By: Sarah Deimer
I’m twenty, at a party with people mostly older than me. Everyone’s drinking around the bonfire, and I’m sipping my glass of water, talking and laughing, mostly about ridiculous, nerdy things. It’s the beginning of summer, the scent of wood and smoke in the air, the insects buzzing a melody.
“I’ve gotta talk with you…” says one of my friends, her hand at my elbow. She leads me away from the fire, beer sloshing out of her plastic cup. “I’ve been thinking a lot about it. You,” she says, waving her hand over me under the pine trees. “And I wanted to tell you that I don’t think you’re normal.”
My stomach tightens. Where is this coming from? What the hell is she talking about?
“What…” I begin, but her eyes are narrowing, and she’s staring at me angrily.
“What you’re doing with Jenn. Being a lesbian. It’s sick.”
I feel like I’d been punched. All the air leaves me. I’d known this woman for two years, we’d laughed and cried together, we’d helped one another. When she’d had a car accident, I’d held her while she wept for hours. When I’d lost my dog, she’d made me tea, hugged me tightly while I sobbed.
“You’ve known I was gay this whole time,” I splutter, and then I shut up, because she’s not done talking. She’s rubbing at her eyes–I can see in the firelight they’re red.
“I’ve thought a lot about this, and I needed you to know what I thought. It’s disgusting, and it isn’t natural or normal. And I wanted you to know what I thought of it,” she says, sniffing. And then, as an afterthought: “I can still be your friend.”
I can still be your friend.
I don’t think. I just speak the first thing I know. “I’m not normal,” I tell her, breathing out. “And neither are you.”
“Yes I am,” she splutters, and I take a step forward.
“No. No one’s normal. We came up with that stupid word as something to measure everyone against. I’m at peace with who I am, that I’m different. Are you?” She shakes her head, waves her arm at me, walks away.
She says later that she was drunk. That she’s sorry this sort of stuff came out. But that, as a Christian, she has to stick with the Bible, and that’s the way she’s thought all along. We stop being friends. It breaks my heart. But it’s not the first time–or the last time–I’ll lose someone because I’m gay.
But I meant what I said, and I said what I meant, that night in the dark by the fire. I’m not normal, and I never have been. And neither are you. Everyone’s always afraid of being different, that people will point at them and laugh, or that they’ll become what people talk about behind their hands.
Is it liberating to say that, yes, totally, these things will happen? Because they will. I’m a Pagan, vegan, lesbian, pink-haired, heavily tattooed author chick. There’s at least something in that list that makes you uncomfortable. There are some things in that list that I’ve chosen to be as a statement and because they make me happy. And there’s things in that list that I was from birth, that I can’t change, that I wouldn’t, even if I could. And living out and openly as all of these things is painful, hurtful and incredibly vulnerable. Always.
But I know I’m not normal. And I’m incredibly happy not being normal. I know the secret:
No one is.
In my just released YA novel, Twixt, I embrace that idea. There is not a single character in that book who’s normal. The main heroine has a lot of dark secrets, but on top of that, she’s falling in love with a girl. The other characters are trading their hair for an addictive drug. There’s monsters who would take you away, and monsters that would sell your soul, and the only way that things can possibly get any better is realizing that you’re completely not normal. And being okay with that fact.
Because here’s the most important part. The twist, if you will: Being not normal? Yeah. Totally normal.
So kiss your girlfriend and eat that vegan cupcake and obsess about your pen collection without worrying what people will think. And because it makes you happy.
And if you need a little inspiration, give my newest YA novel, Twixt, a read. It’s a dark fantasy YA novel with a lesbian heroine!
You wake upon the cold ground. As you struggle to rise, as your breath exhales like a ghost, you know only two things: You can’t remember who you are. And you’re being hunted.
No one sleeps in Abeo City. The lost souls gather indoors at night as Snatchers tear through the sky on black-feathered wings, stalking them. But inside the rotting walls of the Safe Houses comes a quieter, creeping danger. The people of Abeo City have forgotten their pasts, and they can trade locks of their hair to sinister women known only as the Sixers for an addictive drug. Nox will give you back a single memory–for a price.
Like the other lost souls, Lottie wakens in this harsh landscape and runs in terror from the Snatchers. But she soon comes to realize that she is not at all like the people of Abeo City. When she takes Nox, her memories remain a mystery, and the monsters who fill the sky at night refuse to snatch her. Trying to understand who she is, and how she ended up in such a hopeless place, Lottie bands together with other outcasts, including a brave and lovely girl named Charlie. In the darkness, and despite the threat of a monstrous end, love begins to grow. But as Lottie and Charlie plot their escape from Abeo City, Lottie’s dark secrets begin to surface, along with the disturbing truth about Twixt: a truth that could cost her everything.
Find TWIXT on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, or as a SIGNED paperback plus free eReader copy on Etsy.
To WIN A SIGNED COPY of TWIXT, tweet about it, talk about it on your Facebook, Tumblr or blog, and let Sarah know on her blog post, to be in the running! http://muserising.com/?p=2095