I want to know more about my readers, so tell me your story below! I'll share mine...but I feel like I should warn you that it is a little personal.
Like many other readers, I began reading because books are my way to escape. Fantasy is my favorite genre because I can literally escape into a new world with new ways of life and forget about reality for a while. Not that my reality is necessarily terrible. It really isn't, but growing up my life was, well, complicated to say the least. Unique is a better way to describe it, but that's just heading into cliche.
When I was in kindergarten both my parents became disabled in two separate accidents roughly nine months apart. This is one of the most defining moments in my life because it altered me in unexplainable ways since this time in my life is among my first solid memories. My father was born with a bubble in his brain and that bubble burst and his brain bled a lot. That's how it was described to me as a child that didn't understand terms like "aneurism" and "multiple strokes" and "questionable survival." Today, he is my absolute best friend, but when I was six years old, watching him struggle after being in the hospital for lengthy periods of time, having to learn how to walk again and remember things, re-take his drivers exam after learning he could no longer be an attorney, was slightly traumatizing. It didn't dawn on me how miraculous it was to still even have him around until years later when I could understand the fact that those long hospital stays when I was younger was because my Dad would have died if he got to the hospital even two minutes later.
Nine months later, my mother took his car out for a drive to keep it running after playing at being his bedside nurse for all hours of the day. She fell asleep at the wheel and crashed into a telephone pole while going around a turn. Her entire spine is pretty much metal rods and screws now and she's forced to be nearly stationary because of the intense pain she constantly experiences. If you know me at all, you'll know that I will do nearly anything to avoid having to drive a car myself, and I think this accident is the basis of my phobia combined with an accident that happened many many years later where I was actually in the car. But that's a story for another time...
Between these events, reading became my lifeline and it continued to be after their respective accidents. Having grown up at an incredibly young age, I quickly began to read above my age level and once I started I never stopped.
Well, that's a lie. I did stop for a bit in elementary school after it became apparent to me that my home life wasn't what you would exactly call normal. Returning home to two disabled parents was an experience in itself and the mindset that it gave me was drastically different and more mature than most of my peers. I just realized the world wasn't the perfect, happy, safe place we all think it is when we are young at an age where I should have still been blissfully naive to certain evils. Instead of reading, I often spent time with friends noticing differences between our families.
And then a divorce came along and I started reading again and that's when it really never stopped. It's not even like the divorce hurt me, because it didn't. The most traumatizing aspect of their divorce for me was watching my Dad take my cat to his house and knowing I could only see him half a week instead of everyday. To late-elementary school me, this was like my world was ending because that crazy black cat and I are still on best friend status today.
After their accidents, it became increasingly obvious to me that my parents are two very different kinds of people because of their outlook on the world after facing death and somehow, miraculously, winning. For that, I'm really thankful. And it's that epiphany that made me realize that I am a happier person with a book in my hand, even if that book makes me cry sometimes. It gives me a way to channel my emotions into 400 pages without them going haywire because I don't know where else to channel them. Reading was my coping mechanism through every hard part of my life and I became so reliant on the ability to read my worries away, so to speak, that I don't know what to do without reading.
Reading literally keeps me sane today and I've learned to rely on it so much that I can't imagine a world without books. I mean, I love them so much that I'm pursuing a career where I am surrounded by books to help others realize how life-changing reading can be!
And, as personal and complicated as that was, that's what got me reading.
This post was inspired by a casual conversation I had with a friend near the end of the school year who asked me why I am the reader I am today. I thought about it a lot, and realized that this is why. I'm curious about other people's reasons for being the readers they are today. So, tell me below, what got you reading? (: