Beyond the Surface Book Club: Why I Have Taken a Break

In January I desperately wanted to be able to continue this book club, but every day and every month I was finding it harder and harder to do so. It was hard with all the things I was putting on my plate mixed with a lot of things going on in my personal life that made committing to this book club in the way I should have was very difficult.

For other reasons, I was finding it difficult to be able to always have a book for the month every month and sometimes I could only purchase one at the end and couldn’t even read my own book of choice.

Another thing was that I didn’t like the way I was organizing everything and I wasn’t finding time to fix it. I really wanted to create a place of discussion for the club on Goodreads and it wasn’t happening and I think it had a lot to do with how everything was set up and I wish to fix it. All this will take time to do and I hope to start it up again in the future.

This book club is so important to me because it centers around having a place to discuss the things that we find hardest to discuss mental health. I want to be able to dedicate my time more effectively towards creating a community that speaks out without judgement in a way that is engaging and enjoyable for others. It will take time, but hopefully I can restart Beyond the Surface again soon!

Thanks for reading! If you have any suggestions on how best to set up the book club let me know in the comments!

-Till next time!

Beyond The Surface: December Book of the Month Announcement

It’s December and you know what that means! Christmas is coming!!! I’m so excited for the Christmas season and I am happy to be able to spend it with my family and everyone I love.

I am so happy to say I am continuing Beyond the Surface into the new year. We can never have enough platforms to discuss mental illness or even just read about it to get informed. I am currently figuring how to rework the book club to get it working a little better so hopefully in January there will be some new fun book club related things to look forward to.

I am happy to be able to celebrate Christmas by reading our December book of the month: Queens of Geek!

Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde

Three friends, two love stories, one convention: this fun, feminist love letter to geek culture is all about fandom, friendship, and finding the courage to be yourself.

Charlie likes to stand out. She’s a vlogger and actress promoting her first movie at SupaCon, and this is her chance to show fans she’s over her public breakup with co-star Reese Ryan. When internet-famous cool-girl actress Alyssa Huntington arrives as a surprise guest, it seems Charlie’s long-time crush on her isn’t as one-sided as she thought.

Taylor likes to blend in. Her brain is wired differently, making her fear change. And there’s one thing in her life she knows will never change: her friendship with her best guy friend Jamie—no matter how much she may secretly want it to. But when she hears about a fan contest for her favorite fandom, she starts to rethink her rules on playing it safe.

Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde, chosen by readers like you for Macmillan’s young adult imprint Swoon Reads, is an empowering novel for anyone who has ever felt that fandom is family.

Why I picked this book for December:

1. The Geeky Cuteness of what this will be feels like just the right amount of happiness for the Christmas season.

2. It’s one of the first Vlogger convention combo I have seen and I’m so excited to see how much of it I can relate to.

3. There is not one, but two love stories!

4. There is Asperger and Anxiety reps.

5. It feels like an all inclusive come as you are kind of book that I think the world needs to read.

6. I could not resist that cover.

7. Anything described as a feminist love letter is something good to read in my book.

8. I simply want to read it so I can fangirl all over it!

Join the discussion on Goodreads here!

Thanks for reading! Let me know if your interested in reading along with me down in the comments.

-Till next time!

Beyond The Surface Book Club: Little And Lion Author Interview

For the November book of the month our pick was Little and Lion by Brandy Colbert. Today I am super excited to share with you all an interview I got with the lovely Brandy Colbert. Which is also awesome because it is the first interview I have ever got to host with an author!

About Little and Lion:

A stunning novel on love, identity, loss, and redemption.

When Suzette comes home to Los Angeles from her boarding school in New England, she’s isn’t sure if she’ll ever want to go back. L.A. is where her friends and family are (as well as her crush, Emil). And her stepbrother, Lionel, who has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, needs her emotional support.

But as she settles into her old life, Suzette finds herself falling for someone new…the same girl her brother is in love with. When Lionel’s disorder spirals out of control, Suzette is forced to confront her past mistakes and find a way to help her brother before he hurts himself–or worse.

About Brandy Colbert:

(From The authors about page)

Brandy Colbert was born and raised in the Ozarks—more specifically, Springfield, Missouri—and earned a bachelors degree in journalism from Missouri State University. Her debut novel, Pointe (Putnam, 2014), won the 2014 Cybils Award for young adult fiction and was named a best book of 2014 by Publishers Weekly, BuzzFeed, Book Riot, the Chicago Public Library, and the Los Angeles Public Library. She was also chosen as a Publishers Weekly Flying Start for spring 2014.

Brandy’s second novel, Little & Lion (Little, Brown, 2017), was named a Book of the Month Club selection and a Junior Library Guild selection. Her work can also be seen in the anthologies Feral Youth; Here We Are: Feminism for the Real World; Summer Days & Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories; and the upcoming collections Three Sides of a Heart: Stories About Love Triangles; Our Stories, Our Voices; and Toil & Trouble.

Her third novel, Finding Yvonne, will be available on August 7, 2018, from Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.

Brandy lives in Los Angeles where she works as a copy editor for magazines and books. Her writing is represented by Tina Wexler at ICM Partners.

Without further ado, here is the interview!

1. First and foremost, what inspired you to become a writer?

I started writing stories when I was seven years old. I’ve also always been a big reader, and great storytelling (books, TV, film) inspires me to get my own stories on the page.

2. Why is mental health important to you?

I think mental health is still largely considered a taboo subject, which is unfortunate. There’s nothing shameful about taking care of our brains, and mental health should be monitored and maintained, same as one’s physical health.

3. Why is discussing mental illnesses important both in writing and in everyday conversation?

I believe that the more we talk, write, and read about mental illness, the less stigmatized it will become. It helps people realize they’re not the only person going through something, and also hopefully helps them realize that they don’t need to be embarrassed to get help if they want it, whether that’s through therapy or medication or both.

4. What did it mean for you to have Lionel be diagnosed with bipolar disorder?

I haven’t had a lot of exposure to bipolar disorder, so writing a character with it was an excuse for me to really dig into the topic. I did a lot of research to better understand and try to create a well-rounded character who, yes, has bipolar disorder and is learning how to live with it, but isn’t defined by it.

5. What was the most difficult part of the writing process for you?

Incorporating all the research into a book that (hopefully) is authentic. I wrote outside of my experience with both the bipolar disorder and bisexuality, and it was very important for me to get this representation right. I put a lot more pressure on myself than if I had been writing from first-hand experience.

6. How long did it take you to write Little & Lion, how was it different from writing your first book Pointe?

I started writing Little & Lion in the fall of 2013, and it’s been through many versions since then, though the brother/sister relationship was always the focal point. Second books are always more difficult because there are expectations and reviews that weren’t there when you were writing the first one. Plus, I sold Little & Lion on proposal, which means I had only written around 50 pages and a loose outline, and I was working with a new editor and publishing house. It was an all-around different experience, but I’m learning that the writing process of each book is generally different.

7. Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

Write what you want to read! Trends come and go, and they’re so unpredictable that it’s not advisable to write to them. Also, once you do get that beloved project to the point where it’s ready to go out to agents, there will likely be several rounds of revisions with your agent and then editor, so it’s important to love what you’re working on. You’re going to be with those characters and their story for quite a while—including once it’s published and you’re promoting it at festivals, conferences, and in interviews. You have to love the story before anyone else can.

8. What novel genre would you like to write in that you haven’t yet tried?

I’d love to dip my toe into magic realism and verse novels. They are two of my favorite genres, though both are intimidating!

I wanna take this time to thank Brandy for taking the time to answer my questions. She is such a sweet human being and I am so happy to have had the chance to read Little & Lion and become inspired by her and her story.

Thanks for reading! Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below. Have you read any of Brady Colbert’s works? If so, what did you think?

Also, What novel genre would you like to write that you’ve never tried?

I know that magical realism would have been my choice as well… but I would also like to try my hand at some speculative fiction…. whelp I just gotta finish writing the story ideas I have for now first.

-Till next time!

Beyond the Surface: November Book of the Month!

October wasn’t the best month for me in many ways and I am so sad to say that I didn’t get a chance to read last months book of the month “The Art of Starving”. This book Club means a lot to me and I got really lost in so many other things that I just didn’t do as I needed to.

However, November is a brand new month and I am so excited to announce my November book of the month because this title is one I can’t wait to dive into!

Without further ado the Beyond The Surface book of the month for November is:

Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert

When Suzette comes home to Los Angeles from her boarding school in New England, she isn’t sure if she’ll ever want to go back. L.A. is where her friends and family are (along with her crush, Emil). And her stepbrother, Lionel, who has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, needs her emotional support.

But as she settles into her old life, Suzette finds herself falling for someone new…the same girl her brother is in love with. When Lionel’s disorder spirals out of control, Suzette is forced to confront her past mistakes and find a way to help her brother before he hurts himself–or worse.

There is so much that I am looking forward to with this novel!

1. Lionel had bipolar disorder: a disorder that I have a lot of interest in.

2. Lgbt+ representation!

3. A intriguing, cute, and emotional storyline.

4. The fact that I have only heard amazing things about it!

I already have this book waiting for me on my shelves so I have no excuses when it comes to reading it! I’m so happy to finally get back to business with my reading.

If you are interested in joining Beyond the Surface click the Goodreads link here!

Thanks for reading! Let me know if your thinking of joining in for reading this month! Also, what are your thoughts on Little & Lion?

-Till next time!

Beyond The Surface: October Book of the Month

Beyond the Surface is a young adult mental health centered book club created by myself and fellow blogger Indy to help spread awareness and discussion about mental health.

This club which began in August began while first reading My Heart and Other Black Holes and then The Goldfish Boy has been something that has grown to be very close to my heart.

For October, Indy has chosen one of my most anticipated novels of this year, The Art of Starving centered around a boy with an eating disorder.

The Art of Starving by Sam J. Miller

“More Happy Than Not meets Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future in this gritty, contemporary YA debut about a bullied gay teen boy with an eating disorder who believes he’s developed super powers via starvation.

Matt hasn’t eaten in days.

His stomach stabs and twists inside, pleading for a meal. But Matt won’t give in. The hunger clears his mind, keeps him sharp—and he needs to be as sharp as possible if he’s going to find out just how Tariq and his band of high school bullies drove his sister, Maya, away.

Matt’s hardworking mom keeps the kitchen crammed with food, but Matt can resist the siren call of casseroles and cookies because he has discovered something: the less he eats the more he seems to have . . . powers. The ability to see things he shouldn’t be able to see. The knack of tuning in to thoughts right out of people’s heads. Maybe even the authority to bend time and space.

So what is lunch, really, compared to the secrets of the universe?

Matt decides to infiltrate Tariq’s life, then use his powers to uncover what happened to Maya. All he needs to do is keep the hunger and longing at bay. No problem. But Matt doesn’t realize there are many kinds of hunger… and he isn’t in control of all of them.

A darkly funny, moving story of body image, addiction, friendship, and love, Sam J. Miller’s debut novel will resonate with any reader who’s ever craved the power that comes with self-acceptance.”

Why I am excited for this book:

  • It is magical realism mixed with mental health creating something extraordinary and I can just feel with my soul that this is going to be a beautiful novel.
  • I read the first chapter on epic reads first 5 and the writing in just that first chapter was impeccable.
  • It is an LGBT read and we all need to read more novels with LGBT representation.
  • The whole premise of this book is fascinating to me and I really want to see how the author handles the eating disorder while mixing in magical elements.
  • That cover is my kind of aesthetically pleasing… I mean just look at how simple yet gorgeous it is!!!

Interested in joining the Beyond the Surface Book Club and being a part of our discussions during the month? Click here to join on Goodreads!

Thanks for reading! I’m so excited to read this book and discuss it with all of you at the end of the month!!!

-Till next time!

Beyond The Surface: A Talk about OCD

Each month Beyond The Surface chooses a novel centered around mental health in order raise awareness and start open discussions about mental health and various mental illnesses. Mental illness affects far more people in the world then we like to think. We all know someone who has gone through or is and always will go through something. So why not talk about it. It’s not something to be ashamed of and it’s not something that should be hidden. It is a part of so many people’s lives, but it doesn’t make the person. We are all more then our perceived flaws, mental struggles, or any other smaller thing that are just little parts to the whole. Let’s except us all for all that we are and love everything that makes us us.

This months book pick of the month is The Goldfish Boy by Lisa Thompson a middle grade novel centered around a boy with OCD.

Lisa Thompson’s debut novel is a page-turning mystery with an emotionally-driven, complex character study at its core — like Rear Window meets The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.

Matthew Corbin suffers from severe obsessive-compulsive disorder. He hasn’t been to school in weeks. His hands are cracked and bleeding from cleaning. He refuses to leave his bedroom. To pass the time, he observes his neighbors from his bedroom window, making mundane notes about their habits as they bustle about the cul-de-sac.

When a toddler staying next door goes missing, it becomes apparent that Matthew was the last person to see him alive. Suddenly, Matthew finds himself at the center of a high-stakes mystery, and every one of his neighbors is a suspect. Matthew is the key to figuring out what happened and potentially saving a child’s life… but is he able to do so if it means exposing his own secrets, and stepping out from the safety of his home?

I may not be the most qualified to talk about OCD, but here is what I know:

• it is an anxiety disorder

• it can affect many people in many different ways

• it causes someone to want items in certain places or to act compulsively doing the same task or set of tasks over and over

• it can often impede on a persons daily life

The two examples of OCD shows I know of that follow OCD characters in real life and then a fictional character are:

The Tv show Obsessed which follows people with extreme cases of OCD as well as others

with extreme cases of anxiety disorders.

Tv show Monk which follows a the crime solving character Adrian Monk who is always hilarious and also peculiar to some, although his OCD affects him majorly throughout the show. I love Monk so much. It is an incredible show.

On tv though it is mostly the most extreme of cases that get any coverage. With something like OCD it is definitely not even a fraction of what a person may experience.

My only personal experience with this mental illness is this:

My dad and my sister may have OCD and it is something that we discuss and even joke about from time to time, but in both their cases it is very minor. Mannerisms, needing things to stay in the exact place they were put (this happens too often), excessive cleanliness (I could never satisfy my sisters level of clean.. it’s kinda a problem), also things that I put on the table or anywhere getting thrown away (all the happy meal toys I lost as a child, all the little trinkets and random things gone to the trash without my knowing), and my dad having to check the door so many times and having so many of his own little rituals, but all these things are minor. Some things can be difficult to deal with at times, but most of the time it’s nothing major. I actually really adore all these things about my dad and my sister because when I see them do these things it’s just a really them thing to do. However, neither of them are diagnosed for OCD and neither of them are impaired by their quirks.

For so many others, OCD is much more then an aversion to germs or the need to have things in a certain spot. For many people it does affect their quality of life. Some are so terrified of germs they can’t go out in public or those who was their hands until they bled. I’m hoping that through reading The Goldfish Boy and other books like it I can come to a greater understanding of OCD and have a greater compassion and understanding of those who have it.

If you have OCD or know someone who does, don’t be afraid to share your story down in the comments or on the Beyond The Surface book club group on Goodreads here!

This is a club I am glad to have started and I have so many hopes for its continued growth in the future!

-Till next time!

September Pick of the Month: Beyond The Surface Book Club

Last month a fellow blogger named Indy and I started up the Beyond The Surface book club.

Beyond The Surface is a ya book club centered around mental health. Each month we read a new book centered around a different illness to spread awareness and to have a place to share our own stories.

This month the pick of the month is:

The Goldfish Boy by Lisa Thompson

Lisa Thompson’s debut novel is a page-turning mystery with an emotionally-driven, complex character study at its core — like Rear Window meets The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.

Matthew Corbin suffers from severe obsessive-compulsive disorder. He hasn’t been to school in weeks. His hands are cracked and bleeding from cleaning. He refuses to leave his bedroom. To pass the time, he observes his neighbors from his bedroom window, making mundane notes about their habits as they bustle about the cul-de-sac.

When a toddler staying next door goes missing, it becomes apparent that Matthew was the last person to see him alive. Suddenly, Matthew finds himself at the center of a high-stakes mystery, and every one of his neighbors is a suspect. Matthew is the key to figuring out what happened and potentially saving a child’s life… but is he able to do so if it means exposing his own secrets, and stepping out from the safety of his home?

So, why the Goldfish Boy?

Last month Indy chose for us to read My Heart and Other Black Holes which gave a look into depression and suicide and while I absolutely adored reading it, it weighed really heavy on my heart. The Goldfish Boy is a middle grade mixed with mystery and a boy who feels as though he cannot leave his home. Something about this story feels like it is a much lighter read yet the focus truly is on OCD and how it affects this boy. I have never really read a book like this one and I think it’s something we can all enjoy reading and discussing.

Discussion schedule:

September 8th: Let’s talk about OCD.. a post discussing OCD that will be posted here on my

blog and in the Goodreads group.

September 15th: an interview with the author or a book related post

September 22nd: book related post

September 29th: another book related post

September 30th: The Goldfish Boy Discussion

Join Beyond The Surface on Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/235823-beyond-the-surface

Thanks for reading! Let me know if you are thinking of joining in to read The Goldfish Boy in September! This month is going to be a fun one.

-Till next time!

Beyond The Surface: A Discussion of My Heart and Other Black Holes

The August Book of the month for the Beyond The Surface Book Club was My Heart and Other Black Holes. I truly enjoyed reading this book and I have so many things I wish to say about it.

Synopsis:

Sixteen-year-old physics nerd Aysel is obsessed with plotting her own death. With a mother who can barely look at her without wincing, classmates who whisper behind her back, and a father whose violent crime rocked her small town, Aysel is ready to turn her potential energy into nothingness.

There’s only one problem: she’s not sure she has the courage to do it alone. But once she discovers a website with a section called Suicide Partners, Aysel’s convinced she’s found her solution—Roman, a teenage boy who’s haunted by a family tragedy, is looking for a partner.

Even though Aysel and Roman have nothing in common, they slowly start to fill in each other’s broken lives. But as their suicide pact becomes more concrete, Aysel begins to question whether she really wants to go through with it. Ultimately, she must choose between wanting to die or trying to convince Roman to live so they can discover the potential of their energy together.

The Book in General (Spoiler Free):

My Heart and Other Black Holes was a novel that I enjoyed reading with all my heart. There were many ups and downs and it was hard for me to read through it during many points, but as it is I loved the writing, I cared for all of the characters, and all I wanted was good things for all of them. Everyone felt real to me. No one felt flat or without purpose. There was something colorful to remember about everyone. I think that reading a novel like this one is important. I think it is good to remember that there is always something that is happening beneath the surface. This book was definitely that for me, a look into how a situation could affect someone and the journey coming back from that black hole.

(Various Degrees of Spoiler Ahead.. Read with caution)

How it Affected Me Personally:

I say above that this book was hard for me to read and it’s hard to understand until I start to explain that the only real time I wanted to cry while reading this book was because of how much I could relate to Aysel. Her fear of being capable of the things her father was. Her fear of being of the same insane mind as him. The continuous blame she placed on herself and all that self-pity. Aysel is like me because she bottles everything up and she doesn’t tell anyone what’s wrong. The mask she put on, but most of all that wall. It’s hard to go through life always pushing away those who desire to get close. I have done that for years. I try not to, but I can’t help it. Seeing that sort of solidarity with this nerdy fictional character that I wanted to protect was like looking in a mirror and seeing that all I’ve ever wanted was to protect myself and I’ve been doing it wrong all along. Closing yourself off is good for no one. I like to think that I’ve been more open over the years, but that is not exactly true. I’ve gotten better, but not by as much I would like. This book was a reminder of all of this and that nothing will change until I’m willing to want to give more happiness for myself instead of wallowing in my own sorrows. Little bits of happiness at a time are the things to be cherished not the few horrible times that have wounded me.

The Characters:

Aysel is sad, but she is also nerdy and intelligent and even humorous. She is a lover of classical music and is full of wit and more strength then she realizes. There may be some things about her story I want to change, but she is a person that wants good for everyone and her hurt makes me sad and I just want to be there for her.

Our beau Roman is also sad, but for a while I couldn’t see him that way. I saw him as Aysel saw him, athletic, shining, caring, and full of amazing artistic ability. He may not be nerdy, but with his love for his turtle, there is nothing I wouldn’t want more then to protect him as the precious bean he is.

Aysel’s family at times made me happy and at times made me sad, but my favorite of them all was Aysel’s sister Georgia. She is outgoing and maybe a little mean at the beginning, but she had a fierce heart and she cares for her sister a great deal more then her sister is willing to accept. I don’t know if it is a change in Aysel’s perception later that allows me to see just how much Georgia cares for her or not, but I am so glad for her being there.

Aysel’s father, while he may not have a true physical presence in this book is probably one of the most pivotal characters in this novel. His decisions and the kind of father he was to Aysel affected her deeply. No matter his crime she loves him and in many ways Aysel’s fear of that feeling is as much part of her hurt as it is part of what makes her happy and comforted (which means so many things get complicated).

The Nerdyness:

I had to give a little section for my gratefulness to just how nerdy this book was. I loved that physics was what made Aysel feel calm. I love that in so many ways it was a part of how she started to heal. Her thoughts about potential energy and what happens to your energy when you die fascinated me. Something about the nerdyness being so important to Aysel as a character just made me feel warm inside.

The Role of Music:

Music has such an important role in all our lives, yet I don’t think that books utilize song as much as it should be used. In this book, I’m happy that music is a much a comfort to Aysel as it is to me in in my own life. Aysel hums classical music when she is uncomfortable or in the most relaxed of states no matter if she is happy or sad she hums, because music is a blanket to aid all emotion and it is seamlessly woven into her life. It made me happy that it was her father who introduced her to music. That she always did everything she could to find hidden answers in Mozart because her father told her they were there. Aysel’s father may be a criminal, but before he gave her something that is a part of what Aysel happy and I’m all the more glad for it.

Feelings about Their Reasons for Wanting to Die:

Aysel wants to die out of fear of being like her father, but also because she feels she is a nuisance. People look at her with fear, distrust, sometimes even disgust out of disgust for her father or they simply don’t look at her at all. There are more things layering her wanting to die then I think is truly laid out in the book and nothing for her is as straightforward as might believe.

Roman’s reason for dying is because he is the reason his sister died. Left alone to baby sit his sister he brings over his girlfriend at the time and has special relations with her while he let his sister take a bath. His sister (known to have seizures) has a seizure and dies in the tub while he and his girlfriend were just in another room. His reason is definitely straight forward and I can’t say how I would feel in his situation. It’s so tragic that it is hard for me to know how to even approach that sort of situation if it were in real life.

What Scene I Wish it Had:

While near the end Aysel and her mother have a heartfelt conversation about her sadness and why she feels the way she does I really wanted Aysel and Georgia to have that conversation first. I think that for me it would have been such a powerful scene if the two sisters had a heart to heart and Georgia helped Aysel gather courage to talk to their mom. It would have strengthened their bond as sister and it would have made me feel a lot better about Aysel’s quest to heal for the future.

How the Mental Illness was Portrayed:

For my own experience with my own dips into depression I found this book portrayed what it feels like to be so sad very well. However, I have been told that this book could be hurtful in the way that Aysel came out of her depression because of her romance with Roman. However, I think that while there are pieces of that kind of language in the book I wish were changed, A lot of Aysel’s healing was due to herself and her willingness to start accepting little happinesses and speaking with her family (although talking with Roman was probably a big help). I think this is a Matters hat they didn’t just save each other, but more that a mixture of experience, people, and finding some sort of acceptance and hope helped Aysel find a greater will to live.

(SUPER SPOILERS AHEAD… Proceed with Caution… you have been warned)

The Ending:

If you are reading this and haven’t read the book and you even remotely want to read this one in the future please don’t read this last bit of discussion. Knowing the end is not the way to start a book and I fear to post what happens in it here, but what happens begs to be discussed.

You have twice been warned.

In the end of My Heart and Other Black Holes there is the biggest moment of panic and sadness of the entire book. Roman’s solo suicide attempt. For so many reasons this part hurt to read. For the sake of his mother I almost couldn’t handle it. I don’t know if his relationship with Aysel will help him see the good in him later and in my mind I really don’t think it will. I think there are a lot of things that need to happen for the pair to truly heal. Both of them starting to see a therapist being one of the biggest steps of all. I don’t even truly believe that they are both yet saved, but every step forward will be for hope and I’m hoping that their future (together or apart) is very bright.

Thank you for reading! Let me know your thoughts about My Heart and Other Black Holes down in the comments below!

Sign up for the Beyond The Surface Book club below:

https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/235823-beyond-the-surface

I can’t wait to share Septembers book of the Month pick with you all tomorrow!

-Till next time!

Beyond The Surface Book Club: A Post inspired by MHAOBH


So, I just finished reading my book club’s book of the month for August 2017 My Heart and Other Black Holes and I’m in desperate need to talk about this book and also share some thoughts and fun things related to this book over the next week so for now I’m keeping the next couple of post ideas I have a secret and I’m going to share the most important one with you all right now. 


In my Heart and Other Black Holes Aysel (pronounced Uh-Zell) and Roman (a.k.a FrozenRobot) have depression and suicidal thoughts. The one thing that I felt I really need to share after reading their story is a post about how many reasons there are to live, because sometimes life switches things up and our mental state is iffy at best so sometimes it’s great to remember the reasons why we keep trudging along. There is always something to be hopeful about. 

My Reasons for Living 

Family: 
My family is a huge reason why I can get through the toughest parts of my life. Without the people who took me in and raised me as their own, the people who choose to love me and be my family, I don’t know where I would be. To have a mom and who pushes me everyday to do more and to be a better person lifts my heart to the sky. To have a sister who pushes me to do more in general (really to function better as a human being) who I can look up to constantly gives me hope for who I will become. To have a dad who will always see me as the little girl I once was, but who will also love me unconditionally no matter what I do or say or become in the future fills my heart with joy. These three people would do anything for me. That’s more then I could ever hope to deserve. 

The puppy of the family: 

The forth member of the family, Gypsy is a pup that always gives me joy. 

Just look at how cute she is: 


Gypsy has such a unique personality and at the end of the day when we all come home she is always there running around wagging her little tail jumping up to greet us (well my sister mostly, she’s a momma’s girl). She always makes me laugh, especially when she growls in annoyance at my mom talking back because my mom loves to chastise her/tell her to get off the couch (Gypsy never gets off the couch). Gosh do I love this pup with all my heart. 

Books: 

So long as there are books I don’t think I could fully contemplate leaving this earth. There are thousands upon millions of amazing stories filling up this earth and I want to read as many of them as I can. Books have got me through so many good and bad moments in my life and they always make me happy (unless they break my heart… MHAOBH’s broke my heart). Books are definitely a reason I want to be alive for a very long time.

Art: 

I love art. I love looking at art. I love watching people make art. I love to try and create, but also fail at making art. The way people’s hands can work to create something beautiful solely from their own minds fascinates and awes me. There is so much art I want to see. 

Writing/Poetry: 

There are so many things I have to say before I leave this earth, and I fear that I will never be able to say all I want to before I die (18 years old and this is what I worry about, so much for thinking that the young don’t think about death). There is always something more that comes to mind and I never want to stop writing. 

Miracles: 

There are times where I look at some random people that cross paths with me in my life and I think of it as a miracle. I think of someone who said just the right thing to me at the moment. Or someone who was there to help someone else. Human kindness for the right people at the right time is always a miracle to me, because the person’s surprise for another’s kindness is what makes it a rarity that shouldn’t be so rare. 

Random places: 

I have so many places I want to see before I die. So many things I wish to experience. It’s not even the larger places I want to see. It’s little places, Caffe’s, little shops, unique parks, aquariums, museums, and places I would never have thought to go. I want to experience things go on random rides, learn sword fighting at a little gym place I didn’t realize was nearby. Horseback ride at a little beach somewhere. I just want to fully experience what the world has to offer. 

There are so many reasons to keep on living. So many little moments of happiness that make it all worth it. We have so much potential energy inside us… we just have to find it in ourselves to transform it into something kinetic. 

Thank you all for reading! Share with me some of your reasons for living. I would love to hear them. 

Also don’t forget to join the Beyond The Surface Book Club on Goodreads here: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/235823-beyond-the-surface

-Till next time!

Beyond The Surface Book Club: A Talk About Suicide and Depression


*trigger warning for suicide and depression*

Our first book of the month: My Heart and Other Black Holes, is centered around probably one of the most hard-hitting topics in mental health: suicide. This topic is an ugly one, but also a very important one to discuss. 

Here is a deeply personal story of my connection to this topic. 

Deep breaths…. 

I had an Uncle in my family.. let’s call him Uncle J. This uncle, he had problems with alcohol, probably was part of his depression, but he never discussed that with anyone as far as I know. The most important part of his character for me however, was that he was always a great father for his kids. I never once saw him happier then when they were in his life, but then again a lot of things in his life hit him a bit too hard. 

In the end he committed suicide. I don’t know why. I was never close enough to him to know. I don’t think even his daughters could have ever known why. But what broke my heart was his daughters reactions. They spiraled into deep depression for a while. Just looking at their faces for a moment and you could see a brokenness. It was a long long time before I ever saw them look normal again. I… I don’t truly have words for what that must have been like for them. 

When something like that happens, that’s when you truly see that even though you may be one whole person, but their are more people then you could ever know in your corner and rooting for you. Suicide is nothing to romanticize. Even I have nightmares of the way things went down. So many complications, so many strings, so many awful emotions. 

So when it comes to depression, if your someone who believes in giving that person time to think through everything and leaving them alone in their grief, please don’t. Even if it’s just staying in a room with someone while they are sobbing, or staying with someone when they have expressed darker thoughts, don’t leave them alone. Be the person that saves that kid of the bridge who makes a final decision in that single moment. And if ever someone comes to you asking to talk or for help of any kind don’t leave them alone, be there, sometimes something you think may be insignificant can be monumental for someone else in a darker state. 

Also if you are in a darker state please call the number that is the title of the song linked above: 1-800-273-8255 

Thanks for reading. I know that this got to pleading real quick, but for me all the things said here needed to be said. I have been at a point in my life where everything came crashing down and those thoughts those self-loathing encrusted thoughts flooded in. Without support from my family, without a God mom who made sure she never left me alone when I wanted to be alone in the bathroom sobbing my eyes out I don’t know where I would be. 

Sign up for the Beyond The Surface book club on Goodreads here: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/235823-beyond-the-surface

-Till next time!