I’M NOT A BIG READER… of fiction. Also, here are SOME of the books I read since June.
I’m always curious: what’s to be gained by labeling oneself? What’s to be gained by insisting on being an immovable object, a complete work who never changes, one who cannot enjoy new experiences, MUST be acknowledged as a certain title or certain narrative or certain identity?
Since childhood, I’ve preferred non-fiction. Weekly, I read a few dozen academic articles. I pickup biographies or linguistics books here and there. Even though I covered over 6,000 pages of fiction (these books aren’t even all of them) this summer and fall, I also did my regular reading, exercise science, nutrition science, etc. I usually read world news. I completed non-fiction, like The Mass Shooting Project, over the summer on top of all this. I read with my kids. Still, I don’t label myself a reader. Tomorrow I can change. Today I may.
Why? Because labels are prisons. They are the path to the small, tiny, meaningless life, shackled to impossibility, ineluctably drawn to despair.
That brings me to this: what stories do you tell yourself about your identity?
Do you say, “I workout”?
Do you say, “I’m trying to workout”?
Or do you say, “I can’t change”?
Or “this is who I am”?
Sure you do. You spend a lot of mental bandwidth telling yourself all of the things you supposedly ARE and all the things you supposedly AREN'T. If you're particularly annoying, you're also always telling everyone around you the same, as if their hearing someone reinforces the lie you're attempting to weave in your own mind. You are playing the same track on repeat a thousand times per day; and so you believe it. You ARE it. It's circular. It's self-fulfilling prophecy. But it's dead wrong. And how sad. How small. How common. How basic.
There is another way, one where you don’t worship the Ego, one where you aren’t interested in substantiating some narrative, one where you just live abundantly, being a new person, trying new things, moving out of the mud, and trudging through ever-unfamiliar terrain, beautifully tripping and clawing up a not-so-self-assured mountain pass.
What do I know about it? Well, nothing. I’m not a big reader.