books · story

Stories in Books: May 2017

I started a few books this month that I’m still reading. There are three I haven’t finished (you’ll see them next month!) and one I decided to put down. I was halfway through Today Will Be Different by Maria Semple and nothing had happened yet in the entire book, so I was too bored to go on.

In May I read five books. A classic. A Keto cookbook/”diet” book and a trilogy.

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Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury.

I somehow managed to not read this in high school. We picked it for my book club book and I read almost all of it in one night, without realizing I was almost finished with the novel. Half of the edition I had was essays. I especially loved the introduction by Neil Gaiman.

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The Keto Diet by Leanne Vogel

I’ve been following Leanne Vogel on YouTube and online for over a year. Her new book is very comprehensive, has lots of recipes and lots of different ways to do the Ketogenic Diet. What I love about Leanne’s philosophy is that everyone is different. While this can make trying out keto difficult, it also makes it easier. There’s less pressure and more love. She’s great at explaining the diet and how eating ketogenic works. She also explains different ways to modify this diet and make it a lifestyle for you.

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Paper Butterflies by Lisa Heathfield

I couldn’t stop reading this. The writing is beautiful, the story is heartbreaking. I can’t even say anything else about it, you just have to go into it knowing beauty, love and heartbreak.

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A Court of Thorns and Roses trilogy by Sarah J. Maas

A Court of Thorns and Roses

A Court of Mist and Fury

A Court of Wings and Ruin

I almost wish this trilogy had a different title. The first book is good, but as a title it’s not a good representation of the rest of the books. I listened on audio to the first two books, then read A Court of Wings and Ruin in two days – in the airport/ flying to Tulsa, and on the way back. I dove straight into fangirl mode somewhere in the middle of A Court of Mist and Fury. I’ve been trying to keep myself from immediately rereading. Something about the characters, something about finding a book boyfriend when I haven’t felt that way about characters in a while. Something about the magic and the characters, the words and the core friendship group (the “inner circle” as you will). I love it so much. I love it in ways I haven’t loved a series in a long time. There are more books coming in this world, but they’re companion novels. I can’t wait. (Until then, I will go for Sarah J Maas’ other series Throne of Glass).

What did you read in May?

x. Melanie

melanie kristy · story

Beginnings of a Fangirl (in the late 90’s and early 2000’s)


I’ve been a fangirl before that was a word. I’ve been a fangirl for almost twenty years, long before the internet made fans accessible to each other, before there was a community to find online the way there is now. Before Tumblr and Instagram and Twitter. I say that and it makes me feel old.

I stood in long lines outside Filenes to get concert tickets when they went on sale. I wore a blue wig just to feel like I stood out in a crowd of thousands. I wrote letters that I never sent. I pasted posters from Bop magazine on my bedroom door. I scoffed at anyone who called me obsessed, dismissed people who refused to understand. At night I dreamed up scenarios where real people turned into characters in my mind.

I was a fangirl during the days of dial-up internet and AOL chats. I made e-mail newsletters in crazy fonts and colors before there were e-mail spam issues.


I wrote fanfiction for friends and strangers, emailed chapters of stories as I completed them. I met some of my best friends that way. We didn’t have website where we could upload images we created and make own our merchandise, and there weren’t fan sites that sold pretty things. No Etsy or Redbubble. We used Geocities to make fan pages with terrible flashy graphics instead.

The first form of “social media” and online expression that I immersed myself in was OpenDiary. After that there was Xanga, Myspace and Livejournal. All were online worlds where I could connect with people I didn’t know who loved the same things I loved. In these worlds I could open my heart up in an anonymous way, like writing in a journal that others would see. I could know that someone out there read what I read and felt that, too.


Being a fangirl in the early 2000’s meant you didn’t have a cell phone to text people, and you had to rely on long-distance phone calls to hear someones’ voice. We took pictures with regular cameras, selfies with digital cameras (before “selfie” was a word). Before digital cameras we had to wait for them to be developed and hope they came out okay. We recorded television appearances on VHS because we didn’t know if we could ever see those recordings, hear the silly stupid words said again.

Now there is a lot of community online. You can find community for any sort of thing you can fangirling over). You can immerse yourself and meet new people and relate. And I’m glad about this. I know lots of people scoff at everyone being too connected and addicted to their phones, but they discount the experiences of these people. They discount the connections made long distance with friends you’d never have met another way. I have a few very dear friends that I still talk to, and I met them because we connected over the Internet. We dreamed about Hanson. We wanted to write like Francesca Lia Block. When I was in high school I still felt disconnected. No one else had liked Francesca Lia Block, no one knew who she was. Everyone made fun of me for loving three blonde boys who, at one point, could have been mistaken for girls (who cares about their gender, anyway?). I’m glad we can get together and post in a group on Facebook, use hashtags and share fanart in ways that used to be more difficult.

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A couple years ago I read the book Fangirl  by Rainbow Rowell and it was the first time I read a book with a main character so much like me. I couldn’t believe it. All those years fangirling over books and music and falling in love with songs and boys – both fictional and real – and writing endless stories and finally I had found a character that I could relate to so much.

So being a fangirl has changed a lot over the years. In a way, I think it’s a lot cooler now, but maybe it just feels more cool to me. There’s more access to community, shops that make candles based on character and story scents, artists that sell fanart in the form of prints and clothing among other things, subscription boxes to fill your fandom needs and so much more.

xo.

Melanie Kristy

health · melanie kristy · story

Self Love & Importance & The Journey



I have done so many diets. I have read more diet/ nutrition books than you could count. I have intended on starting fasts, detoxes, and flushes. I’ve joined Weight Watchers / was a member of Weight Watchers at least once a year since I was seventeen.

I am so damn tired of it all.

I’m a body positive person. I’ve spent my life struggling with my body and my mind, the scale and my health stats. All of this. I don’t think to be fat means you are unhealthy. You can be healthy and overweight. You can be thin and unhealthy. You can be a normal weight and unhealthy. I’ve seen it, but that was never me.

To be healthy you need to love yourself. And loving yourself includes loving the body you are in right now. It includes giving yourself a huge hug and settling into self-care routines. It doesn’t matter if you want to change your body or not. You need to love it, and to appreciate it. It’s the only one you’ve got. If you have legs, they are what carries you. If you are seeing, your eyes are what give you light. If you have hair, it’s because you choose to. And if you don’t have these things, there are other aspects of your body that are there for you all the time. Your heart. Your skin. Your veins.

You cannot be healthy and be full of self-hate. You can’t try to scare yourself into good health. You can’t read books and gain knowledge and hope that changes your actions.  You can’t watch YouTube videos and buy workout machines and hope that it will bring you help or a pants size.

Everything about you starts from within. It starts with you and it starts with loving you.

This blog is about loving yourself. It’s about owning self-love, and learning how to be kind to yourself. And right now, it’s also about my journey into health. This journey includes changing my lifestyle. It might be in a way that you’re uncomfortable or unfamiliar with. But that’s on me. This is my journey, too. I finally feel like I’m at a spot in my life where I love myself enough to allow myself to change.

For years I have been frozen, yo-yoing back and forth. I’ve talked to myself in negative ways. I’ve been at a place where I have cried because I couldn’t figure it out. I couldn’t figure out what to do. I couldn’t figure out how to proceed. And usually, this is when I give up.

I’m not going to give up anymore. I’m trying things, and if they don’t work I’ll try something else.

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I have blood work that points to numbers I don’t like. I have clothes I don’t find flattering. I have aches where I don’t want aches. I want to feel strong and in control. There’s someone inside me wanting to come out. And I know sometimes that’s a trope, a misconception, that people are pissed off when another person thinks or implies that about a fat person. I know this, but this is how I feel. Part of me is buried, and I want her to come out. Maybe, really part of her is emerging right now and I am working on shaping her. It doesn’t matter, things are changing and that’s what I want you to know.

So this blog that’s about me and you and what I love and self-love is also about me and my journey and my health. It’s about me seeking to be who I am, who is buried inside me. It’s about me carving out my future. And by doing this I am helping you to figure out how to do this for yourself. I hope that makes sense. I hope I’m not speaking in huge sweeping promises, cheesy verses to pull you in.

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Basically, I have to start with me. And that’s what I’m doing. So please, don’t be turned off by body positive posts next to posts about my journey into health.

The importance in life is making it everything we want it to be. The importance is finding you and letting that version shine – if that’s what you want. The importance is connecting and feeling loved and loving yourself. The importance is knowing you are important. You are magical. You are loved. And bringing all of these concepts to life.

xo.

Melanie

books · story

Stories in Books: April 2017

I’m making it a point to read more. There are times when I forget how much I enjoy books. Times when I can’t be bothered to pick up pages, or finish books, or continue to listen to audio discs. I’ve started so many books this year and just let them be, mid-way through. Here are the stories I read from April of this year.

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Gem & Dixie by Sara Zarr

I had no idea about this novel until I decided to look up a few author’s names to see if they had anything coming out, and BAM here’s this beautiful novel about two sisters and their different experiences living with poverty and a mother who isn’t quite what the girls’ need. Years ago I was paired with Sara to do this author/ wannabe writer mentor program and we e-mailed back and forth for a few months. A couple years ago I had the pleasure of meeting her after a panel at the AWP Writer’s Conference in Seattle, WA.

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American Street by Ibi Zoboi

I decided to read more Own Voice novels this year and American Street was one of them. It was coming back in transit from another library when I took it and checked it out to myself. It chronicles a girl from Haiti who moves to America and lives with her aunt and cousins.

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Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen

This was a reread for me, done via audiobook. Sarah Dessen’s new book comes out next month and I find that reading her novels brings me back to high school and into summer mode.

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Girl Goddess #9 by Francesca Lia Block

Another re-read, this is one of the first Francesca Lia Block novels that I ever read, back when I was in high school. The short stories are short and sweet, varying in content. One of them  was the inspiration for a nickname between myself and an old online turned real life friend.

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Namaslay by Candace Moore

Yoga & Memoir combined, this book tells you Candace’s story while teaching you about the power of yoga. It also has tons of asanas and suggestions for your own practice.

What did you read in April?

story · weight loss

Joining Weight Watchers for the 1,000,000th Time

I’ve done it again. I’ve joined and quit Weight Watchers on and off since I was 17. I’ve been successful, I’ve had a hard time, I’ve not had my head in the game. Last year I took an entire year off. I tried to do very low carb twice with moderate initial success which only lead to weight gain in the long run. I’ve read all the books. I’ve counted calories (every site I look up gives me a different calorie goal). I’ve wanted to be able to be extreme and failed because I’m not an extreme person, at least not when it comes to follow through.

 

So here I am again, just starting out a fresh new year with the same goals in mind. Lose weight. Be Healthy.

 

Except I want it to work this time. I want to believe that I’ve gotten to a place in my life that I can at least learn how to make it work. I want to believe that I can do this in a way that I guess I’ve never quite believed before. I don’t want to be hungry all the time. I want to fuel my body and learn what it needs to keep on going.

 

So I joined Weight Watchers. I joined for the support and accountability, and I joined so I can have a plan that I don’t have to think too much about. I’ve read all the weight loss/ health/ diet/ nutrition books I can find. I think that having too much information can be just as harmful as not having enough information. Why? Because there are so many ways to go about this, and they conflict each other. So I’m starting simple. I’m making turkey sandwiches and drinking kefir for breakfast (and usually eating some sort of bar for breakfast as well). I’m trying not to finish the foods I get out at restaurants – make them into two meals. I am limiting pizza from my life. I’m going back to basics so I can figure things out from there.
This blog has always been about being on a journey, even if sometimes that blogging journey has been non-existent. There are so many things I want to do to change and grow and right now this is my immediate focus. I hope you’ll stick around for the experiences I want to have. It’s not going to all be health related. As with other aspects of my life, I can’t just focus on one thing somewhere, so this blog won’t have a narrow focus either. I just want to make sure it still lives. That words still breathe. That I can use them in a way I seem to have forgotten about. And in doing so, I’ll have achieved another goal/ focus that I’m always trying to work on. Write more. (Say more. Express more.)

 

Melanie

melanie kristy · story

My Eighteen Year Old Self Is Disappointed In Me

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I’m not really a planner so I suppose it’s difficult for me to say that I at eighteen and nineteen years old I envisioned a particular future for myself. I wanted things, sure. But more than actions or achievements I envisioned feelings. I wanted to feel a certain way, however it might come about. I wanted the magic that is life and love to seep out of all of my actions. I knew I wanted to write novels. I knew I wanted to help people. I couldn’t tell you how. I wanted to be stable financially and eat good food. Even now it seems like I can’t see a clear path. But back then I had so much hope for myself. I really truly believed in myself and my future and everyone around me.

I was that girl with the song lyrics scrawled on her arm who carried around a notebook and constantly scribbled stories in the pages. I was that girl who made friends easier with people in other states and dreamed of one day venturing out. I was that girl who found comfort in one particular band and the culture that came with being a fan. I was that girl who easier reached out on social media websites (you know, like Livejournal and Myspace) and felt like she was part of something. I was the girl who identified with songs more than anything and with fiction second and had thoughts and characters swarming around her mind all the time. I made my own t-shirts and bought clothes because they spoke out about who I was as a person or what I liked or who I wanted to be.

Somewhere while going through my twenties I started working because I felt like I had to (okay, obviously we all have to) and resided in being unhappy wherever I turned. I spent money because I could, because it was there and because I was mostly too depressed to hold on to it. I ate food that made me feel sick. I only attracted men who were emotionally unavailable or unstable or wanting something unnamed and open. I wore clothes because they fit and they looked okay and there wasn’t much else of an option. 

Then one day I woke up. Waking up is not one of those things that always helps. I know this because for me, even though I was awake and looking at my life with a different perspective I still felt depressed and hopeless and sad about where I was. The thing about crawling out of complacency is that happens to you. You also can have a tendency to fall back asleep. You can tell yourself to forget  what you want because this is the “real world” and you need to “grow up” and “be responsible” and this is how it all happens.

Well yeah, you do need to grow up and be responsible. But growing up doesn’t equate to giving up, it doesn’t mean you have to forget your dreams and it doesn’t mean you need to become what society thing you need to become. It doesn’t mean you have to have a full time job with all of the benefits, you don’t need to be looking for your future husband or thinking about your nonexistent children’s names. It can mean those things, sure. It doesn’t mean you need to have a 401k and buy a house and have a car payment, either. Not unless that’s what you want for yourself. I guess that’s the point. Growing up means you can pick and chose what you want for yourself and how you get there. Sometimes you have to do things you don’t want to do, sure. That doesn’t mean you always have to do everything you don’t want to do.

One thought that really shakes me is when I think that my 18 year old self would be disappointed in who I am today.

I would like to be able to look into the future and be proud of myself and know I’ve done something awesome or worthy or exactly what I want. And I know that 18 year old me doesn’t see that in me. She’s excited about a few things I have done, experiences I’ve made possible for myself. She’s also disappointed that I stopped making novel writing a priority (I mean, I often to forget to list myself as a writer, even when I’m just talking to myself). Eighteen year old me wants me to find ways to incorporate myself into my style, she wants me to finish the damn novel I’ve been “working on” for four years. She wants me to take advantage of the things around me, use the tools I’ve found/ learned/ bought// acquired. She wants me to keep believing, to keep dancing and to find the actual way to health. She wants me to build my community of friends, attract men who are good for me and to never stop using glitter nail polish (as much as it’s a pain to take off). She wants me to actually listen to music more often, spend more time dreaming and do more.

Is your younger self proud of who you are today?

Love,

Melanie

melanie kristy · story

Two Weeks into eHarmony

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I used OkCupid as a dating site for years, but last fall I deleted my account. I stayed away from online dating since then until about two weeks ago when I decided to try something new. I decided on trying eHarmony because it was a paid site which tends to weed out the people who are only looking to get laid. I also chose it because it was something different and also because a friend recommended it. Match.com is too much like OkCupid and it doesn’t even have a lot of the same features. I also found that a lot of people on Match are also on OkCupid. So I was open to trying something new.

The way eHarmony works is that you have to have a paid membership to see other peoples’ pictures. You also have to have a paid membership to do certain kinds of communication. I signed up, browsed for a few days before paying for a three month membership. Note to self: remember to figure out how to turn off auto-subscription BEFORE you are charged again.

So in two weeks I’ve had messages back from about five guys. Maybe six. We interacted a few times, or just once. You can choose questions to send to guys in what’s called “Guided Communication” and I like that a lot because I often don’t know how to send a first message. I tend to spend too much time thinking about it and it ends up feeling stressful. This is why I didn’t message that many guys on OkCupid.

So in two weeks I’ve sent at least seventy guys messages. Most were “matches” but there’s also a “What-if” feature where you can view random guys who don’t align with however you answered your questions. Not one guy has messaged me on his own accord.

It’s interesting because it’s not the experience my friend had. It’s also interesting because when I told another friend about this experience, he responded with something along the lines of “That’s completely opposite of OkCupid.” But really? It’s not. Not for me, anyway. I’m not quite sure what I’m doing wrong, but it’s rare to get an earnest message and even rarer for me to talk to someone enough that we end up meeting. More rare dating. And the rarest: a relationship. So in the five years I was on OkCupid (and actively seeking people) I met a handful or two of men. Two ended up in three month relationships.

And that’s it.

At this point I’m thinking well it has to be me.

I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing, or doing wrong or what. Every guy I have dated has seemed to think I was really awesome (and yet somehow couldn’t commit/ isn’t monogamous, etc).

So what now?

You tell me, people. Really. I’m not sure what else to do (I mean, aside from continuing on this path but it hasn’t been much help so far.)

Love,

Melanie