Thursday, October 20, 2016
New Levels of Excitement: the Library
I've always loved libraries. When I was two my grandmother told my mom she didn't know what to do with me, I just wanted to sit and "read" my little books. My high school librarian told me once she loved that I took books out - not just books, but classics. I paid for lifetime alumni status at my undergrad university so I would have access to their library forever. I helped fundraise to establish the newer library in my community after spending a childhood walking to and perusing the smaller, out-of-date one. My longest standing car window sticker reads "I ❤️ my library."
Given my history of love affairs with libraries, where can the words hate and frenemy possibly fit? On a Saturday night, 9:30pm, the cold seventh floor of Kent State's library. On hour 12 of work, with only a 45-ish minute interruption around dinnertime to drive from Youngstown State's closing library to Kent's open late library. Nose running from the cold and the one thing my backpack the size and weight of a small child doesn't have is tissues. McDonald's for dinner, again, and feeling like it's been one McDonald's meal too many. Confusing books scattered around while I alternate between my document and another confusing reference guide online. My right hand is freezing from using the mouse; hours plugging away at my laptop.
In that moment the words came unbidden to my mind: I hate the library.
I think I physically flinched from the blow to my mind. What a grievous sin for a lover of everything a library represents. Surely I could let the concussion subside and no one would ever be privy to the thought? And yet, the feeling lingered, demanding to be felt. So, I'm breaking the first rule of this fight club; I'm talking about it.
Life, and everything in it, is multifaceted. Think of the people and passions you live for. I love my husband and kids dearly, but they can also drive me crazy (and I them). I have some of the best people on earth for friends, but they can disappoint (as I disappoint them). I live my passion teaching high school English, luckier than most people get in a career, but it's hard to roll out of that warm bed every morning. I love books, learning, education, searching and finding, but I loathe heading to the library as of late.
Do I deny the crazy of my people, the difficulties of my job, the challenge of my current dream just because I love them? No. I can't. Everyone and everything has multiple sides, the good and the bad. How can we truly claim love when we only want to accept half of the person or the easy side of the situation? This life and world are not perfect and we set ourselves up for disappointment and despair when we sweep hard feelings under the rug in the name of a pretentious peace and contentment. The hard feelings demand to be felt and allowing the feeling to come and go is the only way they will resolve. Once resolved, what's left? Love. Real love, as it should be, for everything a person, passion, or dream really is, not just what we want it to be.
I left soon after my hard thoughts in the library that night, unable to understand why I felt so wronged by something I'd faithfully devoted myself to for so long. It wasn't half an hour later that I took the nighttime photo of the library posted here, texting it to a friend in my sudden awe. Twelve stories of wondrous humanity, with the school's beautiful blue colors streaking up the front, lighting the darkness. And just like that, I'm in love again, for better or worse.