Book Tour & GIVEAWAY - Crumbs Aren’t Enough By Raquel Whiting Gilmer

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With $80,000 in student debt, an alter ego named Crazy Charlie, and more than her fair share of hang-ups, Charlie Bennett is on a mission: a mission to feel better about herself.
By all accounts this shouldn’t be too difficult. After all, Charlie has graduated from the best universities, has good friends to keep her sane, and an impressive resume to boot. But her poor choices in men (and therapists) have left Charlie feeling fat, fretful, and fed up. She knows something has to change–she’s just not sure what.
When the elevator doors open and Jack Hudson appears with his perfect smile and perfect teeth, Charlie thinks she’s found her answer. A Taye Diggs lookalike who sees through Charlie’s imperfections, Jack could be The One–and not just because he can make strawberry shortcake from scratch. But as their relationship develops without any sign of a commitment, Charlie is left grabbing for crumbs yet again.

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Chapter 2

I’m Not Good Enough

Why did I have such low self-esteem? Well, I am sure not growing up with my father in my life didn’t help. When the first man
in your life leaves you, you start with some pretty low expectations. And I am sure all the magazines featuring super-thin
women with hot bodies didn’t help. I’ve also had some pretty crappy relationships. Let me tell you a little about my past
boyfriends. Men have cheated on me, criticized me, belittled
me, and taken advantage of me. While I was in college, I had a
boyfriend, Richard. He lived in Baltimore while I was going to
school in New Jersey. He was a nice-enough guy. But he cheated
on me for two of the three years of our relationship, and I let
him. It brought me so much pain, but I was too scared to leave
him because he seemed to like me despite my weight.
How did I know he was cheating? My Spidey-sense first clicked
in when he wasn’t available at certain times. When we were together, he would get lots of calls and ignore them. Once, I copied the
ignored phone number and called it. A woman answered. I hung
up, of course. Another time he told me he couldn’t go to dinner
because his grandfather had a heart attack and had to go into the
hospital for triple bypass surgery. Of course, I couldn’t challenge
him on that. A few months later, I asked his mother how her father
was doing. Confused, she said he was just fine, why was I asking?

The last straw was when I called him at home and heard
another woman in the background. He tried to tell me that it
was his mother. Then he hung up on me. We didn’t talk again
and I heard that he was moving in with the woman six months
after our argument. My self-esteem was shot.
Why had I stayed with a cheater? I guess I thought being
with him was better than being alone.
Then there was Ken, the guy I dated right after Richard. He
once told me, “You would be the perfect woman if you weren’t
fat.” Needless to say I stopped dating him. My self-esteem was
bad, but not that bad. His words did, however, ring in my head.
He had finally said out loud what I had known had been the
problem all along.
Like I told you before, I was a chubby kid and the world was
cruel. My first experience with this cruelty was with my relatives.
They used to make fun of me and I got teased at school. When
I was five and six, I used to have to visit my cousins on the farm
during the summer while my mom got her master’s. They used
to introduce me to their friends as Chubby Charlie. Then they
would tell people to hide their food from me so I wouldn’t eat it.
As I got older, I felt most insecure when it came to men.
How could I not, given surveys that 60 percent of men would
rather date a woman who was anorexic over a woman who was
fifteen pounds overweight? If I met a nice guy and he seemed
to dig me I would presume he’d only want to be friends. Ken’s
words confirmed all these fears. I couldn’t believe he had the
audacity or the insensitivity to say that to me, but I knew what
he said was true.
After graduation, I briefly dated a guy named Darrell, who
was a teacher. He was nice, but he tried to control what I ate
and therefore control me. For example, we went to a soul food
restaurant with one of his coworkers—yes, a soul food restaurant, where nothing on the menu was healthy. The greens were

cooked in fatback and ham. I ordered the fried catfish with
kale and macaroni and cheese. Darrell gave me the eye, which I
knew, from previous conversations, meant he was disappointed
in my choices. Well, it was either the fried catfish or the fried
chicken. Okay, so I could have gotten the smothered pork chops
Black Friday marked the death of our relationship. I had
Thanksgiving dinner with my mom. As always, she fixed a fabulous meal: turkey with stuffing, baked macaroni and cheese,
candied yams, homemade biscuits, and of course, her famous
sweet potato pie. The next day Darrell stopped by my house and
I was in the kitchen eating leftovers. As I ate a delicious forkful
of mac and cheese, he took the fork out of my mouth.
“You don’t need to eat that.”
At that moment, I had had enough. I had put up with this
guy’s digs at me for months; no matter how much I liked him,
I liked myself much more. I reached out and swiped my fork.
“Get out. Get out of my house right now.”
He looked at me like I was crazy. I went over to the back
door that opened onto our deck and told him to get out again.
This time I was loud. He had no choice but to leave. I closed the
door on him forever.
Don’t get me wrong, I wanted to lose weight, too. It had
just been really hard. During my first-year of law school, I made
the commitment to work out twice a day and eat healthy. I lost
over thirty-five pounds. I looked great. That summer I rewarded
myself for all of my hard work with a trip to Cancún for a week
with Fabulous Sam and my friend Dem from college. We stayed
in an all-inclusive resort and had a blast. While hanging out at
the pool bar in my bikini on our second day, I met Michael Foster. Michael was an electrical engineer who worked for a large
energy company in Charleston. He was on vacation with his
best friend David and their college roommate. Michael was funny,

smart, interesting, super cute, and white. I had never dated a
white guy before, but hey, I was skinny and hot, so why not try
something new. We were instantly attracted to each other and
had incredible chemistry. We hung out every minute of the day
and night during our last days of vacation and fell in love. We
even had sex on our first night together, incredible sex.
Please know that jumping into bed with a guy I just met
was really out of character for me. In fact, I had only had sex
with one other guy, Richard, before Michael, and to be honest,
Richard and I didn’t have an active sex life. On the other hand,
it felt like Michael and I were made for each other. I also felt
sexy and beautiful because I’d lost the weight.
Before we left Cancún, we made a commitment to see
each other at least once a month and possibly more. He would
come up to Charlottesville one weekend a month and I would
fly to Charleston every other month. I really liked him a lot. I
thought he might be the one. So I tried to be the kind of woman
that I thought he would fall head over heels in love with. I always got manicures and pedicures. I made sure my hair looked
great. I even got blond highlights. We dated long distance and
it worked. When we weren’t together, we talked on the phone
every night for hours. And when we were together, it was magic.
We always had fun and connected both intellectually and sexually. After close to a year of the back and forth, I decided to take
a summer job in Charleston to be close to him. We both figured
that living in the same city for two months would strengthen
our relationship. I imagined cooking barbeque on his deck. We
would go for runs with his dog. We would go to the movies and
see concerts in the park. He would see that I was the woman of
his dreams. How could he not? Now that I wasn’t fat anymore I
was the perfect woman. I hoped that it would go so well that a
ring would be an end-of-summer surprise.
I was in Charleston only one week before he broke up with

me for one of his coworkers. She was skinny and blond. I was
devastated. I begged him not to leave me. This hurt so badly
because I had always assumed that my bad luck in relationships
was because I was fat. I thought that because of my weight,
guys would leave me. So there I was. I’d finally lost the weight.
I looked great. I had worked so hard and I had done everything
right, and he still left me. I spiraled into a terrible depression. I
ate a lot, drank a lot, and cried a lot. All I could think was: Why
now? Why this time?
My remaining seven weeks in Charleston were very difficult. We shopped at the same Piggly Wiggly. We both loved
Hanahan’s Neighborhood Pub. But I was afraid to go anywhere
because I didn’t want to run into Michael and his new girlfriend. I was a prisoner in my own apartment.
It all came to a head when my law firm took the summer associates to see the Charleston RiverDogs, the city’s minor league
baseball team. I was so worried that Michael would be there
that I got inappropriately drunk. Really drunk! Like, didn’t-seethe-end-of-the-game, had-to-be-driven-home drunk. And all in
front of the attorneys from work. Good move, right?
The next morning, I got to work at 8 a.m., took the stairs to
the sixth floor (I wouldn’t dare ride the elevator), went swiftly
to my office, and closed the door. Luckily, no one stopped by to
talk to me. For the first two hours, I laid my head on the desk
trying to hold it together. When my office phone rang, I was
afraid it was a partner calling to fire me or give me a project. Either one would have been horrible. But lucky for me it was Dem,
my friend who was with me when I met Michael in Cancún. I
told her about the drunkenness the night before and about how
Michael had broken my heart. I started to cry.
Through my tears, I told her that I didn’t understand why
he had left me when I had done everything right. I will never
forget what she told me.

“You’ve worked so hard on your external self, maybe you
need to work on your emotional self.”
“What do you mean?” I asked. I knew I needed to work
on my physical body but working on my emotional self was a
foreign concept.
“Charlie, you think losing the weight means that you’ve
done everything right. But in reality, there was nothing wrong
with you before. You need to feel better about yourself no matter
how much you weigh.”
Although her words stuck with me, at the time I discounted
what she said. I knew I would feel fine about myself if Michael
was still in my life. I wanted him back. I prayed for him to come
back but he didn’t and losing him was why I was miserable. I felt
worse because we had sex so early in our relationship; maybe I’d
jumped in his bed too fast. You know what they say, why buy
the cow when you can get the milk for free. After that I decided
that I didn’t want to have sex again until I was in a very, very
serious relationship. This was the beginning of my celibacy.
So you can see why my self-esteem was pretty much in the
toilet when I met Jack. ...

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Author Bio:
Hi, my name is Raquel Whiting Gilmer and I am a wife, daughter, aspiring mother (I don’t have any kids yet but I want them.), sister, friend, small group leader, lawyer, entrepreneur, confidant, advisor, blogger, twitter attempter, soon to be published author, and accepter of crumbs. Well, a recovering crumbs accepter. What’s a crumb accepter? Is it as bad as it sounds? It’s bad, but it’s preventable and curable.
Freedictionary.com defines a crumb as a small fragment, scrap, or portion. And it defines accepter as one who accepts. So a crumbs accepter is one who accepts small scraps. No bueno, right? How did I get like this? Well, I think my low self-esteem was the root cause of it. And I’ve learned that when your self-esteem is bad then you will accept anything including crumbs in all areas of your life. BTW, my biggest crumbs area was definitely my relationships with men.
Things are different now and I have committed myself to Live Crumbs Free. Live crumbs free? Yes, I am committed to not accepting crumbs in any area of my life. But to get to this point, I had to do some work. I first had to work on my self-esteem. And after lots of therapy I got to a place where not only did I have high self-esteem but I started a website, www.perfectlyme.com, and a girls’ program, Perfectly Me Girls to encourage other women and girls to embrace and love who they are and not judge themselves by the world’s standards. Our motto is I’m not perfect, I’m just Perfectly Me.
Once my self-esteem was on the rise, I could start to look at the crumbs in my life. And I knew I had to deal with my personal crumbs and I’m happy to report that after many failed relationships and mounds of crumbs, I met the love of my life and married him. Yay!!! I have the full meal and then some now and it has changed my life. I want everyone to have that full meal and I know how bad the crumbs are so I’ve written my first novel about a woman struggling with relationships who finally figures out that Crumbs Aren’t Enough. I hope you will read my blog at www.raquelwhiting.com, check out my novel, and follow me on twitter, @perfectlyraquel, as I dole out advice and wisdom (my limited wisdom) on keeping your self-esteem high and getting rid of the crumbs.
Website:  http://www.raquelwhiting.com/

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