It would be really easy to perceive my recent lack of recreational reading as a negative thing, a consequence of an overly-stressed individual with an ever-growing to-do list. It is always easy to see negatives; in fact, I think it is the human condition to stare happiness and positivity in the face but fail to see it due to all the negativity in the periphery. One can’t always see the trees for the forest, so to speak. However, my six month hiatus from writing, and its accompanying severe decline in reading for pleasure, requires but little adjustment in order to be seen as the beautiful result of a change in perspective and priorities that is anything but negative.
As I’m quite sure no one has noticed, it’s been over six months since I last posted to Shrews. My last post featured an annoyingly upbeat and optimistic version of me, making plans, preparing, and decorating. After only six months, I haven’t changed so much that the old version of me would be disappointed in me. Quite the contrary, actually. I think old Lindsay, naive though she may have been, was still realistic about the upcoming struggles and disenchantment that would permeate my first year of teaching. Luckily, I was warned that this year would be difficult, so it came as no surprise that I struggle daily. I hear that it will get better and I’m already sure that future Lindsay is looking back on this post, rolling her eyes.
However, my job is not the only aspect of my life. While the newness of my career currently seems all-consuming, I still come home to a gloriously supportive husband who is recently endeavoring on his own career re-start. I bought a house in October. I prioritize spending more and more time with my sweet puppy and my nephew. And often, more often than I would like, I sit on the couch and watch something that makes me laugh.
I don’t turn to books for solace anymore, and I was recently wondering why. What has changed? The answer is everything. Everything and nothing has changed. I’m the same me with all my grand ambitions for my life and career, but my growth in perspective over the last six months has changed my priorities. I knew my school placement was one that would be fraught with emotional blows; without bringing everyone down, I’ll just say that I hope I never get used to seeing the extremes in lack of resources, funds, education levels, and basic affection that I see daily in my students. It is disheartening, to say the least. I do what I can. Though it may be little, I do what I can, and I am fortunate to receive local charity that I can pass on to the kids, who benefit from it in ways that are palpable. However, I cannot shield them from all harm. I cannot fix home lives. I cannot restore that which has been withheld for years. I cannot absolve the stereotypes that continue to affect anyone who is even a little bit different.
For all these reasons, I go home and I do not read. I sit with my husband and get to know him better. I play with my dog. I take my nephew on nature walks. I work in my yard, knowing that I own it. I watch old episodes of SNL or QI, and I smile. Now and then, I dive into a book, hoping to rekindle that old flame, but more often than not, the conflicts and intrigue make me sour. My daily grind is filled with bright moments that undoubtedly outshine the negatives, but each day weighs my soul a bit more with the knowledge and experience that comes with this career. Consequently, I do not want to experience struggle or sadness in my free time.
In fact, every now and then, my husband tries to introduce a new TV show into our lives, and he knows that if it doesn’t lift my spirits, he will be watching it alone. I cannot abide volunteering for worry or sadness in my down time so, often, the books I want to read the most feature exciting conflicts and character struggles that just feel too heavy for me. I am currently forcing my way through Iron Gold by Pierce Brown. If you have visited my blog before, you’ll likely know how obsessed I was with the first three books in his Red Rising (now) Saga. So, unsurprisingly, I was thrilled about the next installment. However, I’m finding it hard to motivate myself to read it because my “friends” are imperfect and experiencing struggles that stress me out! Darrow is not always likable and I don’t like that. I’m halfway through the book and, I must admit, each page takes considerable effort for me to finish. I’m not enjoying it.
Now, that isn’t to say that it isn’t good. I’m navigating something, here, as I’m sure you’ve noticed, so I really can’t pinpoint whether I don’t like the book because it isn’t what I want it to be (based on my wholehearted dedication to the last 3 books), or if I don’t like it because my emotional state is changing and I’m becoming someone who needs “softer” books. If the latter is the case, I will just stop reading because I cannot tolerate mushy love stories and action-free tomes. I refuse to be bored by my pastimes. I might outgrow this as my heart hardens. I might be able to psyche myself into a state of enjoying the “escape” of fake problems, but I’ve never been that sort of person. My books’ characters are my friends and I might just need new friends?
All this to say, I’m sorry for my absence. I’ve been doing other things, things that make me happy, and I’m not sorry for that. I have completed a few books so far this year and I’m really enjoying teaching Romeo and Juliet, so I have some good things to say, but I figured if any group of souls might understand my plight, it might be you all. Onward and upward, I suppose. Be back soon (hopefully).