Another Reason Why Representation Matters

It is 10:59PM and I am laying in bed with tears in my eyes over how much books mean to me. I went to Mazey Eddings’s launch event for A Brush With Love, a book that is no secret I adore.

I don’t know if it was top surgery, being able to go braless, going into the event by myself, being surrounded by good people, or a combination of all three, but I didn’t find myself drained afterwards. Book events are usually tiring for me, because it’s a lot of stimulation, and it’s an EVENT, driving there, driving home, being surrounded by people, being dressed, etc.. It’s just how I am. But I didn’t leave this event feeling exhausted. I left it feeling grateful.

I felt loved. Like I could be loved just as I am. It was a talk about romance and neurodivergency, about anxiety and navigating the world with it (and also about how Mazey believes Andrew Garfield is the best Spider-Man). There were multiple times were I felt like crying, because the things that were being said, I got, I needed to hear, or I was so glad I was able to hear.

To see someone who described feeling the way I do, who has felt like me at my worst, where I feel like there is nothing for me but the overwhelming sense of anxiety, and to see her still be this successful, to be an author, to write books, to show that it’s possible to feel like this and still do what you love, to do what I hope to someday maybe achieve, was something that puts this feeling in my chest that wants to explode. To know that I can experience that type of anxiety, and that there’s other people who feel similarly, and that there’s ways to still thrive in the ways you want to, but not ignore that these feelings exist and are apart of your journey, was incredible.

To hear that you’re not broken, even in the midst of intense emotions and worries and anxiety and depression, in a time where I’ve recently thought “there’s something wrong with me”, over and over again. To hear of characters being deserving of love even at their messiest, of someone falling in love with someone even as she figures herself out, as she deals with emotions that overwhelm her, and hearing that everybody is deserving of the same, when I’ve felt messy and overwhelming and like my anxiety is the size of a skyscraper at times. 

To see a piece of me that has caused me so much pain, to see a piece of me that I’ve thought is so ugly, so unruly, and feels so big sometimes, and to see it not be something to be afraid of, but something that’s alright to embrace and be with and that it’s a part of you but there’s still so much more as well, was just, wow.

To be in a place where I felt like I could be, anxiety and all, where I could be me, and feel accepted and loved and like I belonged. To be in a place where it’s ALRIGHT to be who I am, in my entirety, and feel like it was alright for me to be there. To be in a place where all types of brains are welcomed and treated with such care and love; my gratitude is so immense.

I can be here, I can be anxious, I can be me. I am so grateful to authors like Mazey for writing books like these, and for being such incredible advocates for neurodiversity and mental health representation in books. And for showing love in and for those characters and for everybody like them. It means the world.

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