Perfectly ImperfectBy: Harper Sloan
I debated on whether or not to have a forward note in Perfectly Imperfect. In the end, I felt that you deserve to know why this book took precedence over each and every other WIP (work in progress) I had going at the time. The reasons behind why I felt this story needed to be told. And most importantly, why Willow Tate will forever hold the biggest part of me that I could ever put into one of my characters.
For the better part of my life, I’ve struggled with body image issues. Not something small, but big, ugly, crippling issues that have shaped me into someone I wasn’t always proud to be. I went through high school hiding an eating disorder that most will be finding out—or maybe just confirm what they thought—through this message. You see, I was more concerned about the ‘perfect’ expectations that society mentally demands of us. More worried about maintaining my appearance as one of the ‘popular,’ ‘pretty girls’ than I was about my own health. I played right into the hands of the predator that hunts our self-esteem daily.
Then I got older.
And not so wiser.
I’ll save the gritty details, but those image issues I struggled with got worse before they got better. People close to me making comments about how I was ‘fat’ or how I ‘used to be so pretty.’ They just compounded those issues until they were a snowball spiraling so fast I knew I would likely never catch it.
I still carry some of those issues around visibly, and I don’t think I’ll ever feel perfect. I struggle. Day in and day out. I struggle. The difference now is that I know I’m not perfect, nor will I ever be, but I have more confidence at this stage in my life (and body shape) than I ever did when I was at my mind's version of perfect. I still have moments, just like Willow, when I feel like everyone is looking at me and judging my body. Judging the choices that they think I’ve made. Judging me because of how I look.
But … I’ve learned through YEARS of struggling that I’m perfectly imperfect. I’m happy. It’s taken me a long time to feel that way about myself and even though I have days when I feel just imperfect … I love myself.
The Internet is a mass of viral videos telling us who and what we need to be. Portraying anyone above a size ten as ‘overweight’ or ‘plus size.’ Public image personalities lashing out at people who aren’t up to their standards of perfection. Telling us which point we need to be at to consider ourselves worthy of that perfection. Making us question, and most often hate, ourselves and the skin we live in. Willow—like me—felt that, feels that, and lives that. But she learned that perfect isn’t what others expect you to be, but what you expect for yourself.
In the words of Kane Masters himself, I want to give hope to those who need to know life isn’t what others want for you, but what you want for yourself. Strength in the face of weakness. That you can be the change that you want for yourself.
Willow holds so much of me. What I’ve felt. Things I’ve done. Thoughts that I’ve had. Experiences that I’ve lived. The fears, the highs, the lows, and the hate that she feels is real and raw for so many people out there. I know that not everyone has felt the things that Willow does. She might appear weak at times, but for those who have walked in her shoes … you know how strong Willow is. For those who continue to slip on those shoes day in and day out, I hope that Willow can show you how perfect is just an image. You, like Willow, are loved and if anything … I hope that through her story you can heal.
Like Willow – I found I learned that it doesn’t matter what others think about me and the skin I wear. All that matters is that I LOVE ME.
And while I will never be perfect … I will be imperfect and rock it perfectly.
I hope you enjoy Willow and Kane’s journey.
To the little piece of Willow that may be inside of you.
I hope that through her story you see how stunningly perfect you are regardless of the imperfections you may see.
Happiness is there – just waiting for you to take the leap.
And if you need a little helping hand…this is for the Kane waiting for you.
MY BODY, STILL BRUISED AND broken, screams in protest as I pull myself toward the open door of the limo. My mind is working in tandem with my aching body and is objecting to my moving another inch. I don’t want to be here. I want to be anywhere but here.