A drop of rain pelted my face.
The breeze ruffled my locks, causing it to tickle the side of my face and neck.
The sky grew darker, the smell of rain evident, a promise of a storm.
Voices roared in the distance, near my ears, but my mind currently plugged into the book in my hands. I was there, but not really. Battle cries rang, mixing with the rain. Screams filled the air. Laughter. Pain. Love. Loss. Happiness. Joy. Sadness, and so much more...
The many wonders of what a great read could do to the mind, the body, and the soul. It hypnotized and arises things that can't be explained- the imagination. Imagination's ability was and always will be like that, persuasive and informative- whether the information provided deemed plausible or not.
The darkness didn't swallow the cries and screams. The metal gates were forced shut, people shouting for cover, war tanks drove through the dusty ground of our front door, the reign of havoc without a cease in sight. Mama held me closer to her chest. My eyes burned. Tears stung my eyes. Papa called that night, but he was an ocean away. His words of safety was useless as the tear gas that was thrown over our home continue to torment my eyes. I was around six or seven years old. Togo, Lome (West Africa) was my home, but then after all that, we moved to live with my father, my mother and sisters with me. I called Chicago, Illinois my home now, for nearly thirteen years actually.
I was an outsider. I barely spoke English. My French and Mina had no use in a classroom that mainly spoke English. Some spoke Spanish, but I knew neither. My accent was different. I could only understand a few words spoken to me. But even then, I couldn't respond back. I was bullied; physically, emotionally, verbally... of where I came from and just being me. The grownups in my life didn't offer the help needed at the time. I fell low, nearly cutting away the pain. I was around seven. I felt that way for nine years after that.
I hated reading- with a burning passion. Maybe it was because at the time, I barely spoke English. And I hated writing as well.
Then I was given a book- the author whom I find out more about later, Rick Riordan- called Percy Jackson: The Lightening Thief. I was hooked, then continued to the rest of the books in the series till I finished it all. I loved it, and I continued happily, not even aware that I tossed my hatred for books out the window. I read and read, diving in the stories as if it could sate the hunger inside me. I wanted more, and the words in those books was my cure. I didn't care I was still an outcast. With every book, I became someone with a purpose. With every book, I grew more confident in the person that I am. With every book, I had a goal I wanted to accomplish.
If you could've asked that young, African seven year old girl who first came to the United States that she'll find the confidence and determination to succeed, I'd never believe you. With my love of books, I'm proudly pursuing my English major/ minor in Marketing, while reaching to become an editor at a publishing house. I may be a sophomore now, my head still partially in the clouds, but that's the beauty of it. Even as I continue to grow, reaching to accomplish my goals, I still want to live a creative life... A life I never thought I could pursue if I never dive into the beauty of reading.
Not only do I love reading, but writing had also become my drive to continue as well...
Reading not only saved my life, but gave me a purpose as well. You can live, but if you're not really living, what do you really gain from it all? Live the best creative life you can possibly live. Books, as you can see, can alter the life of the readers.
(Picture via Google)