6:06 p.m. - 2012-02-01
The fact that I am reading so much means I am not accomplishing much else; I'm more than vaguely depressed that my classes don't start until March; I feel guilty because I had the time to play with my kids but instead I sent them outside to play with each other and merely kept track of them, nose buried in a book. I didn't do laundry and didn't keep up with the dirty dishes and strewn socks and toys that two preschoolers invariably produce. I took them for a walk and read bedtime books with them of course, but that was about it.
Of course reading like that is escapism, a fuite -- flight-- from me and my day and my life. I suppose people use computer role-playing games that way now, but I don't know how those things work and do not intend to find out. My parents considered my reading a major problem when I was a kid -- that is, that I did it constantly and despite lectures, punishment and obvious negative consequences, sort of like an addiction. The more chaotic my reality, the more I got punished for escaping it, the more desperate I was to find a book and go away again.
I've had that same feeling the last couple of days -- that I NEED to read, because I don't want to be here.
I was about to write that I don't know what I'm escaping, but yeah, I do. It's the intensity of my feelings for other people, now that I've started letting people -- and feelings -- back into my life. These last couple of weeks, especially, I suppose, I have been deliberately taking emotional risks. As a result, every time I have time to think, my stomach starts tying itself in knots: what if I'm too much? What if by expressing how I feel, I'm expressing too much, what if i love someone too much, what if, by defying my fears, I mess up a friendship that would have been fine if I'd been a coward?
I feel anxious and fearful, and since I don't drink or cut anymore, I've falling back on my earliest maladaptive escape, reading. Reading, that is, not for pleasure really, but to be anywhere BUT in my own skin.
Usually I would be depressed after spending a day like this. I call days like this "lost days" -- days I've done nothing but evade, escape, and waste time on one dark addiction or another.
But ... BUT!! Thanks to just a tiny tweak in my dysfunctional, escapist non-stop reading behavior, my lost days have redeemed themselves. I switched my reading material from English to French, and voila! reading all day is instantly almost guilt-free.
The best part about it is that I read French almost as well as English -- much better than I did when I lived in France. The only things that hang me up are slang and very rarely used words, like the name of some extinct butterfly in Zimbabwe. I forget that I am reading in French. And then when I remember, it makes me happy because, growing up in a tiny town in Vermont I always dreamed of being fluent in a couple of languages and being at home in the great european cities ... reading in French is a small part of my dream come true.
Right now, I am so incredibly glad that Matt left me. I would never have left him, even though that meant giving up pretty much everything else I wanted and cared about in life.
Languages are more loyal and more interesting than he is anyway; you devote a decade of your life to them and they don't just walk out and leave you one day like men do. I definitely need to invest my life in something more durable and interesting than the jerk I used to love.