I really identified with her because that was me for a very long time. Even after I found the romance community; after I started blogging, I still didn't tell many people in my day to day life how deep into romance I was. Some may have known a bit - perhaps that I enjoyed a good romance now and then, but I never made a point of telling people and if asked would duck the question or kind of mumble out the words. I think I'm your classic people pleaser and I didn't want anyone looking down on my choice of reading material.
But I've come along way in the past few years and practically everyone I have contact with - my friends, my coworkers, my family know exactly what I read and I don't feel embarrassed or ashamed any more to tell anyone. I realized that when the movers came a few weeks ago and when they saw all my books and that they were pretty much all romance, I didn't even flinch when he commented on it. And what a glorious feeling that was after hiding it for so many years.
I'm not exactly sure what got me to the point where I am today, when I can go into a bookstore and plop down some of those books with horrid covers or explicit covers and not feel a moments qualm about it. I think it's a number of factors.
- I have matured - yes that still happens even though I'm in my fifties. While I still like people to like me, I'm not concerned if they don't. I'm at the place where I don't feel I have to justify my reading tastes to anyone. If they don't approve or make some kind of comment; though to be honest, no one has taken that approach with me, it's too bad for them. If they've never tried romance, and chances are they haven't if they have a negative reaction, they are the ones missing out.
- Being a part of the romance community has allowed me to see what an intelligent, thoughtful and well rounded group we are. Whether a college professor, an assistant DA, a lawyer, a doctor or a homemaker, as a whole, we are smart people who should be and often are respected.
- Getting to know authors and seeing them as the dedicated artists they are. And there is no question they are artists, only their canvas is a blank screen and their true talent is in telling a wonderful story. I've read the very occasional book outside the romance genre and there is no question that authors who write romance are just as talented if not more so then many authors who write in other genres.
- Besides just being part of the romance community, I've know had a chance to meet many other aficionados of the genre or fellow bloggers *g*. Having that instant connection to someone I've never met before and sharing a passion with them is wonderful. I know this might not make too much sense, but in hiding or being ashamed of what I read somehow almost seems to affect the relationship I have with them. If I deny or don't admit how I've come to know them, then that seems to deny a part of them and of me.
It's taken a long time to get to where I am now and if there are others who are still reluctant to 'come out of the closet' themselves, I understand, truly I do, because I hid there for so many years. But if anyone is thinking of breaking out and being proud of what they read instead of slightly ashamed and worried what others may think, I encourage them to do so. It really is a great feeling to be proud now of what you read instead of hiding it!!
And in other news....
There are those defining moments in time where something stays in your memory for the rest of your life - where you were when you heard JFK died. Where you were when you heard Princess Dianna died, where you were when you heard Elvis died and now there is another one I will always remember - where I was when I heard Michael Jackson died. I know we are going to be hearing this over and over and over the next little while, but we did lose one of our greatest musical talents on Thursday.
I grew up listening to his music - he wasn't that much younger then me - hard as that is to believe and while I never counted him as one of my favourite musicians, there is no question I did love many of his songs. I remember how terrified my oldest son was when he first saw the video for Thriller - one of the best music videos ever made.
But he always struck me as such a lonely and sad kind of person. Only someone desperately unhappy with who they are could do to themselves what Michael Jackson did with all the plastic surgeries and that makes me sad. He was such a genius musically and it's disturbing that he never could accept himself. I watched a lot of the coverage and one item stood out. Lisa Marie Presley commented that when she married him, she hoped she could help him, that she could get him past the lost soul he always seemed to be, but she couldn't. It seems to me that he surrounded himself with vultures who didn't care about him as a person; who wouldn't stand up and say no - those kinds of actions are not good for you; they are inappropriate and will hurt you. And that makes me sad. He was a young man - and even though he was 50, to me he was still a young man who was so easily hurt and trusted the wrong people and the wrong advice. As for the charges he faced, I never really believed them. I can't say for sure whether they were true or not, but I tend to think not. I think he was looking for the innocence that he never really had in his own life.
And although as I said, he wasn't one of my favourite artists, still I admired him tremendously for his talent and what he contributed to the world.
Of all his songs I've loved over the years, this one is probably my favourite.