I have a problem…

I have a problem.
I felt the urge creep up within me today.
I fought it with all the affirmations
that I assume are commonplace
during addiction meetings.
I have a problem.
You see, I am past the first stage of
utter, complete denial…
I see my problem for what it is…
an issue, a hindrance, a problem.
And I feel the need to address it
to give it life so that it may die or be killed,
this issue, this hindrance, this problem.
I am not sure of the genesis of my addiction,
but I am dealing with the consequences.
Take, for example, my to-do list today…
I walked into my school bookstore to
get my class books for my Fall classes.
It was a simple get-in-get-out job…
but I found myself pulled in…my addiction, you see.
The urge that I spoke about earlier.
First, I wander ALL the aisles,
glancing at authors, stopping at African names,
unusual names, familiar names…
but especially African names,
then I do my second sweep,
looking at titles, stopping at clever ones.
Then it’s the third sweep,
looking for anything interesting.
This third step kills me
because, to me, the addiction
that rolls through my heart
makes every book interesting.
The fourth sweep of the aisle
involves returning several of the books
that I have collected into my arms, shopping basket,
or whatever receptacle I have chosen to shop with,
back to their respective places on the shelf.
Each return-to-shelf motion breaks a piece of my heart
and there has been many a time when a concerned store worker
has asked me, “Miss, are you alright?” during my fourth aisle sweep.
I have a problem.
Retail Therapy does not mean the same thing to me as it does
to the average ‘let’s shop clothes/shoes/bags till we drop’ mantra believer.
I do not delight in designer names, labels and shoes that are worth
more than my monthly mortgage payment.
Instead, I find pleasure, love and acceptance amongst books.
Fiction, Non-Fiction, Autobiographies, Fairy Tales, Anthologies, Textbooks…
I will want to read them all. My imagination thanks me. I thank them.
My closet is overflowing with stacks of books rather than shoes.
I delight in my library membership but I weep a little
when I discover a book I love, and then have to give it back.
I have a problem.
It’s an ugly word. Associated with ugly things.
But is it so wrong for me to want to live near a bookstore,
to prefer the receipt of a book or a gift-card to a bookstore
rather than be a recipient of roses and lilies?
If I have not come home at my ‘usual’ time, I am probably at the bookstore.
If I drive by a bookstore, 9.5 times out of 10, I will probably stop and peep in.
I will pull away from a crowded party if I stumble upon a book of interest.
If I can get to a bookstore, library, bookshelf anywhere, I forget about being
upset, when I am upset.
Books delight me. I lose myself in them.
I feel pain at the sight of books with turned in corners,
yellow highlighter markings and underlined words.
To me, books should be on a pedestal. I found my self, traveled the world,
met characters upon characters, sagas after sagas…at bookstores. In books.
I have a problem. I do not deny it.
What’s the next stage?
How do I fight this urge, this love of books?
Books pull me in, Words complete me, I find heaven.
Maybe I ought to join a group, a support group.
Chant affirmations and avoid bookstores and hope that my problem
resolves itself with time, in time.
Maybe I ought to go to the bookstore and think about this.

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2 thoughts on “I have a problem…

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