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Wednesday, January 13, 2016

explaining myself

I don't even know where to begin. I haven't posted in so long and I have been so quiet about my surroundings and what I've been up to. I have been doing a lot of soul searching since the summer of 2015 ended, and I am slowly finding pieces of myself and coming to terms with who I am as a person. I moved out to Los Angeles in the fall of 2014 to go and run after my dreams and goals. I packed two suitcases and took $400 with me and flew to LA with very little assets. I moved out there with the promise of studio time, connections, meeting and working with producers that I knew via social media. It was amazing to get on my feet and explore a city on my own for the first time. I spent so much of my teenage years moving to new places and having to adjust to different living situations that the feeling of packing up my bags and leaving for a new state felt almost familiar. I kind of knew what I was getting myself into, I knew that Los Angeles wasn't all that it's cracked up to be, and I knew that I would get a taste of how dark the entertainment industry can be. But I didn't care about that. I cared about going after the things that people told me I couldn't do, going after my goals and growing as a person. That is what was important to me.

After working with different producers and being promised (empty promises, actually) work and to be in good hands, I was proven wrong. I noticed a pattern with very many people in Los Angeles, especially producers. 1) Everyone is a producer 2) 100% of the producers I encountered were men 3) 90% of them all had hidden agendas and tried to have sex with me. To the 10% that didn't, I respect you and I probably still talk to you today. They weren't exactly nice about it either. I have been put in so many uncomfortable, forceful situations that I lost count. Keep in mind that as I'm trying to make something of myself and do what I love, I was also working a shitty part time job (which I lasted at for 6 months) to be able to pay my bills and my rent (which started when I moved in with an old friend in Jan 2015, and couldn't afford for 7 months). I was growing discouraged. I took pride in writing my own material and being able to showcase that in the studio...but they didn't care about that. They cared about my sexual appeal, how I sounded, and the money that I could bring in. I am grateful that even though I encountered countless uncomfortably inappropriate situations, I was able to learn a lot and improve my songwriting skills. But the more people I encountered, the more I felt accepted, and the more I started to engage into things I never used to do, and act a certain way I never have before. My failed attempts at finding the right producer that I trusted were getting to me and I started lashing out and giving up on myself. I engaged into sex work (I was a cam girl) so that I could make ends meet and afford to feed myself sometimes once a day. I support those women and men who are successful and confident in being a sex worker, I myself could only do it for a little while but it's not who I was or what I wanted to do. When I gave up on that, I moved onto stripping, which only lasted me a weekend and although I am outrageous and don't mind expressing myself in front of crowds and audiences, this is also not what I wanted to do with myself. I was losing my god damn mind. Searching for a good part time job was rough, considering the fact that I lived in one of the most expensive cities in America with no car. I clearly didn't put much thought into my moving plans, but I didn't want to give up because I didn't want to disappoint myself. But boy oh boy, I was losing myself and I didn't even realize it. For at least 7 months straight, I partied almost every day. I would come home at around the hours between 4AM to 8AM, either drunk, coked out, high, and with a new guy on my arms and in my bed. There was maybe 2 days where I didn't do anything. I was losing weight and gaining weight, the bags under my eyes grew dominant, my teeth weren't as nice as they used to be, I didn't look as energized and happy like I did when I first moved to Los Angeles. My anxiety skyrocketed and I had times where I couldn't leave or go somewhere because I was so scared of something happening. I was losing myself, and you know what finally made me realize that? When I woke up one afternoon not sure of what happened the night before, when I had dried blood on my legs but had no idea from what, when I realized that a part of me was taken from me from someone that I didn't know.

That's when it hit me. I need to do something about this or else I'm going to end up dead...or worse. But what was I going to do? That's when I reached out to family members that I never thought I would have a chance with again. My Dad was in and out of my life constantly (since I was 16, to be exact and it's been 4 years now), and my Mom was too busy focusing on her new family and life to be able to help me out. I was no longer close with my second family, and for the first time in 3 years I felt truly alone. So then I reached out to my Dad's girlfriend, she was someone who desperately wanted to be close with me but never got the chance to. I didn't really have a choice. I needed someone to talk to. I needed someone to be here for me or else I was going to lose myself. My suicidal thoughts and depression were coming back and I started to have nights where I was contemplating on killing myself and on how I would do it. Then I made a decision that I never thought I would make, but I knew I had to do it. I knew I needed to leave Los Angeles for a little while so that I could find myself again. I needed to leave so that I could grow to be healthy and whole again. I needed to find that little spark that I had all my life up until the very moment I lost it when I lost myself. I took an opportunity that was handed to me and made the conscious decision to go to Dallas, Texas to take a break from everything and get my shit together. I was having a mental battle with myself. Everything inside me told me not to go and that I was giving up on my goals and my dreams and that I was a failure...but the logical side of me was telling me that I needed to do this and that it was a life or death situation. It really was. My friends and the people that still stuck around me every day even knew that the girl they met was gone and that I wasn't myself. Everyone knew how dangerous that could be for me. But something deep inside me kept telling me that I needed to go. So on August 3, 2015, I took as much as I could, left behind what I did, and went to Dallas, Texas.

I spent my first two weeks in Dallas bawling my eyes out. I immediately regretted my decision and wanted to do everything I could to come back to Los Angeles. I realized that I had no friends, no job, no real family, nothing. The worst part was that I had to stay in a city where I was looked at as if I was some kind of alien on the wrong planet. The very little times that I did go out in public, so many people approached me and would tell me that I didn't look like I belonged there. It was so discouraging and heartbreaking to not be able to relate to people that I met and encountered. Then that's when I reached out to a family friend that I met a while back on a trip to Dallas. It was a house full of people around the same age as me, and they all knew of my Dad and his family but they never really got to meet me or get to know me. There were 7 people living in this house, but one in particular genuinely cared about me and captured my attention. That person is now my boyfriend, and his name is JP Nguyen. Let me tell you about this guy real quick, because I am saving our story for another post in the future...but wow, never have I ever avoided someone so much because I was so terrified of the way I felt. He is nothing like the guys I was used to. He is gentle, kind, family oriented, and so genuinely caring. Now that I think about it...I don't know what the hell I was thinking with the previous guys that I have involved myself with. But JP taught me how to love again. At such a dark time in my life, he taught me how to love again and that is so incredible to me. I was so cold when he met me...so cold that I pushed him away before he even got the chance to know me. But not only did he teach me to love, he taught me how to love myself and showed me that I was capable of being loved in return. It's so crazy. Everything that happened to me within the past year all fell together and made complete sense to me. Him and his family and friends made me feel so loved and welcome. That was when I started to have hope for myself again. I enrolled into Full Sail University so that I could get my Bachelor's Degree in Audio Production, that way I can produce and record my own music and not have to rely on other untrustworthy producers. I started laughing again, and connecting to family members that I thought I would never speak to again. I started to eat again, I gained some healthy weight back, and I started to appreciate my life again. Everything that has happened to me within the past year led up to this very moment. For the past 5 months of being in Dallas, I have learned to love, I have learned to love myself, I have learned to be content and to be happy. I have lost so many friends and people within the past 5 months, but I wouldn't have things any other way.

All of these photos were taken by JP Nguyen and you can check out his portfolio (which will be launching soon)


The thing is, I haven't given up on myself or my dreams and my goals. Just because I am happily in love and on a different path that I never pictured for myself doesn't mean I've stopped believing in my big aspirations and dreams. I'm still reaching for them and I refuse to stop. If I am meant to do something, it's going to happen for me no matter where I'm living and who I'm with. I believe in myself enough to know that I am going to be successful and happy with myself and my future. I just felt like I needed to explain myself and what I've been going through within the past year. I used to be so active on this blog and I hate that I've neglected it so much. I feel so much better now that I've explained everything and I just can't wait to share what I've been working on with you guys.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

www.shannonalexabray.com
www.shannonalexabray.com

Monday, April 20, 2015



www.shannonalexabray.com