This post is sponsored by the Penguin Random House. As always, all opinions are my own.
‘There are no shortcuts to getting over a broken heart. The only way out is through’ is one of the golden nuggets that you will find in the book ‘YOU ALWAYS CHANGE THE LOVE OF YOUR LIFE (for Another Love or Another Life)‘ by Colombian author Amalia Andrade.
By now, you must know that here at Enthusiastic About Life, we are enthusiastic about many things…including books! This week, I am excited to partner with Penguin Random House to check out the English version of a Spanish book that has been taking the Latin American world by storm and to give one of you the opportunity to win a copy! Read until the end to find out how to enter the giveaway!
YOU ALWAYS CHANGE THE LOVE OF YOUR LIFE is unlike any other book I’ve ever read (and I read a lot, check out #EnthusiasticAboutBooks). First off, it is written in a really unique way: it has illustrations, it is interactive, it has playlists, AND recipes! Honestly, what more do you need? Amalia describes this book as the ‘ultimate first aid kit for a broken heart’.
When I first encountered this book, I had it pegged as a book for people suffering from a broken heart…and thought maybe it wasn’t made for me (since I was not currently heartbroken). But after reading it, I realized that this book is truly made for a universal audience. It is made for anyone who has ever been heartbroken, who is currently heartbroken, and who may in the future be heartbroken. It is also made for anyone who has experienced the ending of a friendship, any sort of loss, or simply feels alone in a world filled with people.
Reading YOU ALWAYS CHANGE THE LOVE OF YOUR LIFE while not heartbroken, made me realize that I did some things correctly while healing from past heartbreaks (living my best life, traveling) but also some incorrect things (like checking his social media). I found that even though I wasn’t heartbroken as I was reading, I still learned so much and am now in a better position to help friends when they go through heartbreak. I am sure that no matter where you are in life, you will gain something from Amalia.
One of my favorite parts about the book was how honest and raw the writing was. Amalia says everything like it is, there is no sugar coating and it sometimes feels like you are listening to a friend talking to you and helping you through whatever you are going through.
A lot of the advice that I read in YOU ALWAYS CHANGE THE LOVE OF YOUR LIFE was so good that I wanted to rip out pages and tape it to my mirror or take a picture and set it as my phone background. My favorite piece of advice was ‘It’s ok to not be ok’ because we live in a world where we are expected to be perfect and not show our sadness and sometimes it helps to be 100% honest with yourself and your feelings. I highly recommend this book to all of you and I hope that you read it and it changes your life (as it has changed mine).
I have the honor of sharing this exclusive Q&A with Amalia so that you can get to know her a little better and learn more about the book. Enjoy!
What was your inspiration for YOU ALWAYS CHANGE THE LOVE OF YOUR LIFE?
Adele. I was going through the worst heartbreak ever. I’m not talking about a watch-some-chick-flicks-cry-a-little-eat-some-ice-cream heartbreak, but something so deep and scary that it changed my whole life and made me rethink all I knew about love. I was having a lousy time handling my emotions and one day while I was having lunch by myself (having a proper meal being a miracle, I need to say) an Adele song started playing in the restaurant (“Rolling in The Deep,” to be more precise). I knew every word and had sung the song a million times, and yet this was the first time I paid attention to the lyrics because, as Frank Ocean puts it so brilliantly, “When you’re happy, you enjoy the music but when you’re sad, you understand the lyrics.”
And when the song was over, it hit me. What I needed was to be the Adele of books. And by that I meant: I wanted to be able to transform a harrowing experience into something powerful (as she did with her album 21). I wanted to feel comfortable in my pain and to understand that yes, it made me feel miserable and horrible, but it also gave me superpowers.
I tried to heal by writing the book I was hoping to read: not something that gave generalized advice that was never going to work—there are as many ways to grieve on this planet as there are photos of the Kardashians on the internet—but something that made me feel less alone, made me understand how unique every process is, and reassured me that there was a light at the of the tunnel.
What differentiates YOU ALWAYS CHANGE THE LOVE OF YOUR LIFE from other love advice or heartbreak books?
I’ve always felt that books that give love advice are very sterile. This book doesn’t offer much advice. It doesn’t have the right formula for being better. Since I’m not an expert and I don’t pretend to be one, I wanted it to be like a dialogue with a friend, and that’s why it’s an interactive book. What I want is for the readers to find their answers and their unique paths to healing while we laugh and cry together.
When did you start drawing and what influences your unique style?
When I was a little girl there was nothing that made me happier than drawing (well, maybe reading), but as I started growing up I fell into the trap of believing that I wasn’t good enough, that drawing was for kids, and that no one could live off drawing, so I stopped.
After the horrible breakup that inspired this book, I found myself in a place in my life where I wanted to find answers to big questions like, “What makes me happy? How can I be a better person every day? Who am I?” I know, sounds a little dramatic, but I think that everyone who has gone through a bad break up understands this because as the popular wisdom of Taylor Swift says: “The worst part of it all wasn’t losing him, it was losing me.”
In that personal search, I concluded that most of my adult life had consisted of accumulating false beliefs about everything that had ultimately ended up taking me away from my essence. One of those beliefs was that being a successful adult included looking for something that would make me happy and at the same time give me the peace of mind of a secure income. And that belief is not entirely outlandish. The fallacy of that belief is not that of a stable income, we all need it. The misconception is in the part that says I have to “FIND something that would make me happy.” I believe that since we are very young, we know precisely what makes us happy. It has always made me happy to write, read, and draw. So I went back to drawing, and I have never stopped ever since, nor do I intend to (even if I don’t have any professional training in illustration and every day represents a challenge).
How did growing up under the Cali Cartel in Cali, Colombia affect your childhood? How did it shape the creative paths you’ve pursued in life?
It was crazy and scary and surreal. My school bus drove around with two police patrol cars because kids were being kidnapped on school buses. My favorite thing to do as a kid was to rollerblade in an abandoned replica of the White House, a pretentious unfinished project of a drug lord who decided to take matters in his own hands after he was denied a visa. I had friends in school whose parents bought them ponies like they were candy and when I came home crying to my parents asking for one, they had to explain to me that having 20 ponies was not normal or something we could afford. Once, a small drug lord was shot near my house, and when my mother found out, she felt that even if he was a bad guy, he shouldn’t be left lying abandoned in the street, so she sent someone to cover the body with my old Sesame Street sheets.
I think it has shaped me in every way, as I think is the case for many Colombians. It definitely made me more resilient. It has given me strength and a tenacious desire to make things better, not only for myself or for my family but for my country.
As a queer woman, do you think the experiences of heartbreak are universal or do you think breakups between LGBTQA+ people pose different or additional challenges?
Can I say both? I think the experience of heartbreak is universal. That is something I have the fortune of rediscovering again and again as people of many backgrounds approach me after reading the book. But also, I think breakups between LGBTQA+ people pose some additional challenges. For example, the lesbian community tends to be very endogamic with everyone getting involved with everyone in an almost never-ending cycle. It’s not always the case—I don’t want to generalize and I´m not saying this can´t happen in heterosexual communities—but at least straight people don’t have to endure the pain of seeing your ex-girlfriend leaving you for your other ex-girlfriend.
What is School of Life and how did it help you recover from heartbreak? What did you learn about love during your stay?
Physically, it’s a place for healing located in my hometown Cali, Colombia. Technically, it’s a place where people go to deal with addictions of any sort (it wasn’t in my case, but I was so desperate they took me in). Emotionally, I like to think it’s a place where people go to die and be reborn. I know, it sounds crazy. The first thing they told me when I got there was: you came here to learn something, but on the contrary, you are here to unlearn everything. I immediately thought, “These people are out of their minds,” but since I was in so much pain (my heartbreak had turned into an awful depression), I had nothing to lose.
It ended up being the best thing that has happened to me.
I learned many things and unlearned many others. The most important one being: we have no idea how to love and it’s fundamental that we redefine what romantic love is if we want to have meaningful, lasting relationships. Most of us have poor sentimental educations because we learn how to love or normalize romantic ideas from various cultural references such as Disney movies—mainly the ones my generation grew up with, like The Little Mermaid. New films are better at portraying a healthy version of love, but if someone from Disney is reading this: please, please, please let Elsa from Frozen be an LGBTQI character.
We’re taught to believe that our loved ones are here to save us with their love, we are incomplete when we are not in a relationship, or life is about finding our “better half.” With beliefs like that, no wonder heartbreak can be so horrible.
If you could offer one piece of advice for getting through a breakup, what would it be?
That it’s okay not to be okay. I feel we are living in an age of wellness tyranny where everyone seems to be woke, to be zen, to have it all together. Forget about that stuff. Real life is not an Instagram feed. Heartbreak is messy, hard, and sometimes not Instagramable at all. It can have profound repercussions for us because as a society we tend to put love in the center of our emotional life. Healing is not a linear process, and it has no formula. Feel free to live your process at your own pace.
What kind of stories have readers shared with you about how your book has helped them heal from their own heartbreak?
I think by this point I could write another book based on all the stories my readers have shared. For example: once in Mexico, I was approached by a teenage reader, then her mother came next and told me in secret: “My daughter doesn’t know this, but this book saved my heart too. I spent many years in a relationship with my best girlfriend, and it recently came to an end. Your book made me feel less alone. Thank you.”
Which celebrities could benefit from your book and why?
All of them—from Khloé Kardashian to Justin Bieber—because we are all prone to suffer from heartbreak, and this book not only talks about overcoming pain caused by a romantic separation, but about mourning in general.
What is next for you?
World domination. Kidding. Kidding not kidding. I want to be the Beyoncé of books.
If you’d like to purchase a copy of the book, the book is available for purchase on Amazon. Thank you again to Amalia for partnering with me and for letting me know that it’s okay to not be okay.
I will be giving away a copy of this book to an Enthusiastic reader! All you have to do is leave a comment on this blog post and tell me what the best piece of advice you’ve ever received or given at a time where you felt at your lowest. Every comment will win you an entry into this giveaway, the more places you comment, the higher chance of winning!
Thank you all for reading, and stay enthusiastic! 🙂