Hey, y’all. I hope you’re having a wonderful day. I admit I’ve been MIA, and the reason for my absence this time is the fact that I got sick and I was in the hospital, and I got diagnosed with endometriosis (the stage is still unknown and I might have to get surgery soon…which is bad news ’cause I just had another surgery last year so I’m so not in mood for another one!!!!). I also haven’t been able to accept/wrap my head around my diagnosis yet. It’s gonna be a hell lot of work.
The last few days have been very, extremely overwhelming — I’m sorry about disappearing every time. I feel guilty for posting 4 times a month and liking posts three or four times and then just dropping off the face of the earth. I’ll reply to the comments soon. I’m so behind on reading blog posts and books and doing tags. Thank you for reading my posts. Thank you for following my blog. Thank you for liking and commenting — I’ll get back to you and you folks make my day! ❤
Anyway, so before I got this diagnosis I was pretty sick, so I decided to pick up a book and read. I picked up my favorite books — I haven’t talked about my new favorites here but I absolutely adored Tweet Cute and I’ll post the Mid Year Book Freak Out Tag soon where you can find what I liked and what I didn’t like this year — and decided to read them. And I couldn’t. It made me realize that my relationship with books and reading has changed. In fact, it has been constantly evolving.
One of the things that I’ve noticed this year is that I have read 7 non-fiction books so far in 2020, and I’m going to read more of them! I didn’t read non-fiction before, then what changed in 2020 that I picked up 7 of them so far?
I think I do have an answer to this question, and that is the guilt associated with reading stories that are not real.
→ I’m not saying that reading fiction is bad. In fact, I believe reading fiction in the last two years has made me better, more empathetic, and kinder. I have come to understand people’s stories in a way I didn’t before. I can put myself in their shoes now, which I don’t think I did before. I perhaps didn’t even believe those stories before as I do now, because I hadn’t witnessed them with my own eyes. Now that I’ve read their stories (that’s why stories by ownvoices authors are so important), I know that they’re valid and are just as unique as mine. ❤
→ Reading fiction hasn’t just helped me understand those stories, it has also given me my self-esteem. I’m somebody who didn’t have a lot of good role models growing up. But reading fiction gave me the role models who I believe are right. They’re not just those authors but fictional characters. As a teenager, I struggled with my body image and self-confidence. I was an excellent student in school, but that’s the only thing I was confident about. I used to think I was “ugly” because I was estimating my worth by society’s scale. I used to feel it was wrong, but I did not know I had the voice to say that and I know it now. And that’s why I’m grateful to those people who have made me feel confident in my skin and who have made me develop a voice. And a lot of those people are fictional characters — like Charlie and Mara from Girl Made of Stars, and Xiomara from The Poet X.
However, despite learning so much from the books and finding role models in these fictional characters, I find it difficult to just pick up a book if I’m not learning something from it these days. I feel guilty. I feel like I could be doing so much work that’s productive instead of reading, because reading is just entertainment???. I know that’s not true, but I kinda feel like this and I end up scrolling through Instagram and watching the same old food videos instead of picking up a book and exercising my brain or just picking up a book and enjoying the story and having fun.
I know that some of it has been Twitter’s doing. Of course I’m not blaming the whole Twitter application for something I feel lol. Don’t come at me for saying this… I used to spend some time on Twitter before, and y’know what, it is a toxic platform. I still loved it though, because my fellow book bloggers were super supportive there, and always had my back. It was nice to be a part of Book Twitter, and I might go back — it also takes hell loads of time and college doesn’t let me give it what it demands — but there were always tweets in my feed that seemed super… unhealthy?? Like, people tweeting about how we should stop reading young adult fiction just because we’re adults. Ha-ha. Joke’s on them cos I’m still a teenager in my brain. And even on Reddit, sometimes people would just say that if you’re reading 50 fictional stories in 6 months, you’re not being productive, ’cause you need to read non-fiction to be productive and to learn. (Maybe my definition of productive doesn’t need to agree with theirs!)
Honestly, I dislike this idea personally: Non-fiction is not something I would read for fun. Of course I know some people learn facts for fun, but I would rather read a funny story about mice for leisure. But I think I kind of internalized those things and… read non-fiction? Because I feel guilty reading a book that’s just a love story? Because that has no value other than entertainment?
But I know that fiction has taught me more than non-fiction (I know that textbooks have taught me stuff, but if I’m given a choice to read a book about the war of 1812, and a love story around that time that also talks about the war, I would pick up the love story and not read the textbook at all, and if I wouldn’t read it, I wouldn’t know the war of 1812 at all — you get it, right? I know it wasn’t a good example, but it’s my example nonetheless ha-ha).
Even though I kind of internalized the feeling that reading fiction is not valuable –I’m working on getting rid of it but I’m glad I’m reading non-fic too–, I believe we should not shame people for what they read, because as I already said, fiction teaches us empathy, kindness, and gives us an understanding of other people’s lives. It gives us perspectives that are different from ours. And even if it doesn’t do that, it makes us feel happy. It gives us joy. It probably is the reason for some of us to get up from the bed in the morning. And even if you’re just reading to kill time, you don’t deserve to be told to read something else because fiction doesn’t have “value” and is “not productive”. Even if you don’t learn anything all the time — it’s impossible, I believe– and read it just for the sake of reading it, just do it.
Anyway, that’s something I’ve been grappling with in the last few days. I would like to hear from you guys about the same thing.
Have you felt guilty about reading fiction? What are your thoughts about it?
PS: I was also looking for books with characters who have endometriosis… And is it just me or is there actually a striking absence of it in English language literature??? I only found non-fiction related to it? Do you know books that have characters with endometriosis?