Sorry, I'm A Bookworm (An Open Letter to Those Who Put Up With Me)

Dear PWPUWM (Person Who Puts Up With Me),

Believe it or not, I'm a bookworm.

You're probably definitely not surprised by this. Being a bookworm is pretty much my entire life (I'm not a very complicated human) and so you have seen me reading books. You have heard me ranting about those books. In fact, you've probably smelled my room and clothes when I'm too busy with those books to bother cleaning myself or anything else.

I am not here to apologise for reading. Reading is a glorious, wonderful thing; it makes us more knowledgeable and grows our brains (there's a reason smart people can be referred to as well-read, you know), but it is indisputably . . . distracting. There are entire days when I am in my book, ignoring everyone, even those who ever-so-kindly give me snacks and water bottles and even bookmarks.

I'm sorry for all those times when I said 'yeah, great', told you I was listening and then followed up with 'wait, what?'.

Mum, Dad, I'm sorry for all those family gatherings when I made eye contact with more chapter headings than relatives.

Friends (you know who you are), I'm sorry for the endless - boring - lunch breaks and tutor periods spent in silence because 'there are only two pages to go'. Even when it's more like twenty.

Teachers, I'm sorry for the rare, but definitely existent, pieces of homework that I wrote in minutes - or seconds - because the carved out hours were taken up with just one more chapter.

Acquaintances, classmates, I'm sorry for all those more than embarrassing times when I ran you over (at least it was with a wheelchair and not a car) because I was reading, not looking where I was going.

Grandparents, I know you like variety, and I'm sorry that the only things you ever get to buy me are books.
I'd like to apologise to everyone who's ever come within earshot of me for the endless babbling, the quotations of entire pages that are so long even I know no-one's listening.

But I am never, ever going to apologise for loving to read.

Maybe this isn't a letter to you, the people who know and understand me. Maybe it's for the people who just don't get what it is to be a bookworm. I, personally, haven't been bullied, and that makes me lucky. It makes me a girl at a school where librarians are thanked and not spat at.

I guess you could say I'm privileged, but that doesn't stop me from observing. It doesn't stop me from seeing that almost all book and fashion bloggers are female, but if you look in the technology sector, those statistics are flipped. It doesn't stop me from noticing that makeovers all seem to involve taking off your glasses and ditching the nerd, becoming a seemingly less well-informed person just to be 'normal'.

It doesn't stop me from wondering if we're doing anything to tackle the social stereotypes around being truly interested in something, around what we're allowed to find fascinating and when we're allowed to reveal it.

So, it turns out I addressed this letter to the wrong people, and maybe that gives me yet another thing to apologise for. But quite frankly, I'm sick of that, and I'm going to say thank you instead. Thank you, PWPUWM, for doing exactly that. Society that comes close to embracing geeks, with TV shows and films embracing nerd culture, is still so trapped in its relentless pursuit of normal that it's desperate to pigeonhole every one of us, bookworms or not.

I really am sorry about the not listening thing,
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