Romance novels have always been my escape from harsh realities. I remember having my Harlequin subscription as I attended classes at Harvard. I never told anyone about my secret romance reading life. Then I moved to Miami for law school, and I devoured every book printed every month in those three years. I needed to escape, BAD.
Then I went through a period in my twenties where I knew I wasn’t happy and I was on the wrong path. I saw the life before me that I set for myself and I realized that life wasn’t going to me make me happy, at all. It was a lonely life filled with me being unhappy. The life of a lawyer means a life of constant worries and bothers, at least for my spirit. I knew in law school, but I didn’t know how to fix my choices. I built that life and now it was time to rip it apart.
I always wanted my life to be fulfilling. I went to meditation, spiritual classes, anything that would help me calm down, and I read romance novels. I’m still not always a calm person, but I’m so much better these days than I was in my terrible twenties. In my twenties, I was both scared of the world and determined I was somehow special. Vanity has always been a side issue of mine as well as that entitled to own the world mindset.
The basic heroine of a romance novel isn’t the secretary who starts a fire every chapter to have the fireman come save her and her cat. (I did read that novel though and it was so bad that I passed it along to my friends saying ‘this chick starts fires every chapter… you have to read how awful this is.’) Most romance novels are a woman who has her life almost together. She has a goal in life. She has ambition. She’s not stupid. And this heroine has always inspired me. The romance with the hero just completes her life, but it doesn’t make her who she is. This basic story was like crack for me, and I was enchanted.
I left being a lawyer and became a history teacher. Do you know what teaching gave me that the law doesn’t? Time to figure out who I am and what I want. When I realized five years ago as I walked into my first RWA Nationals after writing my first novel. I realized that the novel was horrible! No one has ever seen that story, but it’s okay. I learned so much and I realized even more thoroughly that romance novels are full of heroines I like. I picked up so many novels for free as I drove my car that year. I learned so much, and I’m so happy I transitioned from reader to writer.
I’ll always be a reader first though. I wouldn’t have survived my twenties to hit my thirties and realize that yes this is who I am. I now know.
And just like those novels that I always read, the rest of your life does come together when you know who you are and what you want. How funny. Thank you to so many authors who seemed to have that clue and tried to tell me. I was slow in understanding, but I get it now. My goals are still in tact. The rest of my life is no longer me having to mediate and stress and worry about who I am and what I want. I did that. I’m good for now, but if I ever need to again, I’ll start right away.
So hugs to everyone reading this and never let anyone tell you that a romance novel is for loser women. Clearly that’s not understanding the point of a story where the woman does get everything, including love at the end.