My love of reading started at a young age, dr.suess books: the pages that started it all. Somewhere tucked away in an old book shelf at my parents house was “The Cat in the Hat Comes Back”. It was read to me constantly as a kid, and although I hadn’t known how to read at that age of 2, people would occasionally ask my mom if I had learned to read young. Seeing me quoting that book word for word, flipping to the next page at just the right moment, was something people mistook for a young reader. Truth be told, it took me a while to actually learn to read, despite my mother’s beat efforts. 

I learned to memorize more than anything. Books, music, movies, you name it, if I liked it enough, it’d be locked into my mind. “The Hungry Caterpillar”, and just about every nursery rhymn imaginable, were my favorite things to quote back then. I guess there was more than one occasion when my preschool teacher or my mother would catch me at the head of a circle of my preschool peers, telling them nursery rhymns as they sat and listened quietly. Words were just a love of mine from the time I was young, seeing me through to today. 

When I finally did learn to read, it was “Where The Wild Things Are” that held my heart. Something about Max reminded me of my own self, probably the rambunctious behaviour I’d have on display. As I grew older, it was books like “Where the wild ferns grow”,”The Giver”, or “How to kill a Mockingbird”, that replaced the books I’d read when I was younger. I’d fill my time with books whenever I had the chance, locking myself in my room a few days at a time while my parents’ frustration grew at my lack of social interaction once I came home. They’d barge into my space, telling me when dinner was ready, or when a certain movie was playing, but if I had my choice, I’d choose a book over a meal. 

As I went through middle school and early high school, my mom freaked herself out by the books I was reading, convinced that I was depressed because I enjoyed Ellen Hopkins’ writings. She, of course, never told me this, leaving it to me sister to ask if I was ’emo,’ to which I’d roll my eyes and proceed reading. Those books weren’t a reflection of me, but that didn’t mean I couldn’t enjoy them… with books, it was never about me finding myself in the story, it was merely about meeting the characters and hearing their stories. Stories that made my life seem wonderful compared to some of my favorite characters, stories that gave a new perspective. So no, I wasn’t depressed, more likely the opposite when I had a book in hand and time to spare. 

To all those writers out there who had given me characters to know, feelings to experience, made up adventures to imagine, thank you. For every page I’d flip through, it was an outlet to me, a place I could go to get away from the annoying 5th grade bully, or the lack of a friend after she moved away. Books were the thing that got me through alot of difficult times, safely. Instead of stressing out over every minor detail of my life back then, I slip into the comfort of your books. Getting away from my own problems, for those moments, were what gave me a chance to relax and unwind, and sure, some of those books were depressing. But those were the ones that put my problems into perspective, begging me to ask myself the question of, “do I really have it so bad?” To which, I’d read on until the books came to an end, and realise that no, I didn’t. In fact, my life was pretty wonderful, in part thanks to the writing I’d come to experience. So thank you, for all those adventures you’d take me on.

With a thankful attitude,

Melissa

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