Our culture bombards women with “thinspiration” messages and pressure to “do it all” while wearing the mask of perfection. Women are left feeling alone and overwhelmed. How can they stop comparing themselves to others? How can they live out who they really are?
Tells us a bit about your book—what inspired you to write it?
“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.” ― Wendy Mass, The Candymakers
This quote inspired me. After I wrote my first book, Table in the Darkness: A Healing Journey Through an Eating Disorder, I was terrified to put my most vulnerable parts of my life out into the world. I was so scared mostly of women, how they would judge me, look at me and criticize me.
Yet, when I saw these women in the grocery store or at my child’s school, I made judgements and assumptions of their seemingly perfect life. What I found was the OPPOSITE. So many women came out of the woodwork to share some of their deepest pains and hurts.
I want to break down these barriers of comparing and despairing that we as women get trapped into and instead encourage women to cultivate connection and community through being real and vulnerable with our pain.
“Friendship … is born at the moment when one man says to another “What! You too? I thought that no one but myself . . .” ― C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves
What is the main message of your book?
I want women to be encouraged to be the people God created them to be. When we fully accept ourselves and our stories, we no longer become jealous and critical of one another. I want women to celebrate their own uniqueness and beauty and when they (myself included) can do that, it frees them up to no longer compare and compete, but to cheer one another on. To say, “You Go Girl!”
What was the hardest part about writing nonfiction?
For me the hardest part has been the vulnerable sharing of my own life with the world. I often feel like I am standing naked and asking people to look at my naked self all raw and vulnerable. But, if it brings others closer to healing, growth and a relationship with their creator than I will do it again and again a million times over.
What is one thing you learned while writing Brave is the New Beautiful?
I found it is challenging to write about what I am currently learning in my own life, vs. writing about the past (memoir). I wrote this book about bravery and then all of these opportunities present themselves in my own life where I have to be brave. Ironic, huh? And I know I can’t get on stage, or continue to write and speak about bravery and beauty if I am not living this out in my own life. I am challenging myself while challenging others and it isn’t easy. But oh so worth it!
Do you have any advice for those interested in writing nonfiction?
I began with a simple idea over thirteen years ago, I wanted to write my story. I had no experience or reason to think I could do so. I immersed myself in everything possible, writing classes, reading veraciously (which I have always done), I joined a writing group, went to writing conferences and sat my behind in the chair to write . . . EVERY DAY. I also was working and raising three boys, but I continued to feel this urging on my heart to write. So I did. It is rarely easy, but you have to commit yourself to the craft and practice practice practice until you find your voice. I now love writing so much as it has become a spiritual practice for me.
What are you working on next?
Oh goodness. No idea. I hadn’t even really planned on writing Brave! I just am trusting God to lead me to the next right thing :).