Hi, my name is Raquel Whiting Gilmer and I am a wife, daughter, aspiring mother (I don’t have any kids yet but I want them.), sister, friend, small group leader, lawyer, entrepreneur, confidant, advisor, blogger, twitter attempter, soon to be published author, and accepter of crumbs. Well, a recovering crumbs accepter. What’s a crumb accepter? Is it as bad as it sounds? It’s bad, but it’s preventable and curable.
Freedictionary.com defines a crumb as a small fragment, scrap, or portion. And it defines accepter as one who accepts. So a crumbs accepter is one who accepts small scraps. No bueno, right? How did I get like this? Well, I think my low self-esteem was the root cause of it. And I’ve learned that when your self-esteem is bad then you will accept anything including crumbs in all areas of your life. BTW, my biggest crumbs area was definitely my relationships with men.
Things are different now and I have committed myself to Live Crumbs Free. Live crumbs free? Yes, I am committed to not accepting crumbs in any area of my life. But to get to this point, I had to do some work. I first had to work on my self-esteem. And after lots of therapy I got to a place where not only did I have high self-esteem but I started a website, www.perfectlyme.com, and a girls’ program, Perfectly Me Girls to encourage other women and girls to embrace and love who they are and not judge themselves by the world’s standards. Our motto is I’m not perfect, I’m just Perfectly Me.
Once my self-esteem was on the rise, I could start to look at the crumbs in my life. And I knew I had to deal with my personal crumbs and I’m happy to report that after many failed relationships and mounds of crumbs, I met the love of my life and married him. Yay!!! I have the full meal and then some now and it has changed my life. I want everyone to have that full meal and I know how bad the crumbs are so I’ve written my first novel about a woman struggling with relationships who finally figures out that Crumbs Aren’t Enough. I hope you will read my blog at www.raquelwhiting.com, check out my novel, and follow me on twitter, @perfectlyraquel, as I dole out advice and wisdom (my limited wisdom) on keeping your self-esteem high and getting rid of the crumbs.
Could you please tell us a little about your book?
It’s a fun book with some great life lessons.
Crumbs Aren’t Enough is a novel about Charlie Bennett – an accepter of crumbs. Crumbs, scraps, the proverbial bone that occasionally gets tossed her way – you get it.
But Charlie’s on a mission to change all that. She wants to feel better about herself and get married. By the time she’s 30. Which is coming up fast . . .
By all accounts, this shouldn’t be hard. Well the “feeling better about herself” shouldn’t be hard, anyway, since she is one awesome woman. Right? She’s smart, funny, successful, the life of the party, and she has great friends.
So why doesn’t she feel good about herself? She thinks she’s too fat, and because of her low self-esteem, she has the absolute worst luck with men. Guys have lied to her, cheated on her, and dumped her. Her poor choices in men have left Charlie feeling fat, fretful, and fed up.
All seems lost for her as she approaches her 30th birthday with a self-imposed marriage deadline and no prospects, until she meets Jack Hudson. Jack is really good looking, nice, smart, and best of all he seems to really like Charlie with all her imperfections – even her not so nice alter ego, Crazy Charlie. As their relationship develops, Charlie thinks Jack “could be the one.” She goes into therapy worried that she may mess up the relationship and lost her last chance at happiness.
The novel goes through the therapy process with Charlie.
Who or what is the inspiration behind this book?
My biggest inspiration for writing this book was my own personal relationship challenges. Like Charlie, the main character, I accepted a lot of crumbs from men who I dated. I had lots of crappy relationships and I couldn’t figure out why. This went on for years. I wanted to have a great relationship, I wanted to get married, but I couldn’t seem to attract the right guys or develop positive romantic relationships.
Then, I found an amazing therapist and she changed my life. Throughout the therapy process, I learned that a big part of my problem was I didn’t think “I was good enough.” Not even good enough for the crappy men I was dating!
This feeling was the direct result of my low self-esteem. My self-esteem was low for lots of reasons and if you are interested in hearing more please contact me at raquelwhiting.com. But, needless to say I didn’t feel good about myself and that needed to change. I needed to build myself up before I could even think about getting in any romantic relationships.
When I finally got to that place of feeling good about myself and knowing that I actually was “good enough,” I could start attracting the right relationships. I don’t think I was alone in this struggle. In fact, I’ve watched some of my friends go through the same battle.
So I wanted to share some of the lessons I learned during my journey to self-love and acceptance with other women. I want other women who are in crappy relationships to know that there is a different way. They can have better relationships and they should demand them.
I’ve had people ask me why I didn’t write a self-help book or a memoir instead of a novel. My answer is always the same - while I am passionate about helping women feel better about themselves and hence attract the right relationships, I am not an expert and I don’t ever want to give people the impression that I have all the answers. But, I believe I am a great storyteller and I hope the story that is weaved in Crumbs Aren’t Enough will help other women get to the place where they are seeking out the best relationships.
I hope women can relate with Charlie and learn from her clear mistakes. She is such a fun woman and she is easy to love and when you love her, you want the best for her.
What cause are you most passionate about and why?
I am most passionate about helping girls and women develop better self-esteem.
I believe that your self-esteem is the root cause of most decisions you make. If you have a positive perception of yourself, you will make good decisions for yourself and those decisions will be made from a position of abundance not scarcity.
When you have low self-esteem it is very hard to see through that cloud which makes it difficult to figure out what you want, why you want it, and is it best for you. Like Charlie, your low self-esteem may lead you down a path where you continue to date a guy who is cheating on you because you think this is the best you deserve or you are afraid to leave because you don’t want to end up alone.
While Crumbs Aren’t Enough deals specifically with self-esteem and relationships, there are a lot of areas where low self-esteem can damage your life.
I personally believe girls and women are impacted the most by self-esteem issues so six years ago, I started a website – www.perfectlyme.com – and a girls program – www.perfectlymegirls.com. Both endeavors are part of my plan to help combat self-esteem issues. I’ve run programs in schools and community organizations hoping to have a positive impact.
What are you currently working on?
I’m working on the second novel in the “No More Crumbs” Charlie Bennett series -- Crumbs Aren’t Enough is just the first part of Charlie’s journey.
I don’t want to give anything away for those who haven’t read Crumbs Aren’t Enough yet, but it is just the first step in her story.
It’s funny, now that people are finishing the novel, I’ve been asked when the next novel is coming out, which makes me happy but puts the pressure on. They just can’t wait to get back into Charlie’s world.
Is there an author that inspired you to write?
Emily Giffin actually inspired me to start writing. I read Something Borrowed and absolutely loved it. I then started reading other Chick Lit novels and fell in love with the genre. Emily Giffin is definitely my favorite. I first read her novels around the same time that I started building my perfectlyme self-esteem programs.
As I thought about how to share the message with more women, I had on my heart to write a Chick Lit novel that was funny and engaging, but also dealt with this important issue with which so many women struggle. I love Emily Giffin’s style and it definitely influenced my writing. I remember staying up all night to find out what was going to happen between Dex and Rachel. I wanted people to feel the same way reading Crumbs Aren’t Enough.
One of the best compliments I’ve received was when one of my readers said that my style was similar to Emily’s. I was over the moon because I had hoped to draw readers into my characters the same way that I was drawn in to Rachel and Darcy’s worlds in Something Borrowed and Something Blue. Emily Giffin also inspired me because she’s a former lawyer, who figured out how to turn her passion into a full-time career, which is my aspiration.
Are you a different person now than you were 5 years ago? In what way/s?
Am I different than I was five years ago? That’s a very interesting question and hard to answer. It makes me think about a story a friend of mine shared from her travels to Vietnam. She said whenever she asked if something was comparable to something else – for instance if she were trying new food – they would tell her “same, same but different.”
That’s how I feel “same, same but different.” I am definitely the same person with the same passion, values, and energy, but I am in a different place in my life than I was five years ago.
First off, five years ago, I had just finished my second draft of Crumbs Aren’t Enough and in fact it had a different title. If you are interested in reading the backstory, check out Behind the Pages on www.raquelwhiting.com. You can read all about the first drafts and the previous title. I was also single with absolutely no prospects but desperate to find the right guy. I had just started a new job working in education that I was really excited about and was convinced this was my long-term career path.
Things are definitely different now. I’ve published my first novel after six drafts. Funny thing, I thought I was finished after that second one. Ha Ha! The joke was definitely on me. I’m working on the first draft of my second novel. If you told me five years ago that I would be writing a second novel, I would have laughed in your face. I didn’t have in mind that there would be three novels about Charlie Bennett. But, here I am today with the plan to continue her story. See, I thought I was on my career path and never thought I would have any interest in pursuing writing full time but now that’s exactly what I want to do. That’s very different.
Personally things are different too. Five years ago, I knew what I wanted in a personal relationship and I am happy to say I waited for it and got it. I’m married to the love of my life, Michael. I met him after I committed myself to my #nocrumbs approach to relationships. I have to tell you I have the full meal that I deserve now and it’s great. I hope you will indulge me as I digress for a minute, I wake up every morning thankful for him and I couldn’t be happier personally. So I’m same, same but different.