Love Lives Here
By Amanda Jette Knox
Kind of a review
I don’t do many reviews on here. In the early days I did one on my favourite movie and to a degree the new Ghostbusters movie. However my site went in a different direction. However after reading Love lives here I felt compelled to write about it. Not only because of how much I enjoyed it but also because of how I related to it. As such this is not just a review but a post on what this book means to me and how it has affected my own life.
The main thing about the book is that it is a page turner. I love reading. I started at an early age and use to spend hours reading novels. I loved studying. However in later years, with distractions such as multi-channel TV and laptops I have slowed down on the reading front.
However when I got this book I couldn’t wait to read on and on. It gripped me from one chapter to the next. Having followed Amanda on Twitter for quite some time as well as reading her own blog, I was well aware of the story that was unfolding on the pages before me. That didn’t make it any less interesting. For those not in the know, the book tells the story of Amanda’s family, dealing first with her daughter coming out as transgender and then her wife and the effects it has had on them.
For those in the know then reading this in the book will be no surprise but there are a lot of intimate details. We get the story how both Amanda and her wife Zoe grew up before meeting and getting married. We get to know Amanda’s inner most thoughts, not only with the drama unfolding in her family but also with her own demons. There is a simple honesty with the story being told here and it shines out through the entire book.
As I mentioned there is some things in this book I really related to. Not only with Zoe’s experiences but also with Amanda’s. How she was always someone who tried to please everyone in a way to be liked by them is exactly the same as me. With my low self-esteem it is something I realised late in life and I’m still struggle to control. Knowing that I’m not the only one like this and that the behaviour can be changed was good. Likewise her tenacity to keep on writing her blog, to use media platforms to help the LGTB community and her basic rule to simply live life through love has reenergised me to carry on with my own little contributions. The way that she deals with negatives things that crosses her path with love and understanding without compromising or taking any nonsense is amazing and a lesson to be learned. In short Amanda Knox’s has become another role model for me. Oh and look, once again it’s a woman and a real person (see Role Models encore). I find myself wondering did she find writing this book therapeutic in any way, as I did when writing A Girl’s Night Out. A book I’m even more determined to get published.
Amanda’s wife, Zoe also resonated with me. She was around my age when she transitioned and looking at the photos of her and seeing how beautiful she looks has helped with some of my fears of whether it’s too late for me. Also the love and support she received from friends, family and co-workers was amazing. Having posted some of my own revelations and photos on Facebook recently and having positive feedback has encouraged me even more so to explore and come out as myself more publicly. There is another outcome to her coming out that I have started noticing with myself. That afterwards her personality changed, more positive and relaxed with who she is. Since owning my bi-sexuality and my more feminine side I have found myself caring less about what people think of me. Finding myself freer in expressing myself but also an inner happiness inside me. I can actually feel it. A swelling up in my chest. A happiness and satisfaction with my life that I haven’t got close to since university five years ago. A feeling I thought may never come again.
But back to the book itself. Amanda writes with a nice pace blending emotions and humour throughout the book with ease. In particular pages 107, 225 and the final page triggered my emotions. And if you want to know what those instances were I suggest you go and buy the book. The last sixty pages flew by in one reading. It was getting late but I just had to carry on. And then I stopped on the final chapter and put the book down. I didn’t want it to finish. I was loving the unfolding story and if I read that last chapter it was finished. I wanted to hold out that anticipation a little longer. To prolong the story just a bit more. Hopefully there will be more from Amanda sometime in the future. As for Love Lives Here, all I can say is that it left me filled with hope and love. It rightly deserves its place as a best seller and I’d recommend this to anyone to read. Hopefully it may even change a few closed minds out there.
Ok, not fully but a little while ago I announced of Facebook that I was Bisexual. For many it probably didn’t come as much of a surprise. In recent years I’ve been quite open about who I was although to what extent was only shared with a few trusted people. So it may have been possible that some were unsure, or thought I was joking.
I didn’t really need to put it on Facebook, indeed I debated with myself for a while as to put weather I was Bisexual or pansexual. I could count myself as either, but for the most part I felt Bisexual was easier just because of the level of understanding I know some of my friend are at. I didn’t want questions on it. I didn’t want to get caught up in discussions of what pan sexual is and the difference between the two and how does it involve pans?
No the reason I put it on Facebook apart from finally clearing up any confusions anyone may have had about me was twofold. Firstly because I was fed up of watching what I posted on there. Not so much personal stuff but images, jokes etc. If I wanted to comment on a photo of Lucifer about how hot he is I would stop myself. Not because I wanted to protect myself from being questioned on my sexuality but because I was worried about how people would take it. Whether they would be left wondering. True it wouldn’t really be any of their business and I shouldn’t worry about what people think but there was just something that didn’t feel right to me. And this was the second reason I posted it.
For myself. Not just so I could make comments and post anything I wanted but just to feel like myself. It was my way of saying to my world that “hey this is me, like it or lump it.” I was owning my sexuality. It wasn’t being guessed at or assumed. It was me saying this is what it is.
And it felt good. It felt freeing. There was an element of fear there before I posted. I thought about it for a couple of weeks. But it felt so good to do it. I’d been doing it on twitter for the last couple of years but no one on there were actual physical friends. People I knew in my life.
And then the notifications and comments started to come in. Likes, loves, comments of well done, so proud and be yourself. Each one helping to validate me, made me feel better. Some even commenting “about time”. It’s amazing how many people seemed to know about me before I really did.
There was also another point to me coming out as bisexual. A little thing I put at the bottom of the post, 1/2. No one commented on it. They’ve didn’t ask what it meant. And for those who might know, still nothing. One of two. The first post out of two. There is another post to come sometime in the future, some other revelation.
Because it was also a test run. To see how people reacted. My friend Ashley wanted me to fully come out on Facebook along with the photos I’ve had done. Personally I wasn’t ready for that. It would be like ripping a band aid straight off. This way I’m was slowly teasing it off. Plus I’m still wasn’t sure where I stood with being genderfliud.
I’m also aware that there is a difference between announcing your sexuality and announcing your gender. It’s a big step to take and I’m trying to make it a little bit smaller before announcing anything else about me to the world.
But sometimes fate takes a hand in things. Maybe it was because I was at Pride that weekend or maybe deep down I was just looking for a way to come out further, I don’t know. However when a friend of mine posted on Facebook about how his daughter was trying to raise money for charity and not getting far, could his friends help I did. I donated a bit of money. But there were very few others that did the same. My friend of course was disappointed. He is someone who in the past has gone out of his way to help others.
I did the only thing I could think of to help him and in a way help me. I messaged him.
“If you don’t get many donations by Friday let me know. I may have a way to help.”
Friday came and the total hadn’t moved much. I checked in with my friend. Still disappointed.
Deep breath I posted on Facebook about my friend’s daughter raising money. I posted the link to donate. Then I made a promise.
“If any of my friends donate and we can get near the total needed by Monday then I will post, for the first time on Facebook, a photo of me in drag.”
It sort of worked. A couple of people donated, one commenting just to see me in drag. Maybe they was expecting some half assed photo with just me in a dress. Monday came. The total hadn’t been reached, I could have backed out, but I didn’t. This was an opportunity and I’ve learnt now to take those when they come up. And so the photo was posted.
And the response, like the bi sexual post was again overwhelmingly positive. A lot of compliments. And a big thanks from my friend to whom it meant so much. Within a couple more days the total was smashed and I felt great. I’d helped a friend and had presented myself, or to a degree Cherry Ade to my world.
I now have a Facebook page going for that persona and have had a few friend requests. The futures bright, the futures rainbow.