“There are two kinds of women in the world, they’re either boring or a bitch, and each one knows what she is.” This is one of my grandpa Papa Joe’s famous sayings, and boy has it had an impact on my life. I remember the first time I heard him say it, I was sitting in the car outside his house. I was fifteen. This was the moment I realized I was boring and decided to try and be a bitch.
It’s quite hard to be a bitch. There are a lot of challenges, especially when you are a 5’2” white girl. People always assume that you don’t know what you’re talking about or that you are delicate and easily cry. They call you cute, which Sianne Ngai describes as “eroticization of powerlessness.” So true! They always ask you for directions or money. They always worry about you getting hurt or attacked, and warn you to never go anywhere alone. From my experience as a girl, I feel that I’ve been shown my whole life that my power is given to me by others, by making people like me so that they will love and protect me. Being a bitch is being confident in yourself to risk not being liked. It’s fucking terrifying and yet, I’m trying.
As you can tell by my numerous blog posts, I’ve decided to come out as a Bad Bitch. I’ve decided that I love books, I love reading, I love writing, I love authors, I love literature festivals, and I don’t care if that isn’t what you’re into. I’m tired of pretending that I watch Netflix or want to see the next Marvel film. Most people don’t pretend to like reading to make me feel better about my thoughts. They say, “Oh that’s cute. You still read.” or “Sammy, people these days just aren’t reading. You need to get over it, or you’ll never find a boyfriend.” That was my mom! She really wants grandchildren…lol.
In the throws of a depression caused by trying to keep other people happy, I threw out a rope – and it was caught by Anthony Poulton-Smith, the Festival Director of Tamworth LitFest. I highly doubt he knew the significance of responding, “Yes, we’d love to have you,” but it was big. He validated my crazy thought that I could actually go around the UK blogging about literature festivals, and that they might actually give me a free ticket to do so. Reading that email made everything seem possible. That was the moment that my thought became a plan, which then became a train ticket, which then became me on a train at 9am thinking, “Holy shit. This is actually happening.”
Read the next part of my time in Tamworth and other articles…