Wednesday, August 9, 2017

This is The Face Of A Girl Who Had NO Sleep Last Night

s/o to makeup for making me look not so ghostly and purple hair dye for disguising the greasiness of my hair and filters to cover the puffy eye bags

Hello my friends. I feel like it's been a while. I've wandered off in my own little world. There's a few things that have been on my mind, especially last night since sleep just wouldn't come. 

While the long night last night went on and on and I ran out of things to do, I started this book I got from my Pastor after graduating called, "Don't Waste Your Life." I had rolled my eyes dramatically and for the laughs as I received the book in front of the whole church while the other graduates received books on how to remain strong in your faith during college.

Yeah, I'm not going to college. But, that's a whole other subject and that's not what I'm here for today. Back to the book. I stored it away, thinking I'll just read it when I have time or later. Well, these past few months since graduation have been so hard. I went through a dark time of depression and hopelessness, and my days were filled with blank stares and hours of nothing. Nothing I used to do brought me joy. So, why do them? This was my attitude then, and it wasn't right.

This book made me realize something: I've lost six months of precious time. Yes, I have been mourning and working through the grieving process. But, there's so many hours I wasted on Youtube watching useless after useless video or scrolling through Instagram or sitting alone in my room or sleeping in till 11. I couldn't sleep after just reading the first few pages. It opened my eyes.

I only have one life before I'm gone from this world forever and all that's left of me here is what I've left behind. What will the things I've left behind say about me? I don't want it to be 1K followers on Instagram with hundreds of fake photos, or a Youtube history filled with useless and pointless videos. I want people to live and breathe the passions and emotions I felt through my writing and art. I want these things to connect with them, to make them feel loved. I want everyone who reads my blog, my books, and sees my art to know the person I was. A godly, loving, and real person.

I don't have time to live in a cardboard cut out life the world expects me to fit into. I want to live my life, not a life in my screen. I want to live my dreams and passions. I live to create and create for my creator.

I leave you with this question: What will the things you leave behind say about you?

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Saturday, July 29, 2017

The U.N.I.T // Aesthetics (and a brief rant)

 I'm obsessed with making my Pinterest story boards as aesthetic and pretty as possible, it's not even funny. Pictures do such a good job of telling a story. I've hit a bit of a rut in The U.N.I.T right now. I'm so close to be finished with Part 1 of 3, but I'm starting to lack the motivation to just get it done. I thought it would be fun to share a bit of my aesthetics for the story and share something that's been on my mind.

I've been working on this story for a few years now. It's changed into something completely different than when it first was born out of a hobbit obsession. Now, it's almost like a personal journal of my emotions. Whatever I'm feeling when I write, my characters are feeling it in some way or another. Or sometimes something I've never felt before and write about will be something I feel later on. It's crazy to look back at the beginnings of The U.N.I.T and seeing the things my characters went through.

This is how I wish all writing was. We need more books out there that people can relate to. My main character is named Margret Kurt, she goes by MK or Marty. On the outside, this story might seem like any other cliche post apocalyptic book about teenagers being epic heroes and grownups being the villains, but within it is something much deeper and real. MK is not a hero. She is broken, feels depression and anxiety, and is constantly at war with her own mind.


Something I get so sick of in YA books is those badbutt female characters who know how to hunt, never seem to have a period, know how to fight, are extremely brave, always save the guy, and are witty and intense. I don't know about you, but I've never met someone in real life like Katniss, Tris, or Celaena Sardothien. We're all humans. We all break, we say awkward things, do awkward things, make mistakes, and deal with battles in our minds. I'm not saying none of these characters never had a breaking moment. But, real people have them all the time.

I didn't go through half the things any of these characters have faced, and they still seemed to be doing better than I am mentally. I want to write characters that feel pain you will feel and feel joy you will feel. I want people to read my books and nod their heads the whole way through because they can relate. They feel for my characters because what they feel is real. It's real emotions woven into words from my heart. The things my characters go through are what I go through.

MK gets scared; she gets scared a lot. Some people will call her weak when they read it. They'll call her silly or dramatic. But, what if your life was written down on paper? What if your life was your story and you were the main character? I know that if I was a character, there'd constantly be ups and downs. I'd feel great and ready to battle the evil one day and unsure the next.

That's just how real life is. 

If we could break the cliche of "strong female characters" who aren't even human, maybe it wouldn't so radical to read a book where people are afraid, have panic attacks, cry a lot, and have thousands of emotions they experience ever day.

My characters are real, deal with sin, and have complicated lives. Anyway, that's it. That's all I have to say.


Now, here's some pictures that give you an idea of what the colors/themes/and aesthetics of the book are:




















You can also check out my Spotify Playlist for my book by searching 'shelby.genco.' My story playlist is titled, 'The U.N.I.T.'


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Meet Cinder

The name Cinder was inspired by my love for the Lunar Chronicles. They're basically sci-fi retelling of the classic Princess stories where Cinderella is a cyborg and little red riding hood is named Scarlet and falls in love with a werewolf. Pretty dope, ammi right?

Who is my Cinder, you ask? She's my cat.

I decided on this name because of her dusty gray coat which reminded me of the way Cinderella got her name. She slept in the firer pit, causing her skin to be covered in cinders and dirt, earning her nickname, 'Cinder.'

She kind of acts like her too. She's feisty and has spunk. Cinder also loves coffee, knocking over plants and tins of expensive markers, drinking out of the toilet, sleeping on her Mommy's neck and being her little shadow, and being curious about everything.

The only down side of owning this little tiger, is I have a slight allergy. It's either that, or I have a cold in the middle of Summer which is highly probable since weird things happen to me all the time.

Here's a few pictures of the little devil.







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Friday, July 28, 2017

It's Okay To Love Yourself


A few weeks ago I was at a lake with some friends, rocking my two piece. I was feeling pretty confident in my skin, as hairy as it was (got those Italian jeans in me) when my friend asked me, "What are those marks on your side?" I glanced down to check out the web of stretch marks she was pointing out. "Oh ah, those are stretch marks."

It was no big deal. But, it made me feel kind of awkward. Yes, people, Shelby has stretch marks. I also don't shave my armpits because IT'S UNCOMFORTABLE, OKAY? I'm also short, as people have told me more times than I can count. I might seem gross to some, weird, or even "overweight" according to what the BMI chart told me. But, you know what? I'm perfectly fine with it.

if i had a dollar for every time someone called me short

I've battled with my skin and its imperfections for long enough to the point I can safely (it was definitely not safe) say I had a mixture of all those nasty eating disorders. I made war against my own body, my own precious body. Did you know God calls our body a temple? We are precious vessels made by the very breath of God. He formed us with love, with art. We are his art, his workmanship.

Isn't that freaking awesome?

And this is why stretch marks are also freaking awesome: they tell your story. Every scar, mark, roll, and spot of cellulite shape you to be you. Your body has been through so much and protected you through things you didn't even know you needed protection from.

Did you know Jesus wasn't extraordinarily handsome? The Bible says in Isaiah 53:2, "For he grew up before Him like a tender shoot, And like a root out of parched ground; He has no stately formor majesty that we should look upon Him, nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him."

Jesus could have taken on any form he wanted when he came into the world to save us. He could have become the most handsome person this world has ever know. But, instead he took on the form of a lowly man. Instead of being born in a kingdom surrounded by servants, he was born in a stable surrounded by animals.

We seem to have it backwards in this world. We think the best people are those that are young, beautiful, funny, rich, and successful. But, God tells us the first shall be last. The one who loves others and puts the needs of others before our own are the one who deserve the praise.

You know what else? The ones who also love themselves. Not the hippy way the world views it where you only focus on you and just believe in yourself. No. We love ourselves fully and completely how we are right here and now because God made this body. We love ourselves now and until we die. We love the young us and the old us with all its wrinkles and changes.

It is not wrong to love yourself. Loving yourself means being thankful for the art and creation God has made. It's not only the heavens that declare the glory of God! We were made in his IMAGE which I think is even better than what the radiant sky with the thousands of colors it displays.

Just like the details on the petal of a lily, the details on your skin, in the colors of your hair and eyes, the shape of your lips, all of it is a beautiful masterpiece.

I have made peace with my body.

Lord, thank you for this skin that is a home for my soul. Thank you for making me a wildflower. Thank you for making my legs strong so I can run and dance and my voice loud so I can sing and yell and laugh. Thank you for my fingers so I can type these words that will hopefully touch hearts and minds with comfort and hope. But, most of all Lord, thank you for washing this body in your forgiveness.

We are beautiful in you.
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Friday, July 14, 2017

Belief Is Not A Feeling

Our belief is not a warm, fuzzy feeling in our hearts. When we are redeemed and are adopted as children as God, we can experience a spiritual high. Our hearts are changed and we feel the weight of our sin. But, when we ask for forgiveness, we feel a feeling of utter joy and contentment. It can last for weeks or even months for some. Then, something happens. Life smacks us in the face and suddenly we've lost our job, a friend, a home, or even a loved one. It doesn't even have to be as traumatic as that to make us come crashing down in to a sense of loneliness and loss. It can be a bad day, something someone said, or a doubt you have.

No matter what way it happens, there does come a time when our spiritual high deflates and we're left with a hollow feeling in our heart Or, at least, we think we're hollow. We'd have that uplifting feeling and spirit of hope all the time if we weren't, right?

Only a few months ago, I would stand in church and watch as other people closed their eyes and raised there hands up toward the ceiling as they sang. I could see their passion and love for Christ in the way they weren't ashamed to raise their arms and sing. They weren't just reading words off a projected screen, they were praising their God in heaven. I wish I had that passion and those feelings. I can't raise my hands and close my eyes, say "amen" during the sermon, or pray out loud and alone during bible study.

If I did those things, I would feel embarrassed or silly. I have never really felt a lasting feeling of the warm and fuzzies like people talk about. I hear people say all the time about how they just felt a sense of peace in their hearts or had a spiritual revelation or felt God's presence.

This made me feel lost and confused. I would cry on my knees in prayer, crying to the Lord to give me some sort of sign and supernatural peace that would make me like the other Christians. I would ask for forgiveness of my sins every week in church and beg the Lord to make me be his child. Then, as soon as I got home, I would feel the same again.

It wasn't until a few weeks ago I heard this, "Shelby, belief is not a feeling." If only I had heard that a few years earlier. It's changing the way I think about Christianity and is causing me to be more confident in my faith.

We don't have to have these feelings to be able to believe. Believing means doing what God's Word says even when we don't feel like it or don't understand. Believing is praying even when it feels like we are alone and no one is listening. Believing means thinking of others more than yourselves. Believing means digging deeper into the Bible and reading it everyday even when we don't feel like it. Believing means singing in church and focusing your mind on Jesus and the perfect man he was on this earth, instead of what you're going to do after church when you get home.

Belief is action, it is not a feeling. Feelings come after the actions. It's a benefit of doing the work of believing. I was a Christian that was trying to live off of feelings and emotions, and I ended up a lost and nearly starved soul. Our lost hearts believe we live by feeling. That's what culture tells us.

If you are struggling in your belief, know that you are not alone and God is there. If you obey him and lay aside every weight that's holding you down, you will feel relief. It doesn't come right away. It might only be the assurance of knowing that we no longer have to be controlled and tossed to and fro by emotions. But, it is still there. The seed he planted in you when you first had your heart opened up to your sin will grow. It will hurt as the roots tear through your old self, past the unbelief and doubts and past the pain of the past. It will hurt to grow and it will not be a fast growth. But, when you look back and see how far you've come, the flower will bloom. You will see the light.

Belief is not a feeling, it is an action. The feeling comes after obedience. Trust. Obey. Then, watch the flower bloom.
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Monday, July 10, 2017

Hello.

I've spent the past six months going up and down an emotional roller-coaster. A lot of bad things have happened and a lot of good things have happened. At times, it's felt like there's been more bad than good, and that may be true. I wish I would have posted more here. I wish I would have kept this place as a journal to document my struggles. But, I didn't. And I can't change anything that has already happened.

When I started writing this, I desperately wanted to be able to jump right back into the blogger world of writing deep, amazing posts. I wanted to immediately get back into the blogging streak I was in, because blogging is fun. I've missed it so much. But, part of me says I should be here only to vent how I feel, to tell all of the dark and sad things I've had to face because of my depression. That part of me feels ashamed to come to be happy, to come back as the girl who loves gifs and writing in all caps.

You know what, I'm not going to hide who I am. Sometimes I'm going to be the sad girl who can only express herself through dark and poetic words, and other times I will be the happy girl who posts marvel gifs and yells excitedly about art and writing through words. I'm going to be whatever me happens to be here when I want to write a new post, be it the one who wants to rant, sing poetry, be a crazy fangirl, or share loads of pictures because words are just hard to write sometimes.

Today I can honestly say I am happy. I wouldn't say joyful, because that's something that stays in your heart even through the dark days. But, I've slowly been getting better, slowly rising to a place above the sea of depression and grief and loneliness. Yes, I lost my Dad now over six months ago. I don't cry as much as I used to, but then again more than I used to. I've grown, I've seen things, I've experienced things.

I went to Kenya. I even wrote a draft for a blog post about my trip. But, you know what? Even that's behind me now. My time there was amazing, don't get me wrong. But, today all I can think about is right now. All the things and opportunities that have finally come to my attention. I'm finally getting somewhere in my life where a month ago I thought I would never make it to the surface again.

I know some of you right now are either widening your eyes because, "Wait, wow, she went to Africa??" and some of you from Instagram are nodding your heads like, "Yes, remember the pictures. Tell us more!" So, I'll give you a little rundown, but nothing too long.

The children were everything. Everyone treated me like family. And as we drove down the dirt roads past the huts and children waving in the morning, then drove back to the guest house at night with stars tossed into the sky and the air kissing my tanned face as I gazed out the open window, I knew I was home. I felt it in my heart. This place was home. I want to go back so badly.

I will say there was a far share of drama that happened, and it all seemed to be hitting me full force while I was in the midst of it. But, that's all behind me now. And thankfully the bad memories are beginning to fade into only the happy one of the children and there smiling, bright faces.

You know, everyone loves to ask me about my trip. Even if I don't know the person well, they'll ask, "So, how was the trip?" It feels like a life time ago. I find it funny that it's the first thing people I hardly know want to ask me about. A part of me understands. I mean, it is a once in a lifetime experience not many ever get to have. But, so much has happened since then, the memories of my time there have started to get muddled over by the more recent things that have happened.

I'm in transition to adulthood. I've already experienced more trauma in my eighteen years that many young adult my age will ever face. It's something I hate a lot. I can't tell you how many times I've wished to be like the other blogger girls. These girls have perfectly aesthetic Instagrams, have already written a few books, are friends with a famous author, blog at least two times a week, and seem to have it all figured out. Okay, okay, I know you can be whoever you want to be on the internet and people like to share only the good stuff in their lives, but you know what I'm taking about.

It's alright. I'm a mess, and I'm embracing it now. I apologize if I'm not as funny, or witty, or awesome as the other bloggers out there, but this is me. One thing I've learned this past year is you have to be honest with yourself and others. My life is nowhere near perfect. I'm not going to college because it's not for me, I'm currently unemployed, I'm sitting in a messy room, and I slept in till eleven today. And you know what? It's okay.

My life is a mess and I've made hundreds of mistakes, but I'm still here. My faith in Christ is a constant battle of highs and lows and so is my fight for joy over depression, but I'm still here, believing and breathing. I may not be the best encouragement out there. I may not be strong in the faith or strong enough with words, but I am still here writing this post and you're still here (hopefully) reading it. I'm not here to brag, or boast, or show off how cool and rad my life is; I'm here to show that I am broken and you are to, and that's okay.

So, join me on this journey as a new chapter of my blog unfolds. Your brokenness, heartache, and pain is welcome here.


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Friday, February 17, 2017

Lost

On the night of January 1st, 2017, my Dad went to be with the Lord.

There are so many emotions I've felt in the past month and a half. Emotions that dig deeply into my soul like a knife and make tears stream like blood. I have never felt so weak and helpless in my life.

These emotions are so violent and heart wrenching, it's taken away my identity. I can't remember who I was before this. It's forced me to become more raw. It's brought all my brokenness into the light so all can see how messed up I really am.

I get angry a lot more now.

Angry at people because they just can't understand the hurt I feel. Some days I think might be my last because I cannot bear the pain weighing down in my heart and closing up in my throat.

I want to pray about it and I want to draw near to the Lord. I know he is real and I know everything he says is truth. But why am I still hesitant, after all these years? I wish I could just say "Trust in God, he is the only way!" And give you a Bible verse to meditate on. The truth is, I know it's true but the simple truth no longer fixes me.

It feels like putting a bandaid over a bullet hole. There's probably more poetic and romantic ways I could put this. But, the world doesn't need more of that. It needs a little truth now and again. Here it is:

Sometimes life sucks.

It's hard, a painful hard. I wish it wasn't so hard for me. I wish I was out of this fog so I could help you with your problems, write a blog post that would encourage and uplift you.

I've thought a long time about writing a blog post. I thought about waiting until I was stable, until I wasn't so buried deep in these raw emotions. I wanted to come back saying I had found myself and had never been so sure and confident in who I was and who God is.

But, the truth is I am completely and utterly lost.

I have no idea what I'm doing, where I'm going, or how I'm going to do it. It's sometimes just hard to tell myself all I need to do right now is breathe.

Breathe in.

Breathe out.

Don't rush things.

Don't worry so much.

It's all in my head.

But, that's the problem.

Problems, I have way too many of them.

I'm not waiting until I'm better to come back.
I want this blog to show my journey so I can look back one day and see how far I've come.
I don't say any of these things to make people feel sorry for me, that's the last thing that I want. I want to be real and true. The small talk and forced smiles have gotten old to me.
No, I am not somebody who easily trusts or opens up easily.

This has forced me to become more open and raw. I can no longer hide behind a mask. Losing my Dad has made every wall and barrier fall away so I am exposed for who I really am: broken and lonely.

So, this is me.

This is blog is now my real, true, and honest story.
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