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As I’ve grown up, the only thing I seem to think of to ask for Christmas is books and clothes. Mainly books.
I remember when I was younger, I’d ask for random toys and games that I’d been dreaming about for months. I’d just stare at a picture of whatever it is that I’d wanted, for hours, imagining when I’d be able to have it with me. Now, I struggle to find anything to ask for, much to the chagrin of my mother.
Guess it’s that whole growing up thing. You stop asking for the latest Nintendo system or American Girl Doll and start wondering if you can ask for love. Stability, motivation, a career, a job, a work ethic.
But I still ask for books. That, at least, hasn’t changed.
Sometimes it’s hard to feel like the same person I was days ago, let alone in years past. That’s a good thing, I suppose, to be changing. Figure out who I am and all that.
Now, I hardly have time to read for fun. Any free time I have I spend watching Netflix with my friends or writing my own stuff or scrolling through endless dashboards of social media. But the other day, I read.
Granted, I was procrastinating my seven to ten page paper that was due today (which I finished, don’t worry!). On Sunday, I saw the paperback that had slept next to my bed for the past four months, unopened and ignored, nothing more than something to put my phone on. On Sunday, I picked it up and read something I wanted to, for the first time in a long time.
I was about halfway through the book when I stopped, and I read the rest of it that day. There was something so therapeutic about it. It was like I had been stuck in my body for so long, stagnant and unchanging, until finally I was able to break out, the great escape, to Anywhere Else.
For me, as with any writer or reader, losing myself in someone’s world, falling gracefully into the arms of the narrator and being carried around in the nooks of words and the crannies of paragraphs, it’s like coming home.
I think that feeling is what I miss most about being younger. I was able to read a book a week, maybe even two. I was constantly in the middle of a thick novel, anything from Sherlock Holmes to The Chronicles of Narnia. I could carry my book around at school, waiting for any moment the teacher was busy with something else to pull it out and fill my head with words.
Now, I watch Netflix and Amazon Prime and YouTube, still filling my head with stories, but not quite in the same way. I cherish breaks like that of Christmas break when I get books as presents and spend the next few days in the Anywhere Else.
Of course, writing my own stories does almost the same, but it’s still a different sensation. And others can experience the same thing in other activities, whether it be reading as well or art or making music or learning something new. It’s going back to who you are, really, deep in the marrow of your bones. While I may want to write for television and love the experience of being sucked into a good show, it’s not the same as diving headfirst into a novel.
I’ll leave you with this thought, then. Take time to do that thing that makes you feel at home, makes you feel like who you are in the most wonderful way. When I was reading, I found myself gasping and laughing and talking to the book, completely enchanted like I was when I was young. Whatever that thing is that built you is still there, and it’s just waiting for you to come back home.
Also, if any of you were wondering, the book was I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson. Highly recommend. I cried.
With love and good vibes,
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