So here's a messed up truth for you: I'm ashamed to tell people I read romance novels. It's something I don't like to admit because I know there is NOTHING to be ashamed and yet...
It was this situation that really inspired me to write this post. Let me set the scene for you: lunch at school. I had finished eating the sandwich/pizza I probably had and decided to take out my Kobo to read since socializing with my friends during lunch isn't something I like to do that much, strangely. But my friend asks me what I'm reading. It was Crash Into You by Katie McGarry which as you may know is a romance novel. So I start to blush and explain to her that it's a book called Crash Into You, that it is a romance but instead of just leaving it at that, I start running myself in circles wanting to make it seem less pathetic that I'm reading a romance novel, I guess. And then things get a little bit awkward. I launch into something about how it's romance but "obviously not erotica" and then ramble on about something else and TAKE IT FROM ME, it was just a straight nightmare. Really embarrassing. And only just the tip of the iceberg.
It's interesting how clearly I remember this moment even though it happened back in like August and is seriously just a teeny little thing. Not something that you'd think would be ingrained in my mind forever. (Which speaking of, works in a really unusual way. Someone should write a thesis about how I manage to remember such unimportant details like this and not the fact that I have a midterm in a week which I probably should do better to remember so I can get started on it...) It was really just an innocent comment, definitely not something to get so annoyed by. But of course, this is me we're talking about, someone who tends to be EXTREMELY irrational with her emotions.
I was at Indigo with a friend and we were talking about books we'd recently read. All my friend had said was that she had just finished The Glass Castle and did I know what it was and that she ended up enjoying surprisingly AND that she thought I should read it because it was a really good book even though "it wasn't romance so I know you might not be interested in it".
And this bugged me SO MUCH at the time. If I'm being honest, it still does bug me a bit. For the same reason. There were so many things I wanted to say then, all of them horrible and mean and an overreaction. I wanted to scream YES IN FACT I DO KNOW WHAT THE GLASS CASTLE IS and I PROBABLY READ MORE BOOKS AND KNOW MORE ABOUT THEM THAN YOU and I DON'T JUST LIKE ROMANCE and I HATE THAT YOU THINK THAT and YOU DON'T KNOW ME. The need to be prideful is probably one of my worst traits, up there with my irrational emotional states. I don't like that I think these things and I tried my best to block things like this out but for the sake of honesty... The labeling of me as a solely romance-novel reader got to me again. And though I didn't say all those things out loud, I do still feel a LOT guilty for thinking them. Because it wasn't my friend's fault. I shouldn't be pissed at her. And honestly it was such a non-issue, it shouldn't even have stirred up any reaction. It was totally ME and my problem with the fact that people think I only read romance novels that caused me to get upset. Which is dumb. I know it's dumb.
I could continue for days with these types of stories but I think you get the idea. I'm ashamed that I like romance.
On this blog, that's not really a thing I try to hide. I DO love romance and contemporaries and I think I make that really clear here. But offline, with my friends and everyone else, it becomes something I try to hide. Something I avoid being labelled as. And why? Is it because I think they're going to be less understanding? No. Is it because I think they're going to make fun of me? No. Because my friends aren't like that/won't do that.
So what's with me? I mean, I do know that it's all my own mentality but there's something to be said about society's perception of romance as well. Just look at the fact that the term "chick lit" exists. And that it has a reputation of being low-par writing that serves the sole purpose of brainless entertainment. What's up with THAT? How come there's this idea that romance novels are bad? And not valuable pieces of literature?
In the end, I know that that doesn't excuse my mentality. But it's something that I like to ponder about. How the romance genre, at least to me, seems to be treated so differently in comparison to other genres. And you know, I'm not going to be ashamed to admit that I read romance any more and that I love it too. Because there's nothing to be ashamed about. And the people who make you/me feel like there is are judgmental assholes.
THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH ROMANCE. And I need to quit feeling like there is. So the next time someone asks about the romance novel I'm reading, I'm going to tell them ALL about its awesomeness. No despite the fact it's a romance. Nothing of that sort. Just that it's plain AWESOME.
Unless it's actually bad then you know... you get my point!