how did i turn out this way? well, i read books.

Saturday, November 12, 2016 |
It’s been a while since I truly focused my energy on this blog. After the week we just had here in the USA, I wanted to write and write and WRITE all of my feelings out, but Twitter and Facebook didn’t seem like the place to do it.  I’m more of an observer on those networks. I saw the lovely Aarti of BookLust mention that this week made her want to go back to her blog, and I thought: yes, that’s it. I’ll blog.

One of the reasons I grew up a passionate reader and book advocate is that my family encouraged it. My mom and dad read aloud to my siblings and me. Bookstore visits were a special treat after a job well done. My mother homeschooled me from 3rd through 8th grade (ages 9-14), and we visited our local library almost every day during that span. I always checked out the maximum amount of books allowed. I think that environment was absolutely ideal for growing a crop of readers (and thoughtful human beings!), and I’m thankful that my parents devoted so much time and energy to making that a reality. I know I was lucky and privileged.

Books can open your mind and your world. Along with being super-involved in my education, my parents were (and are) very religious. They fit that white evangelical voter profile. My beliefs and priorities have shifted over time (thanks in large part to reading a lot, and widely). They’ve doubled down. I watch and learn from people with different life experiences on social media. We’ve listened to different stories and sources. To keep the peace during my brief visits home, I often stayed silent (and I own that). It lead to a lot of tension, and on my part, a deepening resentment and sadness. When you think that your family won’t approve of your politics, it’s hard. When you believe that your politics will lead them to question your salvation… well.

This week I faced the fact that though I love my family, I haven’t been honest with them about who I am and what I believe in almost a decade. And that’s not okay. I’m in my thirties(!), and I feel way too old to hide anything. I had my most open conversation with them in years on Thursday. End result? I won’t be going home for the holidays. Silver lining: I freed myself of a long-hidden hurt, and I feel like I'm in a place to speak up without guilt. Even though this week has been awful in many ways, I hope I’ve grown a bit as a person.  And I hope that I’ll be here, writing about books (especially diverse ones!) more often going forward.

Let me know if you’ve read anything amazing recently, ok? 


Kristen M. said...

Oh, Celia ... I'm so sorry that you fought with your parents. My mom was up visiting last week before the election and she is also religious and on the right and we ended up fighting a couple of times. But it's also just within the past few years that I've felt comfortable standing up for what I believe in so I know exactly where you are and what you are going through.
I've actually only finished two children's books in this entire month because of my houseguest and the election but they are two fantastic books by Mildred D. Taylor -- Song of the Trees and Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry. They're about a family in the south during the depression and they cemented my view that I've come to a better place in my politics and my views about the world. There wasn't a time when America was greater than it is right now, when many of us care deeply about each other regardless of our differences. I think next, though, I'll need to find something a bit lighter to read!

Jenny @ Reading the End said...

*hug* I'm sorry y'all had the fight -- even thought it was important to have it, it's still a lot of hurt to deal with. I hope you have another plan for the holidays that won't be shitty? And I am sending so much internet love from down here in my red-ass state. Stay brave! <3

i-too-dislike-it said...

You don't know me at all, but I'm one of your readers and just wanted to express my sympathies to you. I was for a few years part of the fundamentalist world (though my family never was) so I know something of what you're going through. I hope that the love will overcome their fear and hurt and I know how difficult and perhaps unlikely that journey is for them. May you stay strong and find all the support you need and want through chosen family. I am so sorry you have had to go through this. You are brave and an example for us all.

The most amazing book I read recently was Corrag by Susan Fletcher. At first I thought it was yet another herbalist condemned as a witch story (forgive me, I have read so many of them I think because I was looking for *this* one). It might be exactly the one you need right now. It was the one I needed, that's for sure.

Hayley said...

I'm so sorry that your family froze you out of the holidays. I'll be honest though, I have that same fear about talking honest politics with my family. I've been trying to calmly, patiently discuss issues as they come up in conversations instead of straight serious politics. But it's so hard. Thank you for being brave.

Aarti said...

Oh, Cecelia! I'm so proud of you and sad for you. I do not have such a huge gulf with my parents, but I am absolutely much more firebrand-ish about many things than they are, and I know it can make them uncomfortable, and their lack of action can frustrate me. I hope you have wonderful plans for the holidays that will be relaxing and fun instead of tense and silent. Massive hugs, and I am so glad that my tweet voiced what so many of us who have often gone dormant on blogsophere feel. It's nice to know I'm not the only one.

Cecelia said...

Thank you all for your kind comments and wonderful book recommendations! I do have alternate holiday plans, so I will be fine (happy, even!). It was such a relief to put this "out there" that I didn't even think about what the response might be, but you are all too lovely for words. Thank you for encouraging me! Hugs to all!

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