Yesterday, Shana wrote a (delightful and insightful) blog post about all of life's little annoyances that she's going to quit stressing over. It was inspired by how awfullyhorriblebad her workday was, but she realized there were other small things she had been sweating, too. Her 101 list, for example. Her list made me want to do a list so we're in the same boat here...we have just a handful of weeks to finish something like 80 tasks. Also, blogging. She is stressed about blogging and reading other peoples' blogs and commenting and following back. (I, too, put off blogging if I haven't been regularly reading and commenting on others' blogs. Ironically, reading others' blogs is usually not why we start blogging in the first place. Most of us started writing because it's what we love and something we would do even if our moms were the only ones reading.)
She also mentioned that she is stressed about how much she enjoys reading chicklit. And then, I'm pretty sure, she referenced me. Because she mentioned that one of her besties reads brainy books, like Condoleeza Rice's autobiography. Admittedly, I did attempt to read Ms. Rice's long-winded and detailed explanation of the Bush years. I gave up around page 350. Neal listened to the whole thing on Audible. Since then, I've read Bob Woodward's account of the debt crisis and I'm getting ready to start a David McCullough book about the American expats in Paris between 1830 and 1900. Her point being that she feels guilty for reading Jen Lancaster and Stacey Ballis during her commute instead of expanding her mind with autobiographies of great leaders and epic novels about the history of the Panama Canal. She shouldn't beat herself up over that. And I wasn't always this way.
Once upon a time, in a kingdom not that far away, I had a rather painful string of dating mistakes. Riddled with cheaters and liars and the occasional alcoholic and drug user, it left me fairly jaded and extremely wary. I would lie in bed for hours at night, reading about girls in big cities with big asshole boyfriends who pulled themselves up by their bra straps, kicked the guy to the curb, and made their lives better. My life was just as crappy as theirs and by page 300, they had turned everything around. Surely, I could do the same.
And then I did. I married a loving, kind, generous, and hysterically funny man who considers my happiness in every decision. He treats me like an equal partner and a princess, simultaneously. He has never knocked up my best friend, stolen all of the money out of our bank account, lied about poker night, or watched porn on my laptop. My life has less drama than any chicklit out there. And I love it that way. But if I read chicklit, I then begin to internalize the plot. What would I do if I discovered Neal had been staying late to "work" with his coworker? How would I handle it if I came home early to find Neal chatting with an ex-girlfriend? (Yes, the theme is cheating. For some reason, embezzling money or a gambling addiction wouldn't phase me so much.) Then, it all kind of goes to Hell. I begin reading way too much into every situation, into everything he says. I question too much, trust too little. And it snowballs until I'm scrolling through his text messages, looking for proof of anything. Then we have The Talk where he explains for the 763billionth time that I'm the one for him, forever and for always.
If I read The History of New York (or pretty much anything by Erik Larson), I'm good and, more importantly, we're good. I have a very active imagination. As a teenager, it won me some awards in creative writing contests and if I ever put my mind to it, it would probably make me a decent novelist. Shana reads it for the same reason she watches Duck Dynasty: to flip the off-switch at the end of the day. Unfortunately, for me, that off-switch turns on something else much darker.
What do you read at the end of the day?