It’s no secret that I’ve struggled to accept myself for most of my life, only choosing to [finally] accept and love myself in my late 30’s.
Having spent most of my life beating myself up due to my self-perceived imperfections and echoes of cat-calls, nicknames, and insults from bullies and some truly horrible people, loving myself was hard to come by but I am happy to pronounce that the battle has now been [mostly] won. With only the odd day of body bashing and self-criticism these days, I now spend more days loving myself rather than torturing and hating myself.
Traces of I
That’s why ‘Traces of I’, written by Tracy Kiss, touched me so. Finding herself on the verge of her thirties and still struggling with confidence issues as a result of childhood bullying, April embarks on a journey of self-analysis and self-discovery, love, heartbreak and growth, and – just as in real life – the journey ain’t easy.
I see a lot of myself in April. An introvert and deep down a hopeless romantic who never considered herself as beautiful, I empathised with her behaviour, drunken escapades, quirkiness, and desire to change her external appearance. But as April discovers, when you try to change yourself, not everyone likes it.
As April discovers, the most important question to ask yourself is who are you changing yourself for because changing yourself for someone else always ends in unhappiness for someone, be it yourself, your boyfriend or husband, your family or friends or even someone you don’t know. This was something I could strongly relate to as after years of trying to change myself to please other people, including ‘slutting’ myself up by wearing tight tops and short skirts, dying my hair, and drinking way too much, I had to face some home truths. Seriously, dressing and acting to please others was getting me nowhere (well…it depends on who you listen to). It was only making me more and more depressed and anxious. Sure, I felt beautiful for a time, but that usually only lasted until the hangover kicked in or the lights went up.
Traces of I is a quick and easy read, perfect to sit down with a cuppa when you have a few quiet hours, with a subject matter and characters both men and women can relate to, and I won’t give away the ending to Traces of I – I’ll admit it surprised me, but that’s okay as life always takes unexpected twists and turns!
I’ll leave you with these poignant words that lingered with me after finishing Traces of I:
Sometimes things happen for a reason, to change us, make us or break us and it doesn’t matter what we have to go through in life to get there, but the fact that we’re still standing at the end of it all is what counts.