To Hell and Back: A Review of Hell Bent by Leigh Bardugo
Jan 27 2023
As we settle into the new year, something is overwhelming about the possibilities of the twelve blank months ahead of us. They’re untouched. Our resolutions, whether to read more or complete the ab workout, we bookmarked months ago, loom over us with impatience. Under the guise of self-improvement, we are desperate to manufacture happiness in a finite amount of time. I’ve been in my twenties for three years and have been trying out a new identity every day since. Moving puzzle pieces silently inside myself to unlock the final version has been exhausting (and unsuccessful). It manifests in how I dress and my posture while waiting for the subway. It invades my dreams and rains down on me in the shower daily. But the picture is still unclear, the edges blurry, and no matter how hard I try, I’m still missing a piece the next day. January can be a solemn month. It reignites the pressure to find your ideal self. It reminds me of the countdown. In this digital age of aesthetics, it’s difficult not to compare oneself to others' success. To their precise routines and expert morning coffee recipes. I was feeling particularly glum this afternoon. I had just watched a video about someone moving to Paris. They were eating a buttery, glorious croissant, which pissed me off. But then I came across a book. It was a dark academia fantasy, a sequel I had been looking forward to reading. It was supposed to be escapism. A way to forget the dread that I wasn’t doing enough with my life and that others my age were excelling without breaking a sweat (they definatly are- breaking a sweat. I was too moody to realize this). I had no idea that when I opened the book, I would learn more about myself, how I think, and what matters most to me than I had the past year. Someone had stamped my soul onto this character, written me down, and allowed me to read about parts of myself I had hidden.