Photographer: Wayne Lin
For those of you who relate to what I’ve written – I’ve read your comments and emails. I am amazed by the honesty and sincerity of them. It floods me with joy whenever I discover that I have made a small but helpful impact in someone’s life. So I understand why some readers stick around despite my perpetual silence, hectic lifestyle, and erratic posting schedule. It is the most exhilarating feeling to discover someone you can relate to. Especially when you’ve felt like an outcast all of your life. Especially when you’ve been told that the things you like the most about yourself are the things that you should change (introversion, especially). I believe that once you read obsessively, you will feel less like a freak of nature for being different.
“That is part of the beauty of all literature. You discover that your longings are universal longings, that you’re not lonely and isolated from anyone. You belong.”
-F. Scott Fitzgerald
Once the psychology books started to pour in, I began to understand myself better, and in turn and I could better comprehend others. Someone special once told me that humans are infinitely complex. That line has stuck with me since. It’s true. Of course there is value in going out and interacting with people, but I’ve found that conversations and interactions generally strip you of the complexity that you can only discover in books.
Of course it is also disconcerting to watch “intellectual” elitists belittle others for not reading. Everybody has the right to decide whether they want to pick up a book or toss it out of the window. But I keep stressing the importance of reading because it has helped me and helped others. Reading pushes you to think. Reading pushes you to challenge yourself, and maybe even renounce certain convictions that you were raised to believe.
“Convictions are more dangerous enemies of truth than lies.”
You will expose yourself to opinions and thoughts from a diverse range of people, not to mention some of the most fascinating minds that have graced this planet. You’ll no longer be confining your identity to something provincial or taking advice based on proximity. (People you know personally aren’t necessarily good people to seek advice from. Sometimes you’re better off going on Reddit.) People around you have probably handed you advice and told you how to live your life according to the way they lived it. Sometimes these will be authorities you would never consider challenging: your high school superintendent, your academic advisor in college. Sometimes these will be the people you love the most and want the best for you: your family.
They may be able to deliver their advice with eloquence and confidence, but the more you read the more you will be able to see through some of the convictions they hold. You’ll learn that age is a highly inaccurate measure of someone’s wisdom. You’ll realize that sometimes the most vocal and outspoken people are the ones that are full of rubbish. Especially the ones that say, “trust me, I know.” Because these are the people who very much don’t.
So when you have the time, read a few books. Not just any book, but the ones that force you to think. Read the books that plunge you into a state of confusion. I can’t guarantee anything, but it’s not uncommon for reading to becoming a gateway to understanding not only the importance of doubt, skepticism, and ruthless questioning, but also the value in love, self-awareness, responsibility, and helping others.
This is the perfect time to introduce the prelude to an upcoming entry: I was raised in a traditional family with strong convictions. I love my family and they have provided me with more than I deserve. But I must also admit that if I had blindly adhered to the values that I was raised with, I’d be miserable right now. It took so much inner strength for me to follow my heart and do what I thought was best for myself. To do what every living atom in me was urging me to do…
So I dropped out of college despite the horrendous waves of opposition and anger from both friends and family. People can get awfully condescending when they talk about college dropouts. And when I told people that I dropped out to pursue a startup, I had to deal with a swarm of people who told me, politely (and out of genuine concern), that I would fail. The criticism really shattered me for a while, but I never regretted my decision. It was an emotional step for me to take, and I want to share the story with you. I’m very excited to write this one, so I hope you hang around and stay tuned for the entry.
Blazer c/o Sheinside
Snoop heels c/o NaughtyMonkey ♥
Necklace c/o Daughter of Smoke & Bone Jewelry (jewelry designed for a book based in Prague!)
Uva earrings c/o Rich & Stack – these are sold out but they have such a lovely collection worth checking out ♥