I've never been good at being disciplined.For reals. All my life growing up I avoided doing anything bad so I didn't get in trouble. Obviously, humans are mistake-bots so I still did plenty wrong, but I always tried to not be a disappointment...to get corrected, not disciplined.
I don't know why it affects me that way. I don't know why discipline feels like the world has ended. I let someone down. I let them down so badly they have a finger in my face saying "bad girl."
What am I, a dog? A child? No one actually puts their finger in my face and says "bad girl, baaaaad girl." But that's what it feels like. It feels dehumanizing. Complete and utter failure.
Guess who felt like she was being disciplined yesterday and lost her cool? Yup, this girl.
It wasn't pretty. My coworker, who really didn't even do anything wrong, handled my complete loss of emotional stability rather well. He's married. The married guys tend to do better than the single ones.
The worst part was the chain reaction. I got upset because I felt like he was telling me I was bad at my job - baaad girl - (he wasn't) and then I got upset that I was upset. So instead of just saying "this right here is upsetting me," I tried to hold it in.
Which, of course, made it that much worse. Within seconds I'm hyperventilating like a two-year-old and hating myself. I had to process why, what, how, when all evening to figure out what had gone wrong and how to better approach it in the future.
And it will be better in the future. Because I've learned how to assess myself. Sure the episode wasn't great (horribly embarrassing), but I learned something about myself that I'd never addressed before - my hatred for discipline.
I never consciously thought about how I avoid it, how I fear it. I never considered why I am this way. I'm still, honestly, not sure. One thing that pops up in my head is a teacher berating me in front of the whole class for having bad handwriting.
Handwriting. Because that's a good reason to make an eleven-year-old girl feel like she's committed the worst crime in history.
If you do something wrong, you will be publicly shamed. Well that's a reason to avoid it.
And while I'm not a fan of what happened, I'm glad it gave me the chance to look inward and discover something new about myself.
So that's me, being painfully honest about being embarrassed and feeling stupid. Your turn. What is something that can set you off? What's the thing from your youth that is a "trigger" to emotional upheaval?
If you're brave enough to answer, comment below and let me know I'm not alone. If you'd rather keep it to yourself - more power to you, but I hope you'll consider it, and then consider why it impacts you that way.
Either way, let's take an opportunity to grow. Stretch out those feathers. Fly a little higher.
Thank you for listening, dear swan.
All my love,
Kelsey Introspective Swan
Defeat is ImminentYou know that song by Chumbawumba called "Tubthumping." One of the weirder things to come out of the 90s, but nevertheless, the chorus is my mantra this week.
"I get knocked down, but I get up again. You're never gonna keep me down."
Defeat is a part of life. Losing. Feeling like a loser. We all face it.
I have felt particularly defeated this week. I was so excited about book 3 - A Stolen Wish - and then Friday night had a total breakdown about it, sobbing because I was convinced I was a failure.
The next morning I was fitted for my costume for the play I'm in. I looked in the mirror and didn't see a swan. I didn't see an ugly duckling either. I saw Miss Trunchbull from Matilda.
It was bad.
The whole past week it's been like every time I get back up, someone trips me.
Fed up, I watched my step and whirled around to see who it was that kept pushing me down.
It was me.
It's almost always me.
Not once in the last week did anyone say anything to me that implied I was worthless, that I couldn't do what I was trying to do. When I spoke to a friend about my book, she was encouraging and helpful - so why was I so down? When I tried on my outfit, my cast mate and the seamstress were pleased with the look, so why did I find me so hideous?
All week, people have been as they often are - kind, a bit indifferent, or oblivious. None of them sought to pick on me or knock me down a peg.
So why am I knocking me down?
I think sometimes we are our own biggest obstacles. There's a fear that comes with risks, a fear of failure. So before we have the chance to fail, we stop ourselves from trying.
I may be a tiny part in this play, but that's not going to keep me from walking out in whatever outfit they put me in (strangely enough, I'll be getting a new outfit 2 days before opening night...now if I thought I was nervous before...).
I will write my books. I will write them regardless if I understand "story structure" or whether or not other writers will think I suck at what I do. I can't worry about what they think of me - but let's be honest, they aren't thinking about me. I'd bet they're too busy dealing with their own problems just like I am mine.
It's not any one else's job to make me feel good about myself. It's not even a job I can do on my own most of the time. I had to reach out and ask for help from the one who made me who I am. I had to remember my worth isn't in my looks or my writing, or even how "nice" or "good" I am every day.
My worth comes from being a daughter of the most high.
Sometimes we face defeat. We get knocked down. Often it's our own doing. But we don't have to stay there.
I found my reminder of who I am. I got back up. There's a saying "Fall down seven times, get up eight."
Defeat is a part of life, but it isn't a permanent placement.
If you're staring defeat in the face, remember who you are. You're a swan. A child of the Most High.
You are worth so much more than this defeat will make you feel.
You can do this. You can get back up. Trust me, I know from experience.
Reply to this email if you feel me on this - or if you need to express your own defeat and maybe hear a word of encouragement. I can't always fix the problem, but I can lend a hand to help you get your feet back under you.
Thanks for listening, my lovely flock. You make my life a thousand times better.
Kelsey Up Again Swan
I've always loved rain...And it's been raining in my city all week like the weather got lost on its way to Seattle.
But I'm not complaining (and trust me, plenty are). Rain has always been so refreshing, so beatuiful to me. I love it. I don't get the rainy day blues - unless I'm stuck somewhere without windows and I can't watch the beautiful gloom outside.
Big things are happening, peeps. Book 3 - A Stolen Wish - has been outlined AGAIN because I decided I didn't like the plot AGAIN (Derric fans, I promise you this was a good change).
I finally feel like I've found the story that fits both the Stolen Royals universe AND the way I like to tell stories.
Also, remember that Herculean challenge thing I was doing on Wattpad? The one where I asked people who were members to jump on over and "pledge their loyalty?" I don't know if I told you this, but I got immunity in that round, and the 4th round just ended and...
I'M IN THE FINAL ROUND. That's right, of the 50-100 people who entered, I'm one of the 10 that has a chance to tell their story and either win the "grand prize" (bragging rights) or be runner up. I'm in it to win it, babes.
I'll let you guys know when the story is posted so you can head over and read it if you're interested.
This week is more or less just an update about things going on, so now it's your turn. << Test First Name >>, what's up? What's new in your life? Do you enjoy rain or do you prefer sunshine?
Let me know - I love to hear from you :)
Until next week my flock,
Kelsey Rain Dancer Swan
MAJOR REQUEST and also AUDIOBOOK winners!!
Did you read A Stolen Crown? If you did - whether you loved it, hated it, or felt pretty meh - please do a girl a favor and leave a review on Amazon and Goodreads.
Also everyone who entered for an Audiobook of A Stolen Kiss back in March - check your email today!
It only took me almost two months to get it all sorted, but the codes are now out to the winners!!
Trolling the Trolls
We all face bullies - but being a public figure means they are all over the internet, hiding behind their screens, and you aren't allowed to engage.
Trolls aren't new - the internet bullies who live to be horrible to other people, using a keyboard because they're way to chicken to take people on face to face...
But a recent celebrity post and a story from a friend started me really thinking about what I can do to make a difference.
Here's the thing: as a published author, I'm a public figure. As a public figure, I'm not allowed to interact with my trolls or my author friend's trolls. It never works out for the public figure, who even if they're in the right, broke a big rule. Do. Not. Engage.
Negative book reviews are a part of life - hey, bring them on! Authors are always looking for reviews. But I've noticed on places like Goodreads that some reviewers, for the sake of wit, humor, and cleverness, will be downright cruel in regards to a story I know the author spent months working on. They don't consider the person behind the pages - or if they do, they're aiming to hurt the author for "wasting their time."
The author didn't force them to read the book, but they get the lashing nevertheless (I've had my own fair share).
The most frustrating part for me is knowing I can't defend my friends. It's not good for me to do as an author, and it would only hurt them as people would assume they put me up to it.
It's just not allowed.
Then I saw an article about Kelly Clarkson being "Mommy-shamed" because she gave her daughter a piece of toast with Nutella on it.
People FREAKED, calling her a horrible mother who must hate her daughter.
So I went to Instagram and checked out the post, and what I noticed made me think of my flock and what we could do to change the world.
There were mean comments, yes, but what I really noticed was how many of Kelly's fans and supporters backed her up. They showed her love.
They said "don't listen to the hate, Kelly. I love Nutella! Your daughter is beautiful!"
They let her know she wasn't alone.
And I thought...hey....we could do that.
Instead of engaging the troll like you might want to when you see them slinging hate or shame on someone you care about, let the person know you're with them.
Instead of fighting with someone on the internet (which never works out), ignore their comment, and spread the swanitude.
See a fat-shamer on your favorite Instagrammer's latest photo?
Let the Instagrammer know how beautiful he/she looks, and that you're with them.
See a Mommy-shamer on your favorite mom-blogger's website?
Tell that mama that she's doing a great job and her kids are so lucky to have her for a mom.
Do it for skinny-shaming, dad-shaming, racism, sexism - all of it. Put the positive out there to DROWN OUT the negative voice.
Love a book? Give it a positive review.
Hate a book? Review it, but remember there's a person behind those pages, and let the world know what you didn't like, but don't do it at the expense of the other person's dignity.
And if you see a mean post and actually agree with it? Well instead of jumping in and joining the Troll Parade, nod in agreement and move on. There's no need to fuel the hate.
Can we do this?
Can we band together and spread the love?
I think we can. I think the swans are just what this world needs to be reminded of something Disney's 2015 Cinderella taught us:
Have courage and be kind.
Be brave enough to say something, and let it be kindness as the result.
So - have you ever been the victim of an internet troll? Are you willing to join me in spreading a bit of love out in the world?
Reply to this email to let me know I'm not alone.
Keep being awesome, swans. I love you all ♥.
Kelsey Kindness Swan
It's strange to want to tell you "Happy Easter!" on Good Friday.
For those of you who don't believe as I do, Good Friday is a time to remember the cost that was paid on the cross. It's, obviously, followed by Easter, where we celebrate that death is not the end.
Thinking about Easter make me think about darkness and light, and how that story plays out over and over in our own lives.
Recently one of my coworkers lost his six week old son. It was horrible and tragic and unexpected. Through that darkness, they chose to find the light. It's not easy to do, but they managed it. They found the light in their son's perfection - in his beautiful life here on earth, and the love he brought into their lives and the lives of his older siblings.
They chose to look for the hope hiding in the overwhelming despair.
Because there's always hope.
Even when your world is crumbling - even when you don't think there could be anything good to come from something so horrible - there's hope.
If you're willing to find it.
Today I'm thinking about the most hopeless time in Mary's life - watching her son die. I'm thinking about the young men (no older than 18-20 ish) watching their Rabbi, their teacher and mentor, being led away. I'm thinking about how horrible it must have felt to know you were doing what you were asked to do, and yet watching the people who cheered for him, loved him, and followed him cry out in one loud voice:
Yet in only a few days' time, all that darkness was flipped on its head.
The war was won.
If you believe, then to you I say "He is Risen."
To all of you, I wish you a Happy Easter.
And if you're in the middle of a dark time, I promise you this.
There is hope.
Reach out if you feel me - or even if you don't and maybe want to know more. If there's any way I can serve you, please let me know.
All my love,
Kelsey Somber Swan
I recently (this last Tuesday) got semi-permanent makeup on my eyebrows. It's kind of like a tattoo, but it will only last 3-5 years.
But if I'm the effing swan, not the ugly duckling, shouldn't I be happy as I am and not NEED to change anything?
Yes and no.
I didn't NEED to change my eyebrows. I wanted to. Does it make me feel better about myself? Yes. Does it make me feel confident? Yes. Is there anything wrong with that?
Nope. Not in this case.
We all have things about us we'd like to change. I happen to have sparse, sad, straight little eyebrows that make my face look bald unless my trusty eyebrow pencil gives me a chance at expression. I had the power, the means, and the ability to change them.
So I did.
If I did my eyebrows in hopes that other people would find me more beautiful, or that men would be attracted to me, or because I was convinced that I was ugly without them...the procedure would have been all for naught.
I would have pretty eyebrows, but I just would have found something else to fuel my self-loathing and insecurity. If I can't love me just the way I am, then no amount of changing the outside is going to heal the inside.
Choose what you choose for you and not anyone else.
I didn't get my eyebrows done to make other people like me, or even to make me like me. I got them done because I wanted to. It saves me a chunk of my morning I used to have to spend on making my lame brows even.
I like me with or without them.
Look at yourself today and consciously pay attention to you and your well being. Do you like yourself? Do you look in the mirror and instantly start picking apart everything "wrong" with you?
Do you think things like "Well, when I finally __________ then I'll be pretty." or "If only I looked like ___________."
Those things come more from what's going on inside you than what you actually look like outside (Trust me, << Test First Name >>, you're gorgeous inside and out - you just need to believe it!).
When you look in the mirror and hear your inner voice thinking those nasty things...I want you to be bold and brave and do this exercise.
Look yourself right in the eye and say "I am beautiful."
Whatever version of that you need.
"I am beautiful."
"I am strong."
"I am unique."
"I am an effing swan - not an ugly duckling."
You tell yourself lies all the time - how about today you tell the truth.
Reply back to me if you're going to try this OR after you've done so. Let me know what you think of the process.
Remember that you are beautiful. You are strong. You are unique. You are loved.
Kelsey Strong Brow Swan