I read a lot. Almost 2.5 books a week (depending on the page count – but averaging around 350 pages per book). At least so far this year.
I am plenty busy doing other things, I don’t have to read this much. I work full time, I teach a few lessons a week, I volunteer, and I see friends occasionally. I even go outside, when I remember that fresh air is good for me.
But I choose to read because it gives me a chance to escape from my life- something that television or friends doesn’t do. Reading engages my brain in a way that I am unable to think about things other than what I am reading. In other words, I am unable to have an anxiety or panic attack when I am absorbed in someone else’s story. I suffer from a form of PTSD (from childhood trauma) that triggers easily. The colour green will set me off – as will the number 11, black dogs, springtime, and the jerseys of the Green Bay Packers. Also children who are in pain. This one is a big one – and something I encountered a few weeks ago. And its made me retreat back into myself.
I met a 7 year old girl recently who told me some secrets about her life – and they were very similar to ones that I had experienced, and I have been unable to concentrate on much else since then. I reported the incident(s) to the people who needed to know, but I have a need to do more. But my hands are tied. I am unable to help any more than I have. I can only hope that what I did will not cause further pain. I hope what I did will keep her safe. For her sake, I am optimistic that everything will work out for the best. I have to think this way – because I am heartbroken that someone has hurt her. I am heartbroken that someone(s) have hurt me. Mirrors – I hate them. They show way more than we need to know.
So back to the books. I read to forget my own experience. I use books to create a new reality. I use them for other things too, like get ideas, and fall in love with fictional characters, and to understand new and old ideas. But mostly I read so I can trust. I can trust words (even if its for a short time – and I am aware that you cant believe everything you read). But its a different kind of trust. Fictional characters can’t hurt you like real people can. I choose to invest in this medium, because I am unable to trust anyone else in real life.
And I will never be alone, as long as I have a book in my hand.