This is a personal post and I don’t know that I worded everything the way that I would like, so I will probably always discuss some aspects of this again at other times. This will be so I can get others to have a better understanding of my life and my relationship with reading. Thank you for reading this and being part of my reading journey!
I announced on twitter that I was taking a bit of a hiatus from blogging for the month of December. This is largely because I am focusing on a project that I am doing here on the blog. This is a project that is dear to my heart because it links back up to my original intention for this blog. My original intention was to read things that I had never gotten the opportunity to read growing up and to not feel forced into or away from reading that I would personally enjoy. I noticed, however, that lately I was getting myself caught up in what I felt was expected of the “book blogger.” Get ARCs (digital or print) and review them, so you can stay relevant. My brain said, “You are only relevant with new content.” It also said “people will only want to read your blog if you are posting new books that are just coming out.” Well I finally was able to tell my brain that it does not matter if there are a bunch of people reading my blog because originally this was to be an outlet for me. In a sense this is a therapeutic blog for me to connect with a part of my life that I wanted to have growing up and at other moments of my life, but I was not able to have because of issues that arose in my life (childhood abuse, other traumas, and homelessness for almost six years). I do not say this in some type of sympathy seeking way, but it is my reality. It is why I wanted to start this blog. I wanted to reconnect with something that I loved and used as an escape when I was able.
Libraries became a safe haven for me growing up. To this day when I feel anxious or out of sorts my partner will drive me to the library to calm me down. Luckily we live only a few blocks from it now, so sometimes he tells me to walk down there. I mentioned this about libraries because it is obvious that the space of books and where they are have had a huge impact on my life. Reading and books have had the most influence on my life for the positive, even if they were denied to me. The time to read simply was a luxury I did not have.
Today, I have time. I have the luxury of reading from time to time and when I do not feel like I have time, I make a few minutes to read something. I am a slow reader because of my lack of being allowed to read growing up, but it does not mean that I do not enjoy it or love to read. I may take longer than most people, but I will always take time to read. I push forward in reading. Sometimes it is a larger challenge for me to read a book because I still suffer greatly from anxiety. I still have “voices of the past” that influence my reading today. I get anxiety around it and feel that I am not allowed to read. That I will be punished for wasting my time reading, but I try very hard to push through this. I push through and I read because I find it to be so magical.
I started down the ARCs path because much of this feeling that I have internally of wanting to belong to the book blogging community. I wanted people to accept me for being a reader, but before I can ask others to accept me as a reader I have to be okay with myself as a reader. As someone that loves books. I have to be able to hold tight to what I want to do. That is what I am trying to do with this new project that focuses on my own book shelves. I bought so many books and never read them because of this anxiety about reading. Now I am going to quiet that voice. I am going to defeat it and say proudly, “I am allowed to read. I am allowed to be happy. I am allowed to be a reader.” Please help lift my voice up and support me in this project whenever you can. It is time to move forward and not live in the hurtful past of my life. I may read books that I didn’t get to read, but I am going to reconnect with happiness and reading for pleasure. Not because I have to read it or someone tells me that I should. I going to read for me and my life. Join me on that journey when I return in January with reviews of the books on my shelf.
This all being said, there will be another post coming up that will tie into this goal. There is a challenge that fits so nicely with this that I am signing up for. I would like to thank Bluestocking Bookworm for bringing it to my attention, so pay attention for another post shortly with this challenge that I am taking on!