Learning to love my body has been a journey. I didn’t want to live in her, much less learn to love her. In this collection of personal essays, I dig into the complex relationship I have with parts of my body by writing love letters to them.
“My imperfections are always more beautiful than hiding behind a veneer.”
“I dropped the heavy bag of ‘should’ I carried around for much too long.”
“Your softness, your fullness, your capacity for creation fills me with awe.”
Even though our stories and experiences are different, I bet you’ll catch glimpses of yourself here. My hope is that reading these letters will make you curious about your own relationship with your body. And if after reading and reflecting on your own body, you’re a smidge closer to accepting your body just as it is, know that I’m cheering so loudly for you.
Nicole C. Ayers
Love Letters to My Body: Writing My Way (Self-)Love is a collection of personal essays that takes readers through the nuanced relationship I have with my body. But because women universally struggle with body image and self-acceptance, readers will catch glimpses of themselves in my stories.
Author name: Nicole C. Ayers
Book title: Love Letters to My Body: Writing My Way to (Self-)Love
Genre: juxtaposed between memoir and self-help
Launch date: February 21, 2020
Tell us something about yourself that not many people know.
I had fantasies of being a pilot when I was a little girl.
Why did you choose the themes in your book and were you aware of them from the outset?
Love Letters was born out of my first manuscript, Love Notes to My Body. I was writing love notes to various body parts, in an attempt to learn to love my body, from my crow’s-feet to my pinky toes, and some of those notes got longer and longer. Their tone shifted from gratitude and celebration to something more nuanced. Eventually, they turned into love “letters”, where I was able to dig deeper into the grittier parts of my journey to accept and love myself.
How difficult was it for you to write this book? Did you face any obstacles?
It was very hard and also one of the easiest things I’ve ever done. It was difficult to be so vulnerable on the page, knowing that strangers (and loved ones) would “see” me. There were plenty of writing sessions where I cried. And discerning which stories were for sharing and which were just for me was tricky. But opening my heart and giving myself permission to tell the truth meant that I would sit down and the words would show up, every time. I often felt like a conduit for my divine muse.
What would you do differently next time?
I think I’d only publish one book instead of three at the same time. Ha! Three books made publishing intense. But that’s how they unfolded, so honestly, I’d do it again if that’s what felt like the right move.
With hindsight, what would you say to yourself as a fledgling writer?
You kept going, and you did this very hard thing. I am so proud of you! Your voice is powerful, and you have stories to tell that people want to read.
If you worked with a professional editor, what was the experience like?
I worked with three different editors, and it was joy, joy, joy to partner with each of them. My developmental and line editor helped me shape these essays into the strongest, truest versions they could be. And both of my proofreaders polished the manuscript in ways that I could not manage on my own.
Nicole C. Ayers has been playing with words as long as she can remember. While she’s held many jobs in her life, including stints as a server, camp counsellor, telemarketer, print-shop lackey, bartender, and teacher, editing at Ayers Edits was her favourite, because she combined her love of reading with the fun of wordplay, until she added writer to this list. Now it would be hard to convince her there’s anything better than telling her own stories.
Nicole is the author of Love Notes to My Body and the companion books, Love Letters to My Body: Writing My Way to (Self-)Love and Writing Your Way to (Self-)Love: A Guided Journal to Help You Love Your Body, One Part at a Time (SPARK Publications, 2020).