Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams 📚 BOOK REVIEW

My review of Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams 📚

I read a hardback edition of Queenie.

Genre: Contemporary fiction, romance.

Publisher: Trapeze

Originally published: March 19th, 2019

Pages: 400 (hardback)

Audiobook length: 9 hrs and 45 mins.

Synopsis by the publisher:

Queenie Jenkins is a 25-year-old Jamaican British woman living in London, straddling two cultures and slotting neatly into neither. She works at a national newspaper, where she’s constantly forced to compare herself to her white middle class peers. After a messy break up from her long-term white boyfriend, Queenie seeks comfort in all the wrong places…including several hazardous men who do a good job of occupying brain space and a bad job of affirming self-worth.

As Queenie careens from one questionable decision to another, she finds herself wondering, “What are you doing? Why are you doing it? Who do you want to be?”—all of the questions today’s woman must face in a world trying to answer them for her.

My thoughts:

When I shared pictures of me reading Queenie on Instagram, I got a couple of DM’s from people asking me if it was true that Queenie was a lot like Bridget Jones’s Diary. I wasn’t aware that the two were being compared before that, but when I finished reading it, I saw that mentioned more and more.
I have to say (even though I think Bridget Jones is good fun and all that) that to compare the two is incredibly unfair to Queenie and to Candice Carty-Williams. Why? Because the two characters are so different! And the two stories are so different! Just because both books are about single women in London, doesn’t make them the same kind of stories.

Queenie is such a complex character and what she’s going through in this book when it comes to mental health and racism goes far deeper than the struggles Bridget Jones was facing in the fear of becoming an old spinster. I’m not saying that loneliness isn’t a subject that can be complicated and emotional, but Bridget Jones is not a book about mental health, at least not in my opinion.
And the big difference between the two is also that in Queenie we have a story that goes to some quite dark places, and that was something that I really appreciated with this story.

Dating in this modern age, with people walking around with all their own kind of bagage and own sets of issues, it can be difficult, challenging, hearbreaking and just downright frustrating and (at times) impossible to wrap your head around.
I’ve been there, and I know a lot of people have, and that’s why I think so many fall in love with Queenie and relates to her character so much. Even though you haven’t gone through the exact same experiences as she has, it is still easy to fing emotions and frustrations to relate to.

Queenie and her friends will make you frustrated at times when you read about the choices that they make (like having lots of unprotected sex and choosing dating partners that clearly isn’t a good match), but that is also what makes these characters feel more real. They make mistakes, they are imperfect, and they are trying so hard to navigate through a complicated and weird time in this world and their lives.

Queenie is a book with lots of humor, cringe worthy moments, diversity, exploration of mental health, friendships, love, and relationships for good and for bad.
It explores darkness and brightness and is also extremely entertaining! You can’t help but root for Queenie!

I would highly recommend Queenie to those readers out there who likes more complex and complicated contemporary/romance fiction. But it is not for the faint of heart! It was quite sexually graphic, and as I mentioned, it does go some pretty dark places, so that’s something to be aware of when going into this story.

💛If you buy via my affiliate links, I get a small commission 💛

You Can Miss Someone and Not Want Them Back

“I miss him.”

“Why? He broke your heart? You know he’s no good for you!”

Sounds familiar?

Well, I’m here to tell you that it’s perfectly okay to miss someone and not want them back! If you need it, then I hereby give you the total freedom to miss that someone. Just try to not get completely lost in it, and make decisions that you know aren’t good for you out from that feeling. Because the missing someone, we can’t really control, no matter how much we’d like to. But we are in control of our actions based on the feelings we feel.

And even though a relationship ended for all the right reasons, or all the wrong reasons, there is a good chance that you can still look back on that relationship and see some of the parts that was good about it. You’re allowed to miss that. Often it isn’t really about missing that someone anyways, it’s usually about missing what that someone made you feel.

How you smiled more, how your heart skipped a beat, how you impatiently looked forward to the next time you would see each other again, and how your body reacted to that other person’s touch, sounds and/or smells. It is only human that when someone or something that took up so much space in your everyday life, suddenly just doesn’t, that it takes some adjustment.

I believe that we find ourselves again after every breakup, and that someone we find is naturally different from the one we used to be.

Because who are we are tend to change when you and I turns into we, and as a couple we tend do evolve together as well as on our own. And when that evolved entity breaks apart, we are left with a part that feels unfinished. We feel broken, and after the grieving and the worst of the pain we start the search, not for the one, but for the one we want to be. And that someone isn’t always the one we used to be. Sometimes it’s someone entirely different. Sometimes it’s finding a whole new you.

Well, I guess everyone’s path to walk and way to process is different, but this is how I usually experience going through a breakup.

And even though I am very grateful and happy or all the experiences that I’ve had, and how much I’ve learned from them, I still find myself missing the good parts of relationships that obviously wasn’t meant to be.

I used to beat myself up about it, but I try not to do that anymore. Instead, I let the emotions go through me, then I remind myself of the thing that I don’t miss, and afterwards I make a mental list of what I can take away from the experiences. What have I learned about the things I want (and don’t want) in my life and in my relationships.

Life is a constant education, and we have to try our very best to make the most of it. Because life is short and love is precious. People can be cruel, but they can be pretty awe droppingly amazing too.

So, don’t beat yourself up for missing someone you don’t want back. Acknowledge the fact that after everything you’ve gone through, you’re still able to see the good things in all the hurt. You love yourself enough to miss the warm feeling of your own happiness.

Give yourself a big hug (or imagine that I’m giving you one) and then get out there and make some new memories.

You deserve that happiness❤️

Why I Deleted My Dating Apps

So, it’s been three years since I had my last long term relationship. Three years of self-discovery, dating, heartbreaks, experiences, new friends, lost lovers and dating apps.

But over a month ago, I deleted the dating apps on my phone, and today I’m going to tell you why.

But first, let’s talk about dating apps in general.

Did you know that a university in Texas did research on dating apps and mental health? And what they found was that a steadily increasing number of users experienced feeling less satisfied with their face and their bodies after using dating apps!

Dating apps have also been linked to depression and increased levels of anxiety.

And the worst part about all of this is that I’m not even a little bit surprised.

I’ve had an on and off, love/hate relationship with Tinder for the last three years. I’ve lost count of how many times I have deleted the app, just to end up reinstalling it a week later after a couple of glasses of wine and then finding myself swiping my way to sleep.

Now I’m not going to say that Tinder is all bad. I’ve met some amazing people through the app and had some incredible adventures. I also learned a lot about myself and what I’m actually looking for.

But the increasing dissatisfaction and lowered self-esteem, I felt that too.

After several let downs by people who claimed to be looking for something serious and later admitting to not be ready for something serious (which is a bullshit excuse to try to let someone down easy instead of being honest), ghosting, and downright weirdness, I was starting to feel my self-confidence drifting away.

I found myself feeling lonely and down more often. Going on first dates no longer felt exciting for a possible good outcome, but more of a complicated track to a potential letdown. My positivity to love and dating almost disappeared completely. And when I found myself not having a natural skepticism to new people, but having the expectations of them going to hurt me in one way or the other, that was the time when I knew I had to make some changes.

To be completely honest with you guys, the night I deleted my Tinder, I sat on my kitchen counter eating peanut butter straight out of the jar and crying my eyes out because I felt lonely. I poured myself a glass of my favorite whisky, started writing down a list of things I wanted to focus and use my energy on, and then I found my phone and deleted Tinder and Happn. I felt so relieved!

And because that was a low, lower than one I had ever reached because of dating, there was a feeling of that choice being more permanent than any of the other times I deleted the apps.

So, what happened after that night?

Firstly, I haven’t been tempted to reinstall it once!

Secondly, I felt my confidence and happiness levels slowly and steadily rising again.

And thirdly, my creativity flourished!

I found myself focusing more on the things that I truly love. And without the mood swings and hours wasted on trying to search for connections, I got so much more work done than I had in a long time.

To stop pursuing dating was the best decision I have made in a really long time!

Now I’m not saying that I will never date again, but I’m not spending my time searching for that next first date, the next potential connection. I’m done with dating being a way to pass time by swiping left and right. Life simply is too short for that!

So instead of spending time on dates that goes nowhere, I’ve traveled more, written more, and met some freaking amazing people! I’ve started taking myself on me-dates again like I used to do. I’ve found my confidence back, and I find myself smiling for no reason so much more often, just like I used to. I feel like I’ve found my way back to the me that I love, and to the creativity that I’m so passionate about.

I know a lot of people find their partners through Tinder and other dating apps, and I think that’s absolutely fantastic! The world needs more love!

But I have found that my life is better without dating apps in it❤️

The Dealbreaker

Sometimes relationships end because people fall out of love. Sometimes it’s the right person at the wrong time or the wrong person at the right time. Sometime’s it just doesn’t feel right. Other times one is left without really knowing the reason.

All of the above. I’ve been there. But this time I want to talk about dealbreakers.

Sometimes the right person comes along. Someone who is funny, kind, liked by your friends, the sex is great, the conversations even better, not afraid to show affection, or to plan things for the future together.

And sometimes that perfect bubble bursts when you realize that you both have a dealbreaker that completely crashes with each other.

I experienced that a little while ago. Everything was going great until it wasn’t. For a few months I was no longer the single girl, but in a weird turn of events (after a few years of errors and heartbreaks) I found myself in a relationship again. A relationship with an absolutely wonderful guy. We had so much fun together, and I missed him whenever we were apart. I guess we lived in a bubble of the starting phase of it all. As time went by though, he realized that having kids of his own was more important to him than he first thought.

This is a thing that’s a dealbreaker to me. I think kids are wonderful, and I love my son more than anything, but I can’t picture myself starting all over with a baby after so many years. I’ve written about this before, and just like I wrote then I still am 99% sure that more kids are not in the future for me.

And to continue on in a relationship with someone that truly wants kids of their own would be bitterness waiting to happen. I don’t want to put someone through that, and neither did he.

Breakups are sad, no matter how right they are. But I do want to send out a thank you to this wonderful man that I got to share my life and my thoughts with for a few months.

Opening up was hard, but you gave me hope again. Even though I opened up to something that eventually ended, I am no longer as afraid and pessimistic about love and dating, as I used to be.

You helped me out of a place where I feared love. A place where every potential someone was more of a potential heartbreak than anything else. You proved to me that there are still nice guys out there. And yes, nice boys do kiss like that!

Thank you for helping me out of the dark hole of the dating world that I had fallen into.

I wish you nothing but the best, and the woman that ends up with you will be so, so lucky!

Lots of love  ❤️

So, what are you really looking for?

If you’ve ever had a profile on a dating app/site, I’m pretty sure you’ve gotten that exact question more than once.

What do you answer? 

I used to be all casual about it. A typical answer of mine would be “Just here to get to know new people, and then we’ll just have to see.”

And it was never a lie. To be open for dating is to want to meet new people, but what I didn’t realise (before getting burned a couple of times) is the fact that if you don’t specificly tell people that you’re interested in something serious, they take it for granted that you’re just dating to pass the time. That you’re not looking for anything serious, because neither are they. Funny how that truth suddenly appears to them.

“I’m not really sure if I’m looking for a relationship right now.”

“I just realised that I don’t really want anything serious.” 

“My career is too important to me to let myself get distracted by love.”

I call bullshit!

Yes, you might not want anything serious, but you don’t just suddenly realise that. It doesn’t come out of the blue. And this is exactly why modern dating is so freaking hard. People aren’t being honest to each other. We’re not expressing ourselves clearly enough, and that’s how people end up being hurt. We build up these expectations and hopes for something that might be, and when those are shut down, like lightning from a blue sky, that can be a really hard blow to take.

If you’re just looking for some fun to pass the time, well good on you, but tell the other person that. Don’t lead them on to believe that there’s a potential for something more down the line.

If you’re getting back into dating, but you’re not really sure if you’re ready to commit to something serious, be open about it.

We need to be more honest. Be more open. Communicate more and better. Because that is how we grow and how we learn about each other and ourselves.

So what do I answer now when people ask? 

“Let me be honest with you. I’m looking for love. I’m very comfortable with my single lifestyle, but I would love to meet someone that could be a lifepartner. This is not something that I will ever rush, and I’m not looking for casual dating just for fun, or someone to just settle down with because it’s time I do so. I’m looking for deep connections, good conversations and new experiences. This might not be the answer you were hoping for, but it’s the truth.”

Honesty can be too scary for a lot of people, but you know what, that’s okay. If you can’t  handle that little piece of honesty, we’re not on the same page anyways.

I love myself too much to be anything but honest about what I invite into my life❤️

 

I moved on, but there’s still love.

After the pain of a breakup or a fallout from a relationship, whether it’s a longterm one or “just” dating for a while, there will come times where the pain will resurface.

Moving on doesn’t mean that you stop loving the person. For me, when I move on from a relationship where there’s been love involved, the love doesn’t necessarily go away. I think that true love, for both lovers and friends, means that you want the best for that person, no matter if that involves you or not. And in the cases of unrequited love especially, there’s that part of me that wants nothing but happiness for the other person even though it hurts like hell knowing that I won’t be a part of that happiness.

Time heals, but after the moving on from what ended, it can still be painful to watch the lover of the past move on with someone else. To see that look in their eyes that used to be so familiar, being sent someone else’s way can be hard. To know that the fingers that used to intertwine with yours are now getting to know the feel of another hand. That the lips you used to kiss are kissed by someone else. It can feel a bit like ripping up an old wound. It’s kind of like looking at a mirror that’s just off. One that shows part of what you remember and also part of what you thought the future would look like.

A little while ago I experienced just that. I was the witness of someone that was a big part of my life obviously moving on with someone new. They looked so happy together. They looked like there was no one else in the world but the two of them.

As I looked at them I was so happy for the two, but I also felt like something split open inside of me. I felt a whole range of emotions in such a short period of time, and I was completely overwhelmed and unprepared for it.

So, I did what I normally do when I encounter moments where I find myself a bit lost. I took time to myself, both alone and with people that I love and trust. I was very mindful of everything I felt. I wrote, a lot. And I processed.

I don’t have the answers to why we feel like we do, or what the right path to go is, but here’s where my thoughts gathered:

Even though I moved on, there’s still love.

Even though there’s still love, doesn’t mean that I want you back.

Even though I don’t want you back, I want you to be happy. 

And even though I’m happy for you, it still might hurt.

All the best, that’s my wish for you, and for me❤️

 

A Love Letter of Sorts

To the one that started it all

You were the first. The one that I compared everyone to for years. I’m pretty sure you never really understood how much I loved you, and I’m even more sure that it was completely unfair to everyone that was ever compared to you.

I never really had you, but still, I looked for you in the eyes of others. I tried to taste you on other people’s lips, but you were nowhere to be found. Eventually, I managed to let go, but there’s still a special place in my heart for you. There always will be.

You were the first one I fell head over heels in love with, and nothing will ever be exactly like that. First love is hard, painful and messy, but also beautiful in its own way.

I love that we still stay in touch, and even though we didn’t get a happily ever after, I made a friend for life. 

I love you 💛

To the one I wronged

I’m so sorry! You didn’t deserve that, and no matter how many times I apologize, it will not change the past. Never the less, let me say it again; I’m sorry.

I heard you got married, and you now have a family of your own. I’m so happy for you, and I wish you all the best💛

To the one that steered me

You came into my life when I was at the start of a big journey. You broke me, but you also steered me in the right direction. I’m forever more cautious with my heart because of you, but I’m also eternally grateful for the help to find the road that got me to where I am today.

I spent a lot of time feeling hurt because of all that happened between us, and also a lot of time was spent growing and learning to love myself as much as I hoped that you would have loved me. 

I appreciate the apology you sent my way. It was good for me to finally get some real closure. 

People come into our lives to teach us, or to learn from us. I think we learned from each other. 

I hope you find the one that you thought for a moment that I was. I hope your path will take you to the most magical places, and I want you to know that even though you taught me how to let go, I will always be here for you 💛

To the one who played the part

Thinking back to what we had and what we were (if we really were anything) is still painful. Until I met you, I wasn’t even sure if I could really fall in love again. I was on the road to giving up, but there you were. 

You looked at me like no man had ever done. There was something in your eyes, and in the way you acted, that made me so sure that we were in the same place. I took down all my walls for you, and I fell head over heels. I was so sure that you felt the same way. 

But I was so wrong and to this day I’m not even sure if you only fooled me, or if you were fooling yourself at the same time. I kind of hope that it’s the latter, because if I was the only one fooled then that’s just pure cruelty. I want to believe that you’re better than that.

You played the part perfectly though, I’ll give you that. 

My walls are stronger now, maybe even higher, because of you. There’s a doubt that’s grounded in me, and I can’t seem to let go of it, even though I did let go of you. 

I’m grateful for knowing that I can fall as hard as that again, but I’m equally terrified. You did that. 

I forgive you, but I will never forget it💛

To the one that disappeared

You were very unexpected. Suddenly you were in my life, and you seemed so happy to be there. You made me hopeful and excited for what was to come. 

And then you disappeared. Like a ghost, you were just gone. The only thing left was a whisper of all the words that were said and all the questions I was left with. 

I have no idea what happened, and I guess I probably never will. I thought you were better than that. I thought you were different. 

After we’d been on a couple of dates I wrote in my journal that I was very grateful for meeting you, but I also wrote that being optimistic about love was really hard. 

This is why.

I hope you’re happy, wherever you are, and whatever it is that you’re doing now. I also hope that you never ghost another girl like you ghosted me. That shit is painful and so childish. Be better than that 💛

To the ones I have not met yet

You are all faces, stories, and pasts I haven’t gotten to know yet. If I seem a bit scared at first, it’s because I am. I don’t know who of you will stay, or who will go. I have no way of knowing who’s steering, who’s acting, who might just disappear without a reason, or who might actually want to share a future. 

I don’t know if you are here for a few seconds, minutes, hours, weeks, months or years. And I guess that’s part of the beauty of it. I will not ask you to make impossible promises. I will not ask you to promise to never leave. 

But there is something I want to ask of you. No, I’m not asking, I’m begging. 

Please, be kind.

Please, be honest.

Please, be you and nothing else💛

 

 

 

 

This Breaks My Heart!

Through the stories that I hear and my own experiences over time, I have to say that enough is enough! I’m worried…

When did dating and relationships become THIS thing?! At some point in time, people started treating each other as disposable objects. People are so oversaturated with all that’s available at any given time, that the fear of losing out on something “even better” makes them let go of others without even giving it an extra thought.

People became numbers instead of names. Lovers became distant strangers without a goodbye. Feelings are thrown away like yesterday’s garbage, and so many are used to doing so that they don’t even feel bad about it.

I’m not saying that this is how everyone acts. There are nice, honest and loving people out there! I know many, and I’m grateful for every single one of them.

They are the ones that brighten up your day.

The people that will always have something to say to make you laugh after you’ve shared your stories of heartbreak and sorrow.

The ones that will remind you to not spend time, wasting energy on the people that drag you down and make you feel unworthy.

The ones that love you for you.

The ones that help you along the path to self-love.

The ones that will remind you of why you should love and respect yourself enough to let go of anything toxic that takes up space in your life.

The ones that will always tell you the truth, even though it might hurt.

Those are the real ones! The good people of this world ❤️

And wouldn’t it be nice if (like the good people) everyone would have enough respect for other people’s feelings, to have the guts, to be honest about their own? Because honesty might hurt, but playing games and serving lies (or even worse; just silence) is even more painful. It leaves people with big questions unanswered, trust that’s broken and hard to mend, and hearts shattered into a million pieces.

We need more of the good people out there. We need to all work on loving ourselves and treating ourselves right so that treating others the same way will come as natural as breathing.

Don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts, and don’t put up with people who are reckless with yours. (one of my favorite quotes from Sunscreen by Baz Luhrmann)

We need to be kinder. We need to love more. We need to treat each other better!

We can do better than this ❤️ I know it!

 

To Any Potential Someone

Don’t we all have those moments where we wish that new potential someones that come into our lives could do so with an instruction manual attached to them? But that would also ruin some of the fun with getting to know someone truly.

So if you ever find yourself here as a potential someone in my life, I will not give away everything (you’ll have to figure some things out on your own), but here are some things I’d like you to know:

If you find my side of the bed empty in the middle of the night, don’t assume that something is wrong. 99% of the time you will find me lost in writing, either on my mac or in a notebook.

Tread carefully though, because I will most likely be somewhere far, far away and I scare easily, so make some careful sounds so that you don’t scare me to death.

I know the night writing might be a bit frustrating but on the plus side:

I will make breakfast!

I’m vegan, but that doesn’t mean that you have to be. However, I don’t want any meat to be prepared in my home. That’s just the way it is!

I will get lost in books. I completely lose track of time and place if the book gets its hold on me. Sorry, but not sorry!

Speaking of books; you have to read them. Not necessarily the same ones, or even the same genre as me, but if you present the phrase “I don’t read books!” then I’m sorry, but I think we should see other people. This is a dealbreaker!

I cry all of the time but don’t be alarmed. Most of the time it’s not because I’m sad, but I do get easily moved to tears. So if you find me crying when the first snow falls, at a concert, when you do something charming, watching a sunset, watching pets be reunited with their owners etc. then I’m just emotionally moved, but still having a wonderful time. 

I need space and me-time. 

I think having time to oneself is extremely important. Both for you and for me. Being together 24/7 will suffocate both parties. I want you to go out and do the things that you love, and I will do the same. Of course, I want us to do things together as well, but it’s important that we both take the time to prioritize alone time and time apart too. Even if we should find ourselves to be a “we” that does not mean that we’re now one person, we are two awesome individuals that want to spend time with each other.

The Wanderlust is strong in this one! 

I will probably continue on with going on new adventures for the rest of my life. You don’t have to come along for every one of them, but if you have the opportunity to come on some, then I would love to share those experiences with you! 

If you don’t have the time, or you don’t want to go, that’s fine too. Just know that I will still venture out on them, and I’ll see you when I get back.

I can be a real dork sometimes! I hope you are too 😜

I’m very open about pretty much everything in my writing and my videos. I share a lot of my life there, and you have to be comfortable with that. If this is a potential something, it’s going to be freaking hard if you’re not. 

And if you’re willing to join in on the fun, then that’s awesome! Could totally be down for having a good partner in crime😜

I suck at fighting! That’s why I pretty much never do it. I’m all for a good discussion, but fighting does no one any good. And I have a hard time expressing myself if I get angry, so if (at the start of an argument) I tell you that I’m going for a walk, then let me. It’ll let me clear and gather my thoughts, and then I’ll be ready to talk. If I don’t get that space to breathe, nothing will make any sense and nothing good will come out of it. 

 I’m a mom, and any potential someone has to be very aware of that going into a potential something. If I introduce you to my kid, that means that I’m serious. That’s a big sign of trust and faith in whatever this might be. 

He doesn’t need a new extra parent, that’s not what I’m saying, but he is a big part of my life, and if any potential someone wants to be a part of my life, then you’re immediately a part of his life too. That is not a responsibility that should be taken lightly. 

In some ways I’m very traditional, in others I’m extremely open-minded. Let’s talk more about that over a few glasses of wine😝

I’m 99% sure that I don’t want to have more kids. It’s not that I don’t love kids, and I’m not saying that someone could not be a potential someone if they themselves have children, but I have no urge to start all over with babies. I did the baby thing almost 11 years ago, and for me, that gap has just gotten too big now. So if you have a deep desire to grow a big family, then I’m probably not the girl for you. 

I text when I’m drunk, so if you get weird messages and cryptic GIFs in the middle of the night, just don’t overthink it 😂

I’m all about self-love and body positivity. If I hear you fat-shame anyone then we’re done! I have zero tolerance for bullying!

Last, but not least: I love to cuddle ❤️

And that’s where I’m ending this. Can’t give it all away! But maybe now you know a little bit more than you did before, and the rest I guess we’ll just have to figure out as we go✌🏻