Meet the Crew

Ever wonder about my life outside of writing? Yes or no, here’s a glimpse of the four-legged beauties who keep me (in)sane.

From left to right: Bess, Smaug, Loki, Marc-Andre, Sidney, and Tauriel.

A famous sidekick, a dragon, a god, a goalie and a captain, and an elf. All of my babies are named after people who inspire me or fictional characters I love. How do you choose the name of your pets?

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Life and Writing

So I know I’m a sporadic poster, and man do I wish I wasn’t. I constantly tell myself today’s going to be the day I sit down and write that blog post… and then I don’t. As I type this, I’m currently working on what will be my first self-published novel, Learning to Fall. It’s in the editing stages, which we all know is the funnest part (not).

So what does editing look like in the Harding house? Well, it’s something like this….

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Bi, bi… bye?

I’m bisexual. Have been, will always be. I dated a girl in middle school – I want to say 7th grade when I was starting to figure things out – and I got the usual “it’s a phase” party line from damn near everyone. Which, I’m a stubborn individual and the lack of belief in me knowing what I wanted pissed me off to an insane degree. I kissed the girl, and I didn’t enjoy it. I really wanted to. I felt like I had to enjoy it to prove to everyone that I properly knew myself. I was 12/13 at the time, and I wasn’t completely in the know about chemistry and the weird ways in which it worked. I kissed some guys after that, and you know what? They weren’t all that great either. Turns out I’m just not a fan of kissing all that much. It only took me nearly a decade to figure that out.

Fast forward over the years, and I never got a girlfriend. I didn’t sleep with chicks, didn’t kiss them, did a whole lot of nothing other than look. This unintentionally reinforced the idea that it was all a phase to everyone, and I’d get these amused kind of looks from people whenever I’d mention a crush on a girl, etc. You know the ones. The “I’m playing along” glances. Then, when I continued to insist I was bisexual, came the all mighty question. How do I know if I’ve never slept with a woman? I find this question infuriating on multiple levels, but I’m not going to go into that particular rant.

But eventually I started to doubt I was actually bi as time went on and my experience remained at a whopping zero. There was this little doubt in the back of my head that everyone was right, because I’d never done anything so how could I know. Tinder wasn’t working – turns out saying you’re bisexual on there is a big no-no for the women who exclusively like women. I’m socially awkward. I didn’t have friends who identified as anything other than straight. Maybe I wasn’t trying hard enough because deep down I didn’t want to.

 

Recently this has changed. I gave up on Tinder and went to a more bi-friendly app. And I met women. All of whom had pretty much the same thing to say about the attitude they received from others. One encountered a woman on Tinder who’s bio read “Bi? Bye.” And this wasn’t an uncommon response. People in a community that should be supportive were just as skeptical as everyone else about our sexuality. Apparently it’s a shock to some, but bi women can be happy in a relationship without a penis being involved. We’re not trying to “play the field” or some shit.

So, my point with this ridiculously long post, is that bisexuals shouldn’t have to feel like they’re making their interest up to be, what, cool or something? We shouldn’t have to have sex to get everyone to leave us alone and stop arguing with us. I hate that I started to doubt myself. I don’t like that my first thought after having sex with a woman was, “Oh thank god, I enjoyed it and I’m not crazy. I do know myself.”

It’s probably one of the hardest things to do ever (I suck at it), but don’t listen to anyone who thinks they know you better than you. Honestly, they don’t know a damn thing.

 

Villa D’Este

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Villa D’Este is about half an hour outside of Rome and is home to some of the most extravagant fountains and landscaping. The Villa is massive and there are over a thousand fountains in the large yard that extends down the hill. If you want to visit this Villa, be prepared for a hike. There’s a lot of stairs (some of which are oddly spaced). You’re going to get a workout. The fountains are absolutely gorgeous, however, and the majority of them can be seen from the top of the Villa.

Hidden Gem: Sperlonga Beach

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I recently visited this lovely town during a trip to Italy. Sperlonga is a hidden gem, about two hours south of Rome and completely tourist free. It was gorgeous and absolutely relaxing. I did this as part of a day tour, found through Viator (it happens to be the only tour for Sperlonga) and despite the term ‘tour’ it wasn’t like any tours I’ve done before. We spent the day on the beach, relaxing, and part of the afternoon was spent on a boat tour which takes you all along the coast to see the grottos. If you’re feeling adventurous they do pause the boat to allow you to swim into one of the larger and more open grottos. This was honestly my favorite part of Italy, that I got to see.