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'I've spent most of my adult life feeling not quite enough' - Carmel Harrington talks body image

When author Carmel Harrington had an idea for a novel about body image, she knew she'd have to face her own demons. Half-way through the first draft, she finally managed to silence the inner heckler she'd been listening to since her teens

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'I've spent most of my adult life not feeling quite enough'

'I've spent most of my adult life not feeling quite enough'

'I've spent most of my adult life not feeling quite enough'

I've been noodling the central character from my latest novel, My Pear-Shaped Life, for years. Greta Gale is funny and flawed. She hides her insecurities behind a big smile and nobody knows how much she hates how she looks. Overweight, her negative body image has impacted every part of her life. While she's a fictional character, I understand Greta. We both have a resident heckler in our head for a start.

But I put off writing Greta's story for years, because I knew that in order to get inside her head I had to ask myself some tough questions. I wasn't sure I was brave enough to do that. But in the end, Greta's voice got louder, to the point that I couldn't ignore her. I began to question myself about how I felt about my body. If I was going to write a story with body image at its heart, I had to open a vein. In the end, this book brought me, as well as Greta, on a journey.

I've spent most of my adult life not feeling quite enough. My self-worth related directly to my dress size. I hate admitting that, but it's true. And here's the sting in the tail. Even at my thinnest, I still didn't feel enough. Isn't that sad? I would give anything to go back and shake some sense into my younger self.


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