I met a random person today who casually mentioned that I was a bookworm when I stated that I worked at a bookstore.
Why does there have to be a specific name or title for a person who loves to read? Why can’t we just accept the fact that a person is a reader instead of calling us names?
And okay, it doesn’t make me so angry that I start to froth at the mouth, because I accept that I love to read and that not everyone will be like me. In fact, I call myself a bookaddict and other similar things because I’ve learned to just accept who I am, and because it’s such a normal thing to label ourselves as one thing or another, but why do we have to classify a love for books as something that may be construed as a negative characteristic?
When you’re an adult, being called specific names for loving to read isn’t so bad, because we know that underneath the comments, the person usually has some sort of admiration for the avid reader. Also, being an adult, we understand that being a lover of books is just a way of life (for us hungry readers), so when someone labels us as bookworms, nerds, loners, etc., we know to brush that crap off because haters be damned.
But here’s a thought: We may be okay with it all, but what about kids and teenagers who are still insecure and/or unsure of who they are? We’ve all heard that “children can be cruel,” but the thing is, that phrase isn’t just a phrase. Kids are bullied and teased about how much they read. As a kid, being called a booknerd isn’t something easy to brush off like in adulthood, it’s a label that has a negative meaning. Being the victim of childhood bullying, I know how hurtful words can be at such a pivotal time in our lives.
As an adult, I smile and admit proudly that I love to read and if that makes me a recluse, then so be it. But as a kid, I felt victimized by bullies who felt it necessary to belittle me with similar words that now have no power over me, but controlled me then.
Books are a great gift and being able to love them is a talent. Staying true to who you are and continuing your affair with the written word throughout the tough years of adolescence is a gift. Too often, kids shun reading or read in secret because kids nowadays tease others for loving to escape in a book.
But what those bullied kids need to know and remember is that it gets better. Childhood is a passing stage where we are challenged to either become who we want to be, or who society expects us to be.
So, before you label someone, no matter what age, as a bookworm, nerd, loner, etc., remember that those words have the power to scar. After all, you wouldn’t call a television addict a tvworm, would you?
i’m a strong believer that not everything you do needs an explanation. if you want a tattoo, get one. if you rather stay home that night, it’s okay to miss that party. don’t forget that you’re living for yourself. you don’t owe anyone an explanation for your choices or preferences.