“Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.” (Proverbs 31:30 NIV)
It seems that females in our society have an obsession with our presentation, to ourselves, to men, and everyone else. This can be easily illustrated with something familiar to most of us who own a working television: BravoTV’s “Housewives” franchise is riddled with groups of women whose reality TV lives revolve around designer clothes, expensive jewelry, cars, fine dining, wigs and weaves, dieting and liposuction–they are obsessed with how they look.
Where does this obsession come from? It doesn’t start with the TV shows, although the media doesn’t help. The media and American society train us to judge females on their looks. Ads target us to feel insecure and powerless without buying their product, and they are wildly successful. In addition, this obsession with beauty can also come from:-
family rituals passed down through generations
the opposite sex
our own insecurity and self-loathing
But there’s a difference between taking pride in your appearance being vain. Your attitude can make you glow or make you uglier/undesirable/unpleasant to be around. The choice is yours.
You are what you think. If you believe something is true, you act as such even if it’s not true. Take the example of a girl struggling with anorexia or obesity. She looks in the mirror and sees something different from what she actually is. Even some people who lose lots of weight still have the same emotions they had when they were overweight.
Forget who others say you are and how you should look. What do you like? What kind of clothes make you feel good when you put them on? What are your style preferences? Do you like your hair up or down? Straight or curly?
You don’t have to wait for someone to validate who you are. God made you, and He doesn’t make mistakes. Believe it, and go forth knowing that it’s true.
Daree Allen is an authorpreneur, young adult esteem advocate, speaker, and goal-getter in Atlanta, GA. She has published articles on a variety of topics as a freelance writer and blogger, and is the author of the new teen mentoring book entitled, “What’s Wrong With Me?” in which she discusses her own childhood dealing with self-esteem, premarital sex, family and personal relationships. Find out more about her work at Daree Allen or Daree’s Insights.
“What’s wrong with me?” Have you ever asked yourself that question? Chances are that at least some point you have. Author Daree Allen not only asked herself that question during her teen years, but she also filled many journals with her experiences. Recently, she reread the entries as part of her research for a book she wished to write to encourage girls to have self-esteem and to make a positive impact. The result is part self-help book and part mentoring book about the lessons Allen has learned. Despite some flaws, What’s Wrong With Me? is an inspirational and practical guide.
The strength of What’s Wrong With Me? lies in Allen’s personal approach. Almost every adolescent girl knows what it’s like to be teased for her appearance, whether it’s her hair or clothes or weight. So does Allen, especially because most of her clothes were made by her mother. Some friends were in awe; others teasingly asked if her mother made her underwear too. Most girls also know what it’s like to fight the bulge. So does Allen. She talks about how she used to hate exercise because it made her sweat: “I guess I didn’t mind being fat as long as I had pretty hair.” I could list several more examples, but these should suffice to show you that Allen knows how to relate to girls.
Allen then moves on to write about relationships, status, and other issues. For example, few of us feel that our families are perfect. As much as she loved her parents and siblings, Allen also recognizes how their failings impacted her. Being the middle child, she regularly felt caught in the middle. To this day, she alternates between staying to herself and acting as a peacemaker for the rest of her family. Part three, which is about status, was a difficult one for Allen to write. Here is where Allen shares her dating mistakes, her biggest of which was staying so long with Mike. Eight years older than her, he was separated but not divorced when Allen met him. Allen paid for his divorce so he could marry her, but the relationship did not last. About the experience, Allen writes, “I didn’t wait for God’s approval. I didn’t want to let go of the mate I wanted or to allow room for God to bring the me the kind of mate I needed.” Girls will appreciate Allen’s honesty and humanity.
Ironically, the weakness of What’s Wrong with Me? also lies with Allen’s personal approach. I commend her for limiting her coverage to topics she has personally experienced. However, I knock her for how often she relies solely on those personal experiences when giving advice, a presumptuous and sometimes dangerous practice for anyone. For example, when talking about weight, Allen criticizes traditional charts AND the body mass index. Apparently, because she feels good at 150 pounds but these measures tell her that she’s overweight, then the measures are wrong. They might be, but Allen needs a better reason. Still on the issue of weight, she offers the important advice that girls shouldn’t focus on celebrities when thinking about their appearance. Unfortunately, then she claims that girls shouldn’t look at models because the average American woman wears a size 14. Celebrities might be too thin, but America is also an overweight nation, and so neither provide girls with the right image. Then there is her approach to relationships. While I agree that girls should not rush into marriage, Allen seems to promote being single over ever getting married. Positive stories of married couples would have provided a more balanced perspective. These are just a few examples of where depending more on statistical data and/or compiled histories might have helped.
Aside from Allen’s personal approach, my reaction to other features are mixed. Allen writes that readers won’t find help in her book for abortion, rape, or molestation, death of a family member or friend, or blended families. I’m not sure why she needed that list. No one guide can cover everything. To her credit, however, Allen does provide a list of resources for getting help with some pretty big issues that she didn’t cover. For example, she includes hotline numbers for eating disorders, depression, and suicide. Almost every chapter also includes suggested reading, even covering topics with which she has less expertise. Having struggled with pre-marital sex, Allen is able to write passionately about what’s wrong with it and the benefits of abstinence. But because she can’t write from the perspective of someone who actually practiced abstinence, she instead recommends authors who can. As you can see, I appreciate how much Allen tried to cover. I also like most of her tip charts and reading lists. My favorite chart is the one about how to know what type of clothes to wear. Ironically, despite encouraging girls not to choose celebrities for their role models, many of her book suggestions are written by those in the entertainment industry.
Allen wrote What’s Wrong with Me? out of a desire to be a role model to girls. While I suspect that many of them will (as she did) turn to their peers instead of adults, I applaud her attempt. Girls need all the help they can get making the transition to adulthood.
My rating? Read it: Borrow from your library or a friend. It’s worth your time.
Book tour time again! From January 9 to March 1, Daree Allen will appear on thirty-five different blogs and websites as part of her official “What’s Wrong With Me?” blog tour! You can find a list of hosts with their links and features on the right-hand side of my blog.
Daily Teaser Archives
Writing has always been part of Daree Allen’s life. She wrote short stories for fun and in high school even filled out a few composition books writing a soap opera for her friends. Papers were the best part of her university work. Like me, she enjoys collecting and organizing research. Since that time, she has been a contributing writing for several magazines and blogs. Her perseverance paid off! Allen has recently received some kudos for her writing work. In 2009, she was one of the twenty-five essayists selected to have their work appear in Rev. Dr. John E. Guns’ devotional book, Journey to Wholeness: The Immersion. In 2010, Allen was one of the top 100 winners of the Writer’s Digest 79th Annual Writing Competition in the Magazine Feature Writing category. Tomorrow I’ll share some trivia about other aspects of her life.
Slated for release on Valentine’s Day, Allen’s book What’s Wrong With Me? is a mentoring book for teen girls. Part memoir and part self-help, the book encourages girls to embrace their uniqueness and to learn to love themselves. After a session, Allen had in 2008 with her life coach, she started compiling stories from journal entries that she has kept since age thirteen. With the publication of What’s Wrong With Me? Allen hopes to help other young women who struggle with issues of self-esteem and coming of age.
As you can see, through my teasers this week, I’ll introduce you to Daree Allen and her first book. Of course, on Saturday, I’ll share my thoughts about What’s Wrong With Me?. On Sunday, I’ll be fortunate enough to share a guest post from Allen. As a bonus, after my review is posted, Allen will be available to answer questions. Come join me all week!
Do you like to set goals? On the right-hand column of Daree Allen’s Insights blog, she lists her regular topics in a wordle format. (Wordle is a tool for generating “word clouds” from text that you provide.) One of those topics is goals. Allen considers herself to be someone who sets and achieves goals.
Some of her goals for this upcoming year are:
Build a minimum 6-month emergency fund
Join the NSA Academy (for aspiring professional speakers)
What are some of your goals? One of mine is to finish a Teaching of Writing certification. I’m half finished!
What are some of your accomplishments? Every month, my husband and I publish a family newsletter. Then at the end of the year, we compile the best entries into an annual highlights newsletter.
What are some of your gusty changes? In 1998, I moved from Canada to the United States for work and love. Now I’m happily married.
Have you ever been in a situation where you needed to evaluate someone’s performance? How do you handle giving feedback?
Image via Wikipedia
Besides writing, Daree Allen also presents. To help with her speech skills, Allen participates in Toastmasters. On her blog, she shared some insights that she learned from the educational conferences at a Toastmasters Regional Conference. I liked her notes about a couple of those presentations, because the advice given could apply to any critique situation.
Finding Joy in Evaluation, Speaker Joy Lewis
“Tell and Sell”: The evaluator simply gives recommendations and comments without any feedback.
“Tell and Listen”: The speaker gets to respond to the evaluator’s comments and recommendations.
“Problem-Solving Method”: The evaluator asks the speaker to share their concerns before the speech. During the evaluation, the evaluator identifies the speaker’s strengths and problem areas by asking non-threatening questions.
Mental Flexibility, Speaker Kevin Spaulding
The PIN model: List and consider the Positive, Interesting, and Negative aspects of the statement or idea
The HELP model: The acronym stands for Humor, Engage with a child, Let it go, and Practice doing things differently
For me as a writer, my husband is my first critic. He reads my writing in stages. Initially, he reads just to get the big picture. He tells me if my manuscript holds his interest and what he likes or does not like. From this feedback, I know whether to invest more time in this manuscript. The next time, he reads to understand the structure. He pinpoints areas which make sense or which confused him. From this feedback, I know how to revamp my organization. Last, he reads to evaluate the style. Basically, he rips it apart how I phrase things. By this point, I am ready to see corrections all over my precious manuscript, because I believe in what I have written. Now, I want to make my manuscript the best I can.
What are some of your experiences?
Have you ever wondered “What’s wrong with me?” Daree Allen says that her book title came to her while on the phone with an old friend. She was talking about the contents of her book’s contents, and her self-doubts. Her friend wasn’t actually trying to help her come up with a title. However, when he used the phrase “What’s wrong with me?” with regard to someone’s feelings, Allen stopped him. That was the perfect title!
How do you feel about book trailers and video promotions? Do you use them? Are they easy or hard to make? Should I include more or less of them?
Tomorrow I will review What’s Wrong with Me? by Daree Allen. If you haven’t checked out her tour yet, you can find a list of hosts with their links and features on the right-hand side of my blog. For now, I will leave you with a sneak peek by including a couple of Allen’s videos on topics related to her book.
Américas Award for Children’s & Young Adult Literature
CLASP founded the Américas Award in 1993 to encourage and commend authors, illustrators and publishers who produce quality children’s and young adult books that portray Latin America, the Caribbean, or Latinos in the United States.
The Caldecott Medal was named in honor of nineteenth-century English illustrator Randolph Caldecott. It is awarded annually to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children.
The Carnegie Medal is awarded annually to the writer of an outstanding book for children. It was established by in 1936, in memory of the great Scottish-born philanthropist, Andrew Carnegie.
The Christy Awards are awarded each year to recognize novels of excellence written from a Christian worldview.
Coretta Scott King Award
The Coretta Scott King Book Award titles promote understanding and appreciation of the culture of all peoples. It is given to African American authors and illustrator.
children and young adult blogger literacy awards
Dolly Gray Children’s Literature Award
The Dolly Gray Children’s Literature Award was initiated in 2000 to recognize authors, illustrators, and publishers of high quality fictional and biographical children, intermediate, and young adult books that appropriately portray individuals with deve
Hans Christian Anderson Award
The Hans Christian Andersen Awards is given to a living author and illustrator whose complete works have made a lasting contribution to children’s literature. The award is the highest international recognition an author can receive.
Kate Greenaway Medal
The Kate Greenaway Medal was established in 1955, for distinguished illustration in a book for children. It is named after the popular nineteenth century artist known for her fine children’s illustrations and designs.
Middle East Book Award
The Middle East Book Award recognizes quality books for children and young adults that contribute meaningfully to an understanding of the Middle East and its component societies and cultures.
Mythopoeic Fantasy Award
Honors fantasy books for younger readers, in the tradition of The Hobbit or The Chronicles of Narnia
Newbery Medal Award
The Newbery Medal was named for eighteenth-century British bookseller John Newbery. It is awarded annually to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.
Pura Belpré Award
The award is named after Pura Belpré, the first Latina librarian at the New York Public Library. It is presented annually to a Latino/Latina writer and illustrator whose work best portrays, affirms, and celebrates the Latino experience.
Red House Book Award
The Red House Children’s Book Award is a series of literary prizes for works of children’s literature published during the previous year in England.
Sydney Taylor Award
The Sydney Taylor Book Award is presented annually to outstanding books for children and teens that authentically portray the Jewish experience.