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.
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.