I read Becoming by Laura Jane Williams back in November and wow - I cannot recommend this book highly enough.
Laura Jane's long term partner, the man she thought she would marry, leaves her and ends up marrying her best friend, sending her on a tailspin through sex and celibacy. It's a fantastic book because she doesn't seem interested in hiding - she's not here to be pitied, to direct accusatory fingers at her ex.
While it's a book about the aftermath of a break-up, the break-up isn't the thing - finding herself is.
And that's why this book took my breath away. I can't relate on many levels - I've never been in that situation, after all - but the honesty, the unashamedness of it all was incredible. The fact that at no point does she ever set out to make herself smaller or less in order to fit in with someone else's ideal is wonderful.
I've mentioned that 2016 sucked big time for me - no matter how hard the start of this year will be, I was glad to see the back of 2016. There were times when it had me on my knees, when I actually found myself thinking - ok, maybe I just need to accept this. Maybe this is it and I've been stupid this whole time for wanting more.
And then I read Becoming and was filled with a great rush of - Fuck. That.
Nobody tells me what I need to accept, what I need to put up with. I can find another job, open my mouth and vocalise what I need from the people around me when I'm struggling.
There was a moment - in fact, let's be honest, while we're being honest, there were several moments - where I thought that I was ready to give up. To shrug my shoulders, buy a blazer, pack up the dreams and accept the fears and stresses as just what my life was now.
Becoming encouraged me to come out roaring. And here I am. The cusp of change. It's not easy - it's definitely not as easy as giving up - but it's better.
So thank you, Laura Jane, for your words. For your incredibly bravery in standing up and being so fucking honest in the face of how a woman ought to act. I won't forget again.