When I was little, my greatest accomplishment was learning to read. Nobody ever really knew just how much that ability really means to me. I didn’t have any friends really, just a cousin that I got to see at school, and maybe on the weekends if we went to visit. During summer, I didn’t get to see anyone other than family, so my life was a little lonely. But learning to read……that changed EVERYTHING.
Suddenly, there were new worlds open to me, new languages to learn, new lands to explore, new people to meet. I could go anywhere, see anything, be anybody. I could solve mysteries. I could work on a farm. I could travel to Europe. I could be a doctor. I could BE. But this is only a small part. This was girlish adventures into Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys, Amelia Earhart.
Then I grew up. And I found out what else I could be. Books still take me different places. They are still an escape into other lands, but now I get to BE those people. The hunky guys in the love stories are not the important part. Neither are the locales where these stories take place. What is important are the women. I get to be those women. Not their careers or “getting the hunky guy,” but The Woman.
I get to be strong and confident and not seem to be cold or unfeeling. I get to be vulnerable and fragile and not appear weak. I get to be passionate and uninhibited without being ashamed. I get to be smart and knowledgeable without being perceived as a know-it-all. I get to inspire passion and possessiveness in just the right amounts. I get to be perfectly imperfect. I get to be all the things I WANT to be and aren’t.
I get to tell people off and stand my ground (which I’m too afraid to do in real life). I get to be woman enough to push my man to the edges of his control and yet control that same passion in him (have you seen me lately? Not an inspiration to unbridled passion). I get to be soft and vulnerable without being walked on (too scared to cry in front of anyone). I get to have all of my feelings — even the unreasonable ones — completely and instantly understood. I always know exactly what to say, and exactly what to hear. In Books.
In books I am someone else. I don’t have whiny children. I don’t have children getting in trouble at school. I don’t have a husband that sometimes doesn’t know how to react to me. I don’t have a job working with people I don’t always understand. I don’t have to cook or clean or balance the checkbook. I look fabulous in anything. Or nothing. I don’t lose my temper. I never run out of patience.
But I also don’t get hugs and kisses from MY boys. I also don’t get to be held at night by MY husband who knows me and understands me (most of the time) and loves me anyway. I don’t cook and clean in MY home (not just a house). So even though I love my books, and love getting to be someone else (and even someone I like better than myself); my books don’t have what I love most about MY life.
I don’t mind visiting someone else’s world for a little while, and being someone else. Sometimes their adventures put my life into perspective. They get shot at while I get hugs from my children. They run from danger while I run from a spider.
So even if I lose my temper, run out of patience, never know what to say, and don’t always know how to interact with people, I will keep my life, my kids, my husband. I’ll keep my hugs even with the spiders. That is MY world. THEY are my world. And I love them most of all.