Just like the title says, you are not alone. Several authors and bloggers were kind enough to share with us some of their own insecurities. These are bloggers you follow, authors you admire. Real people you know of who suffer from their own low self-esteem or poor body image. It's not just in books and on TV. We know exactly how you feel.
This is the first post of a few posts that will be posted today. Some contributors wanted to say a bit more, so they will have their own posts. Keep an eye out for them.
I probably don't have to say this, but I will just to be on the safe side. It takes a lot to be open and honest about things like this. These people are being incredibily brave. Please treat them and their honesty with the respect they deserve. Thank you.
On any of the posts that follow, if you wish to share your own insecurites, please feel free to do so. However, there is no pressure to if you'd rather not.
Jo of Once Upon a Bookcase:
I have never had an eating disorder of any kind, but people assume I have, or do have, just by looking at me. I have a high metabolism, which means I am very skinny and have so much trouble putting weight on. I also have a poor excuse for a bust, and to top it off, I look a lot younger than I am. I'm also pretty shy and quiet, and never used to think much of myself. School used to be a nightmare. Shopping IS a nightmare; shopping for smart clothes for jobs involves me looking at the trendy school uniform pieces shops like New Look sell - and I'm 23. Around fifty per cent of the things I buy need altering, taking in or up. Reading the books I have for Body Image & Self-Perception Month, it's made me aware of my own self-esteem, and it's really not that great.
My self-esteem used to be a whole lot worse, though. I was bullied at school, and used to get so low. But then something switched inside me. I wasn't going to let these people make me feel so bad. So I'm not perfect, but what can I really do about it without taking drastic actions? Nothing. So I decided to stop worrying about it. I doubt I'll ever be completely happy with myself, but I've learned to accept that this is me, I'm not really that bad, and there are other qualities about myself that are far more important than how I look anyway. I've realised how lucky I am compared to some people. I'm not disfigured. I'm not disabled. Where I might not look amazing, there are those who are a lot worse off. Being me isn't really all that bad.
Rebecca of Everything To Do With Books:
Everybody feels insecure about some things, outwardly I can think of a number of things. I have bad skin. I'm constantly buying a lot of facial products just to see if I can achieve clear skin. At high school I got teased about having bad skin and so ever since then I've felt like I need to get rid of my pimples. A lot of people tell me that I'm short, they say it quite meanly so now I'm really sensitive when it comes to height.
I have insecurities inwardly too. I'm extremely shy to the point where I don't feel comfortable talking to people for the first time. Usually when I'm in a group of people I worry about what to say that by the time I think of something to say about the topic, everyone else has started talking about something else. These days I try not to let these things get the best of me though. Nobody is perfect and really, while I do have insecurities I do like who I am.
Suzanne Supplee - YA author of Artichoke's Heart:
Going for a run has a way of making me appreciate my body parts, even the ones I’m not particularly fond of. The next time you find yourself scrutinizing your least favorite body part, imagine getting through your day without it. Running up that big hill next to my house would be difficult without a butt.
Christina of Reading Extensively:
Recently I was looking through some old photographs of myself as a child and I remembered that I didn't feel ugly when I was a kid. I remember that I liked my hair even though I wished it was longer but other than that I was just fine with how I looked. It wasn't until I got a little older that I hated my bumpy nose, my chicken pox scars, and my frizzy hair. It was nice to be able to remember a time when I didn't look down on myself because of my appearance. By high school I felt really unattractive and fat even though I wasn't. While I think I could have styled my hair better (I didn't use hair products at all) and worn clothing that was more flattering, I was really hard on myself about my appearance during my teen years.
Now as a thirty-something adult I have slowly come to terms with my nose although I do avoid three way mirrors! I have also come to terms with my chicken pox scars now that I've had some surgery scars added to them. My hair that I once hated for being frizzy is now falling out. I have a kind of hereditary hair loss so these days I am just happy to have my hair for as long as I have it, frizz and all. I know that I will probably wear a wig someday which is hard to think about but hopefully I will find one with the kind of hair I always wanted as a teen :) I still struggle with my appearance and sometimes I don't like to look in the mirror. On really bad days I still catalog all my flaws. As a teen I listened to the negative comments of my classmates and I let that influence how I felt about myself. Time has definitely given me some perspective on my looks but I have a long way to go. My goal for myself is to be healthy and to quit seeing only the negatives. I know I will never be stick thin like my mom and my younger sister but God meant for me to be curvy and short and most days I'm okay with that.
Sydney Salter - YA author of My Big Nose and Other Natural Disasters:
I didn’t like my nose in high school—and I blamed it for all kinds of things. Shyness, boyfriendlessness, the C I got in English… I moved on to college, fell in love, found my passion for writing, and learned that my nose, or any aspect of my appearance, has very little to do with my level of happiness, or success. All of that comes from the inside.
But I still hate seeing pictures of myself. I don’t check my hair, clothes, or even body size. I look at The Nose. As an author, I’m still getting used to having photos and videos of myself posted online. People snap photos at book events and Tweet them, add them to Facebook albums and blogs, totally oblivious to how my nose looks (or whether my eyes are closed, for that matter). They’re focused on the conversation and laughter we shared, not my silly nose issues. Again, it’s what comes from the inside that matters—but I still struggle with remembering that sometimes.
Jami of YA Addict:
I have always had issues with my weight. Growing up, I was always a little chunky. This didn’t start bothering me until I was in my early teens. I’d look at the models in clothing catalogs and notice how much skinnier they were than me. I became obsessed with my weight. I tried some pretty crazy things trying to lose weight. From the Hollywood juice diet, to slim fast, to only eating one meal a day, and eventually, I started trying to throw up my meals. I hate throwing up with a passion, so that didn’t last long. I did lose weight with some of my crazy antics, but I was never happy. I wouldn’t participate in many social events because of my weight. I would always tell myself, “Once I get to 120 pounds I will start wearing a bathing suit and hang out with everyone else at the beach”. I kept holding off on life. I didn’t feel like I was worthy enough to “live” because of my weight.
It was my boyfriend (who is now my husband) who got me to stop doing these things. He loved me for me, not the number on the scale. He taught me to love myself the way I am. I am a much happier person because of it. That is not to say I am never self-conscious about my weight. I still get nervous in public settings, especially when I am around a group of very skinny girls. After having two kids, I have some baby weight I am trying to lose. But this time, I am doing it the healthy way. I am trying to eat the right foods, but I am not punishing myself when I do have a brownie every now and then. Life is much too short to always skip dessert.