Laura Dockrill on expectations, Big Bones and body positivity

Published on: 08 March 2018 Author: Laura Dockrill

I 100% had a mini melt down when I turned 30.

There was no real trigger for it. Suddenly the pixilated squares were gone and I saw EVERYTHING. In reality, it was the first time I'd admitted that I'd been living like a Peter Pan fraudlette for the past 15 years. In both spirit and personality; I was wearing the same perfume, listening to the same music and had the same thought every morning, as I got dressed; 'I really must get some new knickers, I've had these for over a decade.' Followed closely by 'would Mel B wear this?' If yes, then, marvelous, I'd put it on.

Laura Dockrill/Big Bones

I was NOT the 30-year 'woman' I imagined myself being when I was fifteen. I thought I'd be a successful champagne slurping millionaire living in the Disney castle with my amazing genius children, be able to drive a car, be a dog whisperer, ride a horse, have a pierced belly button, speak another language, knock up a Victoria Sponge from scratch, read all THOSE books, have a local pub with a 'usual' tipple, attend yoga every Thursday, look brilliant in jeans and know how to tuck them into designer boots, understand (out of choice) the world of news and politics and be able to do the splits...and much scarier than all the above... I had to be beautiful and thin.

Why wasn't I enough for myself?

Young women are constantly reminded by the media (and probably actual humans) that their 20's-30's is the 'best' they are ever going to look. You look back of a photo of yourself where you thought you looked bad and now think 'oh actually I wasn't that bad at all compared to now.' I couldn't be turning 30 and not look like the woman in the chocolate mousse advert (LOOK AT HER POSH HOUSE! SHE'S ON CLOUD ONE HUNDRED and 9 AND INTELLIGENT AND BEAUTIFUL AND EATING CHOCOLATE MOUSSE) I wanted those eyebrows, the smooth skin without the little shaving dots and excellent body, not just so that I looked bloody brilliant and angel-goddess-like but also because looking like the woman from the chocolate mousse advert gives the unfair portrayal that you have control over your life; That you're content, comfortable, successful and disciplined. It's an unobtainable, unrealistic and unnatural pressure to put on human beings.

I'd written middle grade books with female leads before but never addressed the important bits of growing up in my work because I'd never faced those bits myself. Same as many people, there was a really scarily long time in my life where I really didn't like myself. Probably because I really didn't know myself either. I know I'm saying nothing new here but I kind of thought that was the point of being a teenager- aren't you meant to just a bit not like yourself? Isn't that the motive behind the angsty poetry and emo music we laugh about now? But it doesn't always just stop at being a teenager; this self-worthlessness can trickle through into our adult life, stopping us from being our potential. WE CAN'T JUST BUY CONFIDENCE JUICE AT THE SUPERMARKET GUYS! And with pressure from social media, the sense of self doubt, body negativity and anxiety from magazine shelves now creeps, like some toxic gas, into the rooms of our primary schools.

Whilst writing Big Bones I went back to Mum's and out of a trunk in the loft, read my own cringing teenage diaries and found so much self hate and negative self obsessive blahhhing hideous upsetting crap about wanting to be somebody I wasn't. Drawing after drawing and magazine cut outs of 'perfect' girls with their perfect white teeth and clear skin and skinny bodies. It was so sad. What a waste of time.

I could have created a lead character like little lost me, to demonstrate to young people that they aren't apologise to myself for treating my little young version like an absolute vulnerable, insecure, unimportant scraggy vest top of a person.

Or, OR, I could do the unthinkable...


AND HER BODY. Imagine that?

Wouldn't it be amazing to find a diary from a teenage girl that actually liked herself?

And that's when things got interesting.

Big Bones by Laura Dockrill is out now from Hot Key Books

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Big Bones

Author: Laura Dockrill

Big Bones is a truly refreshing read, and Bluebelle is a wonderful, honest and utterly hilarious narrator to fall in love with. This book will make readers think about body image in a whole new way, and about the importance of self-respect.

Read more about Big Bones

More from Laura


Find blogs from Laura's time as BookTrust Writer in Residence.