I used to get punished by being banished from my bedroom, instead of to my bedroom like most kids, because of course that's where the books were. I was happy to sit reading and writing for hours. Most of my problems as a child were with other people. I was a bit of a dork, and other kids were often less than kind.
I've never been a good sleeper, either. I remember reading babysitters club books by the subtle glow of my fish tank into the wee hours of the morning. I always had a book hidden under my mattress in case my mom locked my closet in an effort to make me sleep instead of reading.
As I got older, I would spend hours in our porch hammock reading Little Women or Harry Potter. I've always loved the feeling of reading an entire book in one sitting, and I could read for hours blocking out the rest of the world, much to the chagrin of my parents and little sister.
In high school, I'd sneak books like Lovely Bones and Judy Blume's Forever under my desk during my science and math classes... which is probably the cause of my serious knowledge gaps in those two subjects. And in college, I'd devour YA literature using the excuse of preparing for my future career as an English teacher to justify the less-than-elevated reading choices.
This is all to say that reading has been my stress relief and my escape for as long as I can remember. So at the start of this week, I went to books when I was feeling my lowest... but I couldn't focus. I'd reread the same page or two over and over, not absorbing any of the words. I couldn't make the world disappear around me and escape into the story. I was trapped in reality.
I read what felt like the same 5-10 pages of the same book for 5 days. Then yesterday, I had somehow settled into a state of acceptance about this whole ordeal. I deleted facebook from my phone. I left my phone inside and went on my balcony with a glass of water and my book. Two hours later, I finished it, and felt like myself again for the first time in a week. I forgot about the virus for two hours! Now, can I repeat that feat today? That remains yet to be seen, but I have a stack of books waiting to help me try.