I read a book! A whole book cover-to-cover! This is probably not a big deal for most of my readers. But, for me, this is a huge accomplishment. It is a step towards the normalcy I have been craving over the last year and a half. All I have wanted is to do things “normal” people do and reading is just one touchstone on my journey to finding my new normal.
Due to treatment, and a slight case of chemobrain, I have been unable to focus for extended periods of time. My mind is not as sharp as it once was; I have a hard time remembering names and continue to have to write things down to remember them. I maintain two calendars – one on my phone and one in a planner. I consider myself far too young to have “senior moments,” but I often do. The last thing my brain could handle during this most recent period of treatment was reading a book.
As I have been developing my writing skills, I have come to realize that in order to write more, I need to read more. If I want to write something more than this blog, I have to experience other styles of writing and pick one that works for me. I recently met with a writing coach and she gave me a long list of books to help me develop my voice. I felt I needed these book and I needed them immediately – thank you Amazon Prime!
After staring at the stack of books that arrived 2 days after I placed the order, I decided to start with Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed. I had read Strayed’s book Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail while undergoing treatment for Hodgkins lymphoma in 2012. I was inspired by her story and could relate it to my own, as I felt I too was hiking a mountain with shoes that didn’t fit! Reading about someone else’s discomfort helped me come to terms with my own.
So back to the book…it was a nice, easy, entertaining read and the perfect book to read as I reenter the world of words. I started reading the book about a week ago and couldn’t put it down. I even abandoned my lifelong habit of watching bad television and, instead sat in the quiet of my living room taking in the words. Sure, I’d have to go back and reread passages to refresh my memory; I would take out a pen to underline anything I’d like to reference in the future. The most important thing is that I was doing something that mere months ago I thought was impossible.
A step towards normalcy…it’s as simple as reading a book. On to the next one…