Disclaimer: This is not an advertisement, these are my own thoughts.
I was feeling a little cheeky last month and decided to treat myself to some bookish treats. I have always wanted to order a subscription box and it was my birthday, so why not? As a recent convert to Instagram (oh, how I love it!) I came across @booksthatmatteruk "The number one book subscription box service to empower and inspire." This sounded right up my alley, and after a few clicks I had ordered the June box; all I knew at this point was the theme - "Love is Love" - in honour of Pride month. I was excited and impatient. I hate waiting for anything, I know this is a really annoying habit of mine.
Anyway, it arrived this week and I was not disappointed. However, I wasn't actually expecting to have the reaction I had. I am a huge advocate for tolerance and I knew this was going to be LGBTQ+ based. Lovely. I'm always up for learning more and supporting authors and businesses who was to break barriers and make a difference to the community.
As soon as I opened the plastic wrapping I could smell something delicious, so I knew there was a smelly treat in there. Then I stopped. I didn't open the box. This is typical me. I can't wait for something but when it arrives I savour it. So, I put it back in the plastic wrapper, put it on the passenger seat of my car and went to pick my daughter up from pre-school.
About an hour later I opened the box and I was so overwhelmed that I actually shed a little tear of gratitude. I was there. In that box. Now, I am not a part of the LGBTQ+ community myself but I have many friends who are. For me sexuality and identity are aspects of an individual and while I am happy for someone to label themselves, if they wish, I acknowledge the label and then move on. I want to know the person. I want to know their story; probably because I hope this is how people see me. What I mean is, I am not disabled. I have a disability. There is so much about me that is not covered by the 'disabled' label, so it is what it is, let's move on.
Back to the box. There was a beautiful floral smell as I unwrapped the tissue paper and inside I found: a beautiful Rose and Oud (I had to look up what oud is) wax melt wrapped up like a chocolate bar, an applique sticker of a heart and rose, a sew on patch reading 'The Future in Inclusive', two hand-designed postcards reading 'I am Enough' and 'Love is Love', and the book Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi.
Heaven. Everything in this box literally smells like roses. This is where I also mention that my daughter's name is Rose, so there was an extra sentimental value to the rose goodies. Inside this box was an image on a label of a person in a wheelchair, there were people of colour, people walking with crutches, cards informing the recipient of work being done supporting transgender and gender variant children. There were so many different types of person mentioned, illustrated and supported in this box I was quite speechless. This is what I love. I was there. I could be 'seen'. I could see other beautiful people who are not 'normative', whatever the hell that means.
I lost count of how many times I took the items out of the box and replaced them. There was a lot of sniffing involved. I started the book that night and have only 40 pages or so to go and I don't want it to end. It's such a strange and beautiful book that it defies description. You may think this is a long post about a subscription box and that I am going a little over the top but I am at a point of transition in my own life where there are changes happening with lots more to come. In the past I have been told that I am not a lot of things but now I am coming out of a dark place and seeing that I am lots of things.
Thank you @booksthatmatteruk you have picked me up, and I am grateful.
Products in the @booksthatmatteruk box come from the following organisations:
The Recycled Candle Co
Talk and Tell
You're Welcome Club
I am We Creations
Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi