Today I’m sharing my interview with author Uvi Poznansky. Uvi invited me over to her blog to talk about my book Words We Carry and share my thoughts on the book and the subject matter, self-esteem.
Your writing encompasses stories taken from events you encountered in your own life, and the lessons you took from them. What event in particular became the central inspiration for this book?
This book is a compilation of essays encompassing the core essence of self-esteem. I talk about my own experiences in different time periods, about hurtful words from childhood and how they impact our lives as we mature and how they can result into the choices in life we make as a result of a low self-esteem. I share some of the lessons and tools I used to overcome my own issues to help build my esteem and healthier relationships.
I love the title, Words We Carry. This title can mean the burden of the past, carried on by painful memories, but it can also mean carrying forward cherished moments. What does this title mean o you and how did you arrive at it?
The title came to me before the book was written. The stories involving incidents and snippets of my own insecurities, stem from my childhood, all evolving from my lack of self-esteem because of childhood teasing and a lack of emotional nurturing. Words that are said are hard to erase.
Unlike self-help books, Words We Carry is an intensely personal book. How do you find the courage to open up, especially with memories that are tender to the touch, and expose yourself to your readers?
Much of what I write in my books is self-help, only I use my own experiences from what I endured and share how I personally overcame my own shortcomings.
I’ve always considered myself a teacher of life lessons; what I gained in knowledge from an unpleasant situation, I felt compelled to share with others in hopes to help them with relatable situations. If you’re a truth-teller, leading by example from your own situations, you have to be able to bare your soul and put yourself out there. I couldn’t write books without demonstrating that I know things because I’ve lived them. The writing wouldn’t be the same if I just passed along stories without backing them up with my experiences. People relate more to situations when they are personal.
You ask, What do our shopping habits, high-heeled shoes, and big hair have to do with how we perceive ourselves? So tell us, What can we learn about ourselves by looking at the mirror?
We tend to be our own worst critics. Teasing and name calling only weakens an already fragile self-esteem. Even as we mature, when seeing our old familiar self in that mirror, after years of built up accumulated hurt and self-loathing, it can be difficult to see the positive changes physically that we’ve taken painstaking strides to look better if we don’t recognize that we’ve blossomed emotionally.
In my journey to seeking self-esteem, I was unhappy with my physical appearance and developed many crazy quirks to look better in efforts to feel better about myself. I found little tricks such as having bigger hair, helping to make me appear as though my body looked proportionately better with the volume of my hair balancing out my frame, and the added inches with wearing stilettos to look taller and compensate for some of my excess weight. These were fashion tips I’d learned about from magazines that helped me feel better about myself because my goal was to not have others make fun of me.
As I matured, I realized I had more work to do internally. I had to build up my inner self and learn to love myself for who I was as a person, not only for how I appeared on the outside. Only then could I look in a mirror and be proud of who I’d become, not only from my physical reflection, but from the person inside that reflection.
Tell us about your journey in writing, beginning as notes and cards you wrote for the people she loved, and culminating with the publication of five books.
I wrote ever since I can remember learning how to write. I was an inquisitive child who loved to ask questions, but was mostly afraid to. When I did get the nerve to ask questions at home, I never got satisfying answers. This carried on in school, not raising my hand to ask a question I may not have understood on a lesson because I was afraid my questions would seem trivial.
I had a lot of spirit and a lot of love in me that I had no outlet to express. The words ‘I love you’ were unfamiliar words to me, although I was too young to realize I needed to hear them, I wanted to tell them to those close to me. I wanted to tell my loved ones that I loved them, but it felt so foreign to me.
Writing became my place to store my emotions, thoughts, and desires – a place where I felt free to say what I wanted, and a place to share my thoughts privately with myself. I wrote little poems and gave them to my parents, grandparents, and some of my teachers when I wanted to say something in affection, or about my worrying thoughts, both of which I was uncomfortable doing verbally. Some were well received, some I was reprimanded for. I thought by sharing my heart in rhyme, it may disguise the underlying message in the prose.
I came from an ongoing broken home, desperately in need of affection. My mother didn’t always appreciate my little notes I left her. Instead of compassion or nurturing, she’d scream at me, telling me to mind my business. One note in particular stands out to me till this day. I was 8 years of age, and very sad that my father wasn’t living with us because she’d evicted him again. I left the note on the kitchen counter by the telephone for my mother to see as I left for school. The note said “I have a mother and I have a father, but I don’t have a mommy and a daddy.” It breaks my own heart thinking about it now. I came home from school that afternoon to a slap in the face and my angry mother telling me to mind my business, again.
School was my solace. There were a handful of teachers I had that seemed to have an empathy for me, the broken little child in their classroom. One in particular, in grade 2, Miss Jacobs, paid me special attention and I adored her. I made her special cards with loving words and poems and drew hearts all over the cards.
Give us an excerpt from your book.
Sure, this is from IDENTITY AND RIDICULE:
Searching within ourselves in an effort to discover our own identities begins when we’re young. We follow the examples of those who influence our lives, such as family and friends. Eventually, as we mature and our curiosities awaken, we begin to recognize how our personalities are developing. We formulate personal opinions and goals, which play an integral part in who we become. The influences around us usually determine the habits into which we tend to fall.
We pick up bad habits or inferiority complexes from our home environments or, later, from the friendships and other environments we choose. We eventually adapt to our habits, and as we age, either we take with us the negative baggage we’ve acquired since childhood or we become aware of it and endeavor to find resolution and better ourselves. The latter isn’t always so easy to accomplish. The lucky few who learn to overcome their inner struggles live peacefully within themselves, in time. Continue Reading . . .