Okay, so this is what happened to me last week.
I was doing some much needed cleaning and sorting in my home (because I was on a new year, new me! kind of high) and I found tons of stuff that transported me straight to 10 years ago. It’s a little scary for me to realize I’d been hoarding books and games since that innocent little age and that it’s been 10 whole years since I’d begun properly reading. I was a little overwhelmed by the quantity of my selfishness and the amount of support my reading habit had obviously been benefitted by- so thank you everybody for spoiling me as a kid.
The weirder aspect of memories gushing is the distinctive feeling of nostalgia- I had no real experience of that until I came face to face with the objects that literally made my life complete then- and nostalgia has such a stand out flavour among all the other emotions! It’s a blend of welcome realizations, filled with the regret for the quick passage of time, the illusion of peace and quiet and utter satisfaction (that only a poor memory can support because I don’t believe anybody had that peaceful a life, as quiet a life as they wax poetic about while reminiscing about their childhood) and the joy of uncovering the secrets of your younger self- someone you’ve obviously grown up from but didn’t realize when exactly you changed so drastically.
I remember myself as being an involved, excited student with good confidence and many hobbies at that age when I began reading books for fun which slowly changed into a dangerous dependency as life happened to me. I knew I liked books for their stories, the endless possibility of adventure with friends and doing good while being rogue at an age where I wasn’t allowed to go out of my building complex. They gave me a quiet sense of exhilaration, the sense of belonging, the thrill of being part of chases, the breathlessness when I was wound tightly by the storyline that was rife with suspense and the awe at the art of playing with words ( I often didn’t know) to craft pieces of magic. I remember how reluctant I used to be to leave my books and go do anything else in the holidays. I remember how the little force mother had had to apply to get me to read my very first book- The Mystery of the Strange Messages- yielded me a habit that brought me more than a way to pass my time- it was instrumental in giving me an identity when others had one, it brought me time to myself where I didn’t have to judge myself on yardsticks others set and I would agree to, it brought me purpose and the will to write at all and it brought me closer to my own friends and family because I was now equipped with vocabulary and the power to express myself (not however, to the extent of proficiency I hoped).
Reading was of so much importance to me that I never learned to let it go. In fact I know, frankly, how much I abused it in the times I felt lonely and tired of living my own life. I know I have avoided studying for exams and instead read more books with surprising swiftness that eventually bite me when the results are declared.
This post, however much I’ve squirreled into a reading track- was about my possessions. I’d cleaned up shelves and boxes and large bags to dispose them of- to more kids that could relive a more interesting life- but I was so overwhelmed by sadness as I put the books, one by one, with a sad goodbye to each one of them, away to be carried off from my side- they were bits of my own heart, I’d shared more than a few hours with them- and I couldn’t cope. I’ve been so sad about something in my life never else. Never had I thought would I be so possessive and fickle that I wanted to keep something for which I’d have no use- till that moment when all my books were safely boxed up. It felt like I was losing myself. Not in the best sense however.
It felt a betrayal to me from a few years ago. Someone that doesn’t really exist but is actually still a voice in my head. Those books were that voice’s life. Giving them up would mean disregarding that the part of me ever existed, isn’t it?
Who would I have been without my books? Literally nobody. Giving them up just felt so wrong, so gut wrenching that I felt odd about having such vested interests in inanimate objects.
What testimony or reminder of my previous life did I have? None.
It’s only memories now.
Memories that are bound to fade away as I get more and more advanced in age and experience.
Memories which might strike me once in awhile if I meander to the children’s sections of bookstores.
Memories that once were the life I’d easily choose to return to in a moment of weakness.
Memories that are biased to show me just the best and the worst of my times alive- serving as a poor example to look back upon and an even worse measure of comparison with the life I lead.
Memories that keep me from totally objectively seeing life because nostalgia.
Memories that I can cherish but I choose to forget more often than not because they never seem significant to me but are truly, truly heart warming.