-Walks up to the podium and taps the mic- Hello, my name is J.M., I am an Atheist. I am a Lesbian. And I like to write stuff that a minority of people like.
-group- Hello, J.M.
-Someone in the back- Why, J.M., do you write Atheists? Do you hate religion?
Why? Thank fake Jesus you asked. The simple answer is because I can and no I don’t hate believers. I respect their right to believe in whatever but don’t trample on my lack of belief and the fact I openly write Atheists.
I’ve been a non-believer from the moment my parents thought, “Hey, wouldn't it be cool to contribute to the world's overpopulation?” I'm pretty sure I was a horrible accident though because I'm….me.
Now, let’s have fun with labels, shall we?
- Touch Averse
- Bipolar (With extreme rage issues)
Those are only a short list, but I'm sure if I dig deep I can come up with a lot more. I’m not ashamed of any of them. I wear them proudly every day because most of them are obvious. The point is I write characters exactly like myself and to be honest I may be considered offensive. Oh well, there are worse things in the world.
Now for the point of this post.
The problem is as writers we're told what to write, what to avoid and sure as fuck how to write. Unfortunately, that doesn't work for me. (Major authority issues)
I write lesbians, gay men, hell, I even write straight people. Men are touching lady parts and enjoying it. Who knew? I've written a Lesbian Transwoman, and out of all my characters I'd have to say I loved her the most. She was bold, brash, with an I don’t give a fuck attitude, but loved her Lady without question.
Most of my characters don't give a fuck and it probably makes them a little unappealing.
We raise our fist chanting love is love, but we forget that characters go beyond their parts or whatever gender identity they identify as.
Sex isn't all about what penetrates or doesn't penetrate where. It's the ultimate intimacy--the greatest trust you can give another person or persons. A kiss, a simple touch to assure you or another that they are there. They're important. But we reduce sex to an act far less than what it actually symbolizes.
Now don't get a butch wrong now, fucking for the sake of fucking is fine. Orgasms can be a transcendent experience. A frenzied race of pounding bodies and filthy talk. Sex bruises are the best bruises, my friends.
Sex isn’t pretty. It isn’t neat. It definitely can’t be boxed up in a beautiful package. Sex is awkward. Sometimes funny. Sometimes requires a safeword. It can also be sweet. It can damn well be filthy. As long as it’s consensual it can be whatever you want to make it.
But for me, sex is the ultimate form of trust and unfortunately I don’t have that. The simplest touch sends me into a rage and it takes long moments of dealing with my skin crawling before I'm back to my usual bitchy self. I even researched it where touch aversion may fall into the gray area of Asexuality. To be completely honest, I’m a bit ambivalent about sex. Am I Asexual? I haven’t given it much thought. My aversion to touch is too great to decide and over analyzing my psyche is one of the reasons i avoid mental health professionals.
Who knows, it would be another label to keep track of and I don’t have time. The point of the matter, sex is whatever sex is to the person/persons having it or not having it. It’s not our fucking place to judge someone for where they fall on the Spectrum of human sexuality. Hetero, Gay, Queer and everything in between we’re all here and we’re all important. Diversity goes in every direction.
That being said I write fat chicks, thick chicks, and even a few skinny ones. I’m obsessed with bellies, something sexy about the belly. That beautiful curve that’s soft and giving and oh so sexy, okay, I'm digressing. I also write Fat guys, chunky guys and one’s with six-pack abs. But even though I write a majority of physically flawed characters that don’t get a lot of representation I don’t see them as having faults.
I’ve picked up books, excited to read and what do I get in the end, stories that are nothing more than Before and After pictures in literary form.
Women aren’t perfect because of a size 6 or any of the other societal conventions we are told to adhere. Men aren’t perfect because they’re waxed, groomed and rocking abs you could scrub laundry on.
And we need more Black characters, Persons of all Shades, all religions and faiths, all shapes and sizes because diversity matters. I don’t know how well that’s coming across being said by the white and the butchy, but there it is.
We also need to represent the men and women who don’t see enough of themselves in romance or any genre for that matter. Confidence and being worthy of love has nothing to do with the body you’re in, whether it’s considered socially acceptable or not. There are tons of BBW stories, and I applaud them for writing women who are fat and confident. But on the other side, there are the broken characters that only find their self-acceptance through the eyes and opinion of another. Not my business, writers, you do your thing.
As I pointed out in the labels above, I’m fat. I’ve got rolls, lumps, and cellulite. Hell, I gave up shaving because a little leg and pit hair doesn’t bother me one fucking bit and some of my characters represent that too. Although that’s probably a whole other post and I'm probably fucking up this one.
What’s in today will be out tomorrow as a new trend takes its place. We’re on a roller coaster of new fads which continuously change as quickly as a blink of an eye. It is what it is.
Do I care what people think of me: not really. I’m a bit hateful and most days people telling me to smile encourages me to stab them with a fork repeatedly in the eyes. I want to put them in one of my horror stories and I totally have.
What I do care about is my writing and the stories must represent me. My beliefs and even the lack thereof.
I’m also a recovering addict and alcoholic who writes characters that drink, maybe even use drugs. Is it socially acceptable? No. Because a person should always be recovering or squeaky clean from birth. Again I don’t much care. Faults in whatever manifestation make a character or even a person who they are. It brought them to the point of being just normal, fucked up people.
Yes, fiction is fiction, we want to write the beautiful parts, but there have to be some hideous ones to make you cheer them on. That one single thing that makes the most asshole/bitchy character worthy of redemption.
Creative license is the right of the author. A storyteller has an amazing job and that’s just to make up stories to give the readers an outlet. Something to allow them to escape the mundane nine-to-five, the lackluster struggle of making it through a day when they want nothing more than to cry or give up, and also to show them a bit of themselves.
And as a storyteller, author, writer, whatever I am, I am a writer of Dysfunctional Romance. Inappropriateness that pisses people off. Shit that probably shouldn’t be said or situations that shouldn't happen. I’m not a writer of pretty romance. Yes, I give my characters a HEA. Their fucked up personalities get matched with someone who perfectly complements them. Okay, maybe I should strive for some flowers and romancey words, but it just ain’t me. The fact I give them a HEA at all is surprising, but I do because I chose to write romance. My own sort of twisted version of it, but still it’s romance.
Personal fact about J.M., I don’t believe in marriage, monogamy or anything of the sort.
I don’t write the easy shit. I don’t write the story that’s expected. I don’t write shame of bodies that don’t fit the norm. Because at the end of the day and I close my laptop, I want to know I wrote something that encompasses all that’s good and fucked up in the world. Is it going to sell, probably, but not well. I’m never going to hit a bestseller list or have reviews in huge numbers. J.M. Dabney won’t ever be a household name, and you know what, I’m okay with that. Because I’ve written scenes that even make me ask: what the fuck is wrong with you?
In summary, writing Atheists isn’t easy. Writing fat/chunky characters isn’t easy. I’ve chosen to write what’s in my head. Do I fit? Of course not. And I'm okay with that and all the labels, because when it comes down to it I’m not ashamed of being what and who I am. I won’t let someone tell me I should change or make me feel less than because I’m not the poster cliché. Will I ever be more than a speck in the scenery behind many amazing authors? Probably not, but say it with me, I’m not ashamed.