Posted in Blogging Life

Blog Therapy n°5: What’s in a Name? Meet Meggy Roussel! Different Name,same Favorite Redhead

Today I’m getting naked in front of you, friends, readers, strangers, passer-by…

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What’s in a name?

A name is an identity, your business card, what distinguishes you from others (Sorry to all the Emmas and Lohans who are five per class!). But a name can also be a coat, a mask, a glass wall between you and others.

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Unless it’s the police or the dentist (or the pub when you’re like me and look 12), you won’t be asked for a personal ID, so you can create, or recreate yourself and pick a brand new name. There are a hundred reasons, one being you’re being chased by a dragon eater and you are fleeing to protect your baby. One being your name is too heavy to carry, so you want to start anew. Internet allows you to do this. I took advantage of it and used a nickname I had received from someone special.

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A year a half ago, I was unable to say my name was Meggy.

Why?

Here I am again, revealing more about myself! Let’s go for some history and non-interesting ramblings.

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Growing up, I did not know who I was, neither did I know who I was supposed to be. Because I was convinced I was supposed to be the little girl, the young girl, the teenager, people wanted me to be. I was different depending on the person I was with. Each and everyone of those people had expectations from me, I don’t blame them. I just couldn’t figure out who I was, so I relied on their words. Shy, quiet, too skinny, excellent pupil. I let adults define me, but also my peers.

I was bullied from elementary school to high school, from the name calling, the pushing on the road when cars were near enough for me to feel them brush me, to the illegal videos of me taken without my knowledge and posted on a blog where everyone could comment and have fun. (Yes, the cops were involved.) I thought this was all that Meggy would ever be. The weak, poor, and unpopular girl no one wanted in their sports team.

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If you haven’t cried at all, you are not into the story, come back later! :p

Then Meggy found her way to university. She made a bad call by trying to create different bounds with people who had judged her years ago and were supposed to be family. It left her dropping out of Law School after only two months and she discovered the joy that is agoraphobia. It took a year and a half, but a miracle happened (and her mother!) and Meggy got better, not thanks to the doctors!

She discovered she was stronger than she thought, she started yoga and discovered her body had nothing to be ashamed of. She was the kind girl in the top 5 of the class chatting with everyone. Okay, so, she still had issues with her chin (major complex!) but she was happy. She was twenty, the world was hers, and she thought she had found herself.

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But life and its stupid sense of humor did it like in the movies; they took a chair and threw it into the glass of the giant bubble of happiness Meggy had created for herself. Emergency traveling back to France in bad shape, happiness gone again after two years and a half.

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This is when Meggy decided she couldn’t do it. She did not have what it took to face life and all the terrible things it had in store for her. This was 2014. She let depression, anxiety, and agoraphobia take control and let go of all the wonderful things she had proven herself she was able to do.

Come December 2015. A book. A blog. A new hobby? But she did not want to jinx it with her name, she did not want the skin of who she was to come and ruin what could be a fun thing. So she chose a name close to her heart. Donna. Fierce, resilient, witty, and not-taking-shit-from-anyone Donna. They say anonymity is okay online, right?

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Will is a bit extreme here but… Donna took the leap and started blogging. The grey days finally had a purpose, and she quickly fit into this world of books and passionate people. She was not rejected, she was appreciated for who she was, she had no past but was creating a present, and a path to a future.

I have said already, but this blog has saved me in many ways. Keeping me busy, keeping me talking to fantastic people despite being stuck at home, keeping me living vicariously through books. Now, this blog has also brought me a new career path!

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During my interview this week (for a publishing degree if you are new here!), I was asked if working under a pseudonym would be a problem for me if I intended to keep working with the people I knew. I said no. I believed it when I said it. But this innocent question has been nagging me since then.

I am Donna. I am the lover of all things creepy, the insomniac, the bra size according to my friend Dee, the sometimes fun girl you can talk to on Twitter, the Orenbabies addict, the not-always confident reviewer, the happy listener to Kat’s TV show recommendations.

But.

Last night it struck me.

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I have never hidden who I was on the Internet or pretended to be someone I am not, and I was accepted. Donna, Meggy, whatever the name, the person behind it has her place around here (I hope!)

The name Donna was vital when I thought I needed extra help to be myself, and you all proved me I did not have to. You showed me it was okay to be crazy and passionate and honest. This is me being honest. I have learned who I was, and discovered who I wanted to be. Donna is me, a part of me. But the entire package is called Meggy. And Meggy has made peace with her past, with herself, and is ready to face the world thanks to the support and love she gets every day. 

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It’s time to give Meggy her place back, now that the Donna part of her has proven that there are so much more to Meggy than her past, what people thought about her, and what she has been through. Donna is not stronger, she is a side of her that pushed Meggy to realize all she had been through had made her stronger.

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Now I sound totally crazy, I admit it, and if you’ve read until the end, you’re a friend!

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I’ll be changing my name on the blog and everywhere else on the Internet, my picture will let you know it’s me, and I hope Meggy won’t lose anything by coming out of the closet, for good this time. My therapist said it was time to create my identity. Well, nice to meet you, I’m Meggy Roussel.

PS: I still love and hold dear all mentions and signed books to Donna Roussel (can’t believe it happened!), because she’s a part of me and will forever be. But I need to be true to myself from now on, and stop being afraid of being Meggy.

PS2: I followed the wonderful idea of a great blogger to come out of the name closet! Thank you for showing me the way, Jen!

Posted in Guest Post

Exquisite by Sarah Stovell @OrendaBooks @Sarahlovescrime #BlogTour #SpecialContent #GuestPost

I was extremely lucky to read and be able to review Exquisite a few weeks ago. You can find my literary fangirling here: Lots of Ex- | Book Review of Exquisite by Sarah Stovell 

Today I am just as lucky as I have special content coming right from the author… I would like to thank Karen Sullivan for choosing the best stories, Anne Cater for squeezing me into the blog tour, and Sarah Stovell for her very personal guest post…

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Continue reading “Exquisite by Sarah Stovell @OrendaBooks @Sarahlovescrime #BlogTour #SpecialContent #GuestPost”

Posted in Book Reviews, Mental Health

Blog Therapy n°3: Why I Blabber On and On about Small Victories and You Should Too.

Your brain is not always your friend. I don’t know if it is just me, but I have a tendency to keep the bad memories in store, clear and loud, in my head, rather than the good things. I’m gonna remember the stupid biker who tried to run me over but not the nice walk I had. I’m gonna keep the feelings of anxiety I felt after a three-hour amazing out-of-comfort-zone time. The bad days are always lurking in the back of my mind, like monsters with claws ready to get me back to the bad places I go when I’m not feeling good.

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Continue reading “Blog Therapy n°3: Why I Blabber On and On about Small Victories and You Should Too.”

Posted in Book Talk, The Pub Corner

The Pub Corner: You Don’t Put Donna in a Box

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An innocent question we are often asked. Well, the layman version is “What kind of books do you read” and I have to answer that at every family gathering.

There is no right or wrong answer. We’re allowed to enjoy several genres, even ALL genres if we want to! Why not? No one will smack your head with an encyclopedia if you cross an invisible line and pick a book they don’t expect you to.

But I did notice that the more I read, the pickier I become. When I started blogging, I would say “Oh, I love crime stories, but nothing too gruesome.” Fair enough. Since then, I learned a lot about my reading habits and genres.

I can now proudly say I cannot resist a psychological thriller, that the suspected husband trope is my downfall, and that I would give all my chocolate bars for a well-executed police investigation or my collection of socks for an unreliable character to root for.I look for details that make a good book an excellent one, I swear and I get frustrated when my expectations aren’t met. Books taught me a lot about myself, what I can take, and what I’d better stay away from. I believe this is the difference between a casual reader and the devourers of books that we are. Our brains get trained to look for certain things, our nails accept the fact they will be bitten because of a chilling story, our eyes learn to fly over the pages. We just grow with every story.

But I refuse to be put in a box!

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I call this freedom. And we are free to open up to the entire world. Or worlds. Assuming your favorite genre doesn’t put you in said genre’s jail.

Why?

Because despite my unconditional love for women in terrible situations or hard-boiled detectives, I can also appreciate different dishes and learn to enjoy other things. Battles (when they are not too long!) cheesy moments, meetings with fae, the making of viruses. It usually requires a little more effort on my part to get into those stories, but stepping out of your comfort zone can be so rewarding. I have learned about and from fairy tales, magic realism, coming of ages stories. I must admit they also are very welcome after a row of very very heavy and dark stories!

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I say yes to favorite genres and no to limitations! I say yes to readers making the jump to try new things! Go out there, pick that book (no, not Lolita, it’s not worth it!)

The world is gigantic and your next adventure is waiting. Maybe try a different shelf! 😉

This was a (useless) message from the Bookish Organization of Donna shared with you after a terrible fight interesting discussion about the importance of opening our minds to different genres, cultures, countries, and authors.

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Where’s your comfort zone? Do you dare step out of it? 

Posted in Mental Health

Blog Therapy n°2: Mental Health Month and Election Day

May is Mental Health Month. Thanks for blogging or I would never have known! Okay, it might be because it’s an American thing and I do not currently live there. But mental health is important everywhere and I wish my country would take such initiatives.

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As you may know, today is a big day for France. We are voting to elect our next president. When I woke up with morning, I had the same pit in my stomach as I had the day the orange puppet of a US President was elected. This doesn’t bode well.

They say “Don’t talk politics if you want to keep your friends.” Well, for me today, it’s vote for worse or worst. I do not recognize myself in either party or face representing it. The placards everywhere don’t help, they make me want to run over them. (If you disagree, it’s fine. All opinions are valid here.)

Then you have the TV coverage. Hours of debat. Scandals. Who did what. Who hid what. I feel the world has lost sight of what is important and we are rushing through space into a giant wall.

Now, what’s the link between Mental Health and the election, except that both make me want to scream and hide? I can’t recall one of our candidates mentioning the subject of mental illnesses. Security, terrorism, money. Oh, they love those! It creates a fearful atmosphere and keeps people scared of their neighbors. And I realized this relentless talking about the scenarios, the plans, the numbers, had an effect on me and my anxiety. All this fuss which is supposed to bring us together and unite a nation, bear the values of a country, have only managed to make me sick.

So today, I’m voting. Then I’m shutting myself out from everything.

Mental health is about taking care of yourself. Today more than ever for me.

I decided I needed a post to vent, and to share my ways of taking a step back and be gentle with myself. So here is my plan for the next 24 hours!

Continue reading “Blog Therapy n°2: Mental Health Month and Election Day”

Posted in Blogging Life, The Pub Corner

The Pub Corner: The Art of Reviewing (discussion post)

Hello! It turns out the Orenda Month had a bigger impact on me than I thought and I did not feel like writing… Until today! Instead of a review, I wanted to grab a glass and chat about what I call the Art of Reviewing, or how we blogger put our hearts and souls into a demanding exercise!

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Continue reading “The Pub Corner: The Art of Reviewing (discussion post)”

Posted in Guest Post, Interviews

#OrendaMonth The Team’s Tree:The Roots aka the amazingly talented Karen Sullivan @OrendaBooks

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How does a tree live? What makes it so strong and beautiful? (Yes, I’m feeling poetic…) Its ROOTS of course! And the Orenda Books Tree is so lucky to have the amazing, sweet and very talented Karen Sullivan at its top. Or bottom, if I keep the roots thing. Anyway, you get the idea! The point here is that today you can find out more about the big boss in this special “5 Facts About” !

Continue reading “#OrendaMonth The Team’s Tree:The Roots aka the amazingly talented Karen Sullivan @OrendaBooks”