To say books saved me would be an understatement.
I was always kind of a loner. I didn't really have friends. I wasn't accepted into any friend group. It was just me. But I found comfort in books and art even at a young age. I would go to the library or the art room instead of going to recess because I didn't have someone to play with or someone who understood my love for reading. At home it was the same. No one liked to read so they didn't understand my love for it. I felt alone but I had the comfort books gave me. Cassandra Clare, my favorite author, wrote "it was books that made me feel like perhaps I wasn't completely alone", and I feel like that's how I felt. I couldn't connect with a physical being but I connected with the words that were written in the pages. And that was enough.
But once I got to middle school I was placed in advanced classes and because of that I was ranked as one of the top ten in my class. From that point on, my parents expected so much from me. They expected me to get perfect grades and to keep my rank. To them I was their "smart and perfect" daughter. To them a B was a failing grade because I should have done better. And because I'm not a native English speaker, I always had to try a little harder than anyone else.
The constant anxiety I felt to be perfect and to please them was a lot to handle.
I slowly stopped doing the things I loved. By the begging of seventh grade I stopped drawing and painting because I didn't have time. I was too busy with school. It was becoming too much for me. The stress of everything was wearing me down. By eighth grade, I didn't have time to read. And when I stopped reading, I lost the comfort it gave me. I didn't have a way to release any of the stress and anxiety that I felt. I began to crumble under it all. I felt empty and alone. I didn't do anything for myself. I got good grades for my parents. I continued cheering because my younger sister wanted me to. I went to dance classes because my older sister wanted me to. Honesty I think I didn't kill myself then because I didn't want it to be an inconveniences to anyone.
I couldn't take it anymore. I started to just go through the motions. I woke up at the same time everyday, I went to school and got back home at the same time, I did homework for five hours everyday, I went to cheer at the same time, I went to sleep at the same time. I just repeated the same motions everyday. Over and over again.
Everything just blurred together. Everything was just black black and white.
I'm sure my parents noticed that I was so unhappy. They noticed when my grades started to drop, But to them it wasn't because I was depressed, it was because I started to become "lazy" and "gave up".
I didn't start reading again until I hit rock bottom. I remember the feeling of awe that I felt when I went to the library for the first time in what felt like forever. The sad part is that I only went there because I was meeting up with people to study. I didn't realize that until later because I was so amazed that after so may year of feeling numb, I felt something.
Reading again was like I woke up for a terrible nightmare. It felt like I could finally breathe again. Getting back into reading was like going home after years of being lost. It wasn't until I read the Shadowhunter Chronicles that I began to feel like I was becoming my own person. I don't know if it was because of the amazing world that Cassandra Clare created or if it was because I connected with Clary, the main character in the Mortal Instruments, because of our love for art or because Tessa, the main character of the Infernal Device, love to read as well but I felt like I was alive again. While I was reading Lord of Shadows, I stumbled across a quote that explained so clear what happened to me, "fiction is truth even if it is not fact. If you believe only in facts and forget stories, your brain will live, but your heart will die". That's what happened to me. I forgot about stories and in result my heart died.
I had a hard time after I escaped the emptiness I was stuck in because, I didn't know who I was. You find out who you are in your teenage years, but I was depressed half of mine so I had no idea who I was. All I knew is that I like to read and draw. I slowly began to learned what made me smile and what helped me became the person I want to be. Reading showed me it was okay to make mistakes because I'm not perfect and that okay.
Literature honestly gave me life. It brought light into my life when I was surrounded by darkness and allowed me to find myself in the pages that I read.
Years later I sometimes find myself slipping again but then I remember how I felt and I never want to feel like that again.