Going In Circles

How many of us read not just as a means to be a better person*, but as a means to disappear into the book, completely, wishing never to come back, because the only thing that’s waiting for us if we ‘go back’, is nothing but despair, darkness, and endless misery?

“So what do you do to cope?” My cousin asked me today. “I read,” I said.

Reading works for me, and I honestly dread the day I lose my sight, because that will be the end of me. If money can buy me peace, I’d build a soundproof room to read. If money can buy me time, I’d use the time to read. If money can buy me things? I’d buy books. If money can make me things? I’d build a beautiful reading nook. If money can buy me legacies? I’d buy books and build libraries.

Most days, I am highly aware that I am indeed going in circles, facing the same toxicity, day in, day out. Although, it is much worse of an awakening to know that I am not alone in this circle. Once upon a time, I had a demanding job career, and I hardly got sick, maybe once a year, at most. Overtime didn’t mean sh*t. I soldiered on with a crazy-work-but-not much-life balance that made me, strangely, physically stronger.

Now that I no longer have that balance, I have found something else to replace it. Reading is great, mentally, but it is not the same as having a purpose or being rewarded – work, meetings, plannings, projects, business travels, salary, mentoring, etc.

I battle with the idea of going to the gym, going for a swim, or read. First world problems, they call it. I even find myself asking, stupidly, “Should I be exercising or reading to make this body stronger?”

What, do I even need to answer that question?

Once upon a life ago, I had the office and work responsibilities to turn to, amidst the deadly toxicity I have to endure. Now, all I do is read. I read, and read, and read. Wishing things would just go away, or better, have an ending. However, life toxicity doesn’t end until it ends, like the breath of life leaving a human body. Life isn’t a book, until it becomes a book. When it becomes a book, you’d have dissipated by then, completely, into earth, into air.

There are times when I question myself upon finishing a book – Did I read it thoroughly, when all those toxicity were exploding in between the pages? Did I miss anything crucial while toxic fumes were engulfing my lungs? Or, “F*ck, I sure hope I could concentrate on finishing this book tonight while I battle the toxic fumes and tend my intoxicated wounds!” – Stuff like that.

Currently, I’m physically sick – flu, cough, sore throat, headaches. I try to use books to heal from within, hoping it could literally help my body recover. After all, it wasn’t just a virus that made these possible. Really, it’s not, and it’s morbidly terrifying.

But is that even possible, using books to heal a broken body?

“I’ve been doing it for a couple years, though.”

No, honey, it is not possible. You know it’s not working, it did not work, and it will never work. That’s the verdict.

I don’t go never did well with New Year Resolutions, but it doesn’t hurt to say it anyway – Come next year, I am still going to stick to reading, to better myself, and to use it as a first-aid for the on-going mental battleground I’m going to have to endure; but with a new addition – Head to the f*cking gym or pool at least once a week.

Because my mind alone can’t work my soul anymore. My body has to work it too.

*reading teaches not just knowledge, but the ability to formulate and practice compassion through understanding the lives of others.

Break: What Do You Got?

Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.

Mason Cooley

This is rather subtle, but still it speaks to many of us.

When I saw this post in a reading group I belong to, I’d instantly hit share. I mean, what’s your Facebook for, really? To share, right? So I needed to share that. This. Reading is good. It’s quiet. It’s peaceful. It’s rewarding, mentally, spiritually. Though never quite physically.

I love to travel. I love moving around. I don’t like being stuck in one place over a long period of time which I can never quite explain how long, to be exact. I don’t get tired of things easily. I just want to be exposed to other things other than what I’ve already been exposed to. Either that, or I needed something more from the same thing I was exposed to, as it doesn’t always have to be something different.

I like going around solo, because I don’t like waiting around for things or people to happen. I find most thrills through observing, then making my move. By move, I mean talk. Chat. Communicate. Ask, and listen. Not speak.

But when you have to stay where you are, whether you’re bound to commitments or basic human responsibilities, what escape do you got? What excuses do you got, to make a quick escape?

To live freely, to be appreciated, to be respected, to be understood?

What do you got?

Books. Stories. You got books, you got stories. All to yourself.

(add music to that, and whatever antidepressants you’re on).

If your body can’t do the job for you, your mind can.

And don’t you ever, fucking forget that.

Reading For Different Reasons

It’s like tennis, you know, people play for different reasons. I just finished Netflix Elite Season 1. In one of the final few episodes, Ander’s dad handled his son’s coming out perfectly well, but with a twist – he wants his son to continue playing tennis and use his sexuality to win over sponsors and hopefully become the first gay man to win a world tennis championship.

So why do you read?

Some people read to challenge themselves, like, fuck, I’m pushing forty and haven’t read 20 books my whole fucking life. Maybe it’s time to start reading some shit.

Some people read to pass a test. Grade. You get the picture. They force it upon themselves just so that they could move on within a failed system.

Some people read because they want to gain popularity. Look! I’ve read this year’s top 100 fantasy novels. Hey, I pre-ordered Stephen King’s latest book, man. Can’t wait, man. I’m gonna be the first to finish it and post the first review on Goodreads, man.


Some people read because they are bored. BORED. This, I admire. Because, when I’m bored, the last thing I can ever do, is read and concentrate on what I’m reading. Good for you.

Then there are those who read because “It’s my hobby, I love to read!” That’s one of the weirdest bull-hobby I ever wrote when I, along with others, were forced to write our hobbies down during random class assignments and even during Sunday School. But okay then. So, I don’t have a hobby, unless you call solo backpacking a hobby, then sure, I have one. Otherwise, reading is not or shouldn’t be called hobby. Despite the existence of this blog.

What about those who read because they just need to step into another world other than the one they are forced to living in? Or perhaps that’s the only thing they are allowed to do, or could do, especially in times of despair?

What about those who read because they genuinely want to enrich themselves with wisdom they have no access to in real life?

What about those who read because they don’t think they deserve to be living the life they were born with?

What about those who read because they just want to disappear into oblivion on purpose?

Whatever your reasons are, you read because you are able to, and you should know that there are many people who want to read but do not have the means to. From forbidden to visual impairment, may you appreciate your access to reading no matter where you are, and who you are.

Break: Number Fill-Ins

I left my Kindle at home this morning, but thankfully, this was in my bag (the folder that holds this, is not always in my bag).

Also, I took a photo of the little kiddo. He’s not there yet (the idea of searching for words diagonally, backwards etc.) compared to his older brother, but he’s having a blast searching for letters related to his name!

Break from Books: Sand Journal

I came across Sand Journal thanks to a writing group I’m part of lurking at in search of wisdom writing tips.

I’m drawn to Sand because it is open to everyone, unlike certain lit magazines that only accepts submissions from established writers or simply, famous people who wrote something because they’re famous (and got themselves a great team of professionals). I’m just generalizing (shameless), but you get the idea.

Note: The PDF costs €5, after conversion, it’s less than $6. This is Issue #17. To get a copy, click here.