My name is Tracy Kiss, I’m 28yrs old and I’m a bullying survivor. Up until the age of eighteen I was at the mercy of the school bullies, the popular girls drenched in makeup and the cocky boys chewing gum and kicking footballs. I was the deathly shy and unconfident bookworm who sat in the corner and didn’t bother anyone which made me a prime target for their relentless torment. Most days I would cry for what they so cruelly put me through, as a child I hardly spoke, never made eye contact and had zero belief in myself. I was the underdog of life, the good girl that always finished last and with so much to give but no voice to make my views heard. At the age of eighteen I became a glamour model for a national UK newspaper and found confidence in my appearance which changed my life forever and because of this I have written Traces Of I.
The notion behind Traces Of I came from my own personal life experience with the words from my heart and in recognition of what I went through, the pain I felt, the sorrow, distrust and helplessness as a bullying victim. I embodied my adolescent journey of finding self-confidence in the main character April who is actually me although I didn’t want to write an autobiography but instead a novel that every girl could connect with. I found writing this book such a cathartic experience, it was my epiphany of life and real top of the mountain moment where I was able to look back and think wow I made it, look how far I’ve come. I now have such a wonderful worldwide following of men and women of all ages and thanks to this I am in a position to help others. I believe in opening the minds of individuals to make them realise the emotional extent of their actions on others; how something rather trivial or in jest can have such a dramatic impact on others self-esteem or ability to get up in the morning. The only way that I could share with you this journey that I have been through in life is to put you in my shoes, to show you step by step how I changed from a trembling child into a strong and confident woman.
I strongly believe that we are all beautiful as individuals regardless of what we look like on the outside. True beauty comes from within, from deep inside your heart and bones not the circle of skin on your face; it’s the brightness of a smile, a thoughtful gesture, compassion and patience shown towards others. A pretty face or a hot body is not the be all and end all in life because sadly our looks will never last, we are as young and alive as we will ever be right here and right now so wake up and appreciate yourself and loved ones for who they truly are inside, after all we’ll all be old and wrinkly soon enough and nobody will look twice at us so we need more than good looks to survive. As a child I was goofy but I grew into my features throughout adulthood, I learnt to accept myself warts and all and to make peace with my body and appearance.
As an adult I am now ageing, gravity isn’t kind to me and my skin is wrinkling, hair thinning and imperfections are becoming all the more present. Nobody is perfect, nobody can ever be perfect and it’s actually the things that you can’t see with your eyes that are the most beautiful attributes of a person. I spent so many years wishing I was different, wishing I looked prettier, felt more attractive, grew taller and had bigger breasts that it stopped me from living my life and I’d give anything to build a time machine and tell myself to snap out of it. I hope that in reading Traces Of I that you will feel a connection to the path that I have taken, that you can see you are not alone and understand there is light at the end of the tunnel, tomorrow can be brighter, better and more beautiful than the pain you are feeling today. So please stay strong, have faith and know that you will make it through just as I have done. I have never been happier in my life than I am now as a single parent to my two young children. I have never had so much freedom, strength, courage, energy, ability and belief in myself as a person and it’s because of those dark days that I now appreciate the light.
I aim to donate the first £1,000.00 of my book sales to support an anti-bullying charity Bullies Out and hope that you will support me if you are able to; in purchasing this book you are helping me to help others just as I hope that I have helped you with my words. If this has touched you in a positive way then I encourage you to please join me on social media to share this message by taking a selfie with your eyes closed, placing a finger over your lips and including the hashtags #TracesOfI and #IamApril. Closing your eyes is symbolic of beauty coming from within and not based purely on appearance, with a finger over the lips reminding people to consider the feelings of others rather than passing ill-informed judgement. Let us be considerate, kind and thoughtful and raise our children with peace and love. Bullying can have such devastating effects on a life but together we will overcome it.
Have Your Say
I love reading your comments and reviews of my book, here’s what some of you have had to say about it:
The beautiful Abigail Lewis of Blah Blah Blah blog says: “I thoroughly enjoyed this book started reading it the afternoon, ended up having burnt food. I enjoy books that are gripping. The lady in this book was 100% relatable. I’m certain many woman will read this book and see aspects of themselves in it. It shows us that woman from different cultures and backgrounds have similar experiences in life, love and how we view ourselves. Too often us as woman go through experiences and feel completely alone. This story proves that we’re more alike than we know.”
I’m glad that you could relate to the main character Abigail because it was my intention to honestly share my personal journey and show the world that we all deserve happiness. I’m sorry that you burnt your food when you were reading it, please approach every page-turner with caution and perhaps sit down to read after you’ve finished eating!
Stunning Janine Ripper of Reflections From A Redhead says: “Having spent most of my life beating myself up due to my self-perceived imperfections and echoes of cat-calls, nicknames, and insults from bullies and some truly horrible people, loving myself was hard to come by but I am happy to pronounce that the battle has now been [mostly] won. That’s why ‘Traces of I’, written by Tracy Kiss, touched me so. I see a lot of myself in April. An introvert and deep down a hopeless romantic who never considered herself as beautiful, I empathised with her behaviour, drunken escapades, quirkiness, and desire to change her external appearance. Traces of I is a quick and easy read, perfect to sit down with a cuppa when you have a few quiet hours, with a subject matter and characters both men and women can relate to, and I won’t give away the ending to Traces of I – I’ll admit it surprised me.”
I’m sorry that you too struggled to find acceptance with your appearance Janine, but look at the beautiful, confident and inspirational woman you have become. Thank you for your wonderful review, it’s nice to know that we are not alone in how we feel.
The gorgeous Megan of Published Moments says: “‘Traces of I’ is incredibly inspirational. I read the book in one sitting and wasn’t disappointed at any point. The story of April really is quite touching and I believe that every female out there can relate to the book in one aspect of another. Tracy Kiss has truly gone in to the depths of every female out there and pulled out the insecurities we all feel and shown the world that we are beautiful for WHO we are and not what we look like.”
Thank you for your five star rating Megan, I glad that you enjoyed reading it and found that you could relate to my life experiences, we are all beautiful for being ourselves.
The fabulous Megan Sharp of Carried By Foxes says: “It is out of my usual genre however I feel more open minded to this sort of story for future reads and will certainly look out for more from Tracy herself as her writing style is so fun, unexpected and original which made the book a true pleasure to read. The subject matter is one we can all relate to in one way or another and I feel that it made me question the way I look at others and myself. Sometimes it can be easy to judge someone by their appearances even when we’re not trying to be hurtful but just simple accepting someone for themselves and their personal choices can be an wonderful thing.”
I’m so pleased that you enjoyed trying something new Megan, we all sit within our comfort zones in life because it’s what we know best but in actual fact when we think and step outside the box we discover the most amazing things.
The amazing Nia Davies of The Mixed Medic says: “We live in an age of constant self-promotion and impossible beauty standards; made inescapable by the ease of technology and as evidenced by the rise of #selfie surgery. Not only could this book help improve your own self-esteem but it could participate in preventing the degradation of another’s. Almost every woman I know will find parts of this story relatable. The strength of quality and not quantity is evident in this book as a very effective method for leaving the reader with a strong and lasting impression. This final message has permanence no matter what age we live in: life is far too short even for a second of the self-loathing we may inflict upon ourselves.”
Nia I actually have goosebumps from reading your wonderful review, you have understood my words implicitly and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for helping me to spread this positive message to those who need it.
The wonderful Mummy blogger Jen of Who Let The Mum Out? says: “I really enjoyed this book. April is relatable as the normal girl who was an ugly duckling who eventually blossoms into a beautiful swan. The moral of the story is that you should be happy with yourself. If you want to improve yourself, go do it. Your real friends will stay with you while you go through your journey.”
Stunning Leah of Being Leah Brogan says: “Traces of I is an inspirational quick read that touches upon very relatable subjects that, more than likely, have affected all of us during our lives, for example lack of self-confidence and the longing to change and be someone else. It took me only a few hours to read in one sitting, accompanied with chocolate and a glass of wine of course, and would suggest it to any of those who suffer from self-confidence issues, who have been bullied, who are struggling with romance; Kiss has captured all of this content within this piece.”
The lovely Joslyn Pham of My Authentic Nature says: “I decided to pass on the book’s valuable and important message as well as share my thoughts on the self-reflecting journey of April Belgrave. Traces of I, by Tracy Kiss, is an amazing and heart-felt story which unveils the reality of the impacts of bullying on a girl/boy, and its affects on her/his self-esteem, self-confidence, insecurities and mind set on the world, which then can greatly affect her/him during adulthood. Which then makes Ms. Kiss’s message clear as day: You are who you are, and no one can ever replace you. Your inner beauty greatly surpasses the superficial beauty which is painted by modern society. You are worth more than your appearance, and to remember that.”
The fantastic Sarah Jenkins of The Sarah Chronicles says: “I completely relate to April, her shy personality, the things she worries about and the insecurities she has are very similar to my own, so for me this story was very heart warming and enlightening. April’s story is one that sheds light on a seemingly dark situation that many, if not all, young women finds themselves in. Very early on in the story, I thought I guessed where it heading but I was pleasantly surprised! This story is relatable for young women everywhere and does what every other story (that I have read anyway) does not: has the female main character overcome her problems herself.”
The very beautiful Samantha Fearn of AllThingsLacquer says: “This book shows the impact bullying can have years down the line and the effects it has on them for the rest of their lives and how she’s overcome the bullies and their actions. We all have our imperfections and learning to accept them is one of the hardest things we can do and woman/girls need to start supporting each other instead of ripping each other to shreds.”
Want to have your say on Traces Of I? Please feel free to leave a comment in the box below, tag me in your social media selfies or email me a link to your review and I’ll include it here. Traces Of I is available now for download on Amazon and Smashwords or in paperback via Createspace.