Sunday, December 25, 2011

The Reader

My bedroom from forth grade to high school, aka the awkward years, was covered in rainbows. One wall was a splatter of rainbow paper and the others were painted grape Easter egg purple. I had twin beds with rainbow comforters and a large corner desk and bookshelf. If my room was a reflection on my personality at the time, it shows perhaps I was reading too much Sweet Valley High. Or perhaps it was what any normal teenager in 1990 would love to have..a room where you can have friends over or escape to when you had a particularly bad day. Somewhere in my collection of Baby Sitters Club books and my Christian Slater posters, I would spend my best worst years longing to escape in my rainbow surrounded hideout. I spent the years from ten to thirteen with my face firmly planted in a book. I was vastly unpopular...somehow in a class of thirteen girls I was one of the only four who just didn't fit in...go figure. I would escape to books about normal middle school life and fantasize that I was one of those normal girls. It was my addiction to reading that would get me through the toughest days of not being cool when being cool was all that mattered. It was pretending to be a member of the Babysitter's club or predicting who was the murderous villain on Fear St. (I was a member of the R.L. Stine fan club long before Goosebumps...). Since we didn't have texting or three hundred channels of reality TV when I was in my formative adolescent years, I resorted to getting lost in book after book. The best part about my rainbow room was a window seat. I loved to curl up on my rainbow cushion with a fresh load of library books. Here I would read and dream of something every sixth grader wants: endless popularity. Unfortunately for me, dressing weird and reading for fun was not the key to popularity.

For Christmas, Layla got mostly books. She wanted every possible book in a Cat Warrior series. Maybe this was her Sweet Valley High (but way cooler), her escape from the stress that is third grade. I wonder if she looks around at her yellow walls decorated with butterflies and her own art and feels safe. Not safe from danger, but safe from life....like you are untouchable in the confines of your own room. Here you are cool..here you are the main character in a series of books that everyone wants to read. In sixth grade, I became so obsessed with The Babysitters Club that I changed my name to Claudia and begged my mom for my own private phone line. (which was pretty wasteful given the lack of calls I got on our main line). Layla has become a member of her Cat clan. She has started to refer to our family as our clan. She calls me Josh's mate and not his wife. Her and Liv are our pups or cubs and no longer our children. Fiona (our cat) doesn't like to go outside because she was not clan raised. (aka she didn't grow up with a liter of other cubs in the wild). When I listen to her imagination tell these tales of cats and warriors...I am taken back to that rainbow room where I knew that having a good book in my hand was the only way I was going to get through another day at the nerd table at school. Whether or not Layla is popular doesn't seem to matter to her..as long as she has the next book in the Cat warrior series. I am happy my reading addiction has worn off on her. Lucky for Layla, she is growing up in a time where nerdiness is an acceptable personality trait and not a disease.

Finally, my wish did come true. I still love to dress to my own rules. Now, with the help of my new Kindle Fire, reading for fun is now amplified with technology. The things that made me unpopular and uncool have become my defining features. When we are in middle school, we just want so badly to fit in....we want to look like everyone else. My love for reading has made me a better writer and my unique style has given my things to write about. Throwing on a denim tulip skirt and brown ankle boots has now turned into a blog worthy event. I love integrating my weirdness with my writing. Looking at Layla's pile of books for Christmas, I am hoping she will follow in my boot steps.


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Shirt/Belt: The Limited
Sweater: J.Crew
Skirt/Tights: Target
Boots: Madden Girl 



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