Wednesday 25 July 2012

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Whisper Blog Tour: Chrissie Keighery on Self-Esteem

Today, the Whisper by Chrissie Keighery Blog Tour is stopping by Once Upon a  Bookcase! Read on for Chrissie's thoughts on self-esteem in Whisper.

Chrissie KeigheryOn Whisper and the elusive idea of self-esteem.

Chrissie Keighery

Even as adults, self esteem is a shifting, elusive beast. We draw from our work success, our relationships, our achievements, but when any of these elements are ‘playing up’, our sense of self can plummet.

In teen years, this is even more of a roller coaster. In those years, we seek to move away from our parent’s model of life and try to establish our own reality and our individual filters on life’s issues. Also, self consciousness in the teen years reaches its peak. What do others think of us is often a bigger question than what we think of ourselves.

Since Demi is only recently deaf, her journey into these issues is acute. She constantly worries how others are perceiving her, and this becomes a bit of a block to her understanding the issues other people in her world might be facing.

I fell in love with Demi...I have to say that straight! Obviously, she needed to grow and develop through the book, so I wanted to make her starting point pretty confused and angry. At the time of writing Whisper, and in the earlier research periods, I spent time at the Victorian College for the Deaf. What I could see there was that there were all levels of self-esteem represented. Some of the student’s seemed very self confident and others seemed to struggle.

Whisper by Chrissie KeigheryTalking to the teacher’s there, I was able to tease out some of the rationale behind student’s thinking. Some of these kids had families who could hardly sign...student’s who actually cried when school holidays came because it meant they would be back inside a situation where they struggled to communicate. What a dent to self-esteem that would be. Others seemed happy and contented.

Even though Demi is critical of her family, especially of her mum and her sister, Flawless, she knew in her heart that she was loved and cared for. If you have that in life, your chances of having healthy self-esteem are definitely better.

I felt cruel, at times, putting Demi through her paces. Here was my beautiful character, and here was I exposing her to some really harsh circumstances. But she had the goods from the start. She was smart and perceptive and these experiences ended up helping her to build her own, new identity and being able to understand that her own experience was part of the rich tapestry of life and not the tapestry itself.

I think that we all have to check ourselves at times. To celebrate the positives in life rather than focussing on negatives. To look around and embrace others and try to understand their journeys as well as our own. When we’re able to do that, it really affects our sense of self. It’s a continual doesn’t ever finish. Exhausting as that may sound, there is a flip side.

If you look at it glass half full it’s fascinating.

Thank you for the awesome guest post, Chrissie! Be sure to check out Chrissie's website and my review of Whisper, which was released on 1st July!


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