“Of the many, or few; you could be one, or you could be two… or three, or more.” – Excerpt from “It’s Okay to be Dummy Thick” by Arthur Lewis

ALEXANDRIA, La. (WNTZ) – 30-year-old Louisiana native, Arthur Lewis recently self-published a children’s book that promotes self-acceptance and body positivity titled, “It’s Okay to be Dummy Thick.” The title is a play on meme culture and AAVE dialect.

As a fitness trainer, Lewis encounters body image critique often. “Body issues develop at a young age, especially for me…” Lewis paused thoughtfully, and added, “I had every body type, and learned there is always going to be some kind of criticism.” Themes of self-acceptance and body image are crafted into the author’s stories with the revelation, “It’s not just me…” Lewis began to almost laugh something incredibly relatable, “Who wore that one jacket all year round.” For readers who may not know, oversized pullovers are a staple tool for those hiding their figures and thereby protecting their mental health. Lewis said, “It was like a forcefield that protected me from criticism.”

Over the past decade and a half, there has been an international challenge to societal norms of beauty, and what real-world impacts these socially enforced conventions can have on individuals (social media doesn’t help). Because body criticism begins young, “Even after your body changes,” Lewis explained, “You keep repeating those critiques in your head, like they’re true.” Numerous studies suggest body image is strongly correlated to mental health, eating disorders, self-harm, substance abuse, and amongst other things, general self-care. Children’s books like “It’s Okay to be Dummy Thick” combat harmful rhetoric and help nourish youth with thoughts of self-determinism and self-acceptance.

Currently, there are copies available online, at various Louisiana stores, and at your local parish library! “There are so many combinations that make up any one person,” said Lewis, “No matter how the math works out, you are not a mistake.”