Indie Saturday – Author Claudine Gueh Yanting on her Children’s Picture Book ‘My Clearest Me’
Today, we have author Claudine Gueh Yanting featured on the blog’s ‘Indie Saturday‘ for her children’s picture book My Clearest Me. In this post, Claudine shares her experience with introvercy in childhood. She’d often worried about being quiet, making friends and making it in the seemingly louder world, and she hopes that readers who’ve gone through the same will find a connection with Wynn (her protagonist) and her own experience.
Claudine’s My Clearest Me was one of the highly recommended books from our consultant for this month – ERIK of THIS KID REVIEWS BOOKS!. Erik described My Clearest Me as ‘excellent’, and gave it a score of Five out of Five on his review!
Claudine Gueh Yanting writes :
As My Music Quietly Sailed for the Circus
“I like my clearest me. But will the others like it, too?”
It always arrives right in the most joyous moment in childhood: that curious point when one begins to worry.
A slither of uncertainty that snakes its way through her heart, she worries about being liked. Liked by family and strangers, by siblings and classmates, by children and adults. Liked by everyone. Frowned upon by none.
At Times I Pretended. At Times I Broke Inside.
I was around six or seven years old when that slither snakes. It became important to be liked. I was puzzled by why I was quieter and shyer than my sisters. Like Wynn, my protagonist in My Clearest Me, I became self-conscious. So sometimes, I masked my clearest self with my crowd-pleasing self.
“Or should I play along to pounds of CLANG and CLATTER CLACK?
I could try fitting in. I could try raising a RUCKUS WRECK.”
Because everybody likes the livelier child, right? The one who charms everyone by being chatty, chirpy and clever.
I was six. I didn’t know the difference between extroverts and introverts. I didn’t understand it was all right to like being quiet. My confusion made me even less bold.
Not all introverts are shy, but I was both quiet and shy. A devastating combination, most likely, which continued through adolescence and beyond. I rarely felt comfortable with myself. At times, I pretended to like what my extroverted friends liked. At times I broke inside and blocked out everyone and almost everything.
And I carried on like this for two decades. Pretending then blocking. I didn’t know enough to seek help or higher wisdom or self-clarity.
It always arrives right in the most wretched moment in adulthood: that soundless point when one begins to hear her own music.
“My music sails and springs, it runs and rests at its own pace.
In time I meet new friends, and there’s a glow on every face.”
To hear your music, you need to quiet down.
Listen. Take every wisp in. The lovely ones. The vulnerable ones. Every one.
And love your clearest self.
Having people like me stopped being important a long, long time ago. Yet when my music returned, the idea of friendships returned. Some old ones, and many new ones, and they all know my clearest me. They stay only because they like it. We do loud and quiet things together – loud and quiet things we all enjoy. Sometimes I take a break while they continue. And it’s okay. They’ve promised to wait.
The Night Wind King
“I am a breathing wind.
A bout that flies and flows at night …”
Our quiet nature is needed in this world. There are all kinds of acts in the circus. The Ferocious Skipping Giant brings boisterous laughter. The Fire Gulping Club is a hot-act. And The Night Wind King will be the one who tells many children (quiet, shy, awkward) to reach for the sky.
Whatever music you’ve got, don’t drown it out. Hear it clear from within then give your best, best, best shot in sailing it out to the rest of the world. If you know of an introverted child, tell him/her that. Don’t leave it to them to figure everything out because it might take them two decades or more.
If they are still unsure, let them know they have a friend who likes their clearest selves already: Wynn.
He’s six, quiet and has grown wiser in hearing music and making friends. He’ll be waiting to bring you/your children into the loud circus you’ve always quietly dreamed of but never thought you belonged.
He’ll show you how to build your own circus act.
My Clearest Me is a small gift of courage for children who are exploring their inner world. Hope to meet you soon. Enjoy your precious music in the meantime!
A quiet & shy child who loved to read now grown, Claudine writes and reads at her small publishing house, CarryUsOffBooks (Singapore). She is also a private tutor, a stray cats ‘hello-er,’ a coffee must-haver, a sea’s-blue-&-trees’-green lover. She treasures honesty and kindness in a person, and hopes her first picture book, MY CLEAREST ME, (and more to come) will encourage a child to step out into the world braver.
My Clearest Me is available on Amazon as an ebook. Please check Claudine’s website CarryUsOffBooks for more information. Her small press, CarryUsOffBooks, is also on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/CarryUsOff) and Twitter (@CarryUsOffBooks). Be sure to drop by and say hi!
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Read an embedded sample of “My Clearest Me” after the jump!