I've been on the "bookternet" for a while - youtube, mostly, as well as this blog, insta and twitter. Anyone who's spent any amount of time doing this as more than just a hobby and actively engaging in the community knows this can be an incredibly toxic place. I don't think there's anywhere online that isn't, to be fair, but I think more needs to be done in acknowledging how these spaces can affect your mental health.
I haven't posted on my youtube channel in months and I've been doing my best to distance from twitter. I've felt a LOT better for it.. But I do miss the positive aspects - the community, the friendships, the fun book announcements and recommendations. But I also miss having a sense of ME.
This is where things get a bit deeper, I suppose. Most of you will know that I am autistic and was only diagnosed two years ago at 22 years old. I have spent the majority of my life masking - adapting to how the world wants me to behave and suffering for it. At the height of my masking and my formative years, I found booktube and became a bookseller. I also wasn't ostracised for the things I liked - in fact, there were people out there "weirder" than me because they owned more and read more books. I found a place I could be. Books became my entire personality.
The thing is... I am more than just books. And it's taken me a long time to realise that. The problem is, I have to face the fact that I don't really know what these other parts of me are. I found I was still very much masking on the bookternet. I felt like I had to continue being this full on book person and that there wasn't space for me to be me. When I started being more outspoken on autism and ableism generally, people weren't engaging unless it was pertaining to the book community and I realised I don't want my community to be limited to one aspect of me. I've spent too many years of my life focusing on specific things to appeal to whoever I'm around. No more.
emmanovella is my space. I'm not limiting it to books just to fit in to the book community. I'm just here, dabbling in a. multitude of things to figure myself out. If only occasionally doing book reviews or rec lists means I'm not in the book community then fine.