Motivation

You’re Not Weird, You’re You

In 2019, I’ve been (slowly) trying to change my outlook on how others see me. Having had social anxiety from a young age, I’ve often felt like this quote from Speak Your Mind:

When you have social anxiety, every time you’re around someone, you feel like they’re judging you. No real reason why; that’s just how it is. And every time you stutter, every time you do something awkward, every trip and every fall, it’s like in your mind you lose even more ‘points’ with people. And in reality, no one cares that much. But we think they do. God help us, we think they do.

You'reNotWeirdYou'reYou

In fact, I wrote this line for Victoria after having an embarrassing moment that led to an anxiety attack. I was on a scotch doubles bowling league with my boyfriend at the time, where one person would bowl first and the second person would try to pick up the spare if any pins were left. Well, I was always nervous on the league because I’m an amateur bowler at best, and after guttering a couple times, I got super embarrassed.

My boyfriend is one of the best bowlers on his other leagues, and everyone in the bowling alley knows him. I thought that because my boyfriend is an awesome bowler that everyone would expect me to be just as good, and not living up to that expectation made me feel like everyone thought I was dumb, uncoordinated, or a downright loser.

Why? Because I’ve been made fun of for similar things growing up, and these old, though admittedly stupid words still haunt me.

Middle school was the worst of it. During my very brief Star Wars phase in 7th grade, I bought a Star Wars t-shirt because I liked it. When I wore it to school, the popular girl who sat next to me in class wrinkled her nose and said, “why are you wearing that?”

The answer was because I liked the shirt and it was none of her business what I wore, but I didn’t say that, because she already thought I was weird. A lot of people treated me that way throughout school. Sometimes it felt like I had the Cheese Touch from Diary of a Wimpy Kid.

A lot of comments have been made about what I looked like in middle school, what I wore, how I now look 12 when I’m 25, how weird my hobbies are, how unathletic I am, etc. over the years. While the majority of the time I’d rather slap that judging smirk off their face, I’ve been told that it’s easier to let the comments roll off you like water from a duck’s back. It’s taken me 25 years to realize that I’m truly not weird… I’m just me. And it’s okay to be confident in who I am and not care what others think.

I like working out in my office at work during my lunch break sometimes, and when someone opens the door to ask a question mid-squat, I can either be embarrassed and stop working out, or continue working out and achieve my fitness goals. I can either cover up my Toy Story Apple Watch face when around others because I’m embarrassed of my love for cartoons, or I can embrace my inner child. You can either turn your music down at a stoplight, or blast The Greatest Showman soundtrack. It may be weird to them, but it’s your life.

You like something? Do it. Embrace it. Be confident in it. Because you’re not weird, you’re you. And you’re stuck with the life you’re living. Make it one you want to live!


What have others called you weird for that you really enjoy? Let me know in the comments!

Later, Arrowheads,

-Allyson 😀

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My Books

Snag Speak Your Mind for 99 Cents!

What’s up, Arrowheads? Just wanted to pop in and announce that my middle grade novel, Speak Your Mind is currently on sale for Kindle!

Click here to purchase the novel at 65% off its regular price, now until Friday. You won’t want to miss this!


Thanks for stopping by!

-Allyson 😀

My Arrowheads, My Books

Last Character Interview and Speak Your Mind Release Roundup

Good afternoon, Arrowheads! Today I’ll be hosting the last character interview for Speak Your Mind‘s release month. It’s been an absolute pleasure introducing the novel’s characters to you each Monday. If you’ve missed interviews with Victoria, Aiden, and Zeeb, I’ll link to those at the bottom of this post. Now I’d like to introduce to you Mr. Brandon Andrews, older brother of Aiden Andrews and the main character of my WIP, Tales of an Awkward Turtle!

*Applause*

CharacterInterview-BrandonSYM

Me: Welcome to Authoring Arrowheads, Brandon! It’s awesome to have you on today!

Brandon: *Pulls at his shirt collar* Thanks, ma’am! It’s nice to be here.

Me: Thanks, Brandon! Oh, and you don’t have to call me “ma’am”. I’m not much older than you! *Smiles*

Brandon: *Blushes* Oh gosh, sorry ma’am! *Slaps forehead* Ugh, dang it!

Me: It’s no problem at all! You seem a little nervous, Brandon. Remember, you can be yourself here with no judgment. Okay, so our first question is, how would you describe yourself?

Brandon: *Deer-in-headlights look* Um… I never know what to say to answer this question. Well, I love music. I can play the guitar and harmonica. I’m really into history and trains. And, according to my little brother, Aiden, I’m an awkward turtle.

Me: I’m right there with you on that! I’m not too good at introductions myself. You did a great job, though! Those are interesting hobbies. And don’t listen to Aiden, you’re not that bad. So, do you have any nicknames?

Brandon: Oh yeah. Besides Awkward Turtle, Aiden’s started calling me Bran Muffin, supposedly because my life is as boring as bran. *Rolls eyes* I’m trying to get back at him by giving him a stupid nickname,  but I can’t think of one that’s good enough.

Me: *Holds back a laugh* Well, you’ll get there eventually. And trust me, you’re life isn’t as boring as bran. *Whispers* And it certainly won’t be in Tales of an Awkward Turtle!

Brandon: Huh?

Me: Huh?

Brandon: *Shifts his eyes and scratches the back of his neck nervously*

Me: Alright, so now tell me… if you were stranded on an uninhabited island, what one item–besides food, shelter, and a boat–would you like to have with you?

Brandon: Hmm… I’d probably have to say my guitar. That way I can hang out and pretend to be Kenny Chesney singing beach tunes. Maybe my crush will actually notice me then.

Me: Um, but if you’re on an uninhabited island, she won’t be able to see you…

Brandon: *Sighs* Just like every other day.

Me: *Feels horrible about my previous comment* Next question: Out of all the influences in your life, who do you look up to the most?

Brandon: Hands down, my mom is my biggest role model. She used to struggle with social awkwardness like I do, and she’s been able to overcome her shyness and take over my grandparents’ old cafe in Grahamwood. Someday I hope I can follow in her footsteps and chase my dreams like she has without my awkwardness holding me back.

Me: Aw, that’s a sweet answer, Brandon. Mrs. Leah sure has done a great job raising you and your brother. So, in Grahamwood there’s a bakery called Good Eats that serves the best doughnuts in all of Linwood County. What’s your favorite flavor of doughnut?

Brandon: *Grins* Chocolate frosted. They’re simple and often overlooked, but they don’t need fancy sprinkles or bigger flavors to bring me back every time. 

Me: Yes! Chocolate frosted are my favorite, too! And yes, they’re completely underrated. Alright, the last question I have for today is where do you see yourself in ten years?

Brandon: To be honest, I hope I can make my hobbies in music or history become a career. I’d really like to be a musician or a history teacher, but I’m way too awkward to do either. I’d also like to marry my crush, but that would require me talking to her without walking into a wall, so I don’t know how an eventual proposal will come out of that if I can’t ask her on a date. Maybe Aiden’s right… maybe I’ll just stay an awkward turtle for life.

Me: Come on now, Brandon. You can do anything you set your mind to. And remember, God loves us and has plans for us, awkwardness and all. You’ll see those dreams come true, I promise you. Well, that’s all the questions I have for today. Thanks again for stopping by, Brandon!

Brandon: Thanks for that, Allyson. I’ll try to keep that in mind. Thanks for having me on! *Stands up to walk off stage, tripping on the chair he was just sitting in* 


To view the Character Inspiration  for Brandon and the remaining cast of Speak Your Mind, you can view my Pinterest board here!

Interested in finding out more about Brandon in Speak Your Mind? Add it to your Goodreads To-Read list by clicking the button below!

SpeakYourMind-FrontCover

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Speak Your Mind is now available on Amazon! Click here to learn more!


Speak Your Mind Release Month Roundup!

If you’ve missed any posts about Speak Your Mind this month, you can find links to them below in chronological order!

Authoring Arrowheads Posts

Blog Tour Stops

Rayleigh Gray: Book Review | http://literatureapproved.com

Penny Wood: Character Interview with Zeeb | https://asouthernbellewithstoriestotell.wordpress.com

Gracelyn Buckner: Book Spotlight | gracelynbuckner.wordpress.com

Laura A. Grace: Book Spotlight | https://unicornquester.com/

Jes Drew: Book Review | http://pausefortales.blogspot.com/

Abigail Harder: Book Spotlight | https://bookslifeandchrist.wordpress.com

Thanks again to everyone who has participated in Speak Your Mind‘s release. I adore y’all and am honored to be a guest on your blogs!

That’s it for today, Arrowheads! Thank you for tagging along on this journey with me while preparing to release the book of my heart! ❤

Later Arrowheads,

-Allyson 😀

 

Flash Fiction, My Books

Speak Your Mind Preview | Chapter One: Miss Unfortunate Disaster

Good afternoon, Arrowheads! With Speak Your Mind releasing tomorrow, today I’d like to share with you the first chapter! So, sit back, relax, and prepare to reminisce the horrors of middle school with Speak Your Mind, Chapter One: Miss Unfortunate Disaster!

SYMPreviewCH1

Chapter 1:
Miss Unfortunate Disaster

You know how when you reach the age of thirteen that older people start telling you about their “awkward stage”, that horrid seventh grade year? Coming out of the sixth grade at Grahamwood Junior High, I envisioned myself rising over the obstacle like a mighty horse jumping over the last hurdle to win its greatest victory yet. However, although “victory” sounds a lot like my name, my seventh grade year has become an epic failure.

My name is Victoria Harding, and this is the story of my seventh grade tragedy.

Eight o’clock a.m.: I head straight for PE, first period with Coach Jackson. Trudging past the judging eyes of my classmates, my gaze remains in place on my sneakers. I duck into the locker room to find all the change-out benches are occupied, except for the one in the darkened back corner. Stepping over the other girls’ bags littering the aisle, I drop my bookbag on it. The bench collapses under its weight.

I guess it can’t deal with the weight of this school either, I think, struggling to pick up my things.

“Haha, check out Miss Total Victory!”

It is the chant of a thousand nightmares, the ringing in my ear that never ceases its daily presence. Of course, they had to see that. If you haven’t already guessed, Meredith Waters and her best friend, Shaniah King, find it hilarious to make jokes out of my name every time something goes wrong. I’ve let it pass for years, but on the inside, I’m screaming, I hope no one likes your duck-face selfies on Instagram!

On the outside, I am timid, shy, and silent as a Sunday morning. However, there’s also the little voice inside my head… and it’s ruthless.

After changing into my gym uniform, I force myself out of the sanctuary the locker room offers and take a brick wall to the face. No, not literally, but a basketball bounces at my feet. My bottom lip emits a throbbing pain, and I taste blood.

“Nice catch, Harding!” Eric Reese smirks, dribbling the ball away and shooting it off his hand into the basket. I flee into the now empty locker room to the sink in the back. Cupping water in my hands, I rinse my mouth, and spit a pink-tinted pool into the basin. The mirror reveals my glasses are hanging crooked on my nose. I take a moment to bend the legs back into shape.

Yeah, he better act like that now, because when he’s forty he’ll be living outside in a cardboard box, working here as a part-time janitor.

Taking a deep breath, I head back into the gym. Coach Jackson steps in front of me, crossing his arms. “Why are you late to class?”

“I… I wasn’t late. My mouth was bleeding because Eric hit me with a basketball,” I peep, cowering behind my mass of brown curls.

“Reese! Front and center, young man!”

Eric jogs up, flipping his shaggy brown hair out of his eyes. “What’s up, Coach J?”

“Did you mean to hit Vanessa in the face with that basketball?”

Eric’s haughty stare shifts from me to Coach Jackson, and back again. “Snitch.”

“That’s ten more sprints for you today at practice, Reese,” Coach yells at Eric’s back as he rejoins his friends.

Yeah, I highly doubt that.

Great. Just great. I broke a bench, got a bloody mouth, got called the wrong name and now I’m a snitch… and it’s only first period. Just call me Miss Unfortunate Disaster.

© Copyright 2018, Allyson Kennedy. All rights reserved.


I hope you enjoyed Chapter One, Arrowheads! I’m so excited to be sharing the rest of Victoria’s seventh grade tragedy with you tomorrow!

That’s it for today, Arrowheads! To view the Character Inspiration for Victoria and the remaining cast of Speak Your Mind, you can view my Pinterest board here!

Interested in finding out more about Victoria in Speak Your Mind? Add it to your Goodreads To-Read list by clicking the button below!

SpeakYourMind-FrontCover

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Speak Your Mind will debut on Saturday, November 24th 2018 (Lord willing).

Click here to pre-order Speak Your Mind for $2.99!

Later Arrowheads,

-Allyson 😀

Poems

Poem: Social Anxiety

Good afternoon, Arrowheads! To kick of the release month for Speak Your Mind, I’d like to share a poem with you about one of the major themes in the book: social anxiety.

SocialAnxietyPoem

She’s the girl who sits in silence,

hair blocking her face.

Content in watching instead of mingling,

always feeling out of place.

Forever biting her lip,

lest something awkward slip.

For her, this isn’t a simple phase.

Everyone around her talks,

yet never listens.

They joke and say she stalks

those that pay her any attention.

Forever keeping to herself,

alone on the highest shelf,

just to avoid their mocking gaze.

Yet the bullies aren’t just kids.

In fact, the worst one can’t be seen.

If you dare to take a look,

flip through her tattered book,

you’ll find within the confines

of her overthinking mind

the most vile villain to ever be designed:

Social Anxiety.

© Copyright 2018, Allyson Kennedy. All rights reserved.


That’s it for today, Arrowheads! I hope you enjoyed the poem! Be sure to check back here each Monday this month for behind-the-scenes interviews with characters from Speak Your Mind!

Has this poem left you wanting to read Speak Your Mind? Add it to your Goodreads To-Read list by clicking the button below!

SpeakYourMind-FrontCover

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Speak Your Mind will debut on Saturday, November 24th 2018 (Lord willing).

Later Arrowheads,

-Allyson 😀