Body image, self acceptance, gender identity, and consent are important issues young people are grappling with every day. Natalie Grigson explores these complicated issues in her new book, Call Me Perfect: A Book on Body Love, written for kids and teens. This book – part story, part workbook – is the sequel to Just Call Me Is. This unique little book covers all things body image and includes real body photos. Natalie is working to create a culture of dignity around self love and we are proud to support her message.
Natalie just launched a Kickstarter campaign to make this book a reality and could use your help! Watch her video and check out an excerpt from the book below.
And even if sometimes you feel like you have to be perfect—you have to go on a diet, you have to be prettier, more handsome, stronger, less gangly, taller, have better ears—whatever—YOU are already perfect, just as you are.
Now, I’m sure you’ve heard these things before—maybe from your parents or a teacher. And I’m sure you’ve heard the opposite before—that you’re fat, ugly, unlovable, not good enough. Maybe you’ve heard it from kids at school, from the messages you get every day from television or magazines, or even from yourself when you look in the mirror.
I know that you’ve heard them before, because all this time, I’ve been here with you—your Inner Self—just listening.
I’m Is. Some of you guys might have met me before when I introduced myself in a little book called Just Call Me Is (clever title, I know.) It was an introduction to mindfulness, which don’t worry, I’ll get into plenty here.
This time, though, I thought we’d take a different tack. Because as your Inner Self, I am also the Inner Self of oh, just like, everybody else in the world. See, we are all made up of the same stuff: energy. It’s your soul, your consciousness, The Universe—whatever you want to call it, it’s energy. It’s me. It’s you. It’s that kid in your class that laughs really loud; it’s the girl you think is so pretty that it hurts; it’s everyone.
And as your Inner Self, I know that body image is on your mind A LOT. Just as much as it was on Margery’s mind (who you’ll meet in a minute.) Just as it’s on the kid in your class’s mind, and even on the mind of the prettiest girl in school.
So, you and me—we’re gonna have a talk about it. Don’t worry, no one else needs to read this, or the notes that you make in the back of the book. And don’t worry, I won’t tell anyone that this is something you’re struggling with.
But just know, you are NOT alone. More kids struggle with thoughts like “I am too fat” or “I’m not good looking enough” than anything else. Believe me, I know.
Especially kids like Margery.
And this is how her story goes.
Once upon a time there was a girl named Margery—Okay, okay. I won’t bore you with the intro, because these “Once Upon a Times” tend to end with “Happily Ever Afters,” and that, as we know, isn’t always the case. Now, for those of you who read Just Call Me Is, the name Margery might sound a little familiar. As you’ll remember, she was Tori’s best friend in England, before Tori moved away.
And for those of you who didn’t read Just Call Me Is, and have no idea what I’m talking about—don’t sweat it. All you really need to know is that while I am your Inner Self, and Tori’s Inner Self, I am also Margery’s Inner Self. So while we followed Tori’s story when she moved off to New York, there was still a story going on in England with Margery.
And so that is where we’ll begin.
Margery Tomlinson grew up in a small town several hours outside of London. Her mom and dad split when she was just four-years-old, so like many kids Margery’s age, she grew up mostly with her Mom. (Her dad had moved to Connecticut when she was just six.)
When we last saw Margery, she and her best friend, Tori were just entering fifth year—when suddenly, Tori moved away to New York City, because her dad had gotten a new job.
It was hard for Margery; harder than she let anyone believe. Because, you see, Margery liked to play things cool; stay tough. She didn’t like to ask for help. And she certainly didn’t want anyone to see her cry. (Sound familiar?)
But cry she did, for several weeks after her best friend moved away. She spent much of her fifth- year, sitting by herself at lunch, eating cookies, reading at home, and hanging out with her Mom—whose main interests included pouring over fashion magazines, exercising constantly, and dating men half her age.
But we’ll talk more about Cynthia later.
Our story truly begins several months after Tori left town: when Margery started secondary school. Or, as you in the U.S. might know it: Middle School.
Dun… Dun… Dun…
More about the Author
Natalie Grigson was born and raised in Austin, Texas by a pack of surprisingly well learned wolves. From them, she gained her love of reading, writing, and, of course, shabby chic interior design. (Just kidding. Wolves are much more partial to modern decorating.) These days, Grigson works full-time as a spinner of tales – mostly Young Adult and Middle Grade – and mostly from home, though where that is seems to change from season to season.
She is the author of such books as the Peter Able series, The Woods, Matthew Templeton and the Enchanted Journal, and Just Call Me Is.