Monday, March 19, 2018

On Wanting to Walk Away

A few months ago now, I created something I'd been wanting to belong to for a while. A book club. It was one of those bucket list things, something I'd always felt like I should have been a part of as an avid reader and writer myself, but being as I have never really been the one included by anyone in anything, I had to make it myself.

The subtitle of my life.

And it's fine, really. I'm 41 years old and used to this truth. Plus, the added bonus is that even if sometimes running all the things I run becomes tedious, I get to decide what direction to take and what to focus on, and I happen to think that is worth all the work almost all of the time.

I've been reading so much. So, so much. So much that I couldn't honestly even tell you how much I have been reading, and to make a list of the books I have read in the past two months would be impossible. I'd have to go looking back through my GoodReads updates and IG pictures since I am trying to use that to keep track of what I loved and what I didn't.

Mostly, though, I am trying to pre-read books for this book club because I now feel responsible for the choices I make since they are potentially impacting over 100 people. I need to be diligent and conscious and deliberate. Some of the selections are going to have consequences for people. Some books have nearly undone the seams of my being, the ones that are pieced together and stitched precariously.

One so far had to be removed from the list when news broke of sexual harassment allegations. Is there nothing left untouched by this toxic masculinity running rampant through our culture? Never mind, don't answer that. I already know the answer and it is terribly discouraging. The hope, though, is that since these things are becoming more and more public and people collectively seem to be caring a little bit more, that maybe just maybe we can raise the next generation of children to be better than we are.

All this reading is also something else that I need to admit. Escapism. For me. To keep me here and grounded, I need to run away to distant lands and hear the stories of other people and immerse myself in fictions. I've never in my life needed to read more than I do right now, so maybe there is more selfishness to this book club than I would ordinarily admit.

Either that, or the timing is impeccable.

The thing about reading as much as I have been lately, though, is that my writing has fallen by the wayside. This, just the most recent IT isn't the first time, it certainly won't be the last, and the more I read the more I take comfort in the fact that writing actually comes easier the older I get. I get better at it. It flows more. I still absolutely kick myself over and over and over again when I finish a magnificent book authored by someone a decade younger than I am, but then I remind myself that nothing in my life has gone according to plan and besides which, I never intended to be a writer anyway.

I have pushed back greatly from social media, staying in the limited capacity I have for the work that I do, the work means that I have to be online. For as much as people enjoy laying blame at the feet of the internet for all that ails our society, it has saved my life more than once. I have built and supported and benefited from the connections made online, and I know that there are times that we can become so isolated in the grips of our own inner demons that there is no such thing as an outside world and that the people who live in the computer might be the only ones listening and caring. So I stay.

Reluctantly.

I have been hurt by so many people online, and I keep getting back up and fighting again, knowing what is coming. I have to. If nothing else, I am passionate and stubborn.

I recently was roped, persuaded, convinced, whatever, into becoming an election delegate, mostly because no one else was willing. I sat with it for a moment, wanting so much to refuse the nomination because I am so entirely overwhelmed with life and all the responsibilities I have currently, hardly able to keep all the balls in the air, the balls that I dropped instantly a few months ago of necessity. I wanted to refuse, but I couldn't.

And not because I lack the ability to say no, but because if I refuse and allow my voice and the voices of those I advocate for and fight for to be silenced, I am hypocritical and full of shit.

I'd become what I hate most.

And I can't. I can't do that. I won't.

I'd love to say no. To walk away. From so very much in my life currently. But I won't.

It just means that I have one more thing occupying my time all the time. And honestly the fact that I have even been sitting here writing for fifteen minutes feels indulgent because I got on the computer to set up volunteer schedules for a fundraiser, but my fingers found their way here.

And so, I will go and do the things I am supposed to be doing.

Know that if it feels like I've been distant, I have been. I want to write, but I can't.

Apparently, though, I needed to just now.

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If you'd like to join the book club, look for The Well Read Introvert on Facebook.

I'll be around, scaring off trolls and trying to keep all the balls in the air. xo

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