In a world where being single can sometimes feel like an illness, former Inverell resident Bethany Bell is determined to help others rediscover the joy of life without a romantic partner.
A project three years in the making, Bethany was proud to launch her 'bite-sized' book On Being Single at Inverell's General Merchant and Glen Innes' New England Motor Lodge on Saturday, April 6. The events served as a celebration for Bethany, after the book's release on March 24.
"It was fun, I love people!" she said.
"I felt like the ones in Glen engaged with the content in a really emotional way, which was really cool. Inverell's was equally as special and a great celebration. Both were just a great opportunity to share my heart on the topic and see people engage in another side of life."
Although the book is aimed at 20-35 year olds with a faith basis, Bethany hopes people of all ages and relationship statuses will have a read.
"Together we can shift perception and expectation in these areas so that we can create a more wholesome community," she said.
Although she doesn't consider herself a writer, Bethany said that during her mid 20s, she would often jot down her thoughts on a wide range of topics. In 2015, she felt convicted to create a book from her writings on being single.
The book that began emerging focused on common misconceptions around singleness, damaging expectations from loved ones and questioned the idea that marriage is an ultimate goal in life. Bethany's own experiences and thoughts are combined with biblical advice.
"There's this fine balance of 'I want something,' but yet 'this is my current circumstance'. So living in the tension between hope and contentment, and then processing everyone's expectations and your own desires in the midst of that can be really difficult at times," Bethany said.
"So let's be real. It's not easy as pie all the time, but that doesn't mean that it has to be hard or bad or a problem."
By 2017, Bethany had finished collating and adding to the text, and was ready to begin the editing process. She connected with Inverell photographer Ken Cheal, who helped give additional meaning to the text with his snaps of people and nature.
"He's brilliant at nature, but I'd say he's even better at candid photography, which was kind of my heart - is just to have photos that inspire beyond the words. Words can tell a story, but with a photo it can invoke more creativity and more thought," Bethany said.
"He was excellent."
On Being Single can be be found on Bethany's website: https://www.bethanybell.org or several online retailers.