The Big 100- “Reading Revival” Revisted.

Everyone loves a good Netflix binge. Like, who doesn’t want to watch hours of Stassi vs The World (clearly, I’m watching Vanderpump Rules right now). But, almost a year ago, I committed to refinding my love for reading. And this week, I’m reporting back to say I found it, celebrated it, and have held onto it. 

The number of books I’ve read throughout the summer and semester is probably pretty average. It ranges from 1-3 a month and yes, one of them is always the Girls’ Night In book club pick. At first, progress was slow and it took an effort to turn pages instead of pressing play, but over time, the value of reading started to really show itself. 

“Reflecting on the differences in the characters I was reading about lead me to develop an understanding of narratives from different perspectives. A kind of empathy I could bring to the real world.”

Something I’ve noticed is that in times of self-obsession, like extreme stress or mini-meltdowns, empathy with and an attachment to fictional characters can keep you sane. It’s a distraction without complete distance and isolation from all human emotion. It’s a connection without a charge attached. It’s simple and it’s a way to practice loving when you maybe don’t have all yourself to give. 

“There are other women out there that want to grow from the books they’re reading, too. They want to understand the relationships between characters and relate it to their own personal development.”

I read the best book about two weeks ago. It’s topping the charts and is this month’s GNI book. It’s called Educated, by Tara Westover. It’s about the education of a girl raised by a super religious Mormon family. The real kicker is that it’s a memoir. The other real kicker is that it’s impossible to put down. 

There’s a kind of excitement in realizing someone enjoyed the same thing as you. It’s uniting and powerful. All the women in my family had read the book, or are currently reading the book, and I feel so close to them when we talk about it. The differences in interpretation reveal how we differ but also all we share. I love hearing her favorite subplot or her least favorite chapter. I’m getting to jump into the brains of people I love and it’s all because of 300 pages of words. 

So, I’ll end the same way I did in February 2018.

“So to conclude, read a book. Not optional. Please and thank you.”

Find the original story of my Reading Revival here


Stuck in my head: Golden Age // Houndmouth
Snap it: current read: The Handmaid’s Tale featuring my doggie PJ pants

The Big 100: “Trading Words for Memories” Revisited.

The first post I want to highlight is this one, Trading Words For Memories, written for my family after my grandfather passed away in December of 2016. It was my first experience of loss, the first time I saw my Dad cry, and the first time I felt like my writing could make someone feel better. In reading the old post, I can hear myself struggle to find the right tone and words to express how I was feeling. 89 posts later, I have more to say. 

“There’s a part of me that wants to fill every hole he left in someone’s life– husband, father, grandfather, friend- but I think his memory and influence will do more good than an overemotional 18 year old trying to be her Dad’s dad.”

Something I’ve always struggled with is feeling guilt in relationships, and wanting to fix things for people, even when it’s not really possible. Experiencing this loss, I think that I wore my Dad’s heaviness more than my own. But through time and support, I learned how resilient people are, and that the best thing we can do is preserve in their memory.

“Staying true to my everything-happens-for-a-reason spirit, I know that all change comes with lessons and love. I am inspired to preserve my relationships with everyone, forgive and forget, because life is short but love lasts so long.”

And at the time, focusing on the positives in my life felt like the greatest takeaway. But since, I’ve started to honor my Grandfather’s memory not with personal lessons, but through questions about who he was. I started asking for stories, recounts of his best reactions, passions he chased throughout his life. Over a year out, I think I know who my Grandpa was even better than I did when he was alive. I feel like I’m reshaping the old, cookie-loving man I’d known into how my parents, cousins, friends of friends knew him. A true intellectual with a weakness for sweets. 

“But in all sincerity, I really believe that each person in your life shapes your character. Thank you for making me who I am today. I know you’re proud, and honestly, so am I.”

But the closing holds true, and I never stop thanking my lucky stars for the incredible role models in my life. 

Find the original moment of reflection here


Stuck in my head: Mission to Mars // RKS
Snap it: terrain cafe, PA