The Random Bibliophile

by Renee Alexis

Renee Alexis
20-something Filipina, an introvert who loves young adult fiction, brush pens, Taylor Swift, and BTS. Coffee runs in my bloodstream.

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2022 Reading Challenge

2022 Reading Challenge
Renee Alexis has read 2 books toward her goal of 20 books.
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A (Love) Letter To 2021


I should have written this before 2021 ended but alas, things don't always go the way you planned them to and so even if this post is dated on the 31st of December, I am writing this on the 7th of January just because. Mmh ... 2021 ... Where do I start? 

2021, you felt like an extension of 2020. Not much happened... It was a year when it felt like my life was unmoving. Every day was pretty much the same as I spent most of them in front of my laptop inside my room—either working or binge-watching series. At first, it wasn't really that bad. I have always been a home person and getting to stay in the comfort of my home while working was what I've always wanted. But then, it wasn't all that I wanted. Despite being an introvert, I still craved social interactions. Being just at home wasn't enough. Despite being an introvert, I loved going out—to coffee shops, to malls, to friends' houses. I loved travelling and that's another thing that the pandemic took away from everybody. And as the year passed by, I felt withering away inside the confines of my room.  

A good thing happened by the last quarter of the year and that's when I felt a little relieved. I got to travel back to Iligan and I got to stay there for a couple of weeks. It was the breather I craved for and it invigorated me even for just a little while. 

A lot happened inside my head, and I won't go into the dark details of my battles with the many bouts of anxiety attacks I experienced, but I'm still here, breathing and still kicking. 

As I think back to 2021, I couldn't deny that despite the negative things, there were a couple of positive things that happened. And maybe that's just how life balances everything. That even though there are bad times and they sometimes can be too overwhelming, life grants you good times for balance.

It was in 2021 when I rediscovered my love for art. I doodled again, I sketched again, I colored again, I created collage art again, most of all, I painted again. It was a year of creating and making art and all because of a job that made me bust out my creative self. I loved how I got to paint again after years. I didn't realize how much I missed getting lost in creating something beautiful. Painting and coloring grounded me. It's one of the things I do when anxiety hits me and it works wonders on calming my messy brain. 

Another good thing that happened this year was my podcast. The Single Millennial. I've always wanted to have one and one night last April, I just went ahead and created one without listening to my many fears and doubts. The idea and the podcast name came to me when I was showering (as with most of my other brilliant ideas). I've been getting questions about why I named it the way it is and the reason being was I originally didn't want to publicly share this podcast. It was a secret passion project and it was supposed to stay anonymous. That's why I named it as far-fetched from my blog and my other social media aliases. Because I wanted this podcast to be unknown. But well, being the blogger that I am, I shared it here and friends began praising me for it. Do I regret sharing it? Maybe a little bit, yeah, because now I think about what other people would think about the episodes I put out knowing that the listener will know who the speaker is. It's terrifying for me to think that people I know can listen to my deep thoughts and have preconceived judgement about me just from these thoughts. Am I even making sense now? Well anyway, yes, the podcast was a great thing that happened in 2021 and I know I've abandoned it, but I'm thinking about going back. Let's see.

This year, I also fell in love with BTS. It was a year of discovering the music, the story, and the many shows that these 7 boys have created in the span of their careers. I got a little crazy collecting their albums and some of their merch but I sort of controlled myself now, hehe. It's an understatement to say that this boy band gave me happiness, and some people might say it's shallow, but for me, the support and comfort that they brought to my life is irreplaceable. BTS saved me. These boys saved me from hysteria, from insanity, from utterly losing my mind. And this statement may be exaggerated in your opinion, but that's how I feel because that's how much they affect me. You can twist my words and say that I'm obsessed but this is not an obsession, this is the comfort I need that nobody can seem to give me. 

I also read a lot (A LOT) this year. I read not just books but also blogs, articles, Reddit posts, Twitter threads, AO3 fanfics, webtoons, manga, manhwa, and more. It was a great year of reading and just as I have always said in this blog, reading is my escape. An escape from reality that, sometimes, I do not want to be a part of. I have read so many stories and discovered so many amazing writers who are so talented with weaving their words into poetic sceneries. I am left in awe because I've always wanted to be creative with my words, too. The book that left the biggest impression on me this year was The Midnight Library. Whenever I think of giving up, I think about Nora and her adventures of living her many what-ifs. Life isn't about getting to live the perfect life, it's about being happy and contented and making use of the life you have. It's a wonderful read and I hope people will pick this book up and get lessons from it like I did.

Looking back to a year that seemed to be just another year of being under the restrictions of COVID, well, it was still a year full of opportunities for self-reinvention. Oh, 2021, you were not so great but I still had wonderful memories. I hope that 2022 will be better. 

To end this post, I'll just quote Namjoon here: Covid, get the hell out. xx

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