I’m not sure how many people stop by my blog anymore because I hardly post anymore, but I figured it might be good to post an update. I was once a very active member of the book blogging community and, truth be told, I miss it so much it hurts.
I haven’t been blogging for a few reasons, but the main reason has been my mental health. My anxiety has been gradually worsening over the past three or four months and things came to a head about a month ago when I had an episode which saw me having to have a week of university to go home because I’d called my grandparents, hysterical, having been unable to both sleep or eat because I was so anxious.
Long story short, I’ve been trying to get back on my feet and trying to take care of myself. At my last doctor’s appointment, I was prescribed some SSRIs (a specific type of antidepressant which can also help with anxiety disorders) to trial for a month. I also had my first counselling appointment last week. I’m hoping I might finally start being on the up soon. I really, really hope so. I’m exhausted if I’m honest.
These are probably details people aren’t interested in but it’s my blog and I want to be honest about my mental health. Too often people feel ashamed to talk about their mental health out of fear of judgment, but illnesses such as anxiety and depression are just as real and as valid as any other.
When I’ll be back to regular blogging I can’t say, but I do miss you guys. I know I’m not the podcast-making, book-blogging, flash fiction-writing annoying person that I used to be but that person is still here somewhere, underneath everything that’s happening at the moment. If anyone wants a catch up or anything, feel free to drop me a message, either on Facebook or on Instagram.
Why do I always title my posts in the third person, like my non-existent PA drafts them up for me?
Anyway, here’s a short ten minute recording of me attempting spoken word poetry and a bit of general chit chat (excuse the naughty words, I’m not the squeaky clean, sweet and innocent persona I exude in my writing)
Have any of you guys dabbled (love that word) in spoken word poetry? Tell me about your experiences!
Okay…so I know I shouldn’t brag, but I know some of you are aware of my struggles with my university course, so I have some good news! After literally crying over my grammar classes and having to do a shit ton of extra revision…I passed the exam! I only got 55% but for something I struggled with so badly, I’m really super happy! I would say I’ll be happy to never see another grammar book again but I’m currently surrounded by three hefty tomes of grammar for my next assignment 😛
It’s 21:53. I’m home alone…and my mind is loud. My mind is screaming at me and my thoughts need out.
First off, I’m sorry for being shit. I haven’t blogged or looked at any blogs in nearly a month. I’ve been busy. I’ve been depressed and I’m not sure if I even feel like a real person anymore.
There are moments and sometimes even days of happiness; when I go up to Glasgow to see my boyfriend, when I see my friends for lunch or coffee and a catch up, when I see my family and have some good home-cooked food…but in between all of that, I feel like nothing.
I never expected my course to be easy. I like a challenge and I’ve tried to tackle this one head on. I’m doing all the reading and the feedback I’ve received for my practise assignments has been promising. From a social standpoint too, life at uni is great. I’ve made some great friends, one of whom is coming over for Christmas.
But I don’t want to be at uni anymore. I feel like it’s consuming who I am as a person. Everything that I enjoyed doing – everything that made me me – has taken a back burner. I barely have time to read and when I do, I’m too exhausted to read more than ten pages at a time it seems. I only have time to jot down the odd poem here and there; the short story collection I wanted to work on has come to nothing. I don’t have time to blog on a regular basis and while it’s not the end of the world, I miss the community I became a part of over the course of a year and a half. I feel isolated from everything that I love doing. I don’t feel like me anymore and it scares me.
I’m worried about money as well. Although I only did part time hours at the hotel, I had a monthly income that I could rely on. I could pay my rent and still have enough left over for other things and suddenly not having that anymore has left me feeling financially insecure. I’ve been sticking to a budget these past three months, but I’ve been trying to work out the figures for my second semester and I’m not entirely sure how I’m going to manage. I tried finding a part time job but the places that I applied to didn’t get back to me and a lot of places that I wanted to work in offered too many hours or weren’t flexible enough. I figured I’d leave it until maybe my second or third semester but now I’m worrying about not finding work when I actually really need it.
I’m feeling anxious too and I’m not even 100% sure why. I think it’s an accumulation of everything weighing on my mind, but I find myself waking up early in the morning, my heart pounding as all my irrational worries begin to wake up as well. I’m anxious about the things I’ve previously mentioned, but I’m anxious about a lot of other stuff too and the thing that makes me so angry with myself is that most of the stuff I’m anxious about aren’t even real things. They’re things my mind imagines happening. I get anxious at the thought of my boyfriend leaving me because he’ll get sick of me. I get anxious at the thought of becoming homeless because I can’t afford to cover the expenses of my studies. I get anxious at the thought of leaving my course (even though I want to) and my family being ashamed and disappointed in me. I get anxious at the thought of those I love and care for getting sick or getting hurt and being unable to help them or do anything about it. I get anxious at the thought of 2018. I get anxious at the thought of being in my mid twenties and still not being 100% sure of what I want to do in terms of a career despite doing a fucking MA.
I was relatively happy before uni and now I’m not. I know it sounds pathetic and like I’m ungrateful because not everyone gets the opportunity to do this. It’s my own fault. I applied for this and I’ve got no one to blame but myself.
Okay, okay…I know some of you will question what exactly I was expecting when the book has a cover like this, but for those of you who have been with me since I swoon over fictional men’s birth, you’ll remember that, initially, I reviewed nothing but paranormal romance.
I guess my DNFing (it’s a word, shut up) of this book maybe shows just how much I’ve grown as a reader throughout the duration of 2017; life’s too short to read books you’re not enjoying! At the tail end of 2016, I realized reading was becoming something of a chore because I was hesitant to read outside of my ‘preferred’ genre…and it dawned on me that with many of the books that I was reading, I was essentially rereading the same story over and over again, just with different characters in different locations.
I’m not one for New Year’s Resolutions, but on 1st January 2017, I pledged to read more widely and boy, have I read more widely since then. I’ve been reading drama, horror, sci fi, non-fiction, poetry…
…but I still enjoy the odd bit of romance now and again and following my reading of Archangel’s Viper, I felt my romance fix hadn’t been entirely satisfactory, so I decided to browse the Kindle store for some new titles.
And that’s where I stumbled upon The Dark Ones. On paper (or on screen, I should say) it sounded like your average, run-of-the-mill paranormal romance. Vampires, immortal kings, conflicts, drama, the ‘chosen one‘…The Dark Ones has it all and as I’m your stereotypical poor student, when I saw it was free, I hit ‘Download’ quicker than I make a cup of tea when I wake up in the morning (which is pretty fucking quick).
As I settled into my reading of it, though, I found myself becoming increasingly uneasy and it was when I hit the 35% mark that I realized I just couldn’t read anymore. It was depressing me and I’m depressed enough as it is without my method of escapism making me feel even worse. It wasn’t just the superficial, archetypal characters that very often populate the realms of paranormal romance (y’know, the darkly troubled, brooding asshole that everyone lusts after etc)…it was more the sheer oppression of the female protagonist that was bothering me.
The Dark One’s protagonist is a woman called Genesis and despite her being a two dimensional, annoyingly whiny character, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for her. The author’s treatment of her epitomizes everything that I hate about this genre when it’s done wrong. Let me explain:
1. She has no free will. The moment she steps through the door that leads her to the immortals, Genesis is stripped of the scraps of free will she’d possessed in her previous life. The male immortals barter for her ‘services’ like she’s nothing more than a slab of meat, all while she stands, shaking as terror naturally courses through her body. If that doesn’t sound horrific enough, Ethan then ‘has to’ forcibly ‘mark’ Genesis to make her his ‘mate’ because it’s so obviously the only way to save her from Cassius….she has literally known Ethan for about half an hour by this point. Oh, and the greatest thing about all of this? She doesn’t understand the implications of his actions until afterwards, which leads me quite nicely onto my second point…
2. Being an immortal’s mate is quite literally a life or death situation and not because the immortal world is teeming with blood-thirsty vampires and rabid werewolves. Oh no. The actual process of becoming an immortal’s mate is life-threatening. Genesis’ life hangs in the balance through no decision of her own and why, you might ask, do the immortals need humans? Well, conveniently to the plot…
3. …immortals can only have offspring with humans. She’s essentially being forced into sexual slavery. Cassius wants Genesis so he can breed with her and, at one point, she’s actually referred to as ‘a breeder’.
4. Ethan treats Genesis like shit. I dunno, maybe their relationship improves later in the book but certainly in the 35% that I read, he was a class A dick to her. One minute, he’s leaning forward about to kiss her, the next he’s throwing a temper tantrum and stomping around downstairs because she doesn’t truly ‘love’ him (calm it, buddy, she’s not even known you 24 hours!). His emotions are about as predictable as a forest fire (which I imagine aren’t very predictable? Correct me if I’m wrong) and while I’m not a psychologist, I can imagine being subjected to that kind of behavior would make a person extremely frightened and insecure.
5. Soul-consuming lust. This is something that kinda ties in with my first point; Genesis not only loses free will over her life, but she loses free will over her body too. Her mind is literally fighting against her body’s yearning for Ethan and this yearning is something that, initially (because no doubt she’ll realize she does actually love him later in the book), is a result of his forced ‘marking’ of her. I don’t even need to explain how many shades of creepy and messed up that is.
So there we have it. Rant over, guys. What books have you recently DNFed?
Some of you may have noticed that I haven’t been posting anywhere near as much lately and there’s a number of reasons for that, feeling down/uni assignments/tiredness to name but a few.
I’ve decided to try and be a bit more organised with my time and try and get back up to speed with things. I know some of you will say “But it’s only a hobby, don’t sweat it!”, but my lack of activity on the blogosphere has been giving me a lot of anxiety. I feel bad that I haven’t been commenting on other people’s posts anywhere near as much as I used to and because I’ve made some great friends through blogging, I worry about losing those friendships.
So I’m going to maybe do one review/post once a week and comment on other posts on another day of the week. I’m going to be trying this system for the next couple of weeks to see how it works. I’m doing a review tonight and then tomorrow I’m going to be catching up with other people’s blogs, so please don’t be angry if I don’t get round to your blog tonight. I’m trying my best and I’m sorry for being shit.
During my little break, I headed back up the road to see my family and when I rocked up at my grandparents’ house, I found the anthology in which a flash fiction piece of mine is published had arrived! (wow, that was a really long sentence…and breathe)
What makes it even better is that my best friend’s story is printed on the opposite page. We’re planning on releasing a collection of short stories early 2018 so watch this space 🙂
Hey, guys. Just a quick post to let you know that I’m going to be taking a break for a week or so. I’ve been feeling very low lately and to top things off, I also have a UTI so have been feeling even more crappy. I’m going home to see my family this weekend and while I’m going to catch up on comments (I’m really, really behind so I’m really sorry), I won’t be doing any posts. I’m hoping I’ll be feeling okay soon! In the meantime, though, if anyone wants to keep in touch, feel free to chat with me through my personal Facebook. I always love hearing from you guys ❤