Sometimes when you are lost in the endless cold that is winter in Indiana it can be a
challenge to see where support can come from. You probably see articles and list of great
resources and know that picking up the phone to call your closest dearest people will help…but sometimes for me it feels like that takes too much energy. That’s why I turn to reading to get me through. Some escape time in an engrossing story or a different perspective from a beloved author can change my mindset. It opens me up again to the other amazing supports I have available. Other times some self care moments spent reading an amazing novel is all I need to shake off my funk.
I know that if I pick up a novel by Kurt Vonnegut I will find my humor again, I will see the world a little more dearly, and be ready to join it again mentally and physically. When I think about the concept of having “your person,” I think it can apply to authors, favorite characters, and movies and television series. Vonnegut is my person. I know I can crack open a book and feel something again I’ve been missing when life is getting overwhelming or I settle into apathy. I will be able to smile again and relate to those around me with an eagerness and goodwill I did not previously have.
I have friends who relate to female characters in book series, that just by reading about
the adventures of their favorite character they feel more capable, more bold, ready to take on the world and kick ass.
I think nonfiction has a strong presence in the realm of support too. Sometimes the
feelings of helplessness come from feeling uncertain or not having the knowledge you need to feel in control of your life. Seeking out that information in books or learning facts about the issue you are facing can focus your mind and make you feel powerful and in control of your life. Self help books and articles are such an amazing resource. They helped me gain knowledge and skills to parent a newborn when I felt completely helpless and lost. When my marriage faced infidelity I read a book with three perspectives, the cheater, the cheated on, and the “other woman.” My anger and feelings of failure gained a purposeful perspective and a more organized, less chaotic and drowning sensation. Of course it didn’t fix it, but it was the support I needed.
As Vonnegut would say, “Hello, babies. Welcome to Earth. It’s hot in the summer and
cold in the winter. It’s round and wet and crowded. At the outside, babies, you’ve got about a hundred years here. There’s only one rule that I know of, babies- ‘God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.” This also means being kind to yourself, we are the hardest on ourselves, but we’ve got to learn to be kind and compassionate in our inner monologues. Use a book for support, use it for self care, use it as a tool to be kinder to yourself.