Why Don’t I Read Books?

I have been blogging for several months and I have been encouraged many times to read certain books.  I probably sound like a cad when I respond “I don’t read books.”
One of my readers said “yet, you read blogs and you write.”  She’s absolutely correct.  I do read blogs and write on my own blog but blogs aren’t books.  I have no explanation how I justify that but that’s how I see it.
Like doing drugs or drinking alcohol, I never said “I’m never going to read a book.”  I know of no other person who does not read books…not one.
Loser said if he could change one thing about me, he would make me a reader.  He used to buy books for me and I resented it.  I wasn’t going to suddenly start reading books to please Loser.  If I could have changed one thing about Loser it would have either been that he wasn’t a drinker…or he was faithful.  He didn’t stop drinking and he certainly didn’t stop being unfaithful.
I don’t think it’s rebellion but there is a block and I don’t know whether it is subliminal or conscious.
If I started reading books, it would be almost like I had deserted my staunch affirmations.  It may sound crazy but that’s the way it would feel.
I don’t remember ever being hit with a book.  I don’t remember having a book thrown at me so why do I have this unyielding attitude?
When I was growing up, everything was jealously guarded by my family members…emotions, affections and material things.  I wasn’t allowed to touch anything that didn’t belong to me because it wasn’t MINE.
Could that be the reason I don’t read?  Is it because none of the books around were mine and I wasn’t allowed to touch them, let alone read them?
I had school books and they were mine but I didn’t read them either.  I just paid attention in class and thanks to my wonderful memory, I never had any problem passing tests.
Am I a victim of my own making?  Is it something that I devised so that it would be one thing about me that was unique?  It certainly is not considered to be an asset but rather another reason to be chastised and ridiculed, so why?
I don’t proudly boast than I am not a reader but I have found that it is treated with the same disdain as when I say that I am not a drinker.
There are things about me that cause people to gasp or look at me like I have horns…or look at me like I’m sub-human, such as never having eaten a McDonalds’ hamburger.  I have never eaten lobster.  I have never eaten a shrimp.  I have never even had a sip of beer or wine and I don’t read books.
One morning I got up and decided that I was never going to have another glass of milk.  Coming from somebody who used to drink at least a gallon a day, that was pretty extreme.  I gave it up without a second thought and I have never had another drop of milk…and I never will.
I read one book and I did it to stop Loser from looking at me with his familiar disgusted, contemptible sneer.
I have heard all the rhetoric people say about how they “took a trip…slayed a dragon…became a princess…or discovered a lost continent” through books but my thoughts are “no, you didn’t.  You read a book.”
I know there are reasons we do and don’t do things but I have no idea what part of my brain bars the slightest desire to get lost in the writings of a book.
It used to piss me off that Loser would spend hours and hours and hours, sitting in the bathroom reading books and then act like the quilt I had just made, had no value because I didn’t “read it.”
Maybe it eventually came down to intentionally refusing to read because, in his mind, reading a book should have “taken precedence” over everything I did.  It was a sign of “intelligence” (per Loser) and it had already been acknowledged that since I didn’t go to college, I needed something to make me appear to have half a brain.
I have profound aversions to so many things.  I have never been able to walk around without clothes…I think because Loser told me I would never be voluptuous.  I am extremely uncomfortable when I am hugged, even by my own children…I think because I’m afraid of being hit.  It takes every ounce of courage I have (and a ladder braced against the door and the bathtub) to be able to get into the shower without being afraid somebody is going to pull the curtain back…because my uncle always had to “come check on something” when I was in the bathtub.
None of these things make me special.  They just add to the stigma that I am the worthless, uneducated, NOT court-holding queen, non-reading waste that Loser made me feel like and pounded into my head for so many years.
It still begs the question…why don’t I read books?

‘Tis The Season For Giving

I have always been one to give a handout to a homeless person.  I feel like I owe.  I know that when my son is on the street, he relies on the kindness of strangers.
People have given him money.  They have bought him food.  I imagine a few of them have bought him booze.  One lady paid for a hotel room when it was fifteen degrees outside.
It’s a common perception that if you give money to a homeless person, they immediately go out and buy booze or drugs.  I can’t say that I haven’t thought and don’t still think the same thing…but it’s not always true.
One day my sister and I were approached by a man and he asked if we had any spare change.  He said he was hungry.  I gave him all the cash I had which was only three dollars and my sister gave him the same.
I watched him walk away, clutching that money as if it was pure gold.
My sister said “he’s probably going straight to the liquor store” and then turned around and headed to the car.  I watched the man walk all the way across the parking lot and straight into McDonald’s.  He was telling the truth.  He was hungry.  I wish I had followed him and bought him enough food to last him for the day.

It’s winter now and depending on where you live, it can be bitterly cold.  I have seen homeless people shivering, holding up signs that say “will work for food.”
At night, I have seen them crouched down in alcoves in the front of stores.  I have seen them asleep on sidewalk grates and park benches.  I have seen them in dumpsters, covered up with pizza boxes.  I’ve seen them being handcuffed, most likely for public drunkenness and/or vagrancy.  The last time I saw that, I thought “at least they’ll be warm and have something to eat tonight.”

I decided to gather up all the quilts that I have made and put them to good use.  They’re doing no good folded up and put away.
I drove all the way to my hometown because I know where most of the homeless people hang out.  They congregate around a park, where all the city buses used to line up, waiting to make their daily rounds.
I stopped by McDonald’s to get some food.  I have never had a hamburger from McDonald’s and I wasn’t sure what to order.  I told them to give me a great big hamburger, put everything they had on it, give me everything that came with it and do it times fifteen.  They looked at me like they thought maybe I had just awakened from a sixty year coma.
I took the food and quilts uptown and handed them out to the homeless people who were standing on almost every corner.
Some of them smelled like the local brewery but I didn’t care.  Some of them were so grateful, I thought they might cry.  Some of them hugged me and called me an angel.  Some of them seemed embarrassed, took the quilt and food and said nothing.

I see my son in every one of them.  I see him in every labored step they take while trying to get across the street.  I see him in every hopeful glance they cast when somebody walks by.  I hear his voice when they are desperately asking for money.  I see his eyes in their gaunt, hopeless faces.  I see him in their frail, undernourished bodies.
Most of the time people don’t make eye contact with them because they’ve just become part of the local scenery.

The next time you see a homeless person, err on the side of grace.  You don’t have to give them money.  You don’t even have to give them a second glance but give them a second thought.  Say a silent prayer and remember…there but by the grace of God…go I.
These people may be destitute through self-inflicted, irresponsible actions or they may be traveling a path that was carved out for them through absolutely no fault of their own.
They could be veterans who are the very definition of the line in the movie Rambo, when he says…”back there, I was in charge of million dollar equipment….back here, I can’t even hold a job parking cars.”
They could have simply been dealt a crappy hand.  They could be somebody who was made to feel so worthless and insignificant that they finally believed it and ultimately gave up.
They could be my son.


About This Woman I Call My REAL Big Sister

There is a woman in my life that I call my REAL big sister.  She is everything anybody could ever want in a sister and she is everything anybody could ever want in a friend.  I call her my RBS.
She protects me with the fierceness of a mother lioness.  She supports me with the staunchness of a concrete pillar that will not bend, break or sway.
She has a kindness in her face that is immediately detectable to everybody she meets.  She has rich, dark ebony hair and eyes that almost dance when she smiles.  She has an infectious giggle that helps me remember how a laugh used to sound.  If I can manage a laugh now and then, I can hear the joy in her heart.
She calls me “honey” and it touches me because I know it is genuine.
She has never dismissed my values as being “puritan” but rather respects and applauds them.
She tempers my anger when I’m talking about things that Loser and other people have said and done, by assigning deliciously insulting monikers to them, exactly the way a sister would and should.
My RBS will spend her entire day taking people to doctors’ appointments and acts as though it was as common as answering the telephone.  She is the kind of person who would come to your rescue without being asked.  She is so unassuming that I don’t think she could even come close to realizing the impact she has on other peoples’ lives…especially mine.
She is loving and giving and feels my pain as if it were it were her own.  She is a mentor and a confidant and I have no doubt that she would take a bullet for me.  I have no doubt that she would let herself be crucified before she would betray anybodys’ trust…especially mine.
She has walked with me through the darkest days of my life, covering me with an invisible cloak of tenderness and has never callously told me to “get over it.”  She has never tired of listening to the months and years of the endless grief that I have shared with her.  She has cried and ached with me and for me.
She talks softly to me when I’m sad or upset…not because she thinks I’m fragile or need to be placated…but because she has an inherent, caring nature.
Even though we live on opposite sides of the geographical continent, I can feel her arms around me.
She is a true gift that was sent to me from the angels.  She is a priceless, one-of-a-kind treasure.
I have two biological sisters but I had never known what a REAL sister was, until I met my RBS.
Those of you out there who have been blessed with the gift of a big sister will understand what I mean when I say, there is nothing that can compare to the love of a REAL big sister.