Open Book Confession

I fell in love.

I was nervous. How long had it been since I snuck glances, fingers aching to touch? How many had I gone through, each so promising on the outside but not quite enough to open up to? It was well past midnight and I was pulling another all-nighter. I wouldn’t be attempting to climb ladders or be seduced by others’ happy endings. Not this time. There would be no rush, no motivation besides simply trying again. And once I began, it snowballed. On some nights I gasped for air, laughing endlessly. On others I had but only silent tears threatening to fall. In the short span of three days, I learned more about myself than I had in a very long time.

Imagine more. This sense of satisfaction did not come from nostalgia alone, in fact, it was quite the opposite. I had always wanted this but never thought it possible. Why expect anything else, if such experiences had been re-occurring since childhood? It gave me the strength to know that things could be different and would be different.

I was in a whole other world, in A Court of Thorns and Roses. Her name was Feyra Archeron. She was a thing of fantasy and yet she was so raw and real because at her core she reminded me of myself. And perhaps that’s the first step in diverging from the paths that were paved for us but not by us –to confront all that we have known and demand more. Take matters into your own hands and make a change. Do not step down simply because parts of you are still broken. Despite the devastation that nearly tore you apart, you came out alive and you will fight until your last breath to protect all you hold dear. There is no shame in not being ready, only in giving up.  

Then I fell for Rhysand. I didn’t want to love him and doubted every single intention he had. Time after time, male protagonists had reduced females into damsels –prizes to be won, simpering sidekicks. But him? He treated her like what she was –his equal. Though he felt fear and anger all the same (and even showed it instead of bottling emotions inside), he knew that her decisions were entirely hers to make. No one can rob you of your right to choose. So don’t deny yourself that power.

I hope by this point you have realized that when I said I fell in love –I was referring to reading, to giving another chance to books. I hadn’t read simply for the joy of it since high school when it was mandatory in order to excel. Countless friends attempted to rekindle my passion for them by sharing stories that lit their hearts aflame, but none were enough for me to even consider picking them up. Even the covers, no matter how beautiful, did not break my dry spell.

And yet, as though I was being drawn to the Cauldron itself (you’ll understand once you read these books yourselves), I became hooked. In less than three days I finished all three books. Never had I been so astounded by such strong female characters. Their weaknesses, strengths, complexities –all of them so beyond anything I had ever read previously. Sarah J. Mass shred her characters apart, but each time they healed and grew back stronger. How many times have I been disappointed by toxic relationships –romantic or otherwise, sat back and watched as once again the male hero saves the day. Slowly I began to realize other tropes. Classes, skin color, sexuality, sexism; you name it –they came into question. The answers? I had to look within myself.

On the last page of the latest book, after I had followed along on this introspective journey and thought myself to be emotionally spent I was met with a, “will continue in 2018.” And I paused again. These stories, these questions, these lessons –they do not simply stop once I tried and finally succeeded. This is not the end. This is just the beginning of this newfound thirst and quite literally 2018. And to think I had been making the same resolution every year: to fall in love. This time, I did. I couldn’t stop flipping the pages. I didn’t notice that the sun had risen and didn’t even care. I was already in a different world.

I fell in love all over again.

I fell in love with reading.

To be continued…