Our Books, Revisited.

It has been a seeming eternity since my last post, and for that, my sincere apologies. It seemed I needed a break, and it came unexpectedly when I was swamped with work. Since then, I’ve been trying to figure out how to re-start this, and the answer came just a couple of days ago while attempting, once again, to tackle the disorganization of my library.

When I wrote about that ill-fated last attempt, I was writing what was, in effect, a story of defeat. No sooner had I started piling my fiction books on the floor in neat, alphabetical piles, that I was overwhelmed by such a sense of loss over all that was missing, and I just couldn’t continue. I remember feeling a strange brew of anger and sadness at what the loss of those books represented for me (for the background story read here and here). The books had become symbolic of a life that was my own, that came before him, and that he should not have been able to touch, and to quantify the loss just brought home the point that no part of my life had escaped his violence. By the end of my attempt, I was a sobbing mess, surrounded by books, unable to continue the task. I suppose that “big girl pill” wasn’t as effective as I’d hoped, and I quickly re-shelved the rest of my books as haphazardly as possible, so as not to realize the full extent of the loss.

Over five months have passed, and things, as they are wont to do, have changed. Someone new, and pretty damned fantastic, has found his way into my life (hi, Greg!) and in the past couple of months he’s managed to make me feel wonderful again. Add to that a relaxing summer with my funny and curious daughter (who turns four this Sunday), and well, instead of looking for strength, I’m back to counting my blessings.  Feeling buttressed by that, I knew it was time to face the library once again; this time, I’m happy to report, with decidedly greater success.

There were more books missing than I had feared, and the loss of them and all they represented made it difficult to get through the task. Instead of crumbling at the realization, however, I chose to focus on simple, solvable tasks, like playing “What’s the field?” with Greg via text (was Motion and Time, Space and Matter: Interrelations in the History of Philosophy and Science history? Philosophy? Science? Philosophy of Science? History of Philosophy? History of Science?). His support lightened the heaviness of the effort at hand, and eased my sense of anger and sadness that at times threatened to overwhelm me. That, along with the simple act of simply taking it one book at a time, helped me see the task through to the end.

I now know exactly what was lost then, and that knowledge that I thought would be unbearable, is not. Although upsetting, I realize that this was a final step in closing the door to what happened back in 2009; a last bit of hurt that I needed to process. The loss is real, but something much greater has come of it (even better than actually being able to find my books), and that is knowing that my library, like my life, is back under my control. It’s so easy to become mired in a past that’s filled with negativity, and our inner masochist tends to keep us locked there, even through things as subtle as a disorganized library. I know the books are ultimately replaceable. Even more importantly, however, for the first time in a long time, the empty spaces on my shelves no longer represent what was lost in the past, but instead they speak to the seemingly infinite possibilities that still lie ahead. For some of us, our collection of books tells our story, and sometimes we cling very tightly to those things that we think speak to who we are. I’m learning, however, that sometimes it’s okay to lose a little of what we thought defined us, in order to make a little room for what’s to come.

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14 thoughts on “Our Books, Revisited.

  1. My book life is woefully neglected at the moment (I bought my first non text-book in over a year the other day). However, when I was decorating recently I had to move all my books around. Despite the fact they’d played a small role in my recent life, I still had a personal connection to each and everyone. It was a bizarre, yet fulfilling moment.

    At any rate, its good to see you back.

  2. Kris is back!! 😀 We’ve missed you!

    It’s good to see you again… I’m sorry you had to go through such a rough time but I’m also glad to see you happy again 🙂 I’m truly excited for you; not just because of the new love in your life but also because it seems you’ve turned a very positive corner. I too am in a much better place than I was before, for a number of reasons. No one in my life (not ready for a relationship, but a kindred spirit would be nice) but I’m looking to the future with a strong sense of hope.

    It’s a little funny that you should write about books (although not a great surprise!) because I wrote a post about that yesterday LOL

    Anyway… I’m truly glad to see you back and I wish you nothing but happiness 🙂

    Clear skies!

    Richard

  3. Even though it might look like I’ve been the victim of an alien abduction, I’m still here. My mom died 3 weeks ago, so I’ve been organizing and taking care of minutia. I’ve spent over 3 hours reading “your life” and I’m blown away!! When did you become such an extraordinary woman?
    Love you always,
    O

    • Olga,

      I am so incredibly sorry to hear about your mom! She was such a loving and warm-hearted woman. I still think of her often. Should you need anything at all, please don’t hesitate to ask.

      Extraordinary? Thank you, but quite ordinary really! Just trying to stay as happy as my grandfather always was, and as strong as my grandmother always taught me to be.

      Much love to you,
      And seriously, don’t hesitate to ask,
      Kristen

  4. Good to see you back. Let’s see, since you left the Texas Board of Education has outlawed the teaching of critical thinking in the state. See what happens when you’re not around?

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