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Dear readers,

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-- Rhi


6.03.2016

Weekend Reading [06/03-06/05] :: Transparency & Seasonal Reads


Current mood: sloth & clouds

Content warning: big personal life info dump, feel free to skip to the big bold words weekend reading to spare yourself reading this long thing...

Very few of you have been following RhiReading from the early years. But believe me when I say, this 8th year can go down in the history of the blog as the shittiest year. My personal life has suffered a series of really awful things since last October. The kind of things that just make you want to table flip on life. At the root of it all has been mental illnesses... and (surprise!) the funny part is that none of it has been mine. I've actually been tackling mine like a champ. Well, for the most part because even I have my bad days.

During all of this one of the hardest parts was that online I've had to hide how severe it has been. How grief stricken, helpless, embarrassed, and frustrated I have felt on a daily basis. You should see the looks of awe/horror/bewilderment my therapist has been giving me at every visit as I unload those feelings and discuss how I'm coping with the situations that keep happening to those closest to me. And yet, she's the only person in the world who knows how much I've had to keep silent about. Because talking about what I've been going through hasn't been an option for professional reasons.

Someone told me not too long ago that they felt that I overshare on social media. I suppose they're not wrong really, I could see where they were coming from and the example they gave made sense. But one of the things I decided when I began blogging was that I was going to be as authentic and true about who I am as I can safely get away with. Which is why I talk about my mental illness pretty often.

What I didn't say to the person who mentioned my oversharing is that I don't actually do it for just myself. Sure, there's always a part of me aching for some compassionate comments from friends and associates. But one of the reasons I'm open and straight forward and talk about my personal life a lot is because I know how painfully alone the world can make you feel when you're struggling with things. There's a comfort in finding people in the world (even if they're just online acquaintances/bloggers/etc.) who know the struggle, who are dealing with the same problems/challenges/grief/etc. That's why you find so many parenting blogs, blogs to help people live on a single income, and even a big reason that makeup tutorial vloggers exist. Seriously, without those makeup mavens how would I have ever figured out how to use highlighter properly? The struggle was real peeps and you're not alone!

Unfortunately, I'm not good with any of those kind of topics. Since I can remember reading (and writing) has been how I deal with life. When I was a teenager and my parents joined a cult, moved us 8 hours away from our previous home, and we were homeless for 4 months... I read. When I would spend 6 weeks alone with my 2 year old in Germany while my husband was away and my depression was suicidal-thoughts-daily bad... I read. When my best-friend of 6 years cut me off after I took the side against her in an argument... I read. And so, I write about books and I write about why I enjoy them and which ones didn't work for me. Because sometimes it feels like books are the only good and dependable thing in my life.

For the past few of months I've been hiding that I'm in a deep state of depression. My meds are managing my anxiety really well and they definitely help my depression. But what I'm experiencing is very situational, mostly the result of things happening with someone I love, and aren't that easy to unravel. Some days it's been all I could do just to force myself to eat or bathe, let alone do my job, cook, clean, do any proper kind of "adulting". Decades of dealing with the stigma of mental illness have trained me to smile and joke and wear the mask of wellness, how to force as much out of myself as I can. Part of that too is that I WANT to be normal. I want to work and be a great mom and wife and do-all-the-things. But what happens is that the longer you wear the mask, the longer you keep pushing yourself, the more that mask begins to crack and the real situation shines through. Eventually the mask falls off and the ugly is laid bare. Usually when you can least afford it. Both literally and figuratively.

I didn't plan to talk about all this today. I guess I was just ready. New month and a new start or something. After months of barely mentioning how unhappy I've been, it felt really good to talk about it. A neat thing that came from all this though is that it gave me a couple of book related post ideas for later in the summer.

Speaking of which... this is supposed to be weekend reading!

I'm trying to get in a summer mood. I really just needed some take-me-back-to-youth type fiction. So I'm working on The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman and the anthology Summer Days and Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories. Do you find yourself craving reads that fit a certain season or holiday at certain times? I do it a lot around Halloween and Christmas but not usually any other time. It's kind of nice to feel like I'm going on summer break though now that both of my kids have been in school.

Punk is almost done with kindergarten which blows me away. It feels like she was just born and here she is reading pretty impressive books for her age to me. I'm so glad one of my kids is an avid reader! If you're a parent do you have a kid that loves to read? I always found it sad that Monk just did not enjoy it as a pastime. He was/is much more interested in video games, which I admittedly do also enjoy, but no matter what types of books I tried he just has never liked to read.

I suppose if you're still reading I now ought to wish you a wonderful weekend and let you know that there will be more happening here over the summer as I do some clean-up and work on a redesign for the layout/colors/graphics. I'm also hoping to get some fresh faces visiting my social media. Thanks for being the folks that I write to when I'm here at the blog. ♥ -- Rhi

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