Author of the Month #4 - Amalie Silver Sunday Feature: Guest Post + Giveaway!Wednesday, March 02, 2016
"Author of the Month" is a feature that I created to honour some of my favourite authors by featuring their works for an entire month!
This feature will:
- Run for entire month.
- On every Sunday of the month (excluding the first week where I will have a blog post introducing and interviewing the author), there will be a blog post dedicated to the author. The content of the blog post is entirely up to the author's choice.
- The "Author of the Month" button will be displayed in my blog's sidebar during the entire duration.
- If you have any questions to ask the author(s), you can leave a comment below the blog post or privately message me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For the entire month of February, I am proud to feature author Amalie Silver.
Amalie Silver resides in Minnesota with her husband, two toddlers, and German Short-haired Pointer, Saba. She consumes approximately three pots of coffee a day, and credits this for her survival over the past decade. When not completely consumed in her writing, she can be found taking road trips to northern Minnesota, engaging in fierce Scrabble games, or reading a good book. She’s a sucker for all romance genres, literary fiction, and psychological fiction.
Contact her through:
First of all, I would like to apologize for the delayed AOTM post that was due Sunday and a heartfelt gratitude to author Amalie Silver for being so supportive and helpful in making this post despite the short notice (she's really awesome! :D ) Anyway, I would like to thank all of you for participating in my blog's February AOTM feature and taking the time to check out the contents, for our last AOTM post for the month of February, we thought that it would be a great idea to feature a post dedicating to "insecurities", as that is the major theme of Progress and what most of us are familiar with today. Without further ado, keep on reading to find out what author Amalie Silver has to say!
Loving ourselves isn’t always easy. Sometimes it takes a lifetime. But never underestimate the journey that gets us there.
I was asked to write a low self-esteem piece for Dreamland to promote my new book, Progress. At first I wrote something superficial; it didn’t exactly give anyone a snapshot into the mind of those of us with low self-esteem. In fact, it read more like a medical journal on the psychological effects of bullying.
Nothing about it felt real.
So I began again. I scratched the first piece and rewrote this to speak to all the women out there who are living in their life feeling like they’re never good enough.
Because there will always be a part of me that feels that way.
I go in waves, to be honest. There are days I’m unstoppable and don’t get dragged through the trenches of my past or the people who have hurt me. I do my job, feed my kids, and love my life passionately.
But there are rare days that hit me hard. Times when I don’t feel as if I’ll ever measure up to anyone’s standards of success, beauty, or talent. Not my husband’s definition, my children’s, my family’s, or my friends.’ I suppose a part of that comes with my people-pleasing personality. But the personal failure is, at times, too much to bear. I end up falling back into my old ways of feeding my addictions: food and nicotine.
I consider myself to be of average, or slightly above average, intelligence. I’m no MENSA member, but my balance between emotion and logic is pretty stable. I take a low-dose anxiety medication (which is also used to treat depression in some patients), so perhaps I have the pharmaceutical companies to thank for my sanity.
When I graduated from high school, I weighed 350 pounds. When I graduated from business college, I weighed 425 pounds. I’m 6’1”, and height does make a difference, however I was always considered morbidly obese. And as I walked down the halls of my high school getting bullied and laughed at, I always thought to myself, ‘But I have such a pretty face. And I’m nice and smart and funny! Why is my weight the only thing people are willing to see? Why are people so cruel? Sure, everyone has physical imperfections, but why do I not judge others as harshly as they judge me? It’s so easy for me to see everyone’s beauty. I don’t even think I’m capable of judging others that way.’
I could go into the things that were said and done to me, but the details are irrelevant. What you need to understand about this is that for fifteen years, I had everyone outside of my home telling me I wasn’t pretty enough. My parents were always great, reassuring me I was beautiful. But I felt that was their job. They were supposed to say it even if they didn’t mean it.
Everyone else had to be right: I was gross.
The teasing through my school years only added to my cycle of eating to feel better. It also added to my isolation and anxiety. Even years after I had moved on from the schoolyard bullies and found myself in my early twenties, I still used food for comfort and stayed as far away from people as I could. I even worked overnights knowing that the likelihood of having to interact with the public was minimal.
People scared me. They were mean.
I fiercely loved those I knew well (my family and close friends), but on a subconscious level, the outsiders became something to avoid when structuring my entire life. My job, my lifestyle, the restaurant I chose when meeting a friend, the time of day, all of it. My existence revolved around fear.
Then something changed. When I was working as a hostess, keeping my interactions with people to a thirty-second greet and seat, I met someone who challenged me. Slowly, I started breaking out of my bubble and facing my everyday fears.
I began losing weight. In the two years I worked there, I lost 225 pounds.
Finally, I had found a way (and a mindset) to shed the weight. And for the first time in my life, I understood what it was liked to meet society’s beauty standards.
The thing is, though, I only felt what I thought I was supposed to feel. Getting asked out on dates and being ogled from across the room didn’t make me feel pretty. It only made me feel like I was a sexual object. It was all still negative attention in my mind.
I couldn’t win, could I? My self-esteem had gotten slightly better, but it was still low. All losing the weight had done was made me understand other people better, not myself. I didn’t feel as beautiful as I had when I weighed twice as much.
I felt empty. And hungry. I no longer had to prove to anyone I was nice, funny, and smart in order for them to like me. Those parts of my personality in which I’d once identified myself, weren’t things people saw at first glance. It was a conundrum. I’d been obese my entire life, and now that I was thin, everyone liked me…except for me.
So I saw a psychologist. She told me to list twenty things I liked about myself. It was the hardest thing I’d ever had to do. When I returned a week later, she glanced at the page and said, “Good. Now your next week’s assignment is to go through every single item on your list and tell me why you like them about yourself.”
It’s a brilliant exercise, because it shows you what you admire most about yourself. It presents to you, in your own writing, the things of which you should feel most proud. It has been twenty years since I visited that psychologist, and I still make this list for myself twice a year. Sometimes it’s all I need to put a small smile back on my face.
Because, you see, there are no other standards we need to live up to except our own. Not our husband’s. Not our children’s. Not our family’s. Not our friends.’ Some days, we just need to be reminded that we already are the person we choose to be. Physical beauty has nothing to do with how worthy we are, or the contributions we make to our world. Because I can guarantee you that no one will remember you because of the way you looked, but they will always remember the way you made them feel.
I will always feel like I’m fighting an uphill battle when it comes to my body, my vices, and the voices from my past. But then I remember that all that I’ve been through in my life has made me the person I am today. And I can list at least twenty things that I admire about her.
Be good. Be you. Forgive yourself. Forgive others. And find your own definition of beauty.
Your self-esteem and happiness will thank you for it.
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