Wednesday, 24 December 2014

How Reading Has Impacted My Life...

It's going to be hard for me to express how much reading has impacted my life but, in this post, I'll try my best.

My mum introduced me to books at a very young age and I quickly fell in love with the pastime. I was quite an independent child in the way that, when I was old enough to hold a book, I wanted to read it by myself. The same way I had wanted to hold my own fork and feed myself when I was still in a high chair.

 
The earliest books I can remember reading are the Rainbow Fairies books. It was through these books that I first realised how absorbed you could become in a story. The two main characters in these stories were named Rachel and Kirsty, and, at that time, it was very easy for me to become a part of the story because, hey, my name's Rachel. And guess what? My big cousin (only older than me by about three years) is called Kirsty. I found it very easy to imagine myself into the pages because of that reason. I was Rachel and Kirsty was Kirsty - easy. These books truly introduced me to the extent of which you could immerse yourself in to a completely different world.

 
As I grew up and grew out of the Rainbow Fairies series, I progressed on to the Nancy Drew books, the Alex Rider novels, Eva Ibbotson's works and Harry Potter. Not only did these fuel my passion even more for reading but they introduced me to brave and curious characters. Characters who helped me align my own morals and never failed to empower me during the time I was reading their stories.

When I was about nine years old, I became quite ill. I missed about six weeks of school. The doctors weren't sure what was up with me - I was never diagnosed with anything. I was constantly feeling unwell and had no energy. For someone who was quite outgoing and always on the look out for adventure, it wasn't fun. During the time I was ill, I started suffering from anxiety. So my outgoing nature became timid, and I was scared of a lot of things. When my mum and dad tried to send me to school, I'd only be sent home again - half because of how ill I felt and half because I had an anxiety episode over it. I developed a fear of being sick and was too scared to go to school. I very much lived at both my grans' houses during this period.

I started reading a lot during this time. I wanted to lose myself completely in different worlds and not think about my current situation and anxiety. I was more or less too scared to even leave the house (even being without my mum or going to either of my grans' houses at the beginning was too hard) and I replaced real life adventures with fictional ones. It soon dawned on me how timid and scared I was in comparison to the characters I read about. They were all so fearless. It saddened me when I compared myself to them. I wanted nothing more than to be like them but it just felt impossible to me then. Looking back now, I will always be thankful to books for helping me to escape my situation at that time.


I truly believe that reading has made me who I am today. It was very hard transitioning from primary school to secondary school with my anxiety (let's just say I missed a lot of secondary school in the first two years) but I feel like books and characters empowered me and encouraged me to discover my own bravery. Now I look back and see how far I've come and it makes me smile. Everything seemed impossible back then but, with the help of inked pages and strong characters, everything seems possible to me now. These days, when I'm faced with a situation, I don't shy away like I once did. I ask myself, what would Tris do?

Sure my anxiety is still with me and I'm not as Dauntless as I'd like to be at times but I know now, with the help of books, I'm strong enough to overcome it.

On another note, I also wouldn't have created this blog if I didn't read. I mean, it is a book blog after all. And book blogging has affected my life in its own ways too.

I'll forever be thankful for books and reading.


Huge thank you to Cambrie from ...and so the book begins for tagging me to share my own story about how reading has impacted my life. I'd now like to tag Holly, Cat and Vivian to share theirs. :)

Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo

PS: I hope you have a wonderful Christmas tomorrow, everyone!

8 comments:

  1. Oh my gosh, I absolutely love your post. I also read the Alex Rider series, it was so amazing - ah don't get me started! I'm so sorry that you suffered from anxiety and illness when you were nine, but it's great that books helped. That's truly a great example of how reading, and brilliant, inspiring characters can impact and change someones life.
    Thanks so much for doing the tag! It was so fun reading your post (: - Cambrie xoxo

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    1. Thank you!! I LOVED those books. xD Thank YOU so much for tagging me!

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  2. Rachel, I'm pretty much convinced we're twins. When I was at school, I fainted whilst running and I developed anxiety three days later when I tried going to a friend's birthday party. I get severe panic attacks and there are still phases where I can't leave the house and where I get over 4 panic attacks a day - and that's just at home. I'm a lot better and I can go out now, but only if I'm with my parents. I was going to dance and to friends but then my anxiety came back, but I'm currently going to a lady who teaches CBT techniques and I'm hoping it will help. It's funny, because when I'm anxious as well or in a situation that stresses me, I also think what would Tris do? Like I'll be at the orthodontist and I'll feel really anxious and on the verge of a panic attack and then I'll think, no, Tris will try to be calm and work through the situation and it helps. It really helps. I'm really sorry you also had anxiety but I'm so, so, so happy that you're better now as it's truly an awful thing! Lovely post, Rachel! :) <3

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    1. It's good knowing you're not alone. You'll look back one day and smile too. <3 Thank you!!

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  3. I'm so glad you enjoy reading like this. Most people need to realize how awesome it is, really. I'm so glad it helped you feel better! I remember going through "reading is for NERDS" phase during my fresheman year in high school and I'm so glad it was only a phase! Reading is awesome!!!

    Ivana @ Bookish Teens

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  4. I love reading people's stories about what reading is to them and how it started. It's such an empowering thing. I loved your story. :D

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