If you haven’t noticed (which is perfectly fine), I’ve been taking a break from blogging for the past eight months. It wasn’t intentional; OLL was one of the casualties from the chaos in my personal life.
You may have tons of questions about that—and if you do, then I have to first say thank you for caring. Unfortunately, I’m still unpacking the answers myself and I’m sure in my confusion I’ve given well-meaning people scattered, contradictory, and incoherent answers. I apologize, and I won’t try to answer them here because this is neither the time nor the place.
This is a blog about reading, and about empathy. I’ve always loved literature because it broadens my limited perspective of people and the world. If reading has a purpose, I would argue that it is to increase empathy. What is it that motivates authors to write moving stories about heartbreak, failure, tragedy, sin—all the inescapable elements of life? It’s the desire to be understood. What motivates readers to enter these stories, to sit with characters in their suffering, and to celebrate their triumphs? The desire to understand, and to feel understood. Stories are a conversation in empathy.
For the past eight months, I have barely read any stories. In fact, just two: Gone Girl and Funny Girl (coincidence). I’ve just been too depressed, and scared. Many people say that reading is an escape for them, and I’m sure many in my position look to books to help them through. I wish that were true for me, but in my case, books help me enter into reality. They remind me of what other people are going through, they convict me when I’ve done something wrong, they help me see the bigger picture. Totally self-absorbed in my own pain and confusion, it is no surprise, then, that stories are not what I’ve been wanting lately. I’ve been the ostrich with its head in the ground, completely blinded by my own emotions, seeking out other, completely unhealthy escapes. Hurting myself and others. Cutting myself off from the one thing I need now more than ever in my life: empathy.
But it’s time for that to stop.
I haven’t been myself, and I miss me. I need empathy again, for myself and for others. I need stories. I need to see the bigger picture. I need to read again. I need to fix the things that are broken. And I need to process through blogging, so please indulge me. You don’t have to keep reading. This is purely for myself. But if you don’t mind sitting with me in my suffering for however long it takes to read a blog post, I’d appreciate the company.
There are a few non-fiction books I’ve been reading that have greatly helped me through this time, and if you are in a crisis in your life, I highly suggest you get them:
- Daring Greatly by Brene Brown
- The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown
- Self-Compassion by Kristin Neff