dimarts, 25 de novembre de 2014

November 25th: International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women

I don't really like to talk about this because, honestly, I don't want to sound like I'm looking for your pity, because I'm not, and because I'm ashamed that this happened to me. It's a problem with my pride, really, because I'm not the one who should be ashamed here. You don't expect this to happen to women like me not for it to be caused by men like him, both well educated and of a good social position. But it does happen.

It was nine years ago. I was 17 and 3 months old when it happened for the first time. He was my first boyfriend ever. I though he was cute and nice, he would always surprise me with little presents when there was no real reason for him to do so. He was the first to kiss me, he was the first to make love to me.

He was also the only one to laugh at me for feeling pleasure in sex, of all my sexual partners so far. He was the only one to date who decided to blame me for his own insecurities or to make a big deal of all my mistakes or things he didn't like about me.

He blamed me for studying instead of spending time with him. He got mad at me because my parents wouldn't let me spend the night out with him. He decided to go through my computer files without my consent. He would constantly compare how I acted and how his friends' girlfriends acted and complain about how I never made enough tie for him because, from his point of view, I didn't love him as much as he loved me.

He never hit me. But I ended up believing that I was guilty of what he accused me. I stopped seeing my friends because whatever free time I had, I had to spend with him. I got into fights with my parents because I started lying to them to be with him more time.

And when I finally opened my eyes and broke up with him, he decided to hurt me by showing me that he went out so much and made out with so many girls. He accused me of having cheated on him, he decided to use things I had done before I had even met him to embarass me and make me feel like an awful woman. 

He made our common friends believe that I was, indeed, awful and manipulative. Either they stopped talking to me altogether or they encouraged me to get back with him because "you love each other so much, you can't put an end to your relationship only because you fight often."

And whenever my pride would impose itself and say "that's enough", he would cry and beg for forgiveness. Until next time, and so on. Until, out of spite, he photoshopped my head on a porn actress masturbating and posted it online. Until my parents called him and threatened to call the cops if he didn't leave me alone.

The emotional scar that he left made it very difficult for me to learn how to trust a man, as a potential life partner, again. It took forever to get over him and learn to be myself again. I understood too late that what he had done was violence. Psychological violence, the kind that doesn't leave physical marks, so people don't always notice.

I often share pots on Facebook about this, but they usually are about rape, honor murders, physical abuse, etc. And I think the world needs to know my story, too, because statistically speaking I, a white, European female with a graduate education, am not the potential victim of violence against women.

What I've explained above is one of the main reasons why I am against so-called romances such as Twilight or 50 Shades of Grey. It's not romantic, ladies. This is not what a real man is like. Society needs to learn that only respect and equality are healthy bases for a good relationship. This is what we must teach our children and this is what I'm going to fight for.


dilluns, 17 de novembre de 2014

Isla and the Happily Ever After

When I finally got my copy after having pre-ordered it two months prior to release, my reaction was more or less this:

I even uploaded a picture on Instagram seconds after tearing opening the envelope:

And proceded to read with very high expectations, only to find a beginning that reminded me too much of Anna and the French Kiss where Isla's feelings towards Josh are concerned. Not that I, of all people, would not sympathize with the jealous-possessive-type of girl being one myself, but I feared that most of the novel would evolve around Isla's insecurities whenever Josh is in her presence.

Thankfully, I was wrong and Stephanie Perkins created a wonderful, bittersweet story of first love in that age when you don't really know who you are and where your life is headed to. Additionally, and this is personal, there were two things that totally stole my heart in this novel.

Number one is Isla and Josh's weekend in Barcelona. Being a native of said city, I find it amusing to read about it in novels because most native authors tend to set the action in very specific places and non-natives invariably talk about the Gaudí buildings (perfectly comprehensible, on the other hand). But in this particular case it had a special meaning for me because my translation into Spanish of Anna and the French Kiss and the presentation of the book was the reason why Stephanie Perkins travelled to Barcelona, and I can't express enough how much I regret not having been able to meet her.

Reason number two is kind of a SPOILER. Read at your own risk. Josh and Isla are separated for spoilery reasons related to their trip to Barcelona, so they keep their relationship in the distance. And being in a long-distance relationship myself right now, you'd be surprised how much I related to Isla and her insecurities and fears, and how much I cried in public while reading certain passages. (End of spoiler-ish paragraph)

Isla and the Happily Ever After is a sweet novel about first love, and through its pages, similarly to what happened wit her other two novels, you can tell that Perkins knows what it feels like to find the one, as she says in the acknowledgements page in the dedication to her husband. I think I said this in my review for Lola and the Boy Next Door, and it applies here as well: maybe The One is not who everybody considers "Mr. Perfect" to be, but he will be perfect for you. If that makes any sense. 

If you're looking for a YA romance that feels real, this is for you. If you loved Anna... and Lola..., this is for you.

(On a side note, I really like the cover Neo Plataforma "created" for the Spanish edition so that it wouldn't clash with the other two, unlike the American and English editions).

dimarts, 11 de novembre de 2014

Top Ten Tuesday - #10 More Characters I'd Dress Up As (from movies, manga, and other media)

Last week, as I made a list of book characters I'd like to dress up as, a lot of characters from TV series, movies, and manga came to mind, so I decided to do another top ten list. It's a bit mixed up, but I tried to keep it as equilibrated as possible. Also, I'm not including characters based on books.


#1 Yukari Hayasaka from Paradise Kiss - obviously. I'd looooove to do the blue dress from the catwalk, but there are a couple others that are pretty amazing.

#2 Merida from Brave - of all the Disney princesses, this one, no doubt. She has a bow and rides horseback! And crazy hair!

#3 Magenta from The Rocky Horror Picture Show - because I also want to do the Time Warp again.

#4 Zero from The Grand Budapest Hotel - a genderbender version of the Lobby Boy, why not? (Other than the fact that I'm not particularly flat-chested nor dark-skinned, I mean).

#5 Umi from Magic Knight Rayearth - for various reasons, the main one being that she's my favorite character from that manga. Also, we have the same name.

#6 Odile, the Black Swan from Swan Lake - like most girls, I took ballet classes as a kid, and I loved it. Actually, whenever I have the chance, I love going to live performances. Actually, I'd love to take some classes again but my feet are kaputt.

#7 Takiko Okuda from Fushigi Yuugi Genbu Kaiden - I found the prequel much more interesting, somehow, mainly because of its main characters.

#8 Padmé Amidala from the new Star Wars trilogy - like with Effie, the possibilities are so many and so bright and big and complicated!

#9 Fiona from Shrek - the badass princess. (And I'm kind of cheating with this one because Shrek was actually based off a book).

#10 The Song card from Card Captor Sakura - I think I might have not made myself clear with the crazy dresses thing.

#11 Anything designed by either CLAMP or Ai Yazawa. In case it wasn't already obvious.

dimarts, 4 de novembre de 2014

Top Ten Tuesday - #9 Book Characters Who I Would Totally Want To Be For Halloween

I'm not much of a costume person for a series of reasons that don't really matter (basically, lack of time and money to put effort into costumes), but here are ten characters from books (or their movie adaptation) that I'd love to dress up as, now that Halloween is gone but Carnival is around the corner (technically it begins on November 11th at 11:11 - ask natives from Cologne, Germany). As usual, in no particular order.


#1 Effie Trinket from The Hunger Games trilogy - oh, the possibilities! The colors, the make up, the crazy wigs...

#2 Galadriel from The Lord of the Rings - a bit cliché, sure, but one day, maybe.

#3 Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz - although I might try not to follow the movie version of her dress and shoes.

#4 Little Red Riding Hood - it's easy to do and easy to recognize.

#5 A Ravenclaw student from the Harry Potter series - a sort of original character kind of thing. And a Ravenclaw because that's my favorite house. Gryffindor is too mainstream.

#6 Queen Dido from Aeneid - mythology nerds unite to do research on what the Queen of Carthago might have worn!

#7 Liza Doolittle from Pygmalion - I'd have to practice my cockney accent for this one.

#8 Melisandre from the A Song of Ice and Fire series - because the night is dark and full of terrors.

#9 Éponine from Les Misérables - on my own, pretending he's beside me...

#10 Sherlock Holmes - genderbender version, of course.

Twitter Goodreads