I’m waiting to flip the page


Derek Woltil

My childhood bookcase filled with the stories I wished I could be a part of.

I used to love reading. I was the girl who would stay up late at night with a flashlight and book under the covers and read until I passed out. I would use all of the fancy words I saw in my books and loved the compliments I got from adults on my remarkable vocabulary. Every chance I got, I would pick up a story about all sorts of things from wizards, fairies, and monarchies to girls my age making it through school. I once read six 900-page books in a week, but I still wanted to read more.

I always used to be the girl who got in trouble for reading ahead in our book club books, yet somewhere along the way, my love for reading changed. Reading started to feel like a chore, 900 pages began to sound like torture, and staying up late to read was lost to scrolling through my TikTok feed. I’m now the girl who just barely meets the book club reading requirements and who views reading as homework rather than something to do for fun.

I’ve lost my passion, and I don’t know how to get it back. 

I think 5th grade me would faint in a fit of drama if she found out that I’ve read only five books this year, especially if she knew that three of them were assigned. The girl who reached three million words from AR quizzes would be disappointed to find out that the longer a book is, the less likely I am to finish it now. I can’t pinpoint precisely when the shift occurred; I just know that by the time 9th grade rolled around, I was no longer the girl who was ecstatic about Book Bowl and wanted to answer every question single question the teachers asked.

The excitement for each page turn and plot twist turned to boredom and wondering when it would simply just end.

All I know is that the stories playing out in my mind from the meticulously and perfectly strewn-together words on a page were replaced by mindless television viewing and a neverending feed of videos on my phone. The excitement for each page turn and plot twist turned to boredom and wondering when it would simply just end. Now, every time I search for a word, my mind goes to ‘great,’ ‘good,’ ‘bad,’ and an abundance of other words that are some of the most mundane and bland in the English language. 

I want back the way I used to laugh out loud at jokes I read, the way I would get so invested in a book that it would be like the outside world didn’t exist, and the way I genuinely couldn’t wait to get home from school to read more. It’s been a long time since I picked up a book for enjoyment, but I’ve been trying to change that. 

Although it feels like I’ve somehow read every good book in the world, I’m still trying to find a way to regain that passion for knowledge and my need for a new story. I’m trying to become the girl who spends her nights with a book instead of a phone. I’m trying to become the girl who can hold her own in intellectual conversations. I’m trying to become the girl entertained by the movies she watches in her mind rather than onscreen. I’m trying to become the girl who will read 900-page books in a day like it’s nothing.

I’m trying to become me again.