Plight of a Pseudo Reader
It was a rainy Friday. And like any Bangladeshi reader, I was about to snuggle in with a book after having stuffed myself with some khichuri-ilish, when the world as I know it came crashing down. The realisation hit me with painful clarity -- I am not a reader anymore. I have not been one for a very long time.
I have been adding more books to my to-be-read pile. I have been buying books for every occasion to justify a semi-questionable consumerist streak. I have been taking pride in calling myself a reader in social settings. I have been taking aesthetic photos to revive my bookstagram account that never quite took off. And yet, I cannot remember the last time I read a book.
BEGINNING OF THE END
It started with a simple case of a reading slump. Days became weeks. And long before I could comprehend what was happening to me, months went by without me reading a single book. Like any reader desperate to cling to the title of a "reader" to justify their dark academia aesthetics, I too denied it first. But one term is only valid for so long. So, I tried my hands at paraphrasing and started calling what I was going through a reading hiatus. When an entire year passed by, I should have realised the end is here.
You see, someone capable of taking a nap in the face of impending assignment submissions, and someone used to cutting the back end of a tube of toothpaste before calling it truly empty, cannot be expected to accept the truth without a scuffle with denial first. And so, I took the help of lists and impulsive buying to cover up my non-reader status. I smiled brightly, buying new books and increasing my to-be-read pile as if I were not the same person who has not picked up a book to read in ages. But the shame and guilt that comes with not reading followed me around until it had my poor heart maimed at last.
BITING THE BULLET
Having lost the game of denial, I took refuge in acceptance. What used to give me joy can only offer a sense of guilt and loss now. So, it is time to rip the band-aid off and bite the bullet once and for all. Dear reader who has been nervously relating to this traumatic experience, let me break it to you – you are not a reader anymore.
A NEW BEGINNING
Like most life changes, accepting is the truly hard part. Once you have accepted you are not a reader anymore, you will see that the scrutiny of the increasing number of unread books on your shelf and the guilt you associate with not reading like you used to will vanish into thin air. Even the spotlight syndrome impaling you with fear of judgement at the thought of coming out as a non-reader will become manageable.
So, own your status as a non-reader. Cherish the good memories you made while reading in the past. Find a new hobby. And just in case the thought of changing your whole aesthetic paralyses you with fears of an identity crisis, remind yourself that change is inevitable.
Tazreen is your typical angry liberal arts student who likes to blame it all on capitalism. Send her anger management tips at firstname.lastname@example.org