Body image problems? Read Destiny Allison’s memoir

I’m excited. I’m one of the chosen few to participate in a pre-launch blog tour to introduce my readers to Destiny Allison. Her memoir, The Romance Diet: Body Image and the Wars We Wage On Ourselves, is her fourth book and due for release in January 2016.

This is my chance to publicize this memoir right at the beginning because I know Allison is gearing up for some big publicity, which will include virtual tours and exposure in some of the leading print magazines. You have a chance to get in right at the beginning! You can say, you read all about it on Choices first.

The Romance Diet cover draft(1)

Also, Allison has written a post especially for us, which she tied into an earlier post here about Margaret Atwood’s brilliant novel, The Handmaid’s Tale.

Questioning the Behaviors We Deem Acceptable

By Destiny Allison

Thanks for having me on your blog today, Madeline. I enjoyed your post about The Handmaid’s Tale. It is one of my all time favorite books and first introduced me to the plight of women past and present. The heroine’s reduction from a strong, independent woman to a pair of ovaries is as relevant a topic now as it was then.

The only people who don’t believe there’s a war on women are those waging it. We see it everywhere – from the loss of access to women’s health providers to campus sexual assault. Three women a day are murdered in the United States by men they once loved. Statistics are staggering.

The Handmaid’s Tale does an excellent job of illuminating the tactics used against us in this war. We are powerless to defend ourselves when we feel afraid, ashamed, and without value.

These tactics work in tandem to make us invisible. In some cultures, laws regulating how women dress and behave make obvious the intention. In our culture, invisibility is perpetrated more subtly. We’re ignored or interrupted when we speak. Our feelings are trivialized as excessive and unwarranted. When we demand attention we’re called crazy, bitchy, or bossy. Families come home in the evening and ask “what’s for dinner?” instead of “how was your day?” Many of us are isolated at work and home, even when we’re with people we love and respect because war tactics are disguised as cultural norms.

Brené Brown describes the effects of these tactics on women in her book, I Thought it was Just Me. She says, “In the extreme, psychological isolation can lead to a sense of hopelessness and desperation.” As in The Handmaid’s Tale, this hopelessness and desperation can make us do almost anything.

It’s a method of control so powerful we’re willing to accept the crumbs of men’s physical desire as a substitute for our own worth. We want to be wanted more often than we want to value ourselves, speak up, or lean in. This creates a unique conundrum that makes women their own enemy.

Because we police ourselves, making sure that we and the women around us don’t appear too ambitious, direct, or outspoken, men seldom have to “put us in our places.” It’s only when we get uppity, or challenge cultural conventions, that we actually feel the sting of the weapons used against us.

In my upcoming memoir, The Romance Diet: Body Image and the Wars We Wage on Ourselves, I chronicle my husband’s and my journey through weight loss. Losing weight proved relatively easy and fun, but it surfaced problems in our marriage previously undetected. Our “normal” behavior was actually a ticking bomb. I hadn’t really noticed how invisible I had been until my weight loss started attracting attention. Then, as I became more conventionally attractive, I felt even more invisible because I was only seen as a sexual object or the property of my husband.

My husband is an amazing man and the love of my life. And yet he, too, contributed to my invisibility in ways neither of us had recognized. He never meant to make me feel invisible when he decided to have his business meetings in my store instead of his own messy office, but he did. I accepted that behavior and contributed to my plight by silencing myself. Expressing frustration might lead to a nasty fight. I wouldn’t risk that. It was easier, and safer, to let it slide.

If we are to avoid a Handmaid’s Tale reality, if we are to win the war, we have to question the behaviors we deem acceptable. When we learn to recognize the tactics of psychological warfare we become empowered to fight back. Love will win this war – love of ourselves, each other, and our communities at large – but for that to happen we must take risks, raise our voices, and refuse to be made invisible again.

***

About The Romance Diet:

Destiny Allison’s memoir recounts how Allison’s journey of losing weight took an unexpected turn.

After health issues robbed Allison of her sculpting, her income, and her identity, she gained weight—until that weight also became a threat. She became determined to win back her health.  As the weight fell away, she found herself having to confront the buried trauma of a rape that happened when she was nineteen, and her marriage almost collapsed. She has emerged with a new determination to address the issues of body image, self-esteem, and the roles women play in society.

Brave, raw, and unflinchingly honest, this book is a weight loss journey, a love story, a heart beating loudly on the page. Every day we battle against something—injustice, our spouses, our weight. Seldom do we acknowledge the real wars we wage. Repressing feelings and silencing our voices, we suffer under the surface, attributing emotional distress and unwanted pounds to the inescapable effects of hormones or age.

But weight gain, anxiety, and marital difficulties aren’t always so easy to explain.

In her poignant and touching memoir, Allison doesn’t offer recipes, exercise tips, or advice. Instead, she shows us how to stand up, express what we want, and develop empathy for ourselves and the people we love. In doing so, she provides invaluable insight for those seeking to lose weight, save a marriage, or make a significant life change.

The Romance Diet: Body Image and the Wars We Wage On Ourselves by Destiny Allison
Sunstone Press (January 18, 2016)
Pre-Order at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Romance-Diet-Body-Image-Ourselves/dp/1632930900/
Read a Sample: https://shapingdestinybook.files.wordpress.com/2015/10/the-romance-diet_first-3-chapters.pdf

About the author:

Destiny Sepia ToneDestiny Allison has been a professional and award-winning sculptor with her work collected by individuals, civic entities, and corporations worldwide. When an injury required her to re-envision her life, Allison did what she always does. She applied her explosive creativity and dog-with-a-bone tenacity to new endeavors such as community building efforts and developing an innovative business model that transformed a bankrupt shopping center into a thriving community and commercial center. In 2011 she was named Santa Fe Business Woman of the Year.

She has also published a non-fiction book, Shaping Destiny: A Quest for Meaning in Art and Life that won best independent non-fiction/memoir in the 2013 Global Book Awards. Since then, she has published two novels and opened a general store.

Destiny writes, “Seldom do we acknowledge the real wars we wage. Repressing feelings and silencing our voices, we suffer under the surface, attributing emotional distress and unwanted pounds to the inescapable effects of hormones or age, but weight gain and marital difficulties aren’t always so easy to explain. We need to talk about the small things that eat at us, speak honestly about our feelings and experiences, and learn to abandon the cultural conventions that imprison our souls. My story is not uncommon. In sharing it, I hope readers are inspired. It is my great wish that the book will help women and the men who love them find peace with themselves.”

Destiny Allison writes books that stay with you long after you’ve finished reading them. If you’re looking for a good romance, a fast who done it, or a fun, sci-fi adventure, you might consider looking elsewhere. While Destiny loves to read them, she doesn’t write them. Instead, she pulls the best elements from each, adds fresh ideas, raw emotions, and powerful imagery to create characters and stories you won’t forget.

I hope all of you will get on the bandwagon and read an advance copy of The Romance Diet. Who doesn’t relate to the stressors and joys of losing weight?

Comments

  1. Thanks so much for having me on your blog today, Madeline. I also appreciated the kind comments about The Romance Diet. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

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