Books should make children feel powerful

The fondest memory that I have as a child was listening to my teacher read Narnia.

Every afternoon at exactly 2:00p.m. we would stop whatever we were doing and sit there and listen.

If we were loud and boisterous one moment, we were quiet and in awe the next.

I was a playground junkie, I loved playing tag at lunchtimes with my friends. We would take over the entire playground with our shouts and running feet, but whenever it was 2:00 p.m, I would sit there on the carpet, arms crossed and turn silent.

I still remember quite clearly why I loved the book. It was the feeling that it gave me. I could see the images running through my own head as if they were scenes in a movie. Images of a boy running away from a witch, dropping down into a black hole, of children being tied to a tree and a mysticism that surrounded the whole story.

That was how my nine year old brain interpreted C.S Lewis’s words. I saw them as pictures and felt them, and no matter how many hours had passed, they stuck to my mind and imprinted themselves like memories.

As I grew older, into my teen and young adult years, I realised the power that stories gave to me.

They got me out of bed and made me run up a hill. They made me teach myself skills when I didn’t think I was smart enough. They made me see a different side to me when I didn’t believe in me. And they made me realise to always, always cherish the parts in yourself that you hate. Because somehow, miraculously those faults always turned out to be the one thing that gave you your greatest power.

I discovered that stories were the constant anchor I held onto during transitional moments in my life. They gave me a moment to pause and catch my breath before I was strong enough to swim back to shore.

Nowadays, I feel a tingling sensation course through my body when I find myself in the right section of a bookstore. It’s as if the excited nerves in my body are greeting an old friend. And all because of a book I listened to every afternoon at school.

The rain and I

Sitting here on the couch today, I’ve made a decision not to sell myself short.

I’ve decided I’m going to stand up for myself when other people say “you’re not good enough.”

I’ve decided to say “yes, I am.”

I’m no longer going to please people as if my life depended on it.

These past few days, I’ve seen a change in my habits. I no longer procrastinate, I stick to the things that I say I’m gonna do and I am more disciplined than ever.

I have become this way not because I am strong or successful, but because I have failed.

I have failed and realised that I didn’t want to diminish myself anymore.

Today I cried buckets and buckets of tears. Today, the plan that I had set into motion didn’t pan out.

But that’s ok, because when the rain speaks, nothing else can be heard. It’s just the rain and I. Stripping away all the inessentials.

The book seller’s magic

The lady at the bookstore, I saw her today, wrapped in a heavy shawl outside the bus stop.

Her hair was pinned up with a little black clip, a dark statement against her wispy white hair.

Four words popped out as soon as I saw her. Straw-like, stuck out, and slightly unkempt, but she seemed to flow of a magic that only book seller’s have.

One day, I hope to be a part of that same magic too.

And though I wanted to speak to her, I felt mute underneath the vast night sky. Some small feeling inside of me was holding me back from the book seller’s magic.

In my bolder days, when I’d spoken to her, she told me that she lived far away from the bookstore. Her children thought it was silly of her to travel all the way to the city just to work there.

But people who aren’t part of the magic don’t know. When you find a place of belonging, you’d do anything to keep it alive.

And though I am scared, pretty much every day now, I know I’d rather be scared than to stop being a dreamer.

I can’t help but continue on this path. It’s the only one that seems to ring true, the sweetest melody that makes all else bitter.

Now I can see that whatever happens, I will strive for that magic that booksellers have.

The one who makes all the wrong decisions

Do you ever make decisions that are insane/ incomprehensible/ illogical, that nobody in their right mind would do?

I feel like that is me. Or, at least, I am on the verge of doing that. And I’m so torn between logic and insanity that I’d be willing to base my decision on a simple coin toss.

The thing is, I am always torn between these two opposing forces. On one hand, I think how awesome it would be if I took a leap of faith into the unknown, where there is no guarantee that things will ever work out. And then I snap back to reality, scaring myself with all the what ifs.

People seem to romanticise the idea of taking leaps of faith and letting whatever comes your way hit you.

I do too. And it scares me.

So why do I think like that when I’m not really that brave of a person? Who am I to think that I will be able to soldier on through whatever comes my way?

Because there is something that I am utterly afraid of. Something that happened to me when I was nineteen years old that has stayed with me and messed up my process of thinking.

I could be safe and comfortable going about my own day. But then I think back to my nineteen year old self and the way I didn’t act when I should’ve or could’ve. My life would’ve changed in that instant for the better if I acted on that whim.

But I didn’t. And that has stayed with me for years, crawling underneath the roots of all my decisions.

No regrets. No regrets. It’s why I push too hard even if things look bleak.

No regrets.

I would rather have tried too hard than not at all. Because then I would know. I hate having to rewind back in time to find a piece of knowledge that has slipped through the cracks because of an indecision. It’s tedious. That’s why there’s no such thing as time travel.

Regret has made this shy, wallflower of a girl need to try something different. Regret has hurt my mind, stretched it, and bent it in ways that I would have never imagined.

Regret has disrupted my safe thinking and conjured up wild and crazy alternatives, opening my mind up to endless possibilities.

Fearing regret has probably made me a little insane. It’s probably led me off track at times. But I hope it will eventually lead me back to the right decision.

I am an adventurer

I am an adventurer.

Not your typical skydiving, globe trotting, jet skiing adventurer, but a more solitary, peaceful kind.

You see, being adventurous means being brave and following your heart.

My adventure happens right here in my room, where I am writing stories, becoming the author that I want to be.

There are it’s challenges; distractions, heartbreaks, financial woes, and work that gets in the way. But an adventure wouldn’t be called an adventure if it was one smooth sailing ride to the finish.

One of my major challenges this week has been my freelance work. Due to distractions, loss of a close friendship/romantic interest and feeling down in the dumps for the past week (months), I’ve let the quality of my freelance work slip.

My client is not too happy about it, but he has given me another chance to fix it, which means less time spent working on my novel.

Luckily for me, this weekend is a long weekend so I can, if my mind permits, focus on getting things sorted.

I currently work 2 jobs, a 40 hour a week day job, and a ten hour a week freelance job. So I’m forgiving myself for being a bit stressed and making mistakes.

But it’s really got me thinking. I need to pull myself together and stay organised so that I can get the work done and still have enough time to write my novel.

I’ve only spent a few hours this week writing it, which is nothing compared to the time spent freelancing and working.

I’m thinking in a few more months, something needs to give. I’m waiting a bit longer to make a decision. Seeing how things turn out first.

Anyway, what challenges have you guys faced while reaching for your dreams?

Hope the stars can work in our favour for the rest of this year.

Reflections

Everytime I think about him, I’m going to use the energy to finish writing my novel. I’m going to allow myself to think about him for a short while, but then afterwards I’m going to go on the computer and start writing.

That’s going to be my ritual for the next 6 months or however long it takes to get over him.

I heard that building your own self esteem and doing something meaningful to you is the only way to get over someone, as opposed to distracting yourself with random things.

So that’s what I’m going to do.

He was never really good at keeping promises anyway. I always had to remind him. So now I’m going to make up for that. I’m going to commit to the promises I’ve made to myself.

Things I’ll never grow out of

On my 14th birthday, I desperately wanted to buy Sinbad and the Seven Seas on DVD. It was a children’s movie that I had seen on TV, and everything about it catered to my longing for adventure. So I dragged my dad to the store and showed him the DVD. He frowned, “aren’t you a little too old for that?”

That Autumn, I was sad, because there were many things I would have to grow out of:

  • Reading children’s books
  • Watching Disney movies
  • Practising my badly drawn illustrations on the bedroom floor
  • Believing that anything can happen!

Even my silly personality, I would have to grow out of.

I worried about my future. Would people stop taking me seriously because I enjoyed those childlike things?

That Summer, I shed a couple of old leaves. I replaced all my old hobbies with serious ones. I thought it would be OK and sensible to lie low on land than to fly high above the clouds.

And one summer turned into four summers.

The funny thing is, I was still the same old tree.

I still longed for those old roots. They gave me an experience akin to being on top of the world, flying! I had magic right here, in me. And that was a special feeling to have.

No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t change the way I spoke. I couldn’t change the way I saw things, often with rose~tinted glasses. I couldn’t change the way I always looked for hope even though there was none. Subtle things like that, made up who I was.

I didn’t think these small things were important at the time. Regrettably, I shed the wrong things.

Today, I know that these are the things I shouldn’t have grown out of, but grown into.

I am trying not to punish myself for saying the wrong things, or wondering about the what ifs. Because if I was true to myself, how can it be wrong?

Our habits are like stars in the night sky. We don’t see the big picture until we observe the patterns and see a constellation in the sky.