Self-help book came from within

Wilton resident Jacqueline Raposo will discuss her new book — The Me Without: A Year Exploring Habit, Healing, and Happiness — during an author talk at Wilton Library on Thursday, Jan. 31, at 7 p.m.

Part memoir, part case study, The Me Without offers readers an inspiring example of how to forge one’s own journey, expose wounds, and help personal healing.

In her book, Raposo writes about a 30- to 90-day period of time in her life when she found herself fighting Lyme disease, in debt, single, and wandering in a fog.

Raposo said she wrote the book because she thinks many people have felt like she did: “overwhelmed.”

“Finding out who we are, what we value, and what we want out of life is really hard, and many things in our modern world keep us distracted — we have ‘no time’ to enjoy things that are good for us or invest in ourselves or our loved ones,” she said.

“And then, there are way too many self-help books and experts telling us what to change, so we often don’t even know where to start.”

Raposo said she “wanted some ease from that overwhelm,” so she “let go of one habit at a time to see what happened.”

In her book, Raposo writes about how she embarked on subtracting constant habits from her life — such as social media, shopping, sugar, and negative thoughts — for periods of 30 to 90 days over the course of a year.

“I made space for my thoughts and feelings. I let answers come from inside of myself. I got to the core of my values, desires, and joys and replaced mindless habit with intentional choice,” she said.

“It took very hard work and time, but the project truly changed my inner life entirely. I liked to think of My Year Without as self-self-help.”

Raposo said she decided to write The Me Without after it was “suggested that what [she] learned might help others challenge the same in themselves.”

Raposo has been an interviewer and writer — ”primarily in the food and wellness field” — for eight to nine years, she said. Her work has been published in magazines Food & Wine, Saveur, and Cosmopolitan. She is also the producer and co-host of Love Bites Radio, and co-founder of #MarchingWithMe, which connects chronic illness and disability advocates with protest events.

“Because I’m an interviewer, sharing what I learn from conversations with professionals is second nature,” she said, “so I knew the book would heavily incorporate others’ expertise.”

Raposo said she hopes her book gives readers “better trust that becoming a person of greater value is possible.”

“We often have more of a choice than we believe we do in how we go about our day, what we think and say, how we treat people, and what we choose for our lives,” she said.

“Seeing this, accepting this, and changing this is hard. Change can hurt horribly, and change often takes more time than we feel like investing. Choosing better values and living by them takes time — but it is worth it, and anyone can do it.”

Hints of Wilton

Although “personal references are shrouded” in her book, said Raposo, “savvy readers might recognize my affectionately calling Wilton ‘Stars Hollow’ — like the Gilmore Girls’ town — and referencing the library and Minks to Sinks.”

Raposo moved to Wilton with her family when she was four years old and “sort of never left,” she said.

“I first got Lyme disease when I was 12 and have had chronic health issues ever since,” she said.

“While I’ve left for college and jobs and such, my need for health care and to stay close to family has made Wilton technically always home. Wilton is my anchor.”

During her hour-and-a-half Wilton Library author talk, Raposo said she will talk about some of the themes in the book — such as “how habits and decision-making don’t always go hand-in-hand. She will also read a section from her book before taking questions from attendees.

Copies of The Me Without will also be available for purchase and signing, courtesy of Elm Street Books in New Canaan.

There is no charge for Raposo’s author talk, but registration is highly recommended. To register, call 203-762-6334 or click here.