An Unmemorable childhood, except for the books.
I get it, the title is a little bit confusing, I spent a lot of growing up locked in my room reading, I found it easier to live in a fiction world than the real one, I guess I am going to explain in the article why and how I did this.
For some bizarre, unexplainable reason, I have very few memories of my childhood, in fact, I can not remember anything before I was twelve years old, except for a few traumatic experiences like nearly drowning at one point. Despite this, I can pick up a book that I read as a child and instantly remember what happens in it.
Growing up, I was the awkward, slightly overweight, and quite frankly weird kid. I found it extremely hard to communicate with others and join in with people my own age, from what my family has told me from a very young age I was more inclined to sit with the adults and listen in on their 'mature' conversations, as mature as my family gets anyway. When I was not with the adults, you could find me in the corner reading a book.
I went on adventures with the Pevensie siblings in a magical snowy land named Narnia, I rebelled against the patriarchal society with Jane Eyre and I took an informative boat ride along the Congo with Charles Marlow. These are the memories that I seem to have fond emotions towards.
Fiction taught me lessons in life, that I try to remember to this day. I learned all about how we are all beautiful in our own way while reading The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian. I even went as far as to get a tattoo of one of my favourite quotes from that book on my arm, however, I did get that covered up eventually because, in all honesty I grew up. I learnt that no matter who is in the room with you, and whether they are smarter than you, your opinion and thoughts still count, and I learnt this from Jane Eyre.
My parents were never avid readers, so it really makes no sense where I got that from, but when my biological dad left and my mom was working as many hours as she could my only friends were the fictional characters of my books created by the people who I thought knew me more than anyone else; the writers!
Now as mature as I was for my age it was not like I jumped from Roald Dhal's books straight into reading about torture and things of that nature in the books of Joseph Conrad and authors like that. I had to graduate through reading difficulties to get to that place.
I learned so much in the pages of the novels that I read, I really did learn how to love myself from the way that the men in the stories spoke about and worshipped the women they spoke about, and from the characters that were independent I learned that I did not need anyone to save me, I had to save myself.
One of the book series that has always stuck with me is The Chronicles Of Narnia, to this day they are my most beloved books, I mean who didn't love the adventures that the siblings went on in Narnia? I loved the way that the two sisters were warriors and soldiers in their own right, that they did not have to turn to their male brothers to save them, they saved each other. The fact that Lucy had an older sister who she became jealous of the more she got older fascinated me, and the way in which she was taught her lesson that she is beautiful in her own way. The love that I had for the all-knowing, majestic, wise lion was probably a little unhealthy, I'm not saying that I was in love with him in that way but he was the father figure I so desperately yearned for, he always knew what to say, he always did what was right and he sacrificed himself for Edmund even though he had betrayed him.
Another book that will always stick with me is Charlotte Bronte's novel Jane Eyre, I mean it was one of the most outspoken and groundbreaking pieces of women literature like ever! From Jane's fierce independence to a man falling madly in love with her without her changing a thing about herself just fascinated me. It is extremely difficult for women nowadays to imagine being so dependent on men, not being able to own their own property, having no financial independence, but somehow Jane made what she wanted to happen, in such a different way hit me on a personal level, I think I made the decision after the first time reading the book, that I would never rely on a man because she went off on her own to find her own independence so that when she eventually came back to him she was not reliant on anyone.
I get it I sound like a complete nutjob, but the thing is these stories and hundreds more shaped me as a person, they helped me find my way in life, and for that I am forever greatful.