An Interview with Siobhan Curham

Siobhan
I was familiar with the name Siobhan Curham, so when I checked out her blog and saw she’d written a book called ‘True Face’, I was intrigued. I decided to get in touch with her and after a friendly exchange, she invited me to write a piece regarding the difficulty of dreaming in the midst of racism. You can read my guest post on her blog here.
Though not her current book, Siobhan was kind enough to answer some questions regarding ‘True Face’. Like the work of Launch, Siobhan recognizes the importance of authentic living and helping young adults shed their masks and lead a life unmasked.
When did you first recognize young adults not showing their ‘True Face’?
s-c“I do a lot of work in high schools giving talks and running workshops and I see the pressure on young adults to be something they’re not. That pressure has always existed, but it’s more prevalent today with the online world and social media. Young adults are constantly being told how to look, act and be, and so often they’re being presented with an image of perfection that isn’t even real or achievable, for example the air-brushed photos or carefully edited highlights reel of a celebrity’s Instagram feed.”
What led you to writing ‘True Face’ specifically for girls?
s-c
“My novels for young adults are for girls so my publisher wanted True Faceto be pitched at that same market. However, as the mom of a teenage son, I’m acutely aware that boys are under just as much pressure to “fake it” to fit in. As a woman, I’m not sure I’m qualified to talk about the male experience, as it is different to that of girls. I feel that a male writer would probably do a better, more authentic job of writing on this subject for boys.”
Did teenage Siobhan show the world her true face? Why or why not?
s-c“I began to mask after my parents split up and my mom left. Her leaving was a massive shock to me and I can remember thinking, I must never let another person close enough to hurt me like that again. So I put on a mask of indifference and tried to numb the pain with alcohol and drugs. The irony is, I only ended up hurting myself more. My education suffered and I made some really bad relationship choices. It took me a long time to find the self-love needed to find my way back to my true self. This was a major factor in me writing True Face – I wanted to give young adults the tools and exercises needed to remove their masks a lot quicker, to help them avoid wasting years of their life in fear and pain.”
How can we empower and teach more young adults to live authentically?
s-c“By showing our own authentic selves and speaking up about our so-called imperfections and making it cool to be different. We can share tools that help boost confidence and self-belief and teach young adults to honor their passions and follow their dreams no matter how different from the so-called ‘norm’ they might be.”
How can creators and influencers collectively do a better job of helping others live authentically?
s-c“By coming together to launch initiatives, speaking out on our social media, opening our platforms for young people to have a voice. Collectively, we can force against all the phony crap young people are bombarded with by certain sections of the media.”
Huge thanks to Siobhan for her work and interview.
sSiobhan Curham is an award-winning author of several books for adults and children including Finding Cherokee Brown, True Face, Dear Dylan– which won the Young Minds Book Award in 2010, and The Scene Stealers. Siobhan is also an editorial consultant, motivational speaker and life coach, and has written for a variety of publications including The Guardian and Cosmopolitan. You can buy a copy of her book True Face here, and read about what she’s currently working on her blog.
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Dreaming In The Face of Racism

Screen Shot 2016-07-21 at 3.47.45 PMRecently I wrote a guest post for the blog of UK author, Siobhan Curham. Siobhan has a new book called Moonlight Dreamers and during an email conversation with her I expressed my hurt over recent events in America. Siobhan invited me to write on that subject and to share how difficult it has been for me to write content to inspire young adults, and encourage them to go after their dreams when their reality is such a nightmare. Below is the post I wrote for her blog:
We learned his name in childhood.
We heard his speech as teens.
As adults, we understand the magnitude of the dream.
The stated dreams of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. were many. His most well known dream was that one day, his children would be able to live in a nation where they were judged by the content of their character, and not the color of their skin. That was 53 years ago. His dream, that the creed of all men being created equal would be the foundation on which justice stood, has yet to be realized. The reality of the black experience in America is this: Same Rights, Different Freedoms.
This has been a very tough few days as a writer, as a mentor, as a black American, and as a dreamer. It has been difficult to hold onto my ‘why’, and to write content that teaches and motivates young dreamers, when their reality is a nightmare. I’ve never been anything other than black, so it’s a posture I’m used to, but a weight that never abates. Waking up to new, old news comes with the emotion of fear, the thought of, what if someone I know is next, what if I’m next, and a physical pressure on my chest that makes taking a breath big enough to fill my lungs, feel impossible.
It’s hard to dream at times like these. Actually, it’s harder to be awake at times like these. This week I vacillated between thinking, what’s the use and this is why you must continue. For two days the former thought won me over as my hurt heart, confused mind, and the feeling of helplessness numbed me.
I have returned to feeling, I have brought my anger and fear under submission to rational thought and informed action, and in doing so, a new dream has surfaced.
My work is in service of the ambitious young adults who desire to live up to their potential and to put great work into the world.
Now more than ever, you, the dreamers, need me, and I you; we need each other.
I dream of a peaceful world.
I aspire to be part of the change I want to see in the world.
I long to see young adults grow up in a world where the fear that can arise when encountering someone different is overshadowed by a deep, resounding love for all mankind.
I promise to continue to write and work for you so that my dreams, your dreams, and those of Dr. King’s may be actualized.
I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do.” –Edward Everett Hale
What can you do?
Speak up; do not allow fear to silence you.
Speak out; use your platform, whether it’s big enough for just your two feet to stand on or expansive enough to hold up many. Do not shy away just because you think your doesn’t voice matter.
Take action; in the UK, US, and elsewhere, use the power you have as a citizen to advocate.
Engage with people you wouldn’t normally befriend. Do not cower from those with an opposing opinions; education can be obtained in the respectful debate.