Hey there booknerds! I wanted to pop on the good ole blog and give you an update on what’s going on, and what you can expect from me in the coming weeks/months.
So, first things first, I'm moving again. I know, I know, it doesn’t seem all that long ago that I was packing up my life and moving to New Orleans where I focused on my writing full time. Well, that’s because it was only two years ago. That’s right, almost 2 years to the day of starting this adventure and this website (which was actually started in May but it took me a bit to write the first blog), I’m moving back to California.
Never fear, my friends, just because I’m going back to my old stomping grounds doesn’t mean that I’m going to stop what I’m doing and go back to what I had been doing before. No, I’ll just be transporting this adventure back to familiar ground. So, in case you were worried, don’t be. That does mean that the next few weeks will be awful though. In case you’ve never moved cross country with pets, I don’t recommend it. Unless it’s just a dog, they’re pretty chill. But unlike kids who may abhor road trips, you cannot reason with a cat.
You can’t console cats and reassure them that after a few days of annoying driving, it’ll be over. That they’ll be somewhere new and awesome and the torture will end. No. All cat’s see is: THIS IS MY LIFE NOW AND OMG I HATE YOU, HUMAN!
They cry and howl the whole time unless you drug them. Or my cats do, anyway. And yes, some people have told me that if I don’t keep them in their carrier that they’ll be much better on the road. The thing with cats is, they like to be in your face, or near your feet—or, again, my cats do. Which means it’s only a matter of time before one of the fluff balls decides that under the brake is the PURFECT (sorry, couldn’t resist) place for them to take a nap. Or, they’ll want to be on the driver’s lap and just touch their face. Side note: our girl cat is a face touch-er. She just loves to sit on your lap and look at you adoringly, and then touch your face. It’s cute, but probably not the best thing while driving. So the cat’s will remain contained, and they will continue their diatribe of anguished meowing in the car and in the hotels, and my dog will look at us and say—with his eyes, of course—“Why you do this? Why you no love me?”
And of course, once we arrive in California our stuff won’t be with us. It’ll be on a truck arriving sometime later. I’ll have my laptop, but not my main computer or my desk, and we’ll be crashing at my parent’s house until our things arrive and we can move into our new digs. Which means, dear, dear friends, that I won’t be doing a ton of work during that time.
I’m neurotic. I need my familiar things to be truly productive. Plus, whenever I’m home my mom tends to go back to treating me like I’m in high school—please tell me I’m not the only one whose parents do this?—so I get interrupted a lot and end up with a sort of curfew again. Me and my husband, thirty year-old grown-ass adults, will once again have a curfew. But hey, at least I get to eat for free, right?
That’s not to say there isn’t a bunch of new stuff coming. Book 3 in The Monster of Selkirk series is due back from the new editor any day now! Once that’s back in my hands, regardless of where I am, I will go through that bad boy like no one’s business to ensure it gets into your hands sooner. In other good news, books 4 and 5 are pretty much in the final stages of “doneness” as well, so I swear there won’t be such a long wait for those as there was for book 3.
In terms of new stories and projects, my short horror story “The Cautionary Tale of Bertrand Allary” has been published! You can get yourself a copy here along with short stories from 33 other talented authors. If you’ve seen the newsletter, you saw that the secret Pinterest board for the new fantasy series I'm working on is no longer a secret, so be sure to give that a gander. I’m about 70k words into the new project so it’s coming along rather nicely. It’s one of those world’s that I’ve made so robust, that it could very well have several spinoff novels all within the same universe, which I’m pretty excited about. Once you’ve looked at the board, I’d love to hear what you think that book may be about, but I can’t promise to confirm much at this stage due to serious spoilers, and that stuff may change. This is a first draft, after all.
The last project I have in the works is a contemporary fiction. I know, it’s quite the departure from my normal genre, but it’s an important story. It was inspired by true events and, as many of you know, I love making characters that deal with tough things and normalizing those feelings or situations so that others, perhaps, don’t feel so alone. This book is very much in that camp. But because it was inspired by actual events in my life, it’s something that’s even closer to my heart, and makes me feel incredibly vulnerable to share with you all. That being said, I am happy to share that I’ve just gotten that book back from my first critique partner, and once I go through their suggestions, it will go through a few more hands and then revisions and… you get the idea. Even though the book is “done” in terms of writing, it still has a lot of kinks to work out so I don’t have a deadline or timeline of when you'll have that in your hands, as I’m taking it through different channels then The Monster of Selkirk. But rest assured, you will see it.
If you’ve made it this far in the blog post, I applaud you, and shall reward your efforts! You see my friends, I’ll be running another giveaway starting Monday, April 30th. Want to enter? Be sure you’ve signed up for my newsletter! This giveaway will be exclusive to subscribers, and they’ll get a signed copy of book 2 headed their way before I move!
See? I told you I was working hard on fun stuff for you all! I hope that makes up for the weird “break” I’ll be taking as I transport my life. Again.
Hello my favorite booknerds! As we are approaching the first book birthday for "The Monster of Selkirk Book I: The Duality of Nature" (April 18th), I wanted to do something new in order to give back to the community that helped get Tallis's story off the ground and to spread the word about my little book. I figured the eve of my book's birthday was the perfect time to introduce a new segment on the blog where I feature of one my absolute favorite bloggers! To be 100% honest, if it weren't for the efforts and candor of these fine individuals, indie books would have an exponentially harder time getting noticed in such a crowed space. We, as authors, may be giving them an endless supply of content to review, but without them, we all might as well be screaming into a void. So, THANK YOU BOOK BLOGGERS! And an especially big thank you to one of my favorites: Kathy Holbrouck of "Books & Munches"!
I "met" Kathy when she won my book during a book tour. I didn't know she was a blogger at the time, so man was I fortunate that of all the people who entered that giveaway, hers was the name selected. She read my book and her passion for my world and characters just blew me away. It was one of the best reviews I've ever read. And yes, I know what you're thinking: that was because she liked my book. Which didn't hurt things but no, it's much more than that. She picks her favorite quotes and writes these lovely in-depth reviews without spoiling a single thing. Plus, she pairs it with food! Her blog is a colorful, safe place for book lovers of all walks of life, that I have unashamedly been lurking on ever since. In fact, check out this post and this one as they are two of my favorites. So, without further ado, I want you to meet Kathy and fall in love with her as I have! Give her social links a gander and see why she's the best:
Blog – Goodreads – Twitter – Instagram
Ok so, first things first: why books and munches? I know you give a brief explanation on your blog, but I’d love more details for new readers. Why combine those two into a blog?
Doing the Popsugar Reading Challenge in 2017, I rediscovered my love for books. Not long after that, I joined a group on Facebook where someone with a blog was selling a bookish surprise box. Her having a blog got me the idea to start my own book blog.
I wanted to do something more with it, but I didn’t want it to be “just” about books so I started thinking about other things that are important to me.
Since I had gastric bypass surgery in 2016, I had to change a lot of my eating habits. Thinking about that, made me realize I could easily figure something out with both books and food. It was then I noticed how books very often mention at least one foody thing and, as such, Books & Munches was born.
It’s clear you love reading and want to write a book one day, but what about being a chef? Or writing a cookbook?
Although that sounds amazing, I don’t think it’s something for me. Sure, I love food and baking but half the time I can’t eat it myself. There are some specific things my stomach can’t handle anymore – chewy meat and sugary things being the most important two. I’d be very limited. Pretty much every time I bake something, my colleagues are getting all the munches – not sure if they love me or hate me for making them eat so many sugary things.
I also love baking way more than the actual cooking – my boyfriend’s the cook here and he might just do some kind of cooking course someday. I’m actually keeping my fingers crossed for that because.. personal chef, hello?!
I am planning on doing some changes to my blog though. I’m figuring out a way to add more of a munches-aspect than there is now but I still have some planning to do on that front!
This is a very broad (and multi-tiered) question, but what is it about reading that you love so much? What is the most important thing for you when reading a book? Characters? World building? Unique plot? Etc.
The reason I love reading is because I love losing myself in other worlds, other stories and simply escaping my own reality. Others have their games, movies, other hobbies, I have my books. The community also helps with that, though. I love how all bookworms are united in the book community, support each other and simply recommend books everywhere – although we’re all drowning in unread books already.
As for what I expect when reading a book? I read different genres of books so with each genres there are other expectations as well. When I’m reading a fantasy, the plot and world-building are most important to me. I want to be able to lose myself in a completely new world, immerse myself in it and get the feeling it’s actually real. Being surprised and having unpredictable plot twists are also important to me.
When it comes to contemporary and romance, I need to characters to be completely fleshed out. They need to be their own, unique selves. Nothing worse than having flat, bland characters fall in love with each other when they don’t even have that much substance.
The plot is of lesser importance because the ending of those books are… well… predictable? I don’t mind the predictability that much in those cases, unless I even see the smallest things coming – which was the case when I read When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya
What would be your absolute perfect book? What would it have? Does it exist already, or will this be something you write one day?
Half a year ago, I would’ve answered this and went “I wish it existed” and now I can simply say: Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli!
I wanted a contemporary with a bisexual, female main character who’s also plus-sized and that’s exactly what I’m going to get. The wait is real – I can’t wait to get my copy.
Having been plus-sized for most my life, I just crave more books with plus-sized characters in which it’s okay to be like that. No focus on “trying to lose weight” but simply being accepted by all. That’s the kind of books I want.
I also want more books featuring minorities. There are a lot of those out there, but personally I’d love to see more deaf / hard of hearing characters and blind characters.
Two books I really want to mention here are Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi and The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Steven. Very different books since one is a high fantasy and the other a contemporary, but they tackle so many important topics and easily became two of my favorites!
What other bloggers and writers do you enjoy reading or admire? Why?
Apart from Chelscey’s books (aww, thanks Kathy!!) – I’m so looking forward to the third instalment! – I definitely love Sarah J. Maas and Holly Black. Matthew S. Cox also has some great and unique fantasy novels I enjoy reading. Kate Watson is another author I admire. I never really had a thing with classics – still don’t, to be honest – but her retelling of Mansfield Park, Seeking Mansfield might be changing that. I’ve bought myself the original story and am looking forward to reading it!
As for bloggers I’m most enthusiastic about… Destiny over at Howling Libraries is definitely at the top of that list. I always enjoy her thorough reviews and she’s always up for bookish talk! It’s Lu Again is one of my favorites as well. The discussion posts and random facts she shares are always very entertaining. Marie over at Drizzle & Hurricane Books also shares a lot of posts on harder topics concerning bloggers.
What’s the hardest kind of blog post or review for you to write?
Without a doubt the reviews of books I wasn’t very keen of. It’s hard writing a negative review when you wanted to love the book. You don’t want to author to feel attacked in any way, but I’m not one to sugarcoat things either. I always try to clearly state why I didn’t like certain things and in a respectful way too but you never really know how someone will handle any kind of criticism.
If an author wants to reach out to you and wants you to read their book, what piece of advice would you give that would make you more likely to agree to read and review their work?
The most important thing to me is getting the feeling they truly checked out my blog and that convinced them I would like their book. Not simply sending me a mail because “hey, she reviews books. She’ll review mine as well.” It doesn’t work like that.
Drew, from Tattooed Book Geek, recently wrote a post with reasons why a blogger declines your review request and I had to agree with pretty much everything. I’d say it’s definitely worth checking out if you’re an author sending out review requests!
Ok so now for some fun, rapid fire questions:
I hope you all enjoyed meeting Kathy of "Books & Munches"! If you are a booklover, she really is one to follow, I promise you won't be disappointed! In another month (or two, I am moving...) I'll feature another excellent blogger, so stay tuned my friends!
Greetings, booknerds! I have a special treat for you today: I'm hosting another blog tour! This time it's for Ms. Natasha D. Lane, author of several books, but most recently, "The Pariah Child and the Ever-Giving Stone". I am currently reading the book right now, and will have my review ready on the 22nd, the day of the books official release. But until then, I have an interview for you from the author herself plus all the information you could ever want on the book. Be sure to add this one to your TBR pile!
About the book:
When Sarah was four, she promised her mother she would be a good girl -- a proper young lady in their small country town -- and that she would ignore the creatures who appeared to her and whispered in her ear of things unknown. But like all creatures of myth and legend, they won’t be ignored forever.
Now thirteen, Sarah is attacked by a wolf with poisonous black fur and strange, human-looking eyes. With the help of a few unexpected friends, she manages to survive the attack but soon discovers the creatures have returned. They want Sarah to find a powerful gemstone and bring it to them in Lyrica, their magical homeworld.
Her new friends urge caution, however. There may be more monsters like the black wolf. And the creatures themselves are frightening. Can Sarah trust them? Stuck between reality and imagination, her mother’s wishes and her own desires, Sarah faces an impossible choice – break her promise or do nothing to save a world in peril.
Interview with Natasha:
How do you start writing a story?
Sometimes I start with an outline but, more often than not, I just start writing and see
where the story takes me. This makes editing more of a pain but each story doesn’t come
to me as clearly as others. I guess I’m more of a prancer than a plotter. However, I’ve
noticed the older I’ve become the more plotting/outlining I’ve started doing. My favorite
thing to do is combine the plotter and prancer sides of me. It’s an odd mix but it works for
What part of a story is the hardest for you to write?
The middle! Definitely the middle. It’s the section of a story where so much happens, so it pulls a lot out of me as a writer. It kind of forces me out of the comfort zone I fall into when I’m writing the beginning. Additionally, the middle is usually where the main conflict starts to unfold. Not the easiest scenes to write I’d say.
How do you know when a story is finished?
When every character is where they need to be and each conflict has been settled as best it can, I know a book/series is over. It’s also kind of a feeling. You know when you’ve written that last line because it just feels solid and complete.
If you had to describe your writing style, what words come to mind?
Lengthy and descriptive. I love describing scenery and physical sensations. Sometimes
this love can cause me to write long paragraphs whose portions get cut out in editing. I
don’t necessarily think being long-winded is a bad thing but there’s a time and place. I
also know it’s not necessary to describe everything, so I keep that in mind, too.
How many words do you aim to write in a day? Do you have specific writing days?
Besides the weekend, every day is a writing day for me. I set my week up like that
because you never know when life will happen and you miss a day. I prefer keeping
it open for any sudden changes.
In terms of word count, I aim for 2000 a day in the beginning of a story. Then, near the
end when the story is wrapping up, I cut it down to 1000 a day.
Are you one of those writers who’s immune to writer’s block? If not, what do you do to combat it?
Those people actually exist? I thought they were like unicorns and leprechauns. :)
Like any writer, I get writer’s block. Usually, it’s because I’m stressed. The stress doesn’t
even have to be about writing but I know “the block” is a sign I need to step back and
relax. Once I get my mind cleared over a few days, I come back to the story feeling fresh.
Thanks for your time, Natasha! If you want to check out Natasha's work for yourself, be sure to check out her book on Amazon, follow her on Goodreads, or like her on Facebook. But in case you need more from this talented author right now, I've got her bio all ready for you!
Natasha Lane enjoys reading a wide variety of genres, but fantasy has always been dear to her heart. After a brief stint in romance, Natasha’s returned to fantasy and currently has two works in the making. She plans on releasing her first fantasy novel “The Pariah Child & the Ever-Giving Stone” March 22, 2018.
Natasha hopes one day to be a well known published author, whose writing informs as well as entertains her reader.
Besides being a bookworm, Natasha is a documentary junkie, rom-com addict, health advocate, entrepreneur, and chef (in her own way).
She currently resides in Baltimore, MD. Despite where life may take her, one thing is certain. Natasha will always keep writing.
Hey there, you lovely booknerds! So I participated in a fun little exercise with another author, who's books I will be reviewing and featuring once I read them (hopefully soon). But, in the meantime, he featured a character interview with Rosslyn on his site and in his newsletter! You can check it out here, or just peruse his site as he has a lot of sci-fi and horror books you may find interesting. BUT! I didn't want any of you to miss out on the interview, either. And don't worry, the interview is spoiler free just in case you haven't read any of the books yet (though I'd love it if you did). So here it is! Enjoy and I'd love to hear what you think. Does this interview change your opinion of Rosslyn if you've read the books? And if not, does it make you interested to find out more (I hope it does)?
Hi readers! Today we’re talking to Rosslyn, best friend to Tallis, who is one of the main characters in “The Monster of Selkirk”! Rosslyn, if you wouldn’t mind, can you introduce yourself to people who don’t know you?
That’s a bit weird, isn’t it? Introducing myself… Well, I’m Rosslyn, or Roz, or Rozy to my friends. I live in Kincardine with my mum and pop and my little brother. My mum cooks in the baron’s big house, and my pop’s a proper laborer, and occasional muscle for the taverns when they want a big bloke outside to scare away the no-good piss-artists. Sometimes I go with my pop to work, but most the time I’m with Tallis, getting into trouble.
Sounds like Kincardine’s a lively place--
Oi now, I wouldn’t call it lively. Not like I’d visit the place if I didn’t live there. Kincardine’s a little village beholden to a bigger city. It’s a place for poor sods with barely more than two coppers to rub together. You don’t have that, well, then things can turn from bad to worse right quick. It’s why things like the Bride Block are so popular. You sell a daughter to the highest bidder and get a bit of coin in order to survive.
No, lively isn’t how I’d describe Kincardine. But it’s a decent place if you want to be left alone, forgotten, or ignored by the king and queen. But it’s a muddy piss-hole if you’re hoping to build a life for yourself. That’s why Tallis hates it so much.
I see… Ok, well, in that case, tell us more about your friends.
Well, there’s really just Tallis. I have acquaintances that’re good for one of two things: a good drink or good lay. But Tallis is different. She’s a right proper friend. Always up to try and scam a couple coppers out of the nobs that have too much to begin with, or the sods who won’t know it’s gone. Tallis is always there for you in a pinch, no questions asked.
Funny thing is, first time we met I tried to rob her. Didn’t turn out all that well. Now we’re inseparable. I’m sure that cousin of hers, Donovan, would wish it were otherwise, and Tomas wishes he were as close to Tallis as I am, but that’s tough shite for those two. Donovan is a bit too righteous for my tastes, but he’s grand if you need a big man to wield a big sword on your behalf. And Tomas, well, Tomas is too good for the likes of us, but don’t tell him I said that. He’s too smart and kind for a poor place like Kincardine. Reckon he’s too good for most places in Selkirk, but that boy won’t go anywhere without Tallis, so there’s that.
Well, Tallis sounds like a true friend, if nothing else. Where do you two like to spend time together, and why?
Oi, that’s easy: The Lonely Tavern. Selene has this potent ale she makes there out back. It’ll knock you flat on your arse if you’re not careful. Tallis can’t hold her liquor, so it’s always a sight when she’s had a spot too much. Which usually happens once she’s done dancing for the blokes who stop by. Plus, Selene’s a great lady. She does all she can to help the poor girls in town with no better—or other—options, and you’ve got to respect that. She gave Tallis a job when no one else would, after all.
You mentioned you were here with your family. Care to tell us more about them?
Well, there’s my mum, Akira, and my pop, Tyree, and my little brother Loren. We all live together. My brother Munro is back with our old clan and his… sweetheart. But it’s fine! I can take care of Loren fine by myself. He needs a lot of tending to. It’s why my pop isn’t as steadily employed as my mum, someone needs to stay with Loren at all times. When they’re both busy, I look after him. I’ll always be there to protect him.
You care about Loren a great deal, which is sweet, but what happened to him?
He, uh, he had an accident. We had this run in with a tremp—I mean, one of them feral elves. Anyway, physically, he’s fine. Cutest little boy you ever did see. But his mind… his mind’s just not there. He can’t feed himself or wash himself properly. Doesn’t speak, either. But he remembers faces. He knows his family. He’s glad to have us around.
A feral elf? How scary! What did you do?
Yes, well, I didn’t really do anything. You never need to do anything when those nasty beasts are involved. We were out in the forest and the vile creature surprised us, tried to snatch Loren up and do Wodan knows what to him…. Oi, does it matter? The tremp didn’t take him and the damage’s been done and can’t be undone. Leave it at that.
I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to upset you. But feral elves… it must be tricky living with a threat like that. Especially as you came from the clans, without the protection of even a poor town like Kincardine. What was that like?
The tremps are bloody awful! What were you expecting? Some noble being who plays a lute with a pair of big ears? Ha! They do have the pointy ears, though. Our elves…. Well, those plonkers like to steal children, and they eat whomever they can get their grubby talons on. I reckon it’s better in the cities, they at least have proper walls.
Places like Kincardine have to use the Clearing every four years to drive the monsters back, and it don’t always work. The clans have no such precautions. We just keep moving and hope for the best. The tremps have been acting strangely lately, though. Well, stranger than usual according to Munro. Like you can feel them getting ready for something.
It’s downright spooky…. But nothing’s worked to get rid of the blighted creatures completely. Not yet, anyway. Oi! Can we talk about something a bit more pleasant? No one likes talking about the evil elves.
Of course! You mentioned your older brother was back with your clan? Is that why you and your parents aren’t back with him? Loren’s accident?
Guess you can say that, but that’s putting it nicely. You see, the Sipsi clans live out in the woods surrounding the towns and cities of Selkirk. Keeps us free of the king, duke, and baron’s pesky laws and the brothers in the monastery who insist we live by no code but Wodan’s—our god. But it makes us vulnerable to the feral elves. We’ve got to keep moving to avoid the monsters or they could wipe out a whole clan.
After Loren’s… accident, we didn’t know the damage that’d been inflicted, not immediately anyway. But when it was clear he wasn’t going to recover, our clan leaders said my mum and pop would need to, well, end his misery. He’d endanger the whole clan’s safety if he couldn’t keep up or know when to keep quiet if danger was about. Instead of killing their baby, my parents decided to leave the clan life and take Loren to a town where proper healers could help us. I could’ve stayed with the clan, but after what happened to Loren on my watch…. I couldn’t leave him again, you understand?
I do, Rosslyn. So, why didn’t your older brother come with you guys?
A girl. Simple as that. Munro fell in love and his lass wouldn’t leave the clan life. So he stayed behind with her. Next question.
Another sore point I see, but ok. What do you miss most about the clans?
That’s easy, too: the freedom. Sipsi clans live by no one’s laws but our own. Sure, our leader’s word must be obeyed when it comes to clan safety, but otherwise you can do as you like. Live as you like, love who you like, marry them or just have a tumble without judgement. You’re completely free to live the life you want, and do what makes you happy. In towns like Kincardine that’s not how people live. It’s awful.
Will you ever go back?
Probably not. Not unless they let Loren come back and they wouldn’t do that. Especially not while the elves are feral and like to eat people. My chances of going back are as good as the tremps getting their minds back. Just won’t happen.
So, what’s next for you and Tallis?
Well, Tallis is hitting a bit of a rough patch. Her pop is a proper bastard and has it in his mind to sell her on the Bride Block. So I’ve been helping her earn coin to avoid that, and her cousin, Donovan, he’s been helping in his own way, too. Reckon we’ll have to get out of Kincardine soon to keep her from being sold like chattel. If that happens, I’ll ask my parents to come with us so we can all start over somewhere else. Donovan seems to want to take his sweetheart away from Kincardine, too, and who knows? Maybe that Tomas lad will decide to give up monastery life and come with us. Either way, we’re aiming to have a proper adventure! If the elves don’t get in the way, that is.
Well, that’s it! Thanks, Rosslyn, for your time!
Hello my favorite booknerds! As promised, more (better?) blogging from yours truly in 2018! So I want to talk to you about, well, let’s call it a current event, or better yet, a movement that is near and dear to me: body positivity. This isn’t a new movement, it’s been around since at least the 90’s, probably much longer under a different name, but it tends to ebb and flow with strength and becomes more of a “thing” when celebrities or brands come out and say something, or make an ad campaign that celebrates “real” bodies. Case in point: Tess Holiday’s rise to super model status and Dove’s recent ad campaign. In case you’re unfamiliar, body positivity, simply put, is: accepting the body you have as well as the changes in shape, size, and ability it may undergo due to nature, age, or your own choices throughout your life. Sounds nice, right? Loving the skin your in? So why is it so damn hard to love ourselves?
Everyone is different, but for me, one of the main reasons I have such a hard time looking at my body shape in the mirror and loving it is the things I’ve been told, and seen, my entire life. As a kid, I was always bigger, both in height and natural girth. This meant that my “friends” would be cruel, especially in those hormone riddled years when I wanted boys to like me. I wasn’t petite by any means, which my friends would tell me by passive aggressively making comments like: “Well, my doctor said I’m going to have the perfect mannequin body when I grow up!” I kid you not, one of my friends said this to me when I made the mistake in confiding in her about my size. Of course she was lying, but it didn’t matter. I wasn’t skinny, so I believed her when she said that, because she was, she was the expert on bodies at the tender age of 13. Then of course there’s all the popular media and magazines that say things like: “Drop 2 sizes in 10 days for that perfect beach body!” “Find out which celebrity has let themselves go!” “Banish cellulite and get more sex appeal with these easy steps.” Messages like that, for me, definitely had me looking at my curves and, frankly, hating them.
In the last twenty years or so, brands and other movements have been trying to change this. But a lot of brands who have appropriated this have missed the point of the movement entirely. The surface message is: you should feel good about your body. What they are really saying is: you can’t feel good in your body as it is, so let’s help you create a body you can love. Or they show only a small subset of people; like only lighter skinned models who are a “small” plus size—basically acceptable fat. Because there is, apparently, a line where you go from being allowed to love yourself and wear whatever you want without shame, to being fat. And body positivity isn’t just about physical appearance, either. It incorporates disabilities, sexual identities, race, and of course, people who are very large in size. If at any time someone tries to adopt the body positivity mantra but tells you that only these “plus sizes” and these skin tones are acceptable, then they are missing the point.
This isn’t the only misconception about being body positive. Some people believe that being body positive means you have to feel fabulous and sexy all the time, seriously. All. The. Time. That’s false, by the way. Body positive is just about divorcing how you look with your feelings of self-worth. You are not worth less or more because you look a certain way, and you are allowed to feel ugly, but you should always see your worth and want to take care of yourself—that’s being body positive. Believing that you aren't worth less because you don’t fit a certain size, and that your size or appearance or sexuality should have any bearing on your decision to treat others with respect. That's what it's about, people!
Body positivity is also not an excuse to “let yourself go” or be lazy, or to not take care of yourself. It’s just asking you to be okay with who you are, because if you hate yourself, you won’t take care of yourself, and you should want to take care of your body. That means that if you do see issues, but you’re okay with yourself as a person, you’ll be more open and willing to make healthy changes, whatever those may be. It’s also understanding that other people’s health is no one’s business but theirs. You do you, free of the constraints of an oppressive cultural standard of beauty.
For a long time, I thought body positivity meant that I did, indeed, need to find myself the sexiest thing to walk all day every day, and when I didn’t, that meant clearly I hated myself. I follow a lot of curvy body positive models on Instagram and I look at those images and think “Well, damn, I don’t feel that comfortable in my skin. I’m not body positive.” But I’m just looking at a still frame of their life, and I should never compare myself to them. I know nothing about their struggles, like they know nothing about mine. I’m still struggling with that, but I’m trying to take care of myself, to love my shape, and to not argue with my husband when he genuinely says he loves my big butt.
Shopping for pants will always be the bane of my existence mainly because girl sizes are so arbitrary when it comes to pants—this, I feel, is done on purpose because guys don’t have such silly issues when buying pants. Why girls should always run a gauntlet when trying to find the right sizes and pay more for bigger sizes, I’ll never know, but it’s unfair and, dare I say, sizeist (is that a thing?). But despite the emotional roller-coaster I experience when I go shopping or step on the scale, I can still be body positive and be okay with the person I am. And you can too! Let’s Make this 20GREATteen (see what I did there? 2018? Well, I thought it was clever) and be okay with the people we are and the space we inhabit. And know you aren’t alone! If you are looking for more information, these are two great places to start and know I am always here if you want to talk, just leave me a comment and we’ll get a dialogue going!