Living in the middle: cyclothymia and demisexuality

tw// suicide, sex

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Dear readers,

I have no idea where I am going with this. I am just writing everything down as it comes through my brain, as if it could somehow help me ease the whole thing. I do have a lot to say today, but don’t know how to say it. So let’s start quickly and talk about what really bothers me: how I always lived in the middle, in this weird and forgotten part of everything.

It’s funny to see how all my life, I have been feeling left out. I always had two friends and both of them always left me in the end. I never knew what I liked growing up, if I was more a flower dress girl or a black jeans ripped one, if I was someone who was pessimistic or more optimistic. And it was even more weird how all my feelings didn’t work out with everything else: I never felt attracted to anyone and my emotions were a wreck, but not enough to be something very serious (well, that’s what they said).

I grew up angry, lonely. I had no idea who I was, to whom I was attracted, what I liked, how I felt. Nothing ever made sense, and feeling all of this while being a teenager is even worse: it’s the perfect time for your brain to decide that you are everything and nothing at all. Thanks a lot, adolescence.

The therapists weren’t helping either. They were talking a lot about depression, bipolar disorders and many other things that I understood but couldn’t feel. It wasn’t it. It never was. So why on earth was nobody getting me?

After I tried to kill myself, a psychologist finally understood what I was suffering from: cyclothymia. I remember smiling a bit because for once, it felt right. That was it. That was me.

What Wikipedia says about it:

Cyclothymia (/ˌsklˈθmiə/), also called cyclothymic disorder, is a type of chronic mood disorder widely considered to be a more chronic but milder or subthreshold form of bipolar disorder. Cyclothymia is characterized by numerous mood swings, with periods of hypomanic symptoms that do not meet criteria for a manic episode, alternating with periods of mild or moderate symptoms of depression that do not meet criteria for a major depressive episode.

An individual with cyclothymia may feel stable at a baseline level but experience a noticeable shift to an emotional high during subthreshold hypomanic episodes of elation or euphoria, with symptoms similar to those of mania but less severe, and often cycle to emotional lows with moderate depressive symptoms. To meet the diagnostic criteria for cyclothymia, a person must experience this alternating pattern of emotional highs and lows for a period of at least two years with no more than two consecutive symptom-free months.

However, as I was happy with this diagnostic, I realised that people around me didn’t understand it. As I explain what it is, most people always answer, “yeah, so you have mood swings like every one”. Suddenly, I was back in the middle: I wasn’t too depressed to be bipolar and I wasn’t too well to not suffer from a mental illness. And that’s what people don’t understand.

The same thing happened when it came to my sexuality. As I grew up, I asked myself many questions: was I straight? gay? bi? asexual? Nothing felt right. I always crushed on boys but never was attracted to them, but I felt even less for girls. So what was I? Why was I so disguted by sex everytime? I am going to be honest here: I tried to watch porn and it only made me throw up. Why was I like this?

One day, a friend told me about demisexuality and again, it made sense. That was me.

What the Internet says about it:

A demisexual is a person who does not experience sexual attraction unless they form a strong emotional connection with someone. It's more commonly seen in but by no means confined to romantic relationships. The term demisexual comes from the orientation being "halfway between" sexual and asexual. Nevertheless, this term does not mean that demisexuals have an incomplete or half-sexuality, nor does it mean that sexual attraction without emotional connection is required for a complete sexuality. In general, demisexuals are not sexually attracted to anyone of any gender; however, when a demisexual is emotionally connected to someone else (whether the feelings are romantic love or deep friendship), the demisexual experiences sexual attraction and desire, but only towards the specific partner or partners.

When describing demisexuality as an orientation to sexuals, sexuals often mistake it as an admirable choice rather than an innate orientation. Demisexuals are not choosing to abstain; they simply lack sexual attraction until a close relationship is formed.

And as many of my friends understood, a lot of other people didn’t. “So… you’re just normal? Not having sex before knowing the person is pretty normal,” they say, seeing how hurt I was nonetheless.

Once, I posted a picture of myself during the demisexuality day for the month of sexualities and a girl attacked me, saying I wasnt part of the LGBTQIA+ community (I don’t feel like I belong in this community, since I’m still somehow attracted only to boys) but I wasn’t even trying to do so. It was just our day, and so I explained it to her and she answered, “stop trying to get attention for not fucking with everyone”. It made me cry for an hour, and some more.

Because it’s not as if it was a choice, as if I wanted to not have sex with anyone. It’s just that I can’t feel this attraction. I shared my first kiss with a boy I liked nothing about, hoping it’ll get better once we’d kissed, but it didn’t. I threw up a bit after and got bored throughout the whole kiss. It was awful and I didn’t ask to be like that. Once again, I wasn’t too attracted to be able to be like non-asexual people but not too much asexual to be one too. I was stuck in the middle, forever stuck in this area which no one seemed to understand.

I’m going to be honest: living in the middle is very frustrating. I stopped talking about demisexuality online and to people, promising myself to only talk about it to my close friends and future lover, and don’t bring the world cyclothymia a lot either, unless I know it’s safe for me to do so (the Internet is safe for that). And you know what? It sucks. It sucks that I can’t be proud of who I am and talk about what I feel because people out there don’t understand what I am going through. I am not asking for pity or else, just for people to recognised it, my sexuality and mental illness. I just want to be seen for who I am.

I’m not saying I’m miserable or anything. Many people live worse, I really know that, especially for the sexuality part.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that, even though I wished I could talk about it freely, I still am okay today. I know I love flower dresses and black ripped jeans, musicals and metal music. I know why I am not attracted to people and why my brain is acting weird most of the times.

I know how hard it is to not know who we are (and you don’t have to be cyclothymic or demisexual to live it) but I promise: you’re getting there. Growing up is like meeting a new person and discovering every little things that make them. You’ll be amazed by some of it (I actually am a very serious person) and sometimes pissed off by some parts (I also am very impatient and can be pretty selfish), but it’ll feel okay. You’ll fall in love with yourself somehow, and that’s an amazing feeling.

I still have a lot of things to learn about myself, but you know what? I’m proud of who I am and I love myself for who I really am, a person forever but happily stuck in the middle.

Love always,

Clara

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Q&A | 2017 edition

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Dear readers,

A few weeks ago, I asked people on my Instagram account if they had any questions for me and I decided to make a blog post of it. I did a few Q&A over the months on Instagram but of course, since it was in my story, it didn’t stay longer than 24 hours – here people will be able to get to know me a little bit better whenever they want (well, if that can interrest them). I divided the Q&A in a few categories to make it more clear, so let’s do it!


ABOUT MY READING
  • What are some of your favourite books, aside from Lady Midnight?

My two other favourite books are The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky because it brought me a lot when I was younger and Dracula by Bram Stoker, even though I don’t know why. There’s also Illusions Perdues by Honoré de Balzac, and I also don’t know why. It’s just an important book to me.

  • Why do you love reading so much?

Ah, the question.

Honestly, as cliché as it may sound, books have always been here for me. I do not come from a readers family so my parents couldn’t understand why I wanted to buy new books every week, but I still loved it and it made me feel good everytime. Books were also with me when I woke up from the coma, when I broke my arm, when I tried to (tw// suicide) kill myself. They allowed me to escape the real world before becoming a simple source of joy. Books make me dream, laugh, cry, love. They taught me a lot, they made me a better person, they made me who I am. Honestly, I wouldn’t be much if I didn’t have them.

I guess that’s why I love reading.

  • Why do you read in English?

As I speak English and want to live in the UK, I didn’t see how it was relevant to read a translation when I could just read the original text! It also helps me to improve my English, of course, and English books are way cheaper than French ones (that’s the real reason).

  • What is your favourite quote?

By far, my favourite quote is “We live and breathe words.” by Cassandra Clare. It means a lot to me and I would have wanted it as a tattoo (but I can’t due to medical reasons).

  • Do you prefer Julian Blackthorn or Emma Carstairs?

This is a very hard question, as I love them both for very different reasons.

I love Emma because she looks like me but still is very different. We both are blonde, have a scar on our arm, are bad at relationships and will kill anyone that come closer to the Blackthorns. But Emma is so much stronger, nicer and smarter than I am, and she inspires me every day to be better.

As for Julian, I obviously love him a lot but we do are very similar. Many people see him as demisexual, which I am, and reading about his feelings made me feel better about myself. He also is very protective when it comes to the people he loves, and some people see it as a scary thing, but I totally understand. He also is a very passionate person, which I am too..

Julian makes me feel okay about myself when Emma inspires me to be even better. I honestly can’t choose between the both of them, as they both are a part of who I am.

  • Do you prefer Will Herondale or Jem Carstairs?

Why choose, to be honest?

If I have to, I would go with Jem Carstairs. I loved him way better than Will in the first book and even though I then learned to love them both equally, Jem has always been this pure and nice man who earned my respect and admiration.

  • Who is your favourite couple in the Shadowhunter world?
SPOILERS // DO NOT READ IF YOU HAVEN’T FINISHED READING THE SHADOWHUNTER CHRONICLES SERIES

I have many favourites. I love Simon and Izzy as they do not have as much problems as the others and are absolutely adorable. I love Julian and Emma, of course, but I also have a thing for Gideon and Sophie. I think we often forget about them but they are such a strong, healthy and adorable couple. Their love and respect for each other is so beautiful.

  • What do you do when you just don’t feel like reading or are in a reading slump?

If I don’t feel like reading, I do not force myself. There’s no need to do so and I have so many other things to do that it’s okay if I don’t read one day in my life. However, if I am facing a reading slump, I try new books or simply let myself the time that I need to feel the envy to read again. I’ll try to write a blog post about it, as I just got out of a reading slump.

  • If you could only read one book for the rest of your life, which one would it be?

That’s an easy question: the answer is my favourite book, Lady Midnight. I already re-read it four times and I am still not bored. I see new things every time and it still amazes me. I’m sure that I can still re-read it and still fell in love with it over and over again.

  • Is there a book series that you have not read because you’re waiting the series to end?

I never wait for a series to end. I never understood this concept: if you forbid yourself to read a series to wait for the end, you are still waiting for the end – so why not read the books in between? (I’m also very impatient, so.)

  • Of which book’s group of friends would you like to belong to?

There’s so many amazing group of friends in literature that it makes me it so hard to choose. I guess I would have to stay away from all the very badass gangs, such as the Six of Crows or the Heroes of the Olympus – I would have trouble breathing after running for five minutes and would probably die. Though, if I had to be in a group of friends from a fantasy book, I would make my own in the Harry Potter world. I think I would love to hang out with Lily Evans and talk badly about James and his crew. I would love to be part of the new generation as well and be friends with James and Scorpius. Or even be friends with Ginny in the original generation and make our own gang!

But if I don’t want to be too left out (and die from a jogging), I would love to be friends with Cath and Levi in Fangirl. We would hang out at Starbucks, talking about books and movies and tv shows and music – basically what I already do with my friends. It’ll be the same if I hang out with the gang from Queens of Geek. I just need geeky friends, like I already do (but Hogwarts would be cool too).

ABOUT ME
  • What kind of music do you like?

My tastes in music seem weird to people, but oh well. I mostly listen to rock music, metal, classical music and musicals.

  • What/Who is your inspiration?

I tend to find inspiration in everything and everyone. Many of my friends are my inspiration for example, or just some random people I follow on Twitter of else. As for the celebrities and characters, I have many: Emma Watson, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Emma Carstairs are some of them.

  • Which languages do you speak?

I speak French and English fluently (I hope so), and know some Spanish.

  • Are you interested in history or philosophy?

Of course! Those were two of my favourite classes in high school and I miss it very much, especially the history one.

  • What do you love most about France and what places would you suggest to go?

I love France because, no matter what we keep saying, we are incredibly lucky to live here. School is free, medication too. There are problems, that’s for sure, and nothing is perfect but we still have big privileges. Plus, I adore our culture, our history, our literature, our language – well, mostly everything.

As for the cities to visit, I haven’t travelled a lot in France but I love le Mont Saint Michel in Britanny, Deauville and Honfleur, Calais can be nice too and Toulouse as well. I never been to Bordeaux nor Lyon but it seems to be incredible! I also love Angers and many cities with a castle, such as Chambord and Versailles. Of course, I recommend the island Corsica which is where my family is from, but Paris truly has my heart.

  • What is one country you’ve never been to that you would like to visit?

Right now, I’m thinking of Russia! I’ve always been attracted to it and I hope that someday I’ll be able to visit it.

  • What is your favourite thing about autumn?

Many, many things.

I have never loved the heat (and am now even allergic to it somehow), even though my entire family comes from very hot countries. Autumn means the cold weather coming back, as well as the rain, which is then very important to me. Also, this kind of weather relaxes me a lot and allows me to be more productive, as I feel more at peace. Plus, all the colours are simply gorgeous and you can wear again sweaters, scarfs and all! I love clothes but it’s hard to wear something nice during Summer, especially when you hate your body.

  • What are your tips for leaning other languages, to help separate them and become fluent?

Well, here’s another blog post I could write!

I personally spoke English way better when I started to talk only in that language. I started to listen to radio in English, watched television and tv shows in English (first with French subtitles then English ones), read in English and mostly talked/wrote in English. That’s why my account is in English; it allows me to practice all the time. That is also why I only speak in English on Twitter and on my Instagram account – you have no idea how much I improved since I started doing so a year ago.

ABOUT MY STUDIES AND JOB
  • Do you have a job at the moment? If yes, how do you keep your life organised/balanced to have the time to study, read, see your friends?

I do have a job! I think it’s important for me to explain you all why I have a job while still being at uni. My master’s degree is a professional one and we are studying “en alternance“, which means that we have to alternate between our studies and our job. Our formation is then very complete, as we are studying in class but also in real life in real situations. With my university, we have to go to work every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and to school every Thursday and Friday. If we have vacations with university, we go to work. At our job, we are also treated like every employee: we have a pay check and we can take vacations. Going to our classes is part of our job, so we can’t miss school, and we have to get good grades for it.

That being said, you already know a bit more about my job and studies! As for my organisation, I mostly read in the subway while going to work/uni and sometimes before bed. I also take at least an hour every night to either study (and I can take more than an hour if I need to) or read, write etc (truth be told, I don’t study a lot but I still have great grades so it’s okay). When it comes to my friends, I see some of them quickly during the week. My best friend come pick me up at work every Monday and we go pick up another friend at her university after that, another friend come to my lunch break every Wednesday as well. Then, I see them during the weekend if I feel like going out. They always come with me during my photoshoots, which I plan on Sundays usually, so it’s another time we can spend together.

Basically, my whole life is on a planner and everything is planned months in advance but I’m also always doing multiple things at once. Thats’s my secret.

  • What is it like working as a publisher/for a publishing company?

At first it was very intimidating, then I understood that I knew things and was good at my job so I stopped worrying too much. Right now, I love working in the publishing world and I feel as if I fit in. It sure is hard but also very rewarding. I adore knowing everything in advance and working on projects and everything.

  • What are you studying and to what school are you going?

I studied literature for three years at La Sorbonne before starting a master’s degree in publishing and communication in Paris too. I’m at my last year and should graduate at the end of 2018.

  • Do you have any tips for people looking for an internship in a publishing house?

The only tip I have is to dare send your resume’s everywhere and to sell yourself. Show what you can do, make them know, send tons of emails. Plus, use your blog/Instagram/YouTube to your advantage. There’s no real tips, unfortunately, or we’d all have our dream job but dare to try.

  • Could you give specific examples of what you’re asked to do at your job?

As an apprentice publisher, I handle the manuscripts department and also work with the two other publishers. I basically read manuscripts, decide if we should publish them or not, write a note for every one of them, send them back, answer the phone to talk with the authors, answer to emails etc. I also present some manuscripts to my superiors. When it comes to my work with the publisher, I correct the text and make sure after that that every corrections have been included. I also can help to write a blurb and all, correct it etc.

  • What do you plan to do in the future?

I want to work in a publishing house, that’s for sure, but in the UK (or any other English speaking country, if I can’t go to the UK) and at the communication department. Being a community manager would be my dream.

  • Do you have a routine for schoolwork or a certain way to keep it organised or motivate yourself to get it done?

As I said earlier, I study every week night at least one hour, depending on what I have to do (but as I also said, I’m not one who study a lot, we all have our own pace). I have a planner and all to be organised. (I used to be in the studyblr community and it helped a lot). As for the motivation, this gif actually inspires me a lot (which is very dumb but it works for me):

It made me realised how I can watch Netflix or read when I’ll be done with everything and use this time to actually be productive and make the best out of it. Now’s the time to proove that you can do it.

It’s the very little things that keep you motivated, so print your favourite quote, play your studying playlist, watch a studying video… anything! as long as it keeps you going.

ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH
  • How do you deal with your mental health issues and/or anxiety when you are trying to read or have to work?

Reading is easy: it actually calms me down. It’s work that is way more difficult to deal with. How many times have I had to run to the toilets because I was having a panic attack? How many times a situation made me cry and I had to hide it? How many morning did I have to convince myself to go to work in the morning and not let myself rots in my bed?

I think that doing something I love helps a lot, even though there was a time when I had problems there and it was even harder. What I try to do now is to have a quick solution to stop feeling the anxiety or else when it happens, so I can calm down a bit and wait to be home to deal with it properly: I can send a text to my friends, watch a small video of Tom Holland (which always works) or simply take a 5min break to walk in the corridors, get a coffee and stuff. It is hard, I admit it, but I will never let my mental health makes my superiors think I can’t do the job right. It happened before and it broke me to see how little people thought of me because of it.

ABOUT INSTAGRAM
  • I think interaction is one of the most important thing on bookstagram, so how do you manage to mantain your interactions? I only have 2k and I’m already quite overwhelmed. I don’t know how you can handle it. I guess what I’m trying to ask is, how do you keep up with conversations from your fellow bookstagrammers?

Comments are hard for me to answer. I am blessed to have many people answering to my posts and even though I wish I could take the time to answer to everyone, I never do. I do not have any excuses though, I’m just not good at it and my anxiety doesn’t let me answering to people. Everytime I see that I have a comment I can feel my heart aches. It’s as if people were waiting for me and I couldn’t reach them.

So this is why messages are important to me, as I answer to all of them. Sometimes I receive a lot of them (as I said, people tend to answer to my posts and my stories quite a lot, which I feel very lucky about) but I always do my best to answer to everyone. It may take me a day or two when I have to think of a good answer but I never let a message unread or unanswered.

Now, if you’re talking about creating and mantaining this link between you and the person, I highly recommend you to answer to people’s stories (and posts, of course). I am so glad we have this feature as it allows us to know a bit more about the bookstagrammer and to be able to talk about it. Plus, as people upload their stories daily, you always have new things to say!


So… here it is! To you who read it all, well congrats, you now know a lot about me!

If you have any other questions, feel free to ask.

Pick some of the questions and answer them in the comments! I would love to know you all better!

Love always,

Clara

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Those three men who changed my life

Dear readers,

Over the years, I came to love and admire many people, either they were fictional or not. Some stayed with me, like Emma Watson who has been my role model since I was 5, and others simply disappeared. They have all been useful at a certain point of my life, like Kellan Kyle or Harry Styles, but the love I had for them wasn’t strong enough for me to keep admiring them as I used to do.

However, three men clearly stole my heart those past few years and made me a better person. I decided to talk about them today as I needed to express my love somewhere. I’ll talk about women later on the blog, as I wanted to focus on those three people who really changed me over the months.


Lin-Manuel Miranda

There was no way I could start this post without talking about Lin-Manuel Miranda and anyone who knows me just a little knew that I had to include him.

For those who don’t know who he is: Lin-Manuel Mirana is an American composer, lyricist, playwright, and actor best known for creating and starring in the Broadway musicals Hamilton and In the Heights. He co-wrote the songs for Disney’s Moana soundtrack (2016) and is set to star in their upcoming film Mary Poppins Returns. Miranda’s awards include a Pulitzer Prize, two Grammy Awards, an Emmy Award, a MacArthur Fellowship, and three Tony Awards. (Wikipedia)

Sans titre (1)

I came accross him at the very beggining of 2016 when I heard about Hamilton, an American Musical for the first time. It took me a second before I fell in love with him when I heard his voice in Alexander Hamilton. I didn’t know what he looked like, who he was, but my heart stopped nevertheless.

Of course, soon after that I did some research and everything I started to learn about him made me love him and admire him more and more. Lin is a genius who seems to be able to do anything. Time passed and I never stopped looking out for him.

He came into my life when I needed someone to tell me to rise up, to not throw away my shot, and for that I will always be grateful. Ever since I started to listen to his work my life completly changed: I was listening to Hamilton before going to my interview for my new school and for my job in a publishing house. I got them both and I like to believe that it was his words that inspired me to do it, even though I was terrified and close to give up.

Julian Blackthorn

I believe that everyone who follows me on social media saw that one coming. How could I write about men without even mentioning the one who made me feel better through 2017?

For those who don’t know who he is: Julian “Jules” Blackthorn is a Shadowhunter who has lived his entire life at the Los Angeles Institute. He lives there alongside his siblings and Emma Carstairs, his best friend and parabatai. (Shadowhunters Wiki) He belongs to the world created by Cassandra Clare.

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I met Julian Blackthorn in 2016 while reading the Mortal Instruments series but really got to know him when I finally read Lady Midnight (the first book in the Dark Artifices trilogy) in January 2017. Little did I knew that he would crush every other book boyfriends I ever had and even my expectations in men (I wish I could say I’m exaggerating, but I really am not).

Julian is calm, loyal to his family and friends, and knows when to be funny or serious. We share a lot of things, like being Slytherin, but the thing that really got me to love him that much was how Cassandra Clare described his point of view on relationships and attraction. Based on that, a lot of people understood that he was demisexual, which I also am. Being demisexual basically means that we “do not experience sexual attraction unless we form a strong emotional connection with someone” (see full description).

Seeing myself in someone else in literature made me feel good, as my sexuality troubles me a lot. It is not easy to see yourself not being attracted to anyone as you grow up, but Julian gave me hope and made me see clearer. He helped me accepting and loving myself, and I will always owe him this.

Tom Holland

Honestly, this blog post is going to seem very predictable for anyone who knows me a little.

For those who don’t know who he is: Tom Holland  is an English actor and dancer. He is best known for starring as Peter Parker / Spider-Man in the superhero films Captain America: Civil War (2016) and Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017), as part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). (Wikipedia)

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I first heard about Tom Holland when he got casted as Spider-Man. As I didn’t see the movie Captain America: Civil War yet, I didn’t know much about him. (It’s my biggest shame as a Marvel lover. I really don’t know why I still haven’t seen it.) That is why it all really started when I saw Spider-Man: Homecoming for the first time. (To this day, I have watched the movie 7th times and will probably never stop.)

I wish I could explain what pushed me to love him, to admire him. Maybe it was his voice or his smile or his hair or the way he laughed. Maybe it was because he can dance and knows ballet and also used to sing in a musical at West End. Or maybe it was because he’s so close to his brothers or because he has a dog named Tessa. Honestly, I have no idea, but the fact is that he somehow became a huge part of my life.

As I suffer from anxiety, I discovered that watching a compilation of him dancing made me relax when I felt a panic attack coming. I then found myself watching videos of him more every day, until it became a daily ritual. Something about him made me feel better about myself, made me simply feel good. He inspires me to get better whenever I feel down and that isn’t something that a lot of people can do.


I can’t express how grateful I am to have those three men in my life. They each give me something special every day and they always make me feel better.

I must say that I have a weird relationship with celebrities, as I don’t feel as if I could love them since I don’t know them, but Lin and Tom made me feel different. As for Julian, it has somehow always been him.

Who changed your life in the best way?

Love always,

Clara

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Bookstagram, part I: Creating your account

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Dear readers,

You may not know but I have been on Instagram for a year now and my account has been growing really fast without me realising what was happening or how I got so lucky. Over the months, many people asked for my advice and even though I gave some, I felt silly because I had so much to say and never really had the occasion to develop my thoughts.

This is why I am bringing you today the Bookstagram Guide which will be devided in three parts: the first part will explain you how to start, the second one will focus on the editing part and the third one on how to progress through the months. I know those kind of posts have been done a lot so I’ll try to say new things and talk about my story as well. In no way I am assuming that I know everything about bookstagram – this is only to help, as those blog posts have been helpful to me when I began to be sure I wasn’t doing anything wrong.


HOW TO START
  • Find a name

Now that you decided that you wanted to join the bookstagram community, you need a username. This step may seems easy but is actually really important. It should reflect your account, your personality and actually be striking. It can be the first thing people will see about your account, so choose carefully. Many people told me they started following me because of my username, and I do give a lot of thoughts before following soemone: Seeing an account being called “b00ks4lif3” won’t make me want to click on it.

Many guides tell you not to choose a too long username and it’s true that short ones are somehow better but mine is long and it never bugged me. The only advice that is worth taking is that your username should be related to literature: it can be a reference to a quote, to a character, to a book or just be related to the act of reading, the pages, the book itself etc: That way people will know your account is a bookstagram without having to click on your profile to check.

  • Decide if you want to stick to a theme or not

Now that you have your username, you have to decide what you want your account to look like. All my social medias look alike: they’re all white and apparently minimalist. My bookstagram also follows those rules and I work hard to maintain a feed.

What is a theme or a feed: it's the aesthetic of your account. Having a feed means that all your pictures look great together - they do not have to look alike but they respond to each others because of the colours you use.

It’s okay if you don’t want to start a theme because I know they are hard to stick to but I won’t lie: it’s better if you do. Most people I follow have one. I started to follow them because when I went on their accounts the whole thing looked professional and thought.

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my instagram feed – @thebookwormofnotredame

I will talk more about editing and maintaining a feed on the second part of this guide.

  • Post on a schedule

A lot of people believe that posting once a week should be enough, but it’s not. You have to be constant in your posts and to give people something new at least every two days. When I started my account, I used to post twice a day and it worked. More people were joining every day. When I started to have a lot of followers, I decided to lower it to one post per day. Now, I post every day except on the weekend.

Many accounts still post twice or more, but you must be careful: do not over post (it can be frustrating for others and many won’t see them) and make sure you have enough pictures to do so. I highly recommend posted once to twice a day – it is enough and will make people want to see more of your work.

  • Talk to people and make friends

Now here is the most important tip I can give you. I started following many people because we started being friends, and not for their pictures. Plus, talking to people will make others commenting on your posts and talking about your account. So do not be shy: comment under others pictures, answer to stories, tell people you love their work.

I know how hard this can be but I can assure you that 95% of people on bookstagram are nice and welcoming. I suffer from anxiety but never felt unwanted there. Also, be sure to use the stories and to share about what you are reading, your life or anything on there. This is super useful to create a link between you and your followers.

SOME MORE TIPS
  • Do not be obsessed with followers, likes etc

I can see you rolling your eyes and saying, “Easy to say that when you have 13k followers”. But you know what? I also had 0 followers one day and I saw it growing. I was always thankful but never really cared about it – as I said, it came by surprise. All I know is that focusing on this will make you unhappy but I also know that it’s not that easy, that we all look to those numbers at the top of our accounts.

The thing is that we can decide how it affects us. It may take time for you to start seeing it in another way but you will eventually. I can assure you that your followers number does not define you nor your work – many of my favourite accounts don’t have much.

I also know that sometimes it doesn’t work. You may take beautiful pictures but you feel as if your work isn’t acknowledged enough and it’s okay. Your feelings are valid and you shouldn’t feel bad for being that way. So talk about it to your friends, you can even talk to me about it and we’ll find a solution.

The third part of this guide is dedicated on how to make people see your work.

  • Look for inspiration 

Pinterest will become your bestfriend in no time. If you are looking for inspiration, just log in and search for bookish pictures or else. I can assure you that it will come back. You can also scroll your Instagram feed until you have ideas again.

Sans titre 4

But be careful: do not copy others pictures. You can be inspired by them but not do the exact same thing. If you feel as if your picture looks too much like another one, send it to the person and ask if it’s okay. Do not forget to credit them even if they say that it is.

  • Schedule your photoshoots

How many times have I seen people saying they didn’t have enough pictures? The only advice I have is to schedule your photoshoots and to stick to it. Do as many pictures as you need/can. Sometimes it won’t work, that’s for sure, but you still have to try. Try new things, new places, new angles, new props, but always plan most of your photoshoots and make the best out of it.

  • Write captions

I beg you: write captions and ask questions. This may seems really stupid and maybe even logical but it’s not for everyone. Many people just put quotes and got surprised when they have no comments. You have to make people wanting to comment under your pictures.

Many people talk about their days (which I used to do as well) and others do like me and use those captions as mini blog posts. I love to open a debate, so that people can answer and talk in the comments. I always talk about a bookish subject, then ask a question at the end. I feel close to my followers thanks to it, and it has been working amazing since I started. (I also write all of my captions in advance every Monday morning for the entire week. It can take me an hour or so but it’s worth it. If you want me to talk more about I organised myself, tell me and I’ll write a blog post about it.)

  • Put hashtags

Future bookstagrammers, use all the bookish hashtags. I usually put them at the end of my caption after three dots so it’s seperated from my text, or in a comment.

Here’s those I use daily:

#bookster #bookstagram #booknerd #book #bookphotography #booklover #pages #instabook #reading #lovereading#vsco #vscocam #bibliophile #bookish#bookstagrammer #igreads #bookaholic#reader #booknookstagram

You can also put hashtags for the author’s names, the title of the book etc. Do not be afraid to use them: It’s a great way to make your work visible.

I’ll talk more about it in the third part.

  • No need to have an expensive camera or editing software

Know this: I always used my phone and free applications to take and edit my pictures. I’ll soon have a camera for Christmas but I still got where I am without it. So no pressure: You don’t need anything fancy to start nor to keep running your account.

I’ll talk more about this in the second part.


Now that you know how to start, I can’t wait to see your accounts. Send me your usernames in the comments!

Love always,

Clara

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Mental health, part I: anxiety, cylothymia, social media and me

Dear readers,

As today is #WorldMentalHealthDay, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to start posting about mental health. If you don’t know, I suffer from cyclothymia and anxiety, and talking about it is important to me. It would have helped me a lot when I was younger to find those kind of articles, and this is why I decided to start posting about it.

For this first post, I will talk about the impact of social media in my life next to my anxiety and cyclothymia.

TW: hospital, suicide, coma

Copie de Copie de Copie de Copie de Wanderlust GIFT IDEAS
HOW IT ALL STARTED

Since I got my very first laptop at 11 years old, I have always been on the Internet but it’s only when we discovered my diabetes that I started to use it in a different way.

What happened to me was rough and I won’t talk a lot about it on this post but I still have to develop some parts for you to be able to understand the whole thing.

After weeks of losing weight, drinking tons of water, being unable to eat because my tongue was hurting me, I went on vacations with my grand-parents in the South of France. That’s when everything started to get worst— and when I stopped breathing. They took me to the hospital and I was in a coma for awhile. When I woke up, it took me days to be able to finally sit on my bed and it’s only after that my familyt booked a plane for me to go back to Paris in a wheelchair with a doctor. When I finally arrived in this new hospital next to my family, I started seeing a psychiatrist: they told me that what happened to me will make me feel the same thing I would have go through if I lost my mom, and so that I would have to go through the stages of grief.

A few years later, two months before turning 18, I tried to kill myself. There’s no way to sugarcoat it.

That’s when the psychiatrist talked to me about cyclothymia, anxiety etc. It was hard but I took it anyway— it felt good to put a name on what was happening inside of me. So I decided to get better, and that’s what I did.

That’s when I was introduced to the Role Playing Game world on Facebook. If you don’t know what it is, it’s a game in which you have to create an account for your character and then simply play them. There’s a plot created by the moderators and you decide every move of your character by writing their stories with others. It’s like writing a novel with tons of point of views and writers.

And so I played Lily Luna Potter (from the Harry Potter world). And it felt good.

I was somebody else— prettier, smarter, funnier. I had friends there, my character had a boyfriend, and more importantly she wasn’t diabetic. At some point, I lost myself in the game. I didn’t want to be who I was. But the game had to stop and so I joined another one which made me feel better, but somehow even worse. The relationship I had with the person I was playing with was abusive but I let it happened because I couldn’t be myself, I couldn’t bear living with who I was and I didn’t want to be me.

Next to that, I joined Twitter again. That’s where I used to talk about my real feelings. How I felt trapped, lost, bad. How I wanted to disappear, how I hated myself. It may seem stupid, the whole thing, but it did help me. But as my psychiatrist said, it couldn’t last forever. The game couldn’t last forever. It was like a crutch and I’ll have to let go at some point.

WHEN IT TURNED BAD

“This was just a sad invention. It wasn’t real, I know. But we were happy. I guess I couldn’t let that go. I guess I couldn’t give that up. I guess I wanted to believe ’cause if I just believe, then I don’t have to see what’s really there. No, I’d rather pretend I’m something better than these broken parts, pretend I’m something other than this mess that I am ’cause then I don’t have to look at it and no one gets to look at it. No, no one can really see…” Words Fail, Dear Evan Hansen (musical)

Even though it made me feel better, it was all a lie.

The character I was playing wasn’t me and talking about my problems online wasn’t helping me neither. I was making myself feel more miserable everyday and it all became an obsession.

Soon, I couldn’t stop using my phone.

I needed to play,

to tweet,

to do something else than being by myself.

I couldn’t even go out and spend some time with my friends because I was embarassed for them to be seen with me and because I couldn’t miss a chance to play.

I was online non-stop. It was impossible for me to miss a day, an hour, even a minute.

And I think I realised how bad it turned out when I did try to kill myself and that the first thing I asked my mom to do was to take my phone and text the person I was playing with where I was.

Because I didn’t want them to think I was inactive.

Because I wanted to play but I had to stop.

HOW I STARTED TO CHANGE

When I came out of the hospital, I decided to do something about it, mostly because they wanted me to go to a psychiatric hospital and I didn’t.

I promised my mom and myself three things:

  • I will go out more, at least once a week to start with;
  • I won‘t spend so much time on my phone anymore;
  • and I will only be positive online.

And that’s what I did.

At first I only went out every Sunday with my best friend. Then we started to do it more, and now I’m almost always out (even though my body can’t always take it, but that’ll be for another post).

I played less and the person I was playing with didn’t take it well. A year later we stopped it and I never felt better than the day it was all over, the day I stopped talking to them and pretending I was somebody else.

I started to share positive thoughts on my Twitter instead of negative ones and to even help people, be nice. Instead of saying what was wrong, I talked about the things that made me happy. It was hard at first but soon it made me feel better because I was only surrounded by happy thoughts everywhere. I still felt bad, but it was getting better.

I think that the most important thing I have ever did, beside of all that, was going out by myself and stopping using my phone when I was with my friends. It was hard, even scarry at first, but I did it and it worked for me.

I don’t remember when I started to feel better exactly but something really important happened to me when I left the hospital this day.

I came out as someone new, ready to fight and to live my life properly. To love myself and to use social media in a way that would make me feel good.

No matter what, I loved social media. I was the one who used them to hurt myself, but I could change all of that and see them as something else, as a way grow up and accept who I was.

WHERE I AM TODAY

A few months ago, I realised that texting a lot was stressing me. That was something I used to do while playing online and somehow I couldn’t do it anymore.

And so I just stopped.

I told my friends how I felt, they understood and they now know that I won’t necessary answer immediatly or all the time. I barely answer to pictures sent with Snapchat and it can take me a day to answer to a text (obviously, non important) even though I saw it, but that’s okay. I now know myself and how to handle this. I don’t have to answer to people right away and my mental health should be my priority.

I also realised that the notifications were making me feel bad. Each time I got one I was mad and sad.

And so I cut them off.

I only kept the ones for the text messages in case something happens, but I am now free from all of this. And it really makes me feel better. I don’t feel like I can’t breathe anymore, I don’t feel overwhelmed by all those new informations that can be useless sometimes. I am now free to read whatever I want whenever I want to.

I also stopped giving attention to social media, texts and notifications in general. To this day, I am surrounded by amazing people who are understanding and who love me for who I am. I don’t need to wake up with tons of messages to feel loved and I can go a week without receiving anything without freaking out. I do understand that some people see notifications as a sign of recognition, of love, and it’s totally okay to feel that way. Unfortunately, I had to change this for me to get better.

WHERE I AM NOW

Today, I feel good but mostly at peace. I love social media because they helped me to get through some dark times, they made me meet most of my best friends and taught me a lot (even about my sexuality). Even though I love social media, I still learned to get some distance with them and to use them in my own way.

Starting my bookstagram account a year ago really helped me too and made me feel more confident. I have no notifications turned on for it, I answer to messages and comments when I can and feel like it but do not pressure myself— for now it’s working well.

It is important to say that I want to become a publisher or a community manager in the future. Yes, I do want to work with social media. They are a huge part of my life and I am sure that they can save people if we know how to use them and if we remember to spread love on them, to be kind.

“Every time you post something online, you have a choice.
You can either make it something that adds to the happiness levels in the world—or you can make it something that takes away.

I tried to add something by starting Girl Online.

And for a while, it really seemed to be working.

So, next time you go to post a comment or an update or share a link, ask yourself: is this going to add to the happiness in the world?

And if the answer is no, then please delete.

There is enough sadness in the world already. You don’t need to add to it.”
Zoe Sugg, Girl Online

WHAT I LEARNED FROM ALL OF THIS

Dealing with cyclothymia and anxiety is hard, but we can find ways to make it easier. If something is making you feel bad, ask yourself if you truly need it and/or if you can improve it, change it. It will take time for you to find the right solutions but remember that your mental health should be your first priority. You deserve to be happy and if, like me, social media is a source of stress, then cut it out. You can still use them but in a safer way.

Ps: Do not ever be afraid to unfollow people. You should be surrounded by people who are safe and understanding. If not, let them go. It took me years to understand this but trust me, it works.

Love always,

Clara

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My #Victober TBR | 2017

Copie de Wanderlust GIFT IDEAS (3)

Dear readers,

I cannot believe that it finally is October. You may not know, but it actually is my favourite month of the year. As for someone who hates the heat and who is literally allergic to the sun (I swear, I am a nightmare), Autumn is my paradise. Seeing all the leaves on the floor, being able to wear my sweaters again, walking home while it’s dark outside and working with the sound of the rain make me more than happy and I now feel alive again. In a few days, it’ll be my birthday then Halloween and I can’t wait to properly enjoy this month.

This year, however, October is even more special to me, and it’s because I’m participating in #Victober.

What is #Victober?

#Victober is a Victorian readathon, which is happening throughout the whole month of October during which you have to read as many Victorian novels you can/want to.

There are some challenges, but you don’t necessarely have to complete them. As for me, I don’t intend to do so, but here is the list anyway for this year:

  • read a Victorian book by a Scottish, Irish or Welsh author;
  • read a lesser-known Victorian book (less than 12.000 ratings on Goodreads);
  • read a supernatural Victorian book;
  • read a Victorian book that someone recommended to you;
  • and read a Victorian book by a female author.

It is hosted by four booktubers, who are: LucyKatie, Kate and Ange.

What am I going to read during #Victober?

Since I do not really intend on completing any challenges, I went to my TBR pile and take out every Victorian novels. I decided to try to read them all, but to focus on five novels first, which can actually work for the challenges as well.

Here is what I want to read:

  • Dracula by Bram Stoker (re-read) (can complete challenges 1 and 3);
  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë (can complete challenge 4);
  • Lady Audley’s Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon (can complete challenge 5);
  • The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins;
  • and Two on a Tower by Thomas Hardy, my love (can complete challenge 2).
How am I going to proceed?

Reading 10+ books per month, I am not intimidated by this TBR but mostly excited. However, I will also read other books from my TBR pile which aren’t part of the Victorian literature. To highlight my #Victober readings though, I will post a review for each Victorian novel read on both Goodreads and my blog.


Now that you all know everything about #Victober, I hope that many of you will join this readathon and have fun with us. The Victorian Literature is amazing and I can’t wait to finally read and reread those five novels.

Tell me in the comments if you are joining or what books you want to read during October!

Love always,

Clara

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I am back!

Wanderlust GIFT IDEAS

Dear readers,

If you have been following me for awhile on my bookstagram account called @thebookwormofnotredame, you may know that almost a year ago I started this blog but decided to stop working on it a few weeks after launching. The reasons were simple: posting every week was stressing me and I didn’t feel like a blogger anymore. Honestly, I didn’t know what to talk about and, even though I always loved writing, I couldn’t find any inspiration.

So why am I back? you may ask. Well, let me explains myself.

In August, I decided to launch my very own booktube channel. I always wanted to do so and finally find the courage to open it. To be honest with you all, it made me the happiest. I always loved booktube and having my own channel felt like a dream— plus, people actually liked what I was posting. The problem was that I was editing on my phone to be able to use iMovie, an application that I can’t have on my computer. However, it started to get more and more difficult— videos take a lot of storage and I couldn’t save them on my phone anymore. And, as if it wasn’t enough, it was becoming harder and harder to edit on my phone— the videos were long and it was tiring to work on such a small screen. Then, one day, my dad told me he was thinking of getting a new mac and, so, giving me his old one, which would mean me finally having iMovie on a computer. But here’s another problem: I won’t have it before a few months, and I miss booktube. I miss it but at the same time I don’t want to rush things, to tire me or else— I want to do it right and if I have to wait 2018 to be back, then I will.

And this why I am launching this blog again.

Under every one of my posts on Instagram, I write a very long caption. I like to see them as blog posts, and people have been talking a lot about it. I recieved so many compliments about my writing style, the subjects I chose to talk about, and I realised that writing actual blog posts from time to time couldn’t be that bad. Also, I started to write again. To this day, I am seriously working on my own fantasy novel and am trying to write everyday. However, the inspiration doesn’t come all the day around but I still want to exercice my brain, and this is why launching my blog again could be a great idea— thanks to it, I will be able to write every single day, no matter if I am inspired to write my novel or not.

This time, I won’t pressure myself with a posting schedule. Sure, I want to be active on this blog but that doesn’t mean that I will post every week. I will do so whenever I want and will talk about diverse topics— for instance, I want to write “writing updates” to keep track of my progress and share it with you all. I will also post reviews, which I already write and post on Goodreads. I, of course, will share my wrap-ups here, which will be more detailed that on my Instagram account, but also TBRs (maybe) and hauls. I’ll also recommend some books for every month, season, but also according to their genres. I also want to share my favourite things of every month or so, which includes tv shows, exhibitions, movies, books etc, and also talk about my studies and organisation tips. I may share some excerpts of my writing or just some thoughts— writing my feelings may help my anxiety which is at its worst this year. I can even talk about my cyclothymia and anxiety, sharing with you my experience on how I deal with this everyday. Many other ideas can come to my mind in the future, like telling you all how I edit my Instagram pictures, and I hope that you will all love it.

So, here I am, taking a brand new start, hoping it will work out this time and will help me to stay motivated through the year. I truly hope that I won’t disappoint any of you and that you will understand that I am doing this mostly for me. I can’t promise to post every week, to do as I said, to talk about every subjects I mentionned earlier— all I can do is promise you all to keep trying to become a better person and to use this blog as a way to share more with you but mostly to help myself to be more organised, to write more, to be honest with myself, to talk about my feelings and to reduce my anxiety.

Love always,

Clara

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