Monday, January 24, 2011

Why I Love to Read- An Honest and Painful Look at my Past.

Reading books has always been a love of mine from a very early age. I remember bi-monthly trips to the library where I would grab any and all books I could get my grubby little paws on. I remember in the 4th grade getting in trouble constantly because I would be reading Nancy Drew books instead of doing my math or reading social studies along with the class. Hahaha my teacher always had such mixed feelings because she was happy and proud that I so loved to read but she had to chastise me since I wasn't working on what I was supposed to. When I was in 5th and 6th grade I had graduated to not just young adult novels but adult novels themselves. I had read all of the V.C. Andrews books before I entered the 6th grade. I would devour books whole. I would forgo sleep just to read. Back then I must have read 1-2 books a day! Trips to the bookstore had me carrying out backbreaking bags bursting with books and my poor mother (who never could say no to my book addiction) with a much lighter wallet trailing behind. OH and forget about when it came time for Scholastic book orders. "I'll take one of each please!". Book fairs were things of marvel with table after table piled high with books. Books simply put were my best friend

Now that I am older with kids and a part time job I don't have the time to read that I once had. I have to sneak in reading when I can. One of the reasons that I started this blog was because last year I had the horror of realizing that I had read maybe at most 3 books that year. This from the kid who would devour 7-14 books a week. I felt horrified and ashamed. Where had I gone wrong? Why had I abandoned something I loved and hold so dear?

The painful truth.....I know what is different from now and then. I could use time as an excuse but the truth is that as a kid I was constantly trying to escape reality. I couldn't face my life because it was painful for me. Starting in about the 3rd grade I had become a chubby kid and was an easy target for bullies. I was bullied by everyone. Even my fellow geeks would make fun of and bully me. I tried fighting back but that made it worse. Nothing I did could change it. I tried wearing the same clothes as the cool kids but they just made fun of me for trying to fit in. I tried pretending that I couldn't hear what they were saying but they would just taunt louder and longer. There was a time when literally my only friend was my dog Sandy. Books were my escape from all that hurt me. The bullies could shout whatever names they wanted at me so long as I had a book in my hand. Books transported me to other worlds far away from this painful one where I was the most unliked kid. At the tender age of 10 (yes 10) was when I first contemplated suicide. For many years after that I would suffer from severe depression, bouts of suicidal thoughts and self mutilation. Even after middle school where I finally found a group of life-long friends I still had to battle the demons of depression. I hid my arms which were covered in deep cuts I had made the night before. I pretended I was normal and happy meanwhile on the inside I was screaming and crying and desperate for help.

Something in the past 5 years has changed for me. Perhaps it has been becoming a mother or marrying the man who, I guess if you believe in it, is my soul mate. I no longer think of suicide as an option. I haven't cut or hurt myself in so long that I can't even remember the last time. Oh sure I still suffer from bouts of depression but I battle my way through it. But during this time I've lost my books. Those best friends of mine who helped me through the worst years of my life. I think it is because I no longer need the distant worlds to survive. Now I can truly read just for the pleasure of reading. Not read to escape the pain of what is happening. Now don't get me wrong there is still a lot of pain in my life but I've learned not to try to escape it because eventually it consumes a person.


Carissa said...

I have to say that I really love your candor here. I think there are a lot of us that might have started reading as an escape from the unpleasantness of lifer---whether it be teasing, abuse, or crappy parents.

I have had problems with depression at times in my life as well, so I know how hopeless it can make you feel, but the wonderful thing about us book bloggers is that we are a tight knit community here and whenever I start feeling down, I just start flipping through the blog roll--reading reviews, random posts, or chatting. It always perks me right up and it's great to know that you can finally enjoy reading for what it is as opposed to needing it to provide an escape from your life.


MommyWantsToRead said...

Thank you so much. It was hard for me to write as I still don't feel comfortable admitting to such taboo things as suicide and self mutilation. I think though it is important in recovery from depression to be open and honest about such things.

I know what you mean about going through and reading what others write. That is one of the things that inspired me to start a blog was because I so enjoyed reading what others had to say.

BookGeek said...

Thanks for such an honest post. I was an incredibly shy person growing up and books were my way to see some other person that was strong and brave. I learned so many lessons from those books as a child and then as a teen. I still am learning lessons!

Thanks for sharing. I hope that from this post you can continue to fight the depression that can creep up on you. This is what I love about blogging too - the community!