Interesting side effect of blogging: watching oneself change. Not so interesting side effect of blogging: everyone can dissect said changes!
I started this blog in February of 2013, three years ago. I’ve changed and grown as a writer since then. As a person. Three such changes stick out at me when I glance through past posts.
The first involves sex scenes. When I started blogging I had never written a sex scene before. Kissy scenes? Yes, please! But everything else was closed door. And three years ago I couldn’t wrap my head around writing sex scenes.
Now I’ve written…a lot of them. Seven novels with sex scenes in them. My former self would be staring at these words, mouth open, cheeks flushed. It wasn’t something I thought I’d do. But people change. I changed as a person, I changed as a writer. And I love those sex scenes. Not only are they fun, but they often involve personal, emotional growth for the characters. Love and attraction can go hand in hand and it’s fun to watch characters grow closer together as they, ahem, are closer together.
Three years ago I was growing tired of the leading male hero being tall, dark haired, totally ripped, and handsome. Real life involves variety and not everyone has those four traits. I married a blond and love redheads, why do they all have to have dark hair?
I struggled with this, and talked with others about this topic. One Internet friend wrote something that has stuck with me all these years: if I wanted to fantasize about a guy with love handles, I’d go for my husband.
Romance novels are about fantasy. And the tall, ripped, guy is that fantasy. I still feel some sense of normal can come into play in the right settings, but I’m embracing what I’m writing: a fantasy. And present me is okay with that concept. Sure, I often give my males a reason for their physique, like being a rock climber or a runner. Because if he sits around playing video games all day and has a six pack but doesn’t work out…well, that’s a bit much to swallow!
The last area is much more personal: the use of the term “differently-abled” vs “disabled.” I’m Hard of Hearing. I grew up with the label “hearing impaired.” I don’t like this label, never have, and have avoided using it in my novels. Why? The answer is simple: I don’t see myself as impaired. Never have. Never will.
The thing about hearing loss, it creates a linguistic minority. I am part of a community, of a culture. And we view ourselves as such. We don’t automatically view ourselves as disabled. I don’t view myself as disabled.
I read a blog where a disabled author mentioned the term “differently-abled” in a negative light. I asked about it. The answer I respected: I could use that term to describe myself, but for others it creates the stigma about the term “disabled” and needs to stop.
This gave me pause. Because my avoidance of the term “disabled” is due to the stigma. My ears are not hearing, therefore I am disabled, even if I view myself as part of a linguistic and cultural minority. It makes sense. Furthermore, I am not setting out to separate myself from anyone else with a disability. We share many frustrations and can be wonderful allies and partners.
I’m now referring to myself as disabled. It’s not easy, very much a work in process. But even as I change my terminology with respect for my peers, my former words, my former usage of “differently-abled” continues to exist on my blog. I could go back and delete those posts, or edit those words. I won’t. Not because the Internet will never let me truly erase those former words, but because I want to own my journey. Just like I started off calling myself hearing impaired before adopting Hard of Hearing. Because that journey is so important to me and is a huge part of my upcoming novel.
We can’t truly know where we are until we see where we came from. The downside of blogging means that it’s public for all to see. With any luck my journey will touch someone else, and help them to make their own journey, whatever that may be.
And I will do my best not to cringe at those old posts. They were once a part of me. They are part of my journey. They are me.