Hello! My name is Elizabeth Slick, I’m 23, from the United States of America, and I really, really, REALLY like books. I don’t particularly know what to say when you fork over money so you can talk about books, but I feel like that’s the introduction I am supposed to make. If not, here is kinda my life story and why I love books:
So let’s start off by saying, this post is going to be really sad in the next couple of paragraphs, so just a warning for those of you that are triggered by suicidal thoughts/ depressed thoughts. I will warn you as much as I can so that you can read (almost) the whole post.
From as early as I can remember, I had a book in my hand (except a brief time when I was 8 and was sure that books weren’t cool). One of my earliest memories was reading a Saved by the Bell novella in first grade (PS maybe don’t let a kid read that at that age?). I always pushed myself to read more and more, even to the point where I told myself one summer vacation I was going to read 100 books. While I got nowhere close to that goal, I told myself there is always next year.
Around 4th and 5th grade, I competed with a team of kids to see who could answer the most questions about all the books that were on a prescribed list. While I did absolutely dreadful trying to recall minute details, I would always be the only kid on the team to read every book. While I realize now that completely defeated the point of the competition, I live #noragrets.
In 4th grade, I had the worst teacher I have ever had in my entire life. She made me feel like everything I did was not only wrong, but that having ideas and thoughts made me wrong. When someone tells you everything that you think and say is completely idiotic and inconsequential, and that you shouldn’t share it, especially an authority figure, you start to believe it. And while I never paid to talk to someone about what is going on in my head, I know this particular person in my life was a reason I completely separated myself from everyone around me, leading to a social anxiety, fear of authority figures, and fear of failure that I still suffer from today. And let me be clear, she isn’t the only reason for my mental health issues, she just plays a major role in the development of those issues. (Side note: rereading this, I made this teacher sound absolutely dreadful, which in all honesty, I thought she was. But to her benefit, I was a talker, and I disrupted her class multiple times. I also found every way possible to try and get out of doing my work, and all those things would put a teacher over the edge. But this story is about me, how I interpreted the world, and why I love books, so sorry to that teacher, but you look real awful in the story of my life.)
From that point on in my life, I was alone. I had 0 friends. I mean ZERO. The only friends I had in this point in my life were black and white print on the page. While the other girls my age were going to sleepovers and birthday parties, I spent my weekend with my family, probably at a baseball field, with a book in my hand. When you go through puberty, you want people to look at you the same way you are looking at other people. When people looked at me, they only saw negative things, whether it be my weight, my hand-me-down clothes, or my completely guarded personality. Nobody took the time that was necessary to get to know me.
So around the time of 12 or 13, I wanted nothing to do with this world. More importantly, I was sure the world wanted nothing to do with me. I began to seriously think about how my life would come to its end. While I was failing to be someone important when I was in my everyday life, I would be a detective, a friend, an astronaut, a wizard, a hobbit, a vampire, or something else equally magnificient in a 12-year-old’s mind when I had open a book. In books, I got to be the person who saved the day, found their Prince Charming, kissed the beautiful girl, or just found peace for a split second. In the real world, I was this weird, pimply kid that people made fun of behind her back. (Also side note: I have no proof that anyone did this. I was/am extremely paranoid so nobody may have said anything about me and I still would have believed they did.)
About a year into these thoughts about how I would end my time on this planet, my mom told me “If you ever hurt yourself, it would be like hurting me.” If you have no idea who I am, know that I am a mamma’s girl through and through. My mom was my best friend, and in a lot of ways she was the only person I felt like I could talk to about my life. And while my mom had no clue how depressed I was, she knew I was not okay, and that I needed some encouragement. Through gritted teeth, I stood in front of a mirror until I found one thing I liked about me, because if I found one thing, then I would have some reason to stay grounded to Earth. My mom saved my life, and I owe her everything.
For those of you that saw the TRIGGER WARNING sign, welcome back. It gets a little more upbeat from here.
When I went to high school, I felt even more alone. In all the movies, the weirdo kids get shoved in lockers, their books knocked out of their hands, and completely humiliated in front of all their peers. I was sure that was going to happen to me, which now that I think about it, was pretty ridiculous. I doubt even the strongest football player could shove the 200+ lbs freshman into the tiniest locker you have ever seen. Beside the point, I would get ready to go to school, have terrible panic attacks which my parents thought was sickness, and then stay home. I essentially missed the first week of high school because of this “mysterious” illness.
When I finally went back to school, I met my best friend, who is still my best friend. The best part of being her friend is that she encouraged me all the time to not only read, but to talk to her about all the stuff I read. She never judged the amount of books I read, that I never went out on weekends, or that she was the only person I talked to on a daily basis.
My parents were also huge proponents in the reading game. My dad has 2 bookshelves in his office, but at this point they are more for show because he has too many books. I use to think that was my dream, to have bookshelves that were overflowing, and also bookshelves filled with all the books I have read. My dad has always been a hero in my mind, and his love of books helped fuel my own. My mom would take me to Border’s whenever we were in the area, and boy did I go hog wild. I wouldn’t try on a shirt at Wal-mart, but I would buy 7 books at Border’s. When I was in high school, my mom would download Audible books all the time, burn them onto CDs, and listen to them in the car. They always encouraged the books I read, listened when I talked to them, and even asked if I was okay when I didn’t have a book with me.
When I grew up and went to college, I stopped reading, purely due to a time management issue. In that time, I lost my mom, my grandmother, changed my major, had 2 internships, and began dealing with common panic attacks once I didn’t take time to find an escape the way I did when I was younger. When I left college in May 2017, I failed to proceed into the next steps of my life, and I continued to feel extremely alone.
In November of 2017, I created a GoodReads account, thinking that maybe by having an account, I would start reading more, subsequently finding some release from that fear of failure. I didn’t get my first big-girl job until February/March of 2018, but once I did, I was driving an hour commute 1 way to my 9-5 job, where I felt like I was really succeeding in. Then the contract I was under fell through and after 2 months, I was laid-off.
Quickly, I found my current job and began to work 6.5 hour days/ 5 days a week. I would come home and feel completely drained physically but still want to be mentally stimulated. So I picked up a book. And then another one, and then another one.
In the year 2018, I read about 85 books. In the year 2019 so far, I have read 43. Books have quickly become my way of life, and I wanted a way to share that with others. For whatever reason, I decided today at work that I was going to not only start this blog, but make this particular post.
SO… if you have made it this far, thank you for coming on this journey with me. And to all the Facebook friends that I have, I promise not to post every single post from this blog into your timeline. But feel free to visit anytime, I will be posting on here every time I read a book, talking about what I thought about the book I just finished. (PS I couldn’t think of the word “library” while I was making the domain so now this is a bookstore? Look, I’m not good with my words)
To anyone who may be interested in talking to me more about this blog, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter/Instagram at @whizzkid2013.