Amanda Ford is a writer, teacher, movement instructor, and overall motivator. She has written a handful of inspiring and uplifting books on anything from affirmations to retail therapy. Recently, Amanda was called upon to rewrite her acclaimed novel, Be True to Yourself and she documented the entire experience on her “movement.muse” Instagram account.
Originally published in 2000, Be True to Yourself was written as a guide for teenage girls to gain confidence and a sense of self through Amanda’s beautifully written essays and mediation guides. Now, over 20 years later, Amanda is back with more advice and an even better understanding of what it means to truly be yourself.
Amanda graduated with a BA in English Literature from The University of Washington. Her work has been featured in publications such as Real Simple, Glamour, The Chicago Tribune, and The Seattle Times, and she is a regular contributor to the popular travel website Girl’s Guide to City Life.
Your upcoming book, Be True to Yourself, is a re-release of your widely celebrated 2000 book by the same name. What was it like revisiting this book and putting a new spin on your incredibly wise words from twenty years ago?
I was 21 years old when I originally wrote Be True To Yourself, so to rewrite it 20 years later felt like getting the opportunity to sit down with my younger self, to revisit the world through her eyes. While doing the rewrites I listened to the music of my adolescence and found myself flooded with vivid memories of that time of life, things I had entirely forgotten. Through the writing, I got the opportunity to talk to my younger self, to encourage her and even heal a couple wounds that I didn’t realize were still tender.
It was very special to get this opportunity, to see my own growth as a writer and as a woman.
What was your re-write process like? What did you find to be the most challenging as well as the most rewarding aspect of this process?
I had only 5 weeks to rewrite. I was working full time in my main job as a strength coach and movement instructor. It was summer and all I wanted to do was play, but I had to stay focused. It was very intense. I woke up at 4am and wrote for 2 hours before my work day began. I got back to writing as soon as I finished.
Although I remained true to the spirit of the original book, I did rewrite every single page. It was a ton of work.
This short timeline was brutal. It required immense focus and dedication on my part. I had no wiggle room.
This was also the most rewarding part. The pressure of a deadline can sometimes force the greatest work, work that one might not dig for otherwise. For those 5 weeks I was in a bubble, immersed in the writing, summoning my highest self, communing with my muses. This was a great gift during the Covid pandemic.
You have been documenting your re-writing journey on your Instagram page with fun videos and updates on your progress- what has the reaction been like from your fans and supporters after the announcement of the new edition of Be True to Yourself?
I have been overwhelmed by the love, encouragement and positivity that has come my way.
Being able to share my writing process was a really special aspect of this book. I think people felt like they were a part of the creation ~ which they were. I had a huge cheering section!
I heard from a young woman (now in her late 20s) who had read the original book as a young teen. She said she felt like I was her older sister.
I reconnected with a high school friend and got to know her own teen girls as I was writing.
Grown women would write to me and share stories from their adolescence, from the humorous to the heartbreaking.
I even had people give me input on things I had written and shared and their input helped me make edits that made the book even better.
If you could go back in time and give one single piece of advice to teenage Amanda, what would you say to her?
Love yourself. Trust your instincts. Don’t hold back. You are perfect just exactly as you are. Don’t waste any time hating yourself or doubting yourself or worrying about what anyone else does or does not think of you. Relax and enjoy.
The title of your book, of course, is “Be True to Yourself”- what do you do in your everyday life to wholeheartedly be true to yourself and live your most authentic life?
I think this has ultimately been the spiritual quest of my entire life: To know myself and to be true to my highest self. For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to have a life where my inner world and outer world were in harmony with each other. I wanted a career that I could feel good about. I wanted community and connection. I wanted meaning. I wanted to feel in touch with God, Spirit, Mother Nature on a daily basis.
So I have been making choices, every day, to create a life that supports me in this. This has not been an easy task. It has taken decades. It has taken lots of detours, lots of therapy, lots of reading and reflecting and making hard mistakes and painful decisions. But now at age 42, I feel strongly connected to my inner compass, strongly connected to my higher power.
All I have to do these days is wake up, feel my feet on the earth and know that I am loved.
If you had to choose your favorite quote, passage, or lesson from Be True to Yourself, what would it be?
This is hard, because there were so many delightful sentences that came through me.
I say “came through me” because whenever I write something that I enjoy, it always feels more like it was gifted to me than crafted by me.
But here’s one that comes to mind. It’s called “Reasons To Dance”
“Because you did it naturally as a little kid without anybody showing you the moves. Because all you had to do was hear the music and right away you just knew that it was time to move your little body.”
How do you want your readers to feel after they turn the last page of your book?
I hope that they will feel more connected to themselves, more connected to their higher calling, more imaginative, less afraid and less alone in the world.
On a personal note, how are you nourishing your own soul and taking care of yourself during this chaotic time?
Long baths. It might sound cliche or simplistic, but this ritual has been my saving grace over these past many months. I light candles. Sometimes I put on music. I take pleasure in the texture of the water, the smell of the beeswax, the sounds. I give myself a lymph massage or gua sha facial after my bath as a way to support my immune system and keep my fluids flowing. I have done this literally every night since quarantine began in March. It’s been my act of cleansing, release and self love.
Daily Affirmations and Awesome Advice for Teen Girls
Support for young women as they navigate one of the most confusing and challenging times of their lives. When Amanda Ford emerged from her tumultuous teenage years, she saw the need for a guide to help girls learn to listen to their inner voices and think for themselves. Be True To Yourself is the big sister Amanda never had―and always wanted to be. It provides the encouragement and guidance she wished, as a teenage girl, that an older sister had given her, as well as stories and advice that she would have loved to share with a younger sister during her own teen years.