Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Bisexuality + Mental Illness = A Knapsack of Yikes - Guest Post

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Some or most of you guys may know, last week was Bisexual Awareness Week. Where us bisexuals got together and had a big bi party. But alas, that wasn't the case. We celebrate this week to show the world that we're out there and can't be dismissed. Being bisexual has many positive and negative sides. But today, I have author Tristina Wright talking about what it means to be a bisexual, and the impact it has on your mental health.

The In Between. That sometimes peculiar, sometimes liberating, sometimes weird space between boxes. Those alternating slices of shadow and light that fill the alleyways between boxes filled with Just So.

Western Society (well…America) loves their boxes. If they could neatly put everyone in one of those boxes, they’d be pleased as punch. But not everyone wants to be in a box. Not everyone can fit into a box. Some of us wander those alleyways and turn them into community gardens and parks for kids to play in. We build our own homes in those spaces, brightly lit and welcoming no matter how many times people from the boxes on either side smash our porch lamps.

Identifying as Bisexual is a house in one of those alleyways. It’s not worse or shameful. It’s just different. It’s carving out a space in a world that wants us to be in the Homo Box to the left or the Hetero Box to the right. However, almost at the same time, neither box actually wants us.

You’re really straight.
You’re really gay.
You’re lying.
You’re confused.
You’re trying to trick people.
You just want everyone for yourself.
You don’t belong here.

It’s a tired refrain played outside the windows of our little bungalow nestled between two perfect boxes.

The queer community faces discrimination from the outside world on a daily basis. It took until 2015 for the Supreme Court to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide. And even then, some states still fight it to this day. Cities and entire states are passing laws which legalize businesses discriminating against members of the queer community, prevent transgender people from using the correct bathroom, and a host of other hate-filled actions.

Now imagine discrimination from not just the outside world, but also the very community you’re supposed to be a part of. Bisexual (and really all polysexual people) receive discrimination from the queer community as well. Bisexual people in “straight” relationships are jeered at Pride celebrations. We’re told in casual conversation that we’re not good enough to be dated because we’ll definitely cheat. Bisexual women are shunned by lesbian women because “a penis has been there.” Bisexual men are shunned by gay men because “ew vagina.”

It’s isolating because when it gets right down to it, we have no community of our own. We’re shunned from the straight community. We’re shunned from the queer community.
Members of the queer community already suffer from mental illnesses at an alarmingly higher percentage than straight people because of the ostracizing, hate, and discrimination we face on a daily basis. PTSD, Anxiety Disorder, and Depression are the three most common.

Now imagine being bisexual and having a mental illness. A report done in 2014 by BiNet USA and the Bisexual Resource Center (http://www.lgbtmap.org/understanding-issues-facing-bisexual-americans) showed that bisexuals are six times more likely to hide their orientation than gay or lesbians. Six times.
Bisexual women experience far more sexual violence than straight or lesbian women, according to the report. When a bisexual woman comes out, the stereotypes play into everyone’s response. She’s expected to indulge in threesomes. She’s expected to be easy. She’s asked how many partners of various genders she’s had. She’s subjected to lewd comments, jokes, and even imagery. She’s asked personal and invasive questions which amount to little more than sexual assault. Bisexual women also reported getting little to no help from their HR departments at work simply because they were out and bisexual. The hate crime laws and discrimination policies may state gay and lesbian, but they’re not for bisexuals.

The saddest statistic in the report was the fact that bisexuals are four times as likely to commit suicide than gays or lesbians. Two times as likely than straight people. This is because of fear of being out to anyone in any community. Even health care providers don’t even consider their patients could be bisexual. They’ll ask sexual history for one gender only. They never ask for multiples and you’re left with the decision of whether or not to tell them. Most opt not to tell them, which means they may not get the right treatment for what they have.

When you’re pushed out on both sides, it damns you to exist in loneliness. Many bisexuals, because of this, don’t accept the label until much later in life because they had no community to guide them as they figured things out. You’re either gay or straight – no in between. 
And even when we learn the word bisexual, we’re met with stereotypes and assumptions borne from media and inaccurate representation in books. Many don’t want to or cannot deal with that, so they eschew the label because it’s simply easier. It’s safer.

I’ve been lucky to form an online community of bisexual and pansexual people. Folks who understand the microaggressions and the othering that can occur in any space. But many of us don’t have that community because we’ve been told time and time again we’re too gay to be straight and to straight to be gay.

But we aren’t either. We’re bisexual. 
About the Author

Tristina Wright is a blue-haired bisexual with anxiety and opinions. She’s also possibly a mermaid, but no one can get confirmation. She writes YA SFF about queer teens because they deserve the spotlight. She married a nerd who can build computers and make the sun shine with his smile. Most days, she can be found drinking coffee from her favorite chipped mug and making up stories for her two wombfruit, who keep her life unpredictable. Her debut short story, The Siren Son, will be published in Lightspeed Magazine. Her debut novel 27 HOURS (Entangled Teen) will be published Fall 2017.

Sunday, 11 September 2016

Personal Motivation

Hey guys,

You've probably been wondering where I've been and what I've been up to. The truth of the matter is I've just had no motivation to do anything. For the longest time, I've just felt stuck. Between not being able to find work, and school being an unknown variable for the longest time; I felt depressed. Now I have been fighting depression for a while now, but I am taking care of it; but I also have a great support system. My girlfriend has been a tremendous help for me despite us living apart.

Now I'm happy to say this post isn't a Debbie Downer, things have been coming into place for me. I'm happy to say I'm back in school finishing up my Business Administration diploma at the local College. I'm financially stable, and can just focus on school at this point; which you can imagine the relief that is for me.

Lastly, on the book front, I'm back to reading on a regular basis. While I wasn't working, which was most of the last year; I was reading. I read a lot but I never felt the desire to share my thoughts on anything; I'm not sure if it was the motivation or just felt like work. getting them to the computer was a struggle. I had a lot of post ideas mentally thought out, but the thought of writing them felt like a chore, so i just didn't write. Now I hope that I'll get to writing them soon, but I won't force myself. I'm currently finishing up The Bone Season, and I'm happy to say that a post about the book should be going up soon. I don't want to give myself a deadline due to school being in the works.

I want to thank you guys for the support this far, and do stick around as this page is about to get a lot more active.

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Friday, 9 September 2016

Labyrinth Lost Blog Tour - Review & Giveaway

Series: Brooklyn Brujas #1
Author: Zoraida Córdova
Pub. Date: September 6, 2016
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Find it: AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooks 

"Enchanting and complex. Every page is filled with magic."-Danielle Paige, New York Times best-selling author of Dorothy Must Die

Nothing says Happy Birthday like summoning the spirits of your dead relatives.

Alex is a bruja, the most powerful witch in a generation...and she hates magic. At her Deathday celebration, Alex performs a spell to rid herself of her power. But it backfires. Her whole family vanishes into thin air, leaving her alone with Nova, a brujo boy she can't trust. A boy whose intentions are as dark as the strange marks on his skin.

The only way to get her family back is to travel with Nova to Los Lagos, a land in-between, as dark as Limbo and as strange as Wonderland...

Welcome my fellow brujas and brujos, I’m here to tell you about a story full of magic, family and love. A journey of self-discovery and acceptance. Bruja Zoraida Córdova wrote this tale and it’s called Labyrinth Lost. Her heroine Alex just wants to be normal, as I’m sure every bruja can relate to every once in a while. But at what cost does it take to achieve this normalcy? Our bruja is preparing for her Deathday Celebration, so as any person who wants to be normal, she goes through any cost to stop the process. Even though it meant trusting a brujo boy she had only just met.

Our dear bruja, Alex comes from a magical family and they’re close to the dead, literally. But she’d rather hang with her friend. But in her defense she has a good reason. When your dead aunt comes and talks to you as a child, knowing you come from a magical family can make you want to shit yourself. I loved Alex, she was real, relatable and most of all loveable. 

Loving a character is crucial for the most optimal reading experience. I felt her struggle and her anxiety about what she’s getting into. I guess what I’m trying to say is that she felt real.
I want to discuss the world building in this book. Now I haven’t read Zoraida’s other books, but damn girl, you good! When we were down in Los Lagos, I felt like I was in a world that was a mix of Jim Henson and Tim Burton. The eeriness, spectacular scenery both dark and light, the creatures and most importantly The Devourer was creepy as f.

What I enjoyed about this story besides the world building is the drive that Alex had throughout the book, even in the beginning she was determined to not accept her gifts during the celebration. Then she carried on after she realised what she had done. Says something about a person if they can do that. What makes the journey different than some other stories is that not only did Alex have Nova, the brujo boy who is helping her, but her best friend Rishi also follows her to save her family. Which shows that family is more than blood.

I always feel giddy whenever there’s an lgbt theme to a story, no matter how it big of an impact it has on the storyline. For this story I was glad to know it was there but it didn’t overpower the rest of the story and the importance of what was happening in the plot.

I’m finishing off my review with one of my favourite lines from the book. I think it’s something we all need to remember.

Tour Schedule:
Week One:
8/29/2016- Brittany's Book RamblesInterview
8/30/2016- 125Pages- Review
8/31/2016- Once Upon A TwilightGuest Post
9/1/2016- Owl Always Be ReadingReview
9/2/2016- Me, My Shelf and I-Guest Post

Week Two:
9/5/2016- Emily Reads EverythingReview
9/6/2016- The Book NutGuest Post
9/7/2016- Take Me Away To A Great ReadReview
9/8/2016- Wandering Bark BooksInterview
9/9/2016- Lost in Ever AfterReview

About the Author
Zoraida Córdova is the author of The Vicious Deep trilogy, the On the Verge series, and Labyrinth Lost. She loves black coffee, snark, and still believes in magic. She is a New Yorker at heart and is currently working on her next novel. Send her a tweet @Zlikeinzorro

3 winners will receive a finished copy of LABYRINTH LOST, US Only.
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