Reality Sucks

Events of my childhod left me reclusive, self-doubting, self-destructive and more than slightly bitter about people in general. Not that any of this was visible externally. Growing up I was a well mannered, properly respectful, a better than average student who lived in constant fear of everything and everyone.     

I just didn’t understand people or what motivated them; they never made sense. It seemed that just when I thought I could trust someone, they betrayed me—horribly! By the time I was 9, I had retreated to the safe world of books where I didn’t have to deal with people at all. I learned how to fake living.  

By the time I was 13, I could put away some books, tossing them back one after the other—I lived in the school library all through middle school, strung out on Greek Mythology, and every book I could read by Mr. Shakespeare (loved Katarina in The Taming of the Shrew—though the ending sucked; thought Othello was a jerk for not believing in Desdemona); I lived these stories as if I were in them. It was only natural that by high school I had hit the harder stuff like Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein, and Piers Anthony—it was escapism at its finest. Yes, at an early age, I became addicted to the written word. It could lift me so high I wouldn’t have to bother interacting with the peons in the mundane world. Despite my ability to live in the real world, with my books, I could hide from the pain and suffering of real life and be the characters I read about.   

But like every artificial high, the crash at the inevitable conclusion of every story left me immensely sad and unhappy. Sometimes I was depressed to tears for days, even months, until I found another book. To avoid the crash, I started slamming them back, two, sometimes, three at a time; just so the fantasy would never end.  I had one in the car, one at home and one I carried in my purse.  I blamed the world for being crappy and hid from it (as much as I was able) until my late twenties when I came across a saying that went something like: “you’ve spent your entire life becoming the person you are today—was it worth it?” Essentially, I took it to mean that if I didn’t like my circumstances, then I was the one who had to change them.  

At the same time, I was introduced to what would later become my life philosophy, which teaches, in a nutshell, that life is an endless series of simultaneous causes and affects. Through it I learned that I was the author of my own successes and failures and while I can’t go backward and “un-cause” something, I can create causes in the present to achieve what I want in the future. I awakened to the reality that I can’t control the world and other people, I can’t stop someone from trying to hurt me, I can only control how I will react. This is the philosophy I use to make my daily decisions, big and small.

Katija Katija
51-55, F
5 Responses Jul 28, 2007

Hey, I can always use more friends, especially someone who loves books :D What kind do you read?

OMG! I cannot believe you wrote that. I can relate so well to what you said. I honestly believed that I was, at least it felt that way, the only person on the planet who does and did that (regarding your love of reading, the reason that you've loved reading, and the feeling that you have when you finish a book). I have not matured enough to the point in which I've been able to come to the realizations that you have came to. But your motives for reading, the fact that you were distraught when you finished a book is something that I can relate so well to. I can't even bring myself to finish a book, because it makes me so sad to see it end. What I started doing is halfway through one book, I buy a new one so that I have something to go into right away. Thanks for sharing your story, and for also sharing the philosophy that you've acquired over the years. It is very uplifting to see that someone with the same hopes and fears that I share has a reached a point at which you are able to feel a sense of peace with life. I would like to be your friend:)

Ah, energy. I remember having that once...

Some people have comfort food, I have comfort books. How weird is that?

Wonderful story. Thank you for sharing. I like your philosophy on life.