In my reading and writing, I’ve traveled through many worlds. I’ve visited beautiful beaches and summited breathtaking mountain tops. I’ve walked desolate forests and the national parks it’ll take me a lifetime to see in person. I’ve strolled hallowed halls, gazed at stars, observed silent libraries, traveled through fictional lands, and swum entire oceans. Books, unlike anything else, place the entire world in the palms of our hands.
Long before COVID-19 threatened to turn the real-world upside down, I’ve found solace in books. In stories, true and false, and created by authors of all walks of life, I’ve lived many lives. When I was young, maybe six or seven years old, I’d hide, curled up on the single shelf inside of my closet. It was there that I learned how powerful words could be (and how much I could terrify my parents). I’d bring as many books as I could carry, and I’d devour the stories inside of them whole. It was there that I also developed an insatiable desire to create stories of my own, and I’ve since realized that we’re all capable of creating our own stories.
Books helped shape my world long before the virus struck, and they will continue to do so long after. Despite the anxiety, fear, and uncertainty that many of us are feeling right now, we are resilient. We are strong and capable, and we’ll come out on the other side with endless stories to share, whether they’re ones we’re retelling or writing ourselves. Some of the most famous and intriguing stories ever created have been built out of times of chaos. Embrace it.
Mason Cooley said it best when he told us, “reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.” But self-care and overcoming anxiety looks different for everyone, as does simply passing the time. My solution might be reading and writing while yours might be putting together puzzles, watching classic movies, or organizing your closets. Use the tools you have on hand. Get creative. Learn a new skill and allow yourself to feel vulnerable. Cry, laugh, and start again.
Build a mini-golf course in your living room (at various times, ours have included strategically angled textbooks, mixing bowls, and a plastic alligator); create a scavenger hunt (in the house or backyard); put on a onesie and challenge your significant other to a wrestling match (Batman vs. Wonder Woman living room smackdown occurring later this week, stay tuned). When all is said and done, you’ll find that you’ve come out on the other side stronger than before and still with a story to tell.
~ A Guest Blog by Amanda Lips