Welcome to the What I Like About Me Blog Tour!
by Jenna Guillaume
It reinforced to me what a huge issue body image is for so many—something I had certainly felt on a personal level during my own teen years, right through to being an adult. It’s why it became such a central topic in my debut novel, What I Like About Me, and why it was important to me that my main character, Maisie, got to a place where she loved herself and her body a little bit more than she had to begin with.
In writing What I Like About Me, I realised I needed to walk the walk and start being a little kinder to myself and to my body. I felt I owed it to Maisie—but really, I owed it to myself.
Of course, loving your body isn’t as simple as deciding to do it, and then suddenly overnight all your insecurities melt away. It’s work—daily work, and an ongoing process. But all love requires work, and the act of loving yourself is just as important as loving others (if not more so).
With that in mind, here are a few things that I’ve found useful as part of this work…
Change your self-talk
When I look in the mirror, my brain automatically notices the things I don’t like about myself. “You’re too fat,” “wow, you’re ugly,” and all sorts of lovely things like that. The thing is, I’d never think or say these things to other people, and it’s pretty reprehensible to say them to myself. These kinds of negative thoughts are natural for many—but that doesn’t mean they can’t be changed or stopped.
The first step is just being conscious of it, and stopping yourself when you notice it. Challenging the negative comments with positive ones is important. In What I Like About Me, Maisie begins a list of all the things she likes about herself. Standing in front of the mirror and focusing on the things you do like about your appearance can be a really transformative experience—and it’s the kind of thing you can hopefully build on over time.
Dress for your body
This may seem obvious, but when I gained a lot of weight I resisted buying clothes that were the correct size because of a lot of internalised fatphobia. I wore clothes I didn’t particularly like because I just wanted to hide my body and not draw attention to myself. I also kept clothes that were too small for “when I lose weight”.
This is all just another way to shame your own body and make you feel unworthy, and it’s really damaging. For me, it was important to forget about the past and what I used to fit into, and let go of the future and some fantasy ideal I had in my head. Instead, I needed to accept my body as it is now and dress it how it is now. It meant getting rid of those “one day” clothes and instead buying things that really fit me. It was honestly a tiny revelation to try on outfits that were the right size, that were comfortable and that I actually really liked, and find myself feeling pretty damn good.
Get others on board
Something that I explore in What I Like About Me is the way even the most well-meaning family and friends can say and do things that make you feel worse about yourself. It’s such a common refrain to hear people say they’re “feeling fat” or “having a fat day” like it’s a negative thing, and if you are a fat person it communicates the idea that your very existence is like a disease.
It can be hard, but challenging these kinds of statements from people is crucial. Setting boundaries around topics you do and don’t want to discuss can be helpful too. At my former job, we even set up a “put down jar” to help everyone stop saying negative things about themselves. If you’ve heard of a swear jar, it’s like that, except instead of putting a dollar in the jar whenever someone swore, we had to put a dollar in whenever we put ourselves down. It was both funny and annoying at times, but it actually helped us all be more positive, not just on an individual level but also as a team.
Loving yourself isn’t an empty phrase. As I’ve already mentioned, it’s a daily act. It means not just dressing your body well or saying nice things to and about it, but also taking care of it in fundamental ways. Getting enough sleep. Eating well. Doing exercise that you enjoy. Pushing yourself when you need to, but being gentle and kind when you need that as well. Knowing yourself, accepting yourself, and loving yourself. It takes work every day—but it’s worth it.
April 7th – A Dream Within a Dream
April 8th – Mundie Moms
April 9th – Good Choice Reading
April 10th – Crossroad Reviews
You know all those movies where teenagers have, like, THE TIME OF THEIR LIVES? This vacation is probably not going to be that.
The last thing sixteen-year-old Maisie Martin thought she’d be doing over vacation is entering a beauty pageant. Not when she’s spent most of her life hiding her body from everyone. Not when her Dad is AWOL and her gorgeous older sister has returned to rock Maisie’s already shaky confidence. And especially not when her best friend starts flirting with the boy she’s always loved. But Maisie’s got something to prove.
As she writes down all the ways this vacation is going from bad to worse in her school-assignment journal, what starts as a homework torture-device might just end up being an account of how Maisie didn’t let anything, or anyone, hold her back.
Jenna Guillame’s American debut features a plus-size protagonist with a compelling, funny, and authentic narrative voice. This relatable and charming novel about friendship, confidence, and self-love will draw readers in as Maisie’s realistic emotional journey unveils the importance of embracing one’s body and celebrating one’s self.
About the Author
Jenna Guillaume was the editor-at-large for BuzzFeed Australia, where she wrote about pop culture, identity, feminism, social media, and, most importantly, Chris Hemsworth’s biceps. Previously, she worked in the features department of Girlfriend magazine in Australia, writing about everything from bullying and body image to bad kisses and boy bands. She also contributed to Girlfriend Life Hacks, an essential guide to navigating a girl’s completely-awkward-but-totally-awesome teen years. Guillaume lives in Australia. Visit her website at jennaguillaume.com.
- 10 winners will receive a finished copy of What I Like About Me and WILAM pocket mirror
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