What’s Wrong with Me, a new book by Daree Allen for girls and young women has just been released. Daree is on a blog book tour to let everyone know about the book. The Girl’s Guide to Swagger interviewed Daree on topics like confidence, clothing, and life purpose. Take a look at Daree’s inspirational thoughts on how to get more confidence and swagger in your life!
1. Can you tell me about what inspired you to write What’s Wrong with Me?
My life coach encouraged me to get started on the book a few years ago, but the deep need for me to write it came from the lost girl I used to be. I felt so misunderstood, sometimes unloved (although I was loved), I didn’t like myself or the way I looked, and I didn’t get attention I wanted from boys at school or my own father. I didn’t have a mentor to guide me and rely on, and although I became a Christian at age 10, I didn’t fully accept everything about what comes with a relationship with God. So all of these elements had a hand in motivating me to produce What’s Wrong with Me?
2. What part of the book are you most excited about?
I love bringing up the things that are supposedly taboo, or that people know is present but don’t want to admit (e.g., the proverbial “elephant in the room.” Don’t you know that once you expose something negative, it starts to lose its power?
Specifically, although it’s not exactly “exciting,” one of things I am proud of in this book is the battle I won with depression, as it relates to my daughter and her father. The African American community in particular likes to keep mental health issues on the hush, but I like to tell my story so that others won’t feel ashamed to admit when they’re deeply hurt, nor be afraid to work through their issues.
3. Who is the target audience for the book? Have you had any initial responses from your readers?
I wrote the book with teen girls in mind, and I have heard from teen girls that read it quickly (couldn’t put it down), and enjoyed it. I’m also hearing a great response from women in their 20s-40s (both mothers and childless women), who also strongly relate and identify with the concepts in the book, especially regarding relationships and self-esteem. I firmly believe that the issues I discuss in the book that are not resolved when you’re young follow you and often cause bigger issues into adulthood.
4. The Girl’s Guide to Swagger is focused on promoting confidence for girls and women – how does What’s Wrong with Me? deal with confidence?
As an extension of my answer in question 1, I talk about my insecurities as a girl/teen and give advice for how to handle that. For example, I didn’t care for my flat chest and big butt– according to what I saw on TV, my shape was not “in.” An hourglass shape (think Beyonce-Kim Kardashian-Nikki Minaj) was coveted. My hair was very thick and coarse– it wouldn’t stay straight for long even with a perm (relaxer). I talk about acceptance and how to turn those feelings around to consider not what is wrong with you (and who says, anyway?) but rather, what’s RIGHT with you.
5. How do you think confidence impacts the life experience for girls?
Confidence tells you that you can or can’t do something. Are you sure you can do that? Maybe not, but if you have confidence you’re willing to try, and you don’t beat yourself up if you don’t make it the first time. Make it a practice to affirm yourself no matter what your circumstances look like. Encourage yourself and if you’re not 100% confident about something, it’s ok to “fake it ’til you make it.”
6. How does the book fit in with your life purpose?
My life purpose–at least in this phase of my life–is to uplift and motivate girls and young women to be their best, to learn from their mistakes, and be empowered. I’ve spoken on motivational and empowerment topics for a long time, but I wanted to add a part of me–the book is partly a memoir–to offer at my speeches or workshops.
7. You wrote a guest blog for the swagger website called – “If you got it, flaunt it! Not so fast” How do you think clothing reflects a girl’s self-image?
Our clothes say a lot about us. It’s a form of expression even if you don’t mean for it to be. Your personality is not always reflected in the way you dress, but initially people judge you by your appearance–like it or not.
Most of have at least one piece of clothing or jewelry that we feel good wearing, and that’s ok. But you have to recognize whether you NEED to have it to feel good about yourself. This can even be extended to something like wigs. Even though technically they’re not clothing, you do put it on before going outside. Are you trying to impress someone else with what you have on, or do you wear it because YOU like it?
Some girls wear tight clothes to get attention from boys. Some get trendy clothes they see at the mall even if it doesn’t fit or flatter them, just because they like them or “that’s what’s in.” Some wear fashion based on the styles of their favorite celebrities. But everything isn’t for everybody. Whether you shop at K-Mart, Nordstrom’s or somewhere in between, you can keep it classy and not be trashy.
8. Any advice for the community of women who make up The Girl’s Guide to Swagger?
Females in our society have come a long way, but we have a long way to go. Girls need to see A) that other females in the world and their community are happy and successful with their lives, and B) feel that they too can accomplish anything. Women need to be those examples, but girls need to know that even if they don’t physically see anything like THEIR VISION, that doesn’t mean it can’t be done.
When you believe you can do something, nothing can stop you except you. But first you’ve got to believe it, then you create a plan, and you have to act on it. Every step of the way may not be smooth, but you will learn and grow because of it. And when you look back, you’ll see your progress. You may get tired, you may want to take a break (I certainly did both with this book!), but once you have your goal in mind, don’t stop until you get there!
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 www.dareesinsights.wordpress.com and www.DareeAllen.com.