31 May 2016

Wherein I'm a little too honest

***Possible trigger warning***

This post is going to be the hardest I've ever written. Maybe no one will read it, maybe someone will and they'll find strength in it. Whatever happens, this post is an explanation. Of a lot of things.

It's not a post that requires back pats or shoulder squeezes. None of that "I'm so sorry you went through this" or "I'm proud of you for overcoming." That isn't the point. In fact, I may turn off comments just to discourage it.

I'm not writing this post for me. Not entirely. Sure, I want it off my chest, out of my system, away from my heart and my soul. In that much, the post is for me.

More, I want it to be for people who've undergone similar circumstances, who may be going through them now. I want it to be for the ones like this lady, who've battled depression through a genre I've grown to love over the years.

So, let's get the hard part over with.

I was abused.

I. Was. Abused.

I was abused.

Like ripping off a bandaid, right?

Except not so much.

The hardest part of it all is admitting it, not just to people in general, but to myself. I've balked every time I thought about it because deep down he's a good person or it didn't seem that bad or I thought I was smarter than that. God, I was supposed to be smarter than that (yay, defeatist thinking). Hell, I balked trying to write this post because it wasn't that bad (except it was and I have the anxiety and panic attacks to prove it), but in my effort to banish fears from my life--the only New Years Resolution I've ever made and tried to keep--I'm pressing on.

The thing, though, the reason it doesn't ring as abuse is because he never hit me. Oh, I was scared of him sometimes, sure. He had a temper, and it took nothing to set him off. He was judgmental, isolated me from friends and family, blamed me for the problems in our relationship, withheld affection (at one point he went for six months without so much as kissing me). Never met my friends in the 4 years we were together, though I met a few of his, and always accused me of having dated my male friends. Made zero effort to be with me, truly. And yet, whenever he broke up with me (typically happened once a year), he would call and beg me back. And I'd go, because I loved him, and surely being with him wasn't as bad as being alone. But it was so much worse.

It wasn't until our fourth, and last, breakup that I started dallying in romance. I had ideas that were more romance-skewed, but I'm a spec fic girl. I love fantasy, science fiction, anything that brings a little magic to the world, but I shied away from the romance books because while boys didn't have cooties, those surely did. But poor broken little me, the one who watched her hopes and dreams shatter when her ex told her she was only good for sex and hanging out and cheapened what she'd struggled for almost half a decade to build, the one who cried herself to sleep, the one who'd lost so many friends and almost lost her family because of a selfish psychopath who couldn't see past his own suffering to realize he'd been hurting someone he claimed to love... That girl needed romance. That girl needed some hope. And that girl needed to take some damn control.

When I found out about Decadent Publishing's 1Night Stand series, I decided to take a leap. After all, I had multiple friends writing not just in romance, but for that line, and I devoured them. Thankfully, they're pretty short reads, some that I enjoyed far more than I ever expected, and I said to myself, why not?

So I started writing This Time Next Year, because if I love one thing, it's over-dramatic vampire romances (thanks, Anne Rice). And then I wrote what I had been missing for so long: A man willing to do anything for the woman he loves; a woman fighting to make her own decisions about love and life, one who fights against her own insecurities and the very world around her to be with the man she loves. Moira and Kiernan were a jumping off point for me, where I could explore what love is and means and the differences in kinds of love and the crazy situations humans get themselves into. (Complete Me was written during the same time period about a different person, who was honestly almost a carbon copy of my ex.)

I started writing romance to give characters the happy endings I thought I'd lost. And I keep writing romance to give readers the happy endings they deserve.

And along the way, I found my happy ending, too.

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