One of the underlying issues for my main character in Ameera Unveiled, is feeling like she is never in control. She resolves to face childhood forbidden zones as she enters an empty-nester zone, but this isn’t always easy. Trying something new is never easy, especially when we haven’t been raised to embrace the unknown.
Some readers have resonated with Ameera’s internalization and self doubts. Others tip their heads and say, “What’s the big deal?”
In that I grew up with many social and gender stigmas as a baby boomer, it is a big deal. As the author, I chose to use a belly dancing class as a catalyst to raise her comfort zone bar. Combined with the instructor who would not take ‘no’ from her students, this produced a lot of internal, wide-eyed panic moments for Ameera.
There are many factors that contribute to how someone handles those What the Fudge moments, when elements of coping skills crop up. Nervous laughter, red faces (or in my world humor) are often what we fall back on in the midst of panic on the inside. I’ve even known acquaintances that have flipped their insecurity by publicly humiliating employees or co-workers. But I wasn’t raised by my Navy parents to exchange teamwork for self confidence. We all fall short on some level sometimes, but hopefully respect and acceptance of each other’s moments are key to maintaining healthy bonds.
So, as I get comments on Ameera’s journey to bust through her fears and find healthy female bonds– it gives me another challenge to face criticism. I admit to a thin skin but I always have a well oiled funny bone. My sisters and I survived many monkey wrenches throughout our childhood using humor. There are still many “I almost (did) wet my pants moments.”
I admire women that were given the you go girl message growing up… but for me, I’ve had to fight through the clutter to arrive at that message, and I still need the occasional reminder. Hopefully my journey has blazed the glittery trail for others to hear you go girl.