Germany. The same goes for hair color. Yes, your natural color may be appropriate for your skin tone, but this isn’t the land of appropriate—this is Hollywood, baby.

Edward Albee, our greatest living playwright, American treasure, who watched Doubt from beginning to end and loved it, all while a bored B. J. Novak slept on him.

We do a thing in America, which is to label people “workaholics” and tell them that work is ruining their lives. It’s such a widespread opinion that it seems like the premise to every indie movie is “Workaholic mom comes home to find that her entire family hates her. It’s not until she cuts back on work, smokes a little pot, and takes up ballroom dancing classes with her neglected husband that she realizes what is truly important in life. Not work.” Working parents have now eclipsed shady Russian-esque operatives as America’s most popular choice of movie villain. And to some degree, I understand why the trope exists. It probably resonates because most people in this country hate their jobs. The economies of entire countries like Turks and Caicos are banking on US citizens hating their jobs and wanting to get away from it all. And I understand that. But it’s a confusing message for kids. The reason I’m bringing this up is not to defend my status as someone who always works. (I swear I’m not that Tiger Mom lady! I don’t think you need to play piano for eleven hours with no meals! Or only watch historical movies, then write reports on them for me to read and grade!) It’s just that, the truth is, I have never, ever, ever met a highly confident and successful person who is not what a movie would call a “workaholic.” We can’t have it both ways, and children should know that. Because confidence is like respect; you have to earn it.

I happen to believe that no one inherently deserves anything, except basic human rights, and not to have to watch an ad before you watch a trailer on YouTube.

I don’t wake up in the morning, look at my naked body in the mirror, and say, “Good morning, body. Once again, you’ve nailed it, you gorgeous imperfect thing. That wobbly patch of cellulite? A miracle. Each stretch mark? A Picasso. Holy crap, I look good! Who can I sext? Somebody else has got to see this!

The truth is, if I were going to lose weight successfully, I would have to think about what I eat constantly. I cannot imagine a life more boring and a more time-consuming obsession than being preoccupied with watching what I eat. I mean, maybe being in a coma would be more boring, but at least then you’re free to dream about all of your favorite foods. And the fact of the matter is, I don’t have that much brain space to use thinking about it.

I am telling you, the key to looking gorgeous is to never sit up straight. It implies you have not eaten enough to have the strength to sit like a regular person, which historically is sexy to everyone.

My family’s dreams about a future unfettered by the limitations imposed by “who you know” and dependent only on “what you know” was possible only in this beautiful land.

I was just a friendly thirty-four-year-old TV actress looking for a boyfriend who didn’t have a neck tattoo.

Every kid wants approval, but my desire to be well liked was central to my personality.

One of the unexpected and wonderfully fair things I have learned in my career is that if Hollywood were filled just with perfect-looking people, then soap operas would be the most-watched things in the world. But they’re not. Looks are great, but they’re not compelling enough. I’ve noticed that successful actors with long careers are usually talented actors with charismatic screen presences, and all of them exude one thing: confidence.

I never think environmental hazards are going to kill me. I only think serial killers are.

I’m the kind of person who becomes silent when I get scared, because I hope Death will not notice me if I am very still and very quiet. It has worked well so far.

I bought this wand, the Tria Acne Clearing Blue Light, from my dermatologist’s office. At one point I was spending so much time with the device that I started calling him Wall-E.

I’ve found that a well-fitting padded bra can transform me from a pear-shaped woman to an hourglass-shaped woman. Okay, maybe not hourglass-shaped, but definitely, say, an egg-timer-shaped woman.

I have a complicated relationship with my body. … I thought of it as the vehicle that carried me to and from places my brain wants to go, like my car.


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