Shelf esteem

I´ve been apathetic and depressed all day and doing anything at all was an effort, but now I´m feeling much better. I have spent a lot of time sorting my books, deciding what I want to keep and what needs to be stored in the basement. Now when I look at my bookshelves, for the first time in my life I only see books which interest me or which I like for some reason.

I used to have tons of clever, sophisticated books in my shelves, and then tons of stuff my parents gave to me for whatever reason, and I always felt the burden of those books. But I have to read them. I need to read and know all this before I can do anything else. They have become part of my life and part of what I´m supposed to succeed in and know about.

Well, now I don´t need to worry about that anymore. One of my bookshelves is childrens´ books and crime novels, the other one is books about crime, terrorism and psychology. I´m surrounded by books which actually are my friends.

Some books used to make me feel bad for very foggy reasons, like there was one single line or a piece of dialogue which somehow made me feel stupid, unlovable or otherwise bad. They´re gone now, though just to the basement, as I´m still not one for throwing things away.

I no longer feel obliged to tolerate things that make me feel bad.

The statement, admittedly, is a little bolder than I deserve, given that I´m only talking about books. It´s only now, though, that I realize to what extent I have tolerated my identity and my wishes and needs to be marginalized if I have to grow this old before I even feel fit to decide what I put into my own bookshelf.

I constantly seem to be waiting for someone´s permission for every decision I make. I cannot just make them on my own. It amazes me how much more alive I feel just because I made sure my bookshelves reflect my interests. It was incredibly liberating, also, when I went through my old papers, notes and clutter and put my past into one big box, wrote “sort out when you feel better” on it and banished it to the basement where it will patiently wait for me to develop a morbid interest even in times which now seem too toxic to think of. That interest will come eventually, I know myself that well.

What I put into that box was nothing too dramatic, it was just a whole lot of uni stuff, for example. And damn, did that feel good! Banish all the expectations, all the should-haves, everything I should have read, studied, obsessed over and didn´t! Even if I graduate, my time at uni will largely have been a failure. Not the years in general, but the uni part. It feels good to free myself of the feeling of obligation I still have when I look at my uni stuff.

Now that I free myself (or at least try to do so), what´s next? I will be done with uni soon, one way or the other, and I´ll need to find something to do. I don´t want to slip into the old routine of letting others decide or doing what others expect.

I recently reached a point in my life where I stopped being terrified of who I am and started to feel curious about it. That seems to be a good foundation for finding out what to do. I think it´s too early to think about jobs or worrying about making money from every little talent or passion I have. That´s the kind of thinking that´s been blocking me for years. Since when am I a person who reduces the meaning of life to finding the right career anyway? I sort of turned into that kind of person, but I can still feel my younger self cringe at that somewhere in the back of my head, and she´s damn right.

I´m a bit worried about my optimism. I´ve had moments like this before, and I always lost that spirit again. I´ve somehow become skeptical towards the dream that one day everything will change and I´ll suddenly be someone who feels alive, someone with an identity of her own.

I´m the kind of person who doesn´t even know she has an intuition when it comes to life choices, so I´ve never been good at following it. But right now it seems to be saying something, and that is: Don´t do anything that doesn´t have that little trace of magic that makes you feel alive.

Well, I will have to do some things. I´ll have to try and graduate. Afterwards, though…we´ll see!

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2 Responses to “Shelf esteem”

  1. I love that play on the words, there.

  2. Hang on to times (and feelings) like these when you sink into despair. Sometimes that’s all you’ve got.

    I’ve been following your blog. You said that you’ve enjoyed your writing, so it’s inevitable that you are finding healing in the written words, I do, too. Please read my blog because maybe my hope, strength, or experience may help you. If you like it, follow it.

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