20 Oct This year or, Who I was, I still am.
Matt and I have an ongoing debate about who is the biggest hoarder.
(fyi. he is.)
Whether it is books, or clothes or tins full of receipts from 1994, the conversation crops up time and time again. Over lunch on Sunday we were talking about it again, and the large purpose-built bookshelves that run along one entire wall of our dining room were pointed to as evidence.
Did I really need all those books? Could I not take some to our local charity shop?
Because I am a very gracious wife I decided to try and find some. And I did (about ten I think – if anyone is keeping score).
As I was selecting said books I started thinking about how I loved to read as a teenager. How books were the thing that made me, where I learnt, how I relaxed. Sharing books and talking about books was a way to connect with people.
Through my twenties when babies and responsibilities piled up, I lost this passion.
It didn’t happen overnight, but as I slowly shrunk under the weight of depression, and washing and sleeplessness, I lost the ability to concentrate. Words swam on the page. I didn’t have the headspace to imagine the locations or characters I read about. I fell asleep while I tried.
So, I gave up.
And with good cause, it was too hard and I was too tired.
I thought that maybe reading was something that was just important to me in my formative years, when I was figuring out what I thought, who I was.
For a lot of years I barely read a book. I bought the occasional magazine and looked at the pictures, but One Bear At Bedtime, or The Giant Jam Sandwich, as I tucked the kids in, became the scope of my literary adventures.
When I was diagnosed with Post Natal Depression and someone told me that it was actually not always going to be like this, and that I was ill, not a failure, I remember someone telling me that reading is often very difficult for people with depression. I held on to this tiny flame of hope. Maybe my reading days were not behind me, maybe I was still the same person after all.
Over the past two or three years I have started to read again.
It had been glorious.
It turns out all my years are formative and I am not done with learning and exploring and discussing.
And as I selected the books for the charity shop, I also made a pile of the books I have read this year, and I took a photo of them:
And looking at this stack I recognised how far I’d come.
This isn’t a brag post, it is a gratitude post.
It is an encouragement post.
It is a reminder that the person I was, I still am.
That it is possible to recover.