Ashamed of My Shame

*Image by Carlos Portos

Y’all, I kind of hate myself this morning.

I need to back up and give context.  So one of my evil day jobs is as an online college instructor in psychology.  I’ve been doing this for…nine years now?  Anyway, from time to time, the university requires that the teachers take a class to be all up on the latest and greatest in online instruction.  And I’m starting one of these courses today.  Yeah great, whatever.  No big.

So we get to the introduction where we have to post about who we are, what we teach, and they ask us what book we’re reading.

And I hesitated.

Because this class is full of other instructors and professors at my university and I’m me, so OF COURSE what I’m reading is romance.  For a few seconds, I actually felt shame over the idea of sharing my favorite books with this particular audience because they might judge me.

After I got through the shame that I’d even FELT the shame in the first place for loving a genre that I will happily defend to detractors in virtually any conversation, I had a great big WELL SCREW THEM moment and posted the title WITH LINK to Accidental Cowgirl by Maggie McGinnis, which I just started.

But the whole thing has left me unsettled.  It’s like how you think you don’t have a problem with something and then some circumstance pops up that proves…well, yeah you kinda do.  And it changes how you see yourself.  That.

Romance is NOT my guilty pleasure.  I love this genre.  I love reading stories of hope and triumph and happy endings.  It’s a genre I’m proud to write in (no matter how many times well-intentioned family members say I should be writing something else because they have their own issues with romance).  And I don’t like what it says about me that I’m still affected like this, that I still hesitate and worry about what other people will think or say or do because I love something I love.  Because I KNOW this wouldn’t be a thing if what I was reading was mysteries or horror or ANY OTHER GENRE.  I HATE that I’ve internalized the denigration of this genre, that my instinct is to think about THEM and THEIR opinions first because mine, as a woman, is somehow less or not okay?

SCREW THAT.  And SCREW THEM and their baseless judgement (if they’re actually being Judgy McJudgerson and I’m not projecting).

So, Romance, I’m sorry.  I love you.  Forgive me for being weak.


4 thoughts on “Ashamed of My Shame

  1. I totally understand this. I’ve found myself doing the same thing. I’m usually reading four books at a time (that includes one audio), and if asked what I’m currently reading, I’ll usually pick one that’s not a romance. I’m a multi-genre reader. And romance is one of my genres. I understand why we do this. We don’t WANT to be judged as one who isn’t intelligent enough to read REAL books. You and I are both very intelligent, and that matters to us more than something as shallow as, say, our looks (although I can’t say that DOESN’T matter). We are all about our brains. And for people to even think for a moment that we’re some kind of vapid, shallow person who CAN’T read anything but romance…well, that’s just horrifying. So I get it.

    Kudos for listing the book you were reading. Even though you felt that discomfort, you did it anyway. So don’t beat yourself up.

  2. Yeah… And then there’s the other side of the shame when you meet a lovely, intelligent person who shares your love of some part of the romance genre and you are momentarily surprised that someone else who is smart can go there with you.
    The bonus is when you can share your libraries… and you're both carrying books in brown paper bags to avoid all the Judgy McJudgersons who wonder what kind of bodice-ripping trash you're bringing to the office.
    Congrats on throwing shade on the shade.

  3. I do this partly also because I always feel unrepresented somehow. I can’t just answer “what are you reading” with one book — I have to list at least three authors, as if selecting only one is somehow going to define me forever…

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