Mar 27, 2016

On Full Reader Acceptance

Hi everyone! This is Jillian. You all obviously know that I love to read books, hence the fact that I established my own book blog and decided to co-blog with Mishma to further share my love for the written word. My engagement in this hobby was never questionable because, since I was a young child, I have always been reading, even if the rest of my family members do not.

I've been a lifelong reader, and I personally believe that I was born with this hobby because I've never stopped since the day I learned to read. Let me tell you so much about this.

Growing up, I was a complete reader...

... but I'm not going to lie to you that there was this one point in my life
when I felt bad that I loved to read.

What's so harmful with the fact that I loved to read books? Truthfully, I thought I was lame

I was a young and awkward kid with a mind that blew up destructive, anxious thoughts and a mood that swung like a pendulum. I was incredibly anxious! And my mood was never helping because there were days when I felt like DYING even when there's nothing to "die" about. Growing up in grade school, I was always proud to bring out my book in class and read in my chair.

But yes, that phase of fear in the past had come, and I couldn't bear to bring out my book in public. It was only last year when I felt so afraid to read books. I was afraid of judgment, and so I would always cringe when people looked at the book I was reading in class, thinking that I might have been "lame" or "antisocial" to them. My only solution to this was to never read books in public at all, unless required at class. I could go home, be in a room I share with my family, and read in peace without anyone judging me.

But it was emotionally distressing because that part of my life, that destructive phase, was that first time ever that I was afraid to call myself a reader. I wanted to read a book in school, but I couldn't. I was too anxious.

Ever since I've been in this book blogging community that holds so much of insightful discussion posts, a mutual love for books, and endless talk of new releases, I felt a sense of belonging. There is truth in what I say: 

You guys changed me!

My mind was no longer different ever since April 3, 2014 came, the day I made my book blog nearly 2 years ago. (And yes, I will be celebrating my 2nd blogoversary sometime next week!) Because back then, a small inch of fear that blossomed into full-fledged anxiety really impacted my outlook on reading books and my attitude towards this.

My cousins would playfully tease me for reading books; I was used to it and took them in as a joke, but at one point (because of my anxiety, at least), it really did make me self-conscious over the things I read in public. I wanted to hide my books and tuck them in my bag, only to bring them out when I was alone.

A huge thank you to all those book bloggers who taught me otherwise! I've actually learned to fully accept my inner bookworm and my booknerd personality completely.

What's so wrong about reading books? My 13 or 14-year-old self would've thought it was lame, but right now, I'm thinking that it is really cool. I think reading books shouldn't be something that someone should be ashamed of at all, because it's a HOBBY, just like any other hobby. Reading books is just like saying, "I like to play hockey," which others might find really lame, but there will always be others who would be fascinated by this as well.

Since then, I did learn to look at reading as a two-way thing. Others are irked by this hobby, others are fascinated by it -- but it's just a hobby, and while it defines who you are and what you enjoy doing, what people say will never define YOU. You define your own self with you like to do.

And as for me? I define myself as a self-proclaimed bookworm, and it is only I who can define myself so. My journey as a reader was very rocky with all my insecurities and fears surrounding the idea of reading in public, but I've actually learned to fully accept myself for the reader that I am. And that is definitely not something to be ashamed of but something to be PROUD of.

What do you think about full reader acceptance?

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