In my country, being a bully is a thing when you’re in elementary. Back in the day, a lot of kids think that bullying gives them power and confidence which allows them to make the rules and trample on everyone who gets in their way. I wasn’t very popular, and some of my classmates made fun of me just for the sake of having someone to make fun of. I know I’m not the only person in the world who experienced this, but that doesn’t make me feel better. If anything, thinking about it and all those kids who’ve gone through the same thing saddens me even more.
Those elementary days were a tough phase for most of us. At the time, it used to make me sad, heck, I even come home crying on some days. However, I found solace in books. My books were the ones who stuck by me during those rough years of my life. I read a lot of Goosebumps, Nancy Drew, and Hardy Boys back then and they made me happy.
A couple of years later, one of those Scholastic Book Fairs was held in our school for the first time (which became an annual bookish event in our campus), and I was introduced to other genres. I stumbled upon Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling and up to this day, I am so happy that I picked it up all those years ago because it not only got me into reading fantasy and dystopian books, it also gave me the opportunity to travel and enter different countries and worlds without moving my feet.
Then, one day, I stumbled upon a box of all of my mom’s and aunt’s old books which consists of those little Sweet Valley High and Babysitters Club books along with some of Nicholas Sparks novels. I started reading them and was introduced to a new genre and an entirely different perspective.
At a young age, I was completely in love with chick lit. It instantly became on of my favorites. There were times when I would stay up so late reading books, bawling my eyes out because of how a Nicholas Sparks novel ended and I found myself wanting to read more and more books — I just couldn’t get enough. To this day, Nicholas Sparks is still my all-time favorite author when it comes to the contemporary romance genre.
Given that I was one of the target of bullies when I was in elementary, I didn’t have a lot of friends. Some of them even made fun of me because I liked reading books, called me a nerd, a dork, and other awful things. At some point, I stopped bringing my books in school. It was terrible but I never really let go of reading because why would I? They are my escape from this cruel world.
The few friends that I have wasn’t really that into reading so I didn’t have anyone to share my insights and feelings with. In high school, I decided to never let anyone bully me again. I did not turn into a bully myself, but I found the courage to talk back to people who say bad things about me. I managed to gain a bigger group of friends who I’m still friends with up to this day and the most important thing is most of them liked to read novels, too.
It was in the end of my high school years that I found out about John Green, Jenny Han, Paulo Coelho, and so many other authors. Then I lost track of the years. I read and devoured so many books in those years until college — until today.
To be honest, I would like to thank those bullies in my elementary years because if it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t have found out about the comfort and joy that books bring — I wouldn’t have fallen in love with reading. How about you? What’s that one bookish story you will never forget? What made you read books? Do you still remember the first book you’ve ever read? Tell me in the comments, I’d love to engage in your bookish journey.
Also, here are some links that I enjoyed reading online in the past couple of weeks of quaratine-ing: