I screwed up last week. I was looking at the page for Chubby & Charming and read a review.
Before I even tell you about it, I want to say please don’t go looking for this review or this reviewer. This is not an attack on one person, and I don’t want it to be. That’s not what we’re about, what I’m about, or what this post is about. Reviewers are free to share their thoughts, and I hope they continue to do so. Always.
Anyway, so this review said the reader didn’t like that Mandy didn’t feel she was worthy of love simply because she’s fat. I sat with that for a while. It bothered me, because that wasn’t the point of Chubby & Charming. It wasn’t to showcase an insecure woman who wasn’t worthy of love. It was to show that we’re all alike. No matter who you are on the outside, we’re all the same on the inside. We all have doubts and insecurities and fears.
We are all worthy.
This review made me sad, and quite honestly, a little ashamed that I hadn’t made that clear. I sat on it for a while, but I started reading FabUPlus Magazine and was reinvigorated. Beautiful, curvy women fill the magazine, talking about loving their bodies and themselves and being healthy and beautiful and amazing.
I realized I was jealous of the reviewer.
I hate being jealous. Not that it’s an emotion I’m unfamiliar with, but it’s one I don’t like. It makes me feel icky. But that’s what it was. I was jealous that the reviewer had never felt insecure. That she had never known what it was like to look at a person who she saw as attractive and immediately assume she wasn’t good enough. That she didn’t know how painful it was to be less than simply because her dress size was more than.
I try to write stories that are real, and for me, all those feelings are real. Even though I have an amazing husband who constantly tells me I’m beautiful, I look in the mirror and see my flaws. The double chin and chubby cheeks, the belly that hangs down, the bingo arms, the thunder thighs. All those things I’d love to change about my appearance.
At the end of the day, none of those things tell the story of who I am. They don’t tell a stranger if I’m kind or mean, if I’m a wine drinker or beer drinker, if I’m happy or depressed. But too often, we make assumptions based on those things.
I would love to write a story about a curvy woman who has boatloads of confidence and no doubts or fears or insecurities, but I don’t know ANY woman like that. We all have those, and I want my characters to be real. Chubby thighs, flabby belly, and extra rolls included.
If that reviewer ever reads this, I truly hope she knows I’m sorry for making her feel like curvy isn’t worthy. Curvy is worthy. Skinny is worthy. Alive is worthy.
My newest curvy girl romance is out August 20. Scarlett loves making wedding dresses for curvy girls, but she’s not looking to make one for herself. Mack might try to change her mind, though.
Excerpt from Mainland vs. Island
I couldn’t stop my grin. I reached for her as she leaned toward me. We both stopped, a breath apart, and stared at each other.
Fire licked at my veins and demanded I show her just how much of a spark there was between us, but I needed to wait. To draw it out until she was panting with need. Then, and only then, would I close the paper thin distance between us and set the night on fire.
“Mack,” she whispered on a ragged inhale, dragging me to her with the air around us.
The moment our lips touched, I knew I couldn’t stop with one kiss. The surprised gasp that parted her lips said she felt the same.