Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Glitter Globe: HEARTLESS Release Day Party!

The Glitter Globe: HEARTLESS Release Day Party!: S.R. Karfelt/The Glitter Globe Today is Release Day for HEARTLESS A Shieldmaiden’s Voice ! I’m throwing an impromptu party....

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Effing Swan: A.J Priest Guest Post

Hey friends! With the #EffingSwan movement taking flight (har har), there are others who have expressed interest in joining the cause and blogging about their own anti-ugly-duckling revelations.
Today I have the honor of A.J. Priest guest blogging here at Life Unpublished. Short, sweet, concise, and charming as ever, A.J. gets straight to the point on where her inner swan comes from. Take a look.

Yes I am an #effingswan. Know what? You are too. The problem with being an effing swan is that we’re used to the skin we’re in. 

We’d like nothing better than to have her hair or his abs, anything other than what we have now. But here’s a secret - those people you’re looking at just might be looking at you and thinking the same thing. 

I know, it’s hard to believe. But it’s true. I remember middle school, how much I wished I had blonde hair. Until the day one of my blonde classmates (I’m talking perfect honey golden ringlets blonde) told me how much she wished she had my so-dark-brown-it’s-black hair. Talk about a shock! Then just the other day I happened to mention to a fellow swan that she has the kind of figure I’ve always wanted. Guess what - she felt the same about mine.

But here’s the thing: even if no one wants to look like you, no one ever calls you beautiful, no one even looks twice at you - you are still a swan. Know why? ‘Cause God says so. God created man and called it good. God is the one David was talking to when he said “I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” God created you. Your identity belongs in him, not the praise or recognition of others who are just as insecure as you are. And God says you’re an effing swan, too.

A.J. Priest writes flash fiction that showcases her love of humor, healing, redemption, and the stories of people’s lives. She is busy trying to figure out this thing called the Internet and how to use it to connect with people that want to read what she wants to write. Her latest forays have her building her own website and email list with the help of Kevin Kaiser, google, and copious amounts of chocolate. Her website’s coming soon page can be found at www.ajpriest.com. Or connect with her on twitter @ajpriestwrites.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Now I'm a Believer - Swanitude Part 4

Currently humming The Monkees "I'm a Believer"

For my other posts in identity click here (part 1) or here (part 2).


Continuation of my journey into the lies of my identity. I just talked about cutting others down to avoid them knowing what I think about them.

I want to go deeper into that.

Somewhere, along the way when I was young, I was taught to believe (by my peers and some teachers) that my opinion wasn't wanted. I can pinpoint several instances when:

  • My opinion on books, movies, or music wasn't worth a damn. I was a fool who didn't know good taste.
  • My feelings about individuals was against the norm (you can't like them or be their friend! They're weird!)
  • My affections towards members of the opposite sex were unwanted (ewwww gross! Kelsey likes you? Ewwww!)

My opinion was met with rejection. I found my value in other's thoughts on MY PERSONALITY!  I put my stock in how they saw me and conformed to what they wanted to see!

It stemmed so far into my being that I truly believe(d) that my feelings, affections, self, aren't wanted. No man could ever want my affections and all friends would pity me because I am 
A) not pretty enough
B) not sexy enough
C) not funny enough
D) not worth enough

Now, I know this in my head.  The head is a great thing that can contain so much truth, but sometimes our selves..the emotional beings that we are (our hearts, if you will) can't connect with our brains.

My brain knows I'm awesome, because God made us all awesome. My brain knows I would be a blessing (and let's be honest, occasionally a curse) to any man. 
My heart can't get on board.  My heart can't fathom why anyone would love me, because how could I be worth loving? I was told (by people who I shouldn't have been listening to) when I was young that I wasn't what a man would ever want or what anyone would want as a friend.

So now when I sit across the table (or across the room) from a beautiful man, I can't express to him my appreciation of his:
A) Beauty
B) Kindness
C) Humor
D) Nerdiness (is this one only super attractive to me? I didn't think so. Stand up, nerdy girls)
E) Worth that God sees in him (and God has shown to me as well)

Now, no man needs MY approval any more than I need a man's (or a woman's. We've got God's and frankly that's all we need. Believing it, again, is the trick. I know, broken record. Sorry)

I have been a cruel person because I have been so low on myself.  I have brought others lower because I didn't want them to know how I truly felt. 

I've crushed dreams. I've broken hearts. I've hurt people.
All without meaning to.
All without realizing it.

All because I wasn't capable of seeing I was worth something or that my words could hurt. That my opinion could crush someone just as much as someone else's opinion once hurt me.

It's a journey, and I'm not the only one on it.

It's my identity, but I'm not the only one who doesn't know who she (or he) is. 

In my own little bubble, I've knocked others down. I haven't pointed out the glory in others. I haven't told my brother every day how much he amazes me in his kindness and social prowess (he can make friends with anyone and make them feel good about themselves).
I haven't told my mother how selfless she is in her giving and how her heart is what draws other people to her.
I haven't told my niece that her boisterous energy might earn criticism, but that she shouldn't ever lose her love for life because her joy brings others joy.

I haven't told my best friends that they are beautiful...good moms...talented...worth every breath.
I haven't told any man who has an affect on my heart that his ability to listen and care for others is worth an elephant's weight in gold...nay...one thousand elephants' weight in gold. Seriously, that's so important and I wonder if he knows it about himself. 

I haven't told these people, because I've been so consumed in who I thought I was, that I didn't realize part of who I am is reminding others who they are.
Because you are me.
(I know, it's confusing, I'm still embracing it myself).

We're all on the same journey, but when we focus solely on ourselves we miss the hurting people around us and hurt each other.  When we focus on our lies, we don't listen to the truths others are giving us, and instead we spew more lies without meaning to.

I am the swan, not the ugly duckling.
I will bless (and curse) a man someday should I find one who walks the same path as me (run the race, equally yoked. All that jazz). 
I will bless my brothers and sisters with the truths about them, so that when they are dealing with the lies, they will have little nuggets God wanted them to have in their brains...little whispers that sound like my voice reminding them that THEY ARE LOVED. 

I will remind you, if you need me to, that you have so many amazing qualities...and so many lies that you're believing.

I will spend the rest of my life getting rid of these lies in order to believe the truth God wants me to have. Come with me.

Now tell me...what lies are you going to stop believing?Shout out to all of my fellow Swans. Tweet if you can relate using #Swanitude (because it's fun and funny and true).

Guys, something AMAZING is coming on May 19th called The Choosing by Rachelle Dekker. It's all about identity and figuring out where you belong and the lies we listen to.
You've already been chosen. You are already loved.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

I Think I Love You - Swanitude Part 3

I love that David Cassidy song lyric "I think I love You...so what am I so afraid of?"

Hopefully you've already checked out "Stop Lying!" and "Ew!" and know that I'm taking a few blogs to talk about identity and the lies I've believed.

Next lie has to do with what I touched on in the last one.


Okay, so now that I'm adult, we call them men.

Here's the deal, I don't interact with males well. It's like I'm this awesome, funny, quirky (oh my goodness the quirky) nerdy individual that everyone says "Oh you are seriously so awesome, why are you single?" 
But when it comes to men I turn into this mute, blank faced little *pardon my french* bitch who can't play the game.

My darling Brosef has always been my biggest help and hindrance. Let's dive deeper.

"Kelsey, you have to play the game." (Brosef after explaining how a girl calling a guy "friend" can actually be inspiration to make him try harder)
"I don't understand what 'the game' is," I said, throwing my hands in the air. "I thought I wasn't supposed to friend zone a guy I like."
"Well, in the game, you make him want you because he thinks he can't have you. I always work hardest for the girls who act like they don't care when I know they do."
"Let's break this down." I sat in front of my brother, insistent on one of us understanding the other. "I don't do small talk. It's a foreign language to me. I can't participate.  I don't have the confidence level to say something that, behind it, means 'I'm awesome and you know you want me but you can't have me.' I feel like I should just be able to be interested in someone and find worth in them and that should be enough. Why isn't that enough?"
Brosef studied me for a moment as he processed what I said. "You know what? Don't play the game, Kels. You're above it. You're too mature. If a guy's going to be good enough for you, then he should want you for who you are and what you just said."

Now I'm loosely quoting an actual situation for two reasons:
1. I'm a writer and I can make what we said clear, easy to understand, and sound awesome and 
2. I can't remember the conversation 100% accurately, so Brosef, forgive me for any words I put in your mouth.

Thing is, in my head...liking guys should just be enough that I think he's worth something. I find value in him and I see why the world would be a darker place without him.
Isn't that somehow romantic? Right? My world is better with you in it. Doesn't that make you feel special?

But I don't understand why it doesn't work both ways. Perhaps it's because I still have to remind myself that I'm the swan.

When I forget that I'm the swan, I see the beautiful women around me and I start to compare myself.
"No way will he ever find me beautiful when he knows her."
"She's so much better at being fun and flirty than I am."
"She's better than I am."
"I'm not good enough for him."

Those lies just creep in, starting with a sentence that seems harmless ("she's beautiful") and ending in something detrimental ("He could never see worth in me").

It's even harder when he's beautiful. Let's be honest (are you ready?) I know some beautiful men.
I have a friend who is so drop dead gorgeous that I forget. I actually FORGET how good looking he is, because my mind's eye and photos don't do justice. Truly. I think I know what he looks like and then he walks into a room and I have a moment of "Holy crap" because I'm reminded just how good of a job God did when he made my friend.
(Note to everyone...we are ALL This beautiful. Someone who will see you the same way I see my friend. You take someone's breath away. Take a moment to be awed by that. It awes me).

Oh but here's the crux.
My friend is gorgeous.
I can't say that to him.

Here I war with myself.

Me - "Wow. He's breathtaking."
Scaredy cat me -"Yeah but don't you dare say that to him."
Me -"But he deserves to know!"
SCM- "If you're that good looking, you know it."
Me -"Um, not true, and even if it IS true, you don't stop saying 'that's a good movie' just because the movie KNOWS it's a good movie."
SCM - "Don't care. If you tell him, he might think (or worse, know) you like him and you can never ever tell anyone your feelings ever because rejection is the ultimate worst thing that could happen to you."
Me - "Well, yeah. Okay, rejection is seriously a total fear of mine. But still, it can't hurt to tell him he's good looking, can it?"
SCM - "He'll think you're a loser and you can't handle that. In fact, instead of telling him he's good looking, cut him down. Insinuate that he isn't. Don't want him to get a big ego after all."
Me - "oooh good plan! Let's insult him instead!"

Now, for everyone who is thinking WTF on the scenario above, trust me. I know.  In the moment I listen to the liar (the scaredy cat) and completely fall prey to CUTTING ANOTHER HUMAN BEING DOWN in my own fear of him rejecting my observation that he's beautiful.

What the hell!?

Now you all know why I'm single. You asked, here's the answer.

The lie inside me is that the rejection...the risk..taking the jump off the cliff to flip and dive into the water...that's not worth it. It's the end of the world if I do. Heaven forbid you tell someone they are attractive...heaven forbid you (much worse) insinuate that you could have FEELINGS for someone!
And don't you EVEN FOR ONE SECOND think that you could be worth anything to them. You are their pity project.
So sit down.
Shut up.
And if you have to say something...say something that cuts them down so they don't know how you feel.

To all of those who have been on the end of my barbs...know that you are probably just beautiful. I'm so sorry I ever made you feel otherwise. Maybe I was just secretly in love with you and was so afraid you'd call me icky or make me cry that I ruined your day with an unkind word. 

The lie is that the rejection...the risk...is too great to tell people how I feel.

Don't let the lie become your reality. Don't let the scaredy cat dictate your worth.

Did you forget? You're a Swan!

Do you ever say the opposite of what you mean in order to hide your feelings?

Shout out to all of my fellow Swans. Tweet if you can relate using #Swanitude (because it's fun and funny and true).
Pay attention! The Final Part will be happening next Wednesday!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Ew! - Swanitude Part 2

In Part 1 (Stop Lying!), I talked about a friendship that I recently realized (thank you ReWrite 2015) was super abusive and started a lot of the lies I believe today.

"I'm the pretty one. You're the funny one."

That sentence set me up for a world of failure because in the moment my friend (whom I truly don't blame...she had her own lies that led to this) said this to me, I believed it.

This conversation was in regards to boys. Boys liked my friend (because, let's be honest, she is beautiful. That will never change nor should it) just from first meeting. As an extrovert, she also had an outgoing personality that interacted well with the opposite sex.

I, on the other hand, was kind of the ugly duckling. Awkward, didn't love having to wash and dry my hair, gangly, and buck-toothed. I was the funny one. The friend. Boys didn't like me, they considered me one of them.

I grew up, but I never stopped believing that I was still that little duckling. I never saw that, along the way, I'd turned into a swan.

I can write this today because - despite the lies that still try to drag me down - today, a handsome young man reminded me of the truth I already know.
I am the swan. I HAVE TO remember this, because no man can teach me this. I have to know this for myself.
It's a truth I'm trying to accept for myself, and sometimes people can help you accept truths.

Today I went to lunch with one of my best friends, Esca (or Rachelle, but I call her Esca).  Let me tell you how amazingly beautiful my friend is....wait, no, just look at this photo.

Photo Credit: Kelsey Keating 

There, now you KNOW how amazingly gorgeous she is. Because she is!
We went to grab a quick lunch at Five Guys and a handsome young worker took our order and interacted in a friendly could-have-been-flirty-if-we-had-more-time way.
But it wasn't just directed at the modelesque Rachelle.  I was included.
Because I'm a swan, too.

In that moment, I was reminded that I grew up. I'm a grown up, lovely woman. Why do I ever have a hard time believing this?
See, even as I type it, I have to stop that lie that says "Don't be vain. You're hardly worth looking at."

That's the voice I'm battling every. single. day. As if thinking well of myself isn't being "humble".

Are you kidding me?
My Brosef is a humble human being. He doesn't waste his time using vanity or puffery.  He just is awesome and is humble in his amazing accomplishments.
Does my brother walk around calling himself ugly or lowly because that's "humility"?
Hell no!
My brother knows he's a handsome guy, friendly, awesome, and worth knowing. He knows he's worthwhile and that isn't vanity.

He tries to tell me I have to think the same way.
I'm working on it.

This is my struggle. This is what I'm facing.

I'm facing me.
I'm facing the "Who I think I am" and knocking her on her ass.
She's not me! She's an impostor!
It will take time, and it's going to be a hard battle, but when I win...

I'll love me as much as I'm supposed to. I'll know me.
I'll know who I am, my identity.
It's a journey.
Half the battle is realizing that there are lies.
I'm already there. I just have to start believing the truth and not faking it.
I am my Father's daughter (the God who is your father too. You are me) and I am beautiful.
Maybe if I say it every day, I'll realize it's true (isn't that like a rule somewhere?)

So to hell with the lies. I'm the beautiful daughter of my Father God, and he doesn't screw up. He made me beautiful.
You don't think I'm beautiful? Well what the **** do I care what you think?
That's right.  That's part of the truth to work on.

My worth isn't found in you.

YOUR worth, isn't found in me.

So tell me (if you're brave enough)...do you ever forget that you are beautiful?

Shout out to all of my fellow Swans. Tweet if you can relate using #Swanitude (because it's fun and funny and true).
Part 3 is coming March 11 - stay tuned and thanks for joining