Accepting the Reader Within & A Six-Letter Word

06 April 2018

Meeting my inner reader and kicking one word to the curb.

I'm finished with the second category of the KonMari Method, books.

I've been experiencing a quarter-life crisis for a few years and I feel like I'm finally coming out the other side. All of this organizing is actually really helping with that. It's funny, I never thought that going through my stuff would tell me so much about myself.

My Book Cleansing Method 

The technical KonMari rule is to get rid of all the books you haven't read yet and only keep those books that are actually useful that you will refer to again. I'm a book lover, so that filled me with some serious rage and I knew that wouldn't work for me, so I tweaked it.

I made myself read the synopsis of and the first couple of pages of those books I haven't yet read. If I felt like I wanted to keep reading, then I kept it. If not, then away it went. As for the books I have already read, I've only kept those books that I loved enough to want to be able to lend them out to others who may also love them.

Meeting My Inner Reader

When I started my decluttering of all the books, I found myself feeling some guilt when I realized a trend among those books that didn't spark much joy for me. My undergraduate degree is in English. I really only picked the major because I love reading and discussing books and found myself gravitating towards those classes anyway. 

Because I spent so much time and money on literature courses, I have found myself being guilty of gravitating towards those books that I thought I should read. The thing is, I very rarely like those books. I don't want to read and re-read the classics, but I always thought that I should be that person. That it was expected of me. 

The Six-Letter Word I'm Trying to Kick

Last summer I had a handful of therapy sessions where I realized that a lot of the things I have done in life and a lot of the decisions I have made are a result of one word, should. I should do x,y, and z. I should be or like x,y, and z. All of the shoulds were clouding my vision of who I actually was and what I actually want to be, so we worked to eliminate the shoulds to get to what it is that I want.

Discovering What I WANT To Read

After going through all of my books, I have a better idea of what books I want to read. I want to read books that are fairly well-written. I prefer realistic fiction, but do enjoy some magical or science-fiction elements. I enjoy some chic-lit, but cringe and giggle like a schoolgirl at adult content. I really love when a writer can surprise me and throw me off course.

With that said, I do also want to occasionally step outside of my comfort-zone, because I think that sort of challenge helps keep me on my toes and provides me with the opportunity to grow. I want to be more mindful though when making selections like that and make sure that I don't feel like I have to finish it if I don't like it.

Do you struggle with the shoulds in your life too?

The Words That Mean The Most

04 April 2018

I developed a bad taste for poetry sometime during high school. I think the exact moment was a poetry presentation in 10th(?) grade. We were all assigned a poem from the textbook and it was our job to give a presentation on the poem, the technique, the meaning, all the fun stuff.

I've never really cared to understand the technicalities of poetry.  I know Shakespeare was a huge fan of iambic pentameter but if you asked me to define what that is, I'd probably find a way to change the subject. I don't spend my days pondering the poet's word choice. All in all I'm probably a failure as an English major. 

Anyway, back to that presentation. I know I spent a lot of time on that presentation, but the only thing I remember about it was that the meaning I took from the poem was "incorrect." Hearing that changed my feelings about the poem that I had read over and over again and grown to love. 

I subconsciously boycotted all talk of poetry throughout the rest of my education. I read it, when required, but I refused to connect with another poem again. Why bother when the meaning I took away from it could be incorrect? Then, one day, shortly after graduating from college, a poem found me. 

'The Journey' by Mary Oliver has been hanging somewhere I can see it for about six-and-a-half years now. It's a poem that has reminded me of my purpose and has helped me carry on when times get hard. At the time it found me I had no idea what curve-balls would come my way. This poem reminds me daily of what I can and cannot control. It reminds me to be true to myself and to listen to my intuition. 

Some time ago, I read the fabulous book Happiness for Beginners by Katherine Center. It's up there as one of my favorite reads, so if you haven't read it, then you really should. In the novel there is a character who carries around a portion of a poem and that poem gives him strength. It doesn't say how he found this poem, but I'm willing to bet it found him just like 'The Journey' found me. That's the thing about poems, you will find your poem when you least expect it and when you do you may find that you like poetry more than you initially thought you did. 

I'm not running out to read poetry anthologies, but when this poem no longer fits I hope that a different one will find me to take its place. 

What poem has special meaning to you? Do you have a favorite poet?

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