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Hello, my name is Valorie. I have a Master's Degree in History and a license to teach-- I have been both university professor and public school teacher. Currently, I am a middle school social studies teacher. I love horror movies and spooky things. Every day is Halloween. I am also a passionate book blogger.

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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Blog Tour & Author Interview: Making Light of Being Heavy by Kandy Siahaya

About Kandy Siahaya 
Kandy Siahaya was raised in a small town in Maine where she graduated from high school in 1984. She worked her way up from her first job as CSW to Manager of Kentucky Fried Chicken and ended up in Brunswick, Maine. When she decided to leave the fried chicken business at age 22, she packed up her little Chevy Chevette and moved to Fort Myers, Florida where she worked as a waitress and had a great time as a single girl in her 20's. Reality hit when she was 25 years old and went back to Maine and received her Associates Degree at Beal College and promptly moved back to Florida and started a career in medical transcription. In 1995 at age 29, she met her future husband and moved to North Miami Beach, Florida, and continued with transcription starting her own business.

In 2002, Kandy left North Miami Beach and moved back to Maine with her five year old son and eventually divorced in 2005. Kandy still does medical transcription but had an unexpected decline in work which left her with a lot of time on her hands. This is when she decided to write a book. this is something she had been thinking about for a few years but never had the time because she was always so busy with her business. It was meant to be a quick and funny read, something to brighten the outlook of many that really do not see the light through their own tunnel vision. It was also intended to be insightful for those that could never possibly relate to this specific subject. Kandy has succeeded in doing just that with Light of Being Heavy.

About Making Light of Being Heavy

These days everyone has a society-driven mindset and totally forget to laugh, especially at themselves. This may be cliche but I truly believe that laughter is the best medicine and I think everybody should laugh every day. Period. Over the years as a person blessed with the fat gene, I have been in many situations where if I could not find humor I probably would end up on the couch in the psychiatrist's office. This book is about as politically incorrect as it gets for such a subject but it is also based on reality. This is a reality that many women have just like me, but do not think they can (or should) at times just laugh about it. 

My intention when I started writing this book was to hopefully give insight to many who could never relate but at the same time perhaps provide a different perspective to women just like me. It is a point of view that has given me the strength to live my life happily and project these feelings onto everyone I come in contact with. I have a great sense of humor and a quick with and guarantee you will be laughing (and thinking) with each chapter of Making Light of Being Heavy.

Interview with Kandy Siahaya

Q: Your book takes a humorous look at weight issues. Have you always been so comfortable with yourself or did it take time? What was it that brought you to this point of being comfortable with yourself enough to put humor to it?
A: I do not think I was this comfortable when I was in grade school but through the years it has just kind of evolved into my way of thinking and I have a great sense of humor so it just kind of happened I think.

Q: Do you feel that the overall perceptions of weight would change if women (indeed all people) could learn to be more comfortable with their bodies and less influenced by the pressure of media?
A: Of course. We all watch the T.V. and read the magazines, etc. and it seems like people will automatically give validation to something just because they heard it or read it somewhere. But I think also for a lot of people it is hard to overcome something that has become so systematic because of the media and society's huge role in our lives in general.

Q: A significant portion of the population is overweight, so why do you think people still view it with such negativity?
A: I think people still view it that way because it has always been perceived that way and to convert a way of thinking has to start with each person, one at a time, and that is not something that is a quick process unfortunately. I do not know if this is a good example but another serious issue such as racism still goes on today and it is a way of thinking, it has gotten better comparatively speaking from years ago but look how long that took just to get where we are today. I think there will always be negativity about weight issues but hopefully we as a society will become more understanding and perceptions will start to change.
To look at something with humor is one of the best abilities to have. Unfortunately, a lot of men and women have had their self-esteem harmed due to weight problems. What would you say to them?
This is such a personal issue. I think a person has to make the decision to change the way they think. People may say that it is hard to do. Yes it is, but we are in control of what we think and ultimately can decide whether something will bother us or not. Just start making the decision that it is not going to bother you.

Q: If you had only a few seconds to explain to someone in brief the plight of an overweight person to help them understand what it is like, what would you say?
A: That is really a hard question because I do not look at my situation as a plight and it truly has no bearing on my daily activities. We all have something that we wish other people could understand but will they really ever understand? Probably not. A person who is short may wish that others could understand the plight of being a short person but I could never understand it because in order to really understand you must have the experience.

Q: What do you think is the key to true happiness?
A: Being happy with yourself.

Q: What would your perfect day be like?
A: My perfect day would be finishing my work early enough so that my son and I would be able to make it to mom's for dinner, come home and help him with his homework etc,, touch base with a couple of my good friends by phone before it is past their bedtime, and then relaxing to my shows after my son has gone to bed.

Q: What is your number one, end all and be all indulgence?
A: Macaroni Grill's loaf of bread they serve with olive oil and cracked pepper and we always get extra fresh-grated parmesan cheese mixed in with the oil....yum. And I just love to go to new restaurants!

Q: What is one thing, one piece of wisdom, that you know now and wish you had known all along?
A: You cannot change the actions of other people but you can change your reaction.

Q: Finally, would you share with me and my readers a personal favorite quote?
A: What my mother used to say, "Pretty is as pretty does." I actually Googled that for the heck of it and I guess it is an old fashioned saying that basically means a person may be pretty on the outside but their behavior ultimately is the deciding factor whether or not they are really pretty. When I was younger and my mother would say it to me I knew it was related to my actions and so responding in kind to people who were mean or spiteful was not the answer and I think that is when I started to learn to just let it go.

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