Scapegoat

I say what I think.

This is pretty obvious for anyone who has spent more than five minutes in my presence.

My therapist often talks about my “strong sense of justice.” She tells me that justice is one of my top values, and if I refrain from speaking out to those who question that justice, my whole world-view is compromised.

At face value, this might seem great. It means that I care about the welfare of others; I will stand up for those who cannot speak for themselves.

However, based on my experiences, I’m not so sure.

When I see someone being mistreated, I find it difficult to bite my tongue. In fact, I rarely resist the urge to say something; to call out the injustice. Oftentimes, I am the lone voice for a group of like-minded individuals. I become the mouthpiece for those who see the injustice, but will not speak up, for fear of creating conflict.

So then where does that leave me? It makes me Enemy #1. I find myself as a scapegoat, for speaking out, for standing up for what I believe in, for what a passive group of people have agreed is wrong, but refuse to say.

As the scapegoat, I discover that this group of people who were once whispering in hushed tones about this injustice, are nowhere to be found. I am stranded on the island of my own personal value system. No one is in my corner.

This has been happening to me for decades. Back in high school I told a good friend that her boyfriend was cheating on her. The swiftly broke up, got back together, and then decided as a couple that I was no longer their friend. At a former job, there was an employee who was mistreating my peers. I stood up, and then that employee was telling everyone that “I was out to get him,” when really I was sick and fucking tired of everyone being miserable at work.

In the aftermath of each of these events I feel isolated and start to question why I even spoke up in the first place.

If getting older has taught me anything; it’s that being complacent and staying silent is the way to get the exact opposite of what you really want.

So do I continue this cycle? Do I continue to throw myself into the fire and come out scorched with a chip on my shoulder?

I don’t really know.

But I do know that it would be nice to gave someone, just once, back me up; someone to be in my corner of the ring.

I don’t want pity for this post; because lord knows I am the one who ultimately makes the decision to speak out. But I want to ask you all to think next time someone stands up on behalf of you. Think about the personal sacrifice and guts it takes to really speak up. Think about the bruises and the pain that person might endure so that you could stay out of the conflict.

And maybe just be kinder to one another so I don’t have to call people out on their bullshit. 🙂

Forever a fighter,

❤ S

 

 

Social Media Clown

Whew…

It has been an interesting morning. Currently, It’s 8:45 am on a Tuesday and I just finished watching two episodes of the Netflix documentary, “The Family.”

For those of you who don’t know, I’ll sum it up:

Basically a bunch of white men decided that “Jesus” (strong emphasis on this name because this group’s views seem strangely un-Christ-like) chooses certain men (all white, I would like to add) to lead the country to greatness. These men have a weird brothel/fraternity house/probably-excuse-for-gay-sex house where they have young 20 somethings quite literally scrub their toilets, while they pray for the strength they need to turn the US into a imperialist dumpster-fire.

Meanwhile the leader used to use ideas of Hitler and Stalin to teach his followers how to form a “silent movement.”

I couldn’t make this shit up if I tried. It’s messier than this season of Bachelor in Paradise.

And that shit is messy. But I digress…

This docu-series was probably (ironically) recommended to me by the same algorithm that suggested I watch “The Great Hack” which follows the turmoil of Cambridge Analytica and the drama with Facebook election tampering.

Let me break that one down for you: A bunch of white men, (with the help of a woman who went from working in human rights to being buddy-buddy with Steve Bannon?!?) hacked into our Facebook accounts using a “quiz”, stole our data, and sent propaganda to people who were likely to be swayed in the Presidential election. This company also interfered in elections all over the world and essentially used social media against the people, yet again proving that we are nothing more than dumb lab rats waiting for a pellet.

So what is my rant about, exactly?

I’m exhausted.

Social media has become one giant skid mark on the undergarment of my life. I wake up each morning to check Instagram. I watch stories of people I have only mild interest in. I have deleted Facebook off my phone ever since a family member decided to go on a racist, anti-immigration rant. However, I still check it on my computer. I get angry when I see women getting too flirty with my husband on social media. I get sad when I see women with thigh gaps, and zero cellulite, even though I know it’s all photoshopped.

And every where I fucking go is another #ad.

I feel like I’m just a passive puppet in some gigantic right-wing, Christian-touting, scheme that has resolved me to feel nothing more than a piece of cattle to be bought, sold, and slaughtered.

I recently noticed that my Instagram stopped getting as many likes as it used to get. (FYI: Posts with my husband get 3x the likes, and that’s because he looks like a black Avenger)

And I got sad. Like, I-feel-like-a-piece-of-shitty-shit sad.

Why? It’s not like I’m making money off Instragram. It’s not like I don’t have friends. Hell, I’m with people I love 7 days a week. So why am I upset that a selfie I took in natural light with no makeup on got 7 likes, or that a cover song I posted got 100 views? Why do I care that I’m not hot enough, thin enough, or talented for social media?

Because they want me to feel worthless. I don’t have any #clout. I’m not having a #hotgirlsummer. I don’t drink the toxic “tea” that probably is just a heavy laxative with cheap strawberry flavor that makes hot girls shit themselves until they’re skinny.

I don’t #wantitigotit. I want it, then I realize I have too much student loan debt, and I envy others for having it.

I’m so fucking tired.

I’m tired.

This all just seem trite. My passive brain is addicted to my photo stream, and my active brain hurts because we have a bunch of idiot, Nazis, with nuclear weapons running the world.

I tried to think of a way to tie this post up like a little bow and give some glimmer of hope, but I’m just bummed today.

Hey… maybe I’ll go back on social media and see what Chrissy Teigen is up to. At least she makes me laugh

❤ S

 

Beginning at the End

Where to begin?

I suppose with the end.

I quit my job a few months ago. I’ll spare the details, because that’s not what matters. What matters was I was deeply unhappy and not fulfilled. I was going to work with no purpose, no soul, no thirst for the next day.

I was drained.

I’m still drained. The world is on fire and I feel helpless. All the sudden the silly self-centric dreams of performing and creating and having millions of people know who Shannon Allen is seem trite.

Some of you know the story about my mental breakdown after my mother died in 2011. A very good friend picked me up from work, where I had locked myself in a utility closet, crying, curled up in a ball, and she dragged me to an on-campus therapist. After weeks of  several mini existential crises, I told her why life was worth living.

“Love,” I told her.

So why again, did I find myself locked in yet another utility closet in 2019, crying and having a breakdown? How did I end up back in this predicament.

And I think the answer comes down to that I’ve strayed far from my mission.

I’ve gone from someone who was deeply in love with life, career, and people to someone who was chasing after a paycheck instead of worrying about number one.

So what now? Where to begin?

That’s the million dollar question with multitudes of answers.

First, I told myself that it wasn’t going to be about a specific job, it was going to be about a mission and the people who make the mission come alive. I must build my career with passionate people who are working in their small corner of the earth for something. 

Next, I want balance. I want to remember who I am inside and outside of a job. I want to love to come to work because I love who I am excluding work for the equation. I want to soak up time with my friends and my husband and my family.

Finally, I want love. I want love in all areas of my life. I want to spread love to other people. I want to work for change. I want to give someone passion where there was none. I want to get up with the sun and fall asleep next to the man I love.

I want to read a million books.

And bake muffins for my co-workers like I used to.

And giggle with my friends about dumb reality shows.

And cry tears of sorrow when someone close to me dies.

And cry tears of joy when a friend has a baby.

And wear oversized glasses, with pink hair, and combat boots and still get work done like a BOSS.

And discover new music.

And mentor people who deserve a chance.

So I don’t know. Where do I begin?

I guess I begin here.

Let’s go…

❤ Shan Babe

 

Why I Left — And Why I’m Back (maybe)

Hello World!

I’ve been creatively stunted for probably about two years. A lot has happened in those two years to bring me where I am today. I shifted careers, became financially (somewhat) stable, got married, and found a semblance of peace.

I’m back in therapy, which has been tremendously helpful. I don’t care who the fuck you are — the happiest person on earth who shits out rainbows for breakfast — therapy is the tits.

You know why therapy is the tits?? Because therapy allows you to just speak your truth without fear of judgement, and have an objective voice who often mirrors what you say back to you with just the right amount of difference that you figure out what the hell is wrong with you.

I have a little story for you gals and guys. I’ve often kept this a big secret because I was initially embarrassed, but now, looking back, I’m just fucking angry.

Early November 2012, post Hurricane Sandy, I was looking to grow in the music industry on the business end. I had finished my degree in Music Business Management from the Berklee College of Music, had a successful internship, and was ready for a new adventure.

I was given an incredible opportunity to interview at one of the top agencies in the industry for an up-and-coming hip hop artist’s agent. This hip hop artist in question is now incredibly famous and nominated for several GRAMMYs this year.

I was interviewing for the position of Assistant to the Agent; a late-twenties/early-30s white man, who had escalated quite quickly, and made a name for himself in the Industry.

I dressed in a professional, Calvin Klein, sea-foam green dress, complete with belt buckle, nude pumps, and natural makeup. I pulled back my long hair into a low bun, to seem direct, not flippant, and was ready with a notebook and pen.

After going through the elevator, I gave myself a pep talk, “You got this Shan Babe. You can do anything! You a strong, confident, and have an iron will. Let’s GO!”

Walking up to the receptionist, I said in a soft, but stern voice, “Shannon Allen. Interviewing with…”

The HR rep came to meet me and bring me up to the main office. I clicked up the transparent stairs that made the office look sleek and chić. I was then showed where my potential cubicle was, and where my hopefully future boss’s office was.

I walked in and he was finishing up a call. His voice was booming and he had a powerful, assertive presence.

He seemed distracted, short, and acting like he was too busy for the interview. He spoke very fast and loud, which I figured was just a trait of someone who was wielding so much money and power in music. His newest, most exciting artist, was to become one of the biggest names in hip-hop and social change in music in the upcoming years.

I answered every question with intense calmness, and precision. I would not let his energy shake me.

Then he said something that I will never forget. It all happened so fast, that I can only paraphrase.

He told me that he was uneasy about hiring a woman for this job because I would have to speak to this artist’s inner circle: hustlers, drug dealers, men who could not take a “soft” woman seriously.

I felt a little dizzy; slapped in the face. Had every other answer that I given not been proof that I was clearly qualified for this job. I displayed quick wit, organization, my work ethic was par to none, my references were air tight.

After a few more questions, I spoke to the HR rep, who happened to be a woman. She started talking salary, sick days, culture of the office, etc. Her and I bantered back and forth like old friends. She told me that even though I was applying for a job in their “Urban” division, she liked that I was dressed sharp and polished.

All things considered, it was an excellent interview. I’ve always prided myself on the ability to be my authentic self when interviewing for a job. I did not waiver, I did not falter, and I believed that I was a strong candidate for this job.

Afterward I sent an email to the agent, telling him how much of a pleasure it was to interview with him, and how “extremely confident that I [could] handle not only the day to day work, but also deal with any challenging exchange with the right amount of professionalism, calm and confidence.” 

I kept that email. I referenced it directly.  

I followed up with the HR director and then was unceremoniously sent a one sentence email several weeks later saying the position had been filled, and “thank you for your time.” The agent never responded.

What did I do wrong? Why did it take two weeks for a response for a job that needed to be filled as they said “ASAP?” What. The Fuck?

Then I remembered the one thing that made me incredibly uncomfortable during the interview. The line that gave me the gut feeling that something wasn’t right.

The part where I was told that he didn’t want to hire a woman.

Boom.

So why do I tell you this story in such detail? Because I think this is a paramount reason I have excluded myself from the music industry, performing arts, and creative industries these last two years:

Hidden Misogyny.

And the problem I have with this whole situation, is it took me so long to realize that situations like this were slowly demoralizing me.

Other instances where this Industry has failed me with these seemingly small, but powerful sexist views

  1. A former superior of mine quit his position. When we went out for his going away party he drunkenly told me that he thought I was an arrogant, loud, bitch who took too much control.
  2. Hearing a respected woman in the industry tell me that maybe “Taylor Swift needed to close her legs for a bit,” in order for tabloids to leave her alone.
  3. Getting cast as an extra “party girl” and having wardrobe throw a fit because I could not fit into a skin tight leather skirt with my thighs. I could just feel their eyes on me as I was stripped into my bra and underwear, trying to squeeze into clothes that were clearly not made for my body type.
  4. Being told that I needed to cry on national television in order to get air time and sympathy views.
  5. Having a fellow musician tell me that no one “wants to hear a chick sing rock.”
  6. Hearing “you’ll be more popular if you just wear less and sing pop music”
  7. A fellow extra on a set telling someone, “Ew look at that girl with the huge disgusting legs,” and then have it repeated back to me. This person later would friend me on Facebook and be fake friendly to me every time we saw each other on various sets.
  8. Every single damn casting director I’ve ever seen telling me “you’re just not right for this,” when really they are just saying “You’re not tall enough, skinny enough, pretty enough, for this part.”

I could go on, but quite frankly, I’m fucking exhausted.

That was exhausting.

I feel like I’m going to have a whole new can of worms to talk to my therapist with this week.

Now, in the wake of the Harvey Weinsteins of the world, and the wage gap, and the Women’s March, and the #MeToo movement, I simply don’t know if I can be a part of this machine.

I don’t even say this because I’m trying to be some kind of martyr. I just don’t feel like I will make it out alive. This industry has eaten up women far stronger than I, so why would I be able to permeate the bullshit and stay true to my art?

Is it possible?

So this is why I’ve been so afraid to write, or play, or sing, or create.

I’m hoping I can move past this; develop an ars gratia artis attitude, but I don’t know.

I don’t know.

Hope you enjoyed me writing, and (nice) opinions or (constructive) criticism is always welcome. (Mean people — go away!)

xoxo

Shan Babe

02_02_Chic_0805

She’s BACK!

Hi Friends!

It’s been a hot minute, or two, or three.

Actually it’s been about a year and a half.

So what happened? Where did I go?

First and foremost; I was and still am grateful for anyone who took the time to read what I had to say. Writing a blog is vulnerable and scary. I always tried to be transparent and real with my readers, but at some point it became too much.

Instead, I needed to take a break and internalize my thoughts and feelings.

After much reflection and self-work, I am still the young-ish, biting humor, whip of a gal who has opinions about everything and still wishes to change the world.

What has Changed?

I’m 30. Although I’m only into my first month of turning 30, I can feel shifts in my goals and dreams. My stress levels are down. I have significantly changed my outlook on who I surround myself with, and with whom I allow to gain access to my spirt.

I’m married. Who the FUCK would have thought? More on that in later posts.

I have a better sense of self. This does not mean that I have all the answers, nor does it mean that I’m here to shell out any kind of expertise. If anything, it just means that I’m going to have to start navigating other issues in myself besides being single and self insecurities. Now I have a partner, financial plans, career plans, and 30-something responsibilities to work on.

So what now?

Well I’m pretty sure I need to change my description of this blog; I am no longer a 20-something. (I have mixed feelings about this. Discussions will be had.)

I want 2018 to be about content. 

I want to work on writing a collection of essays; a mix of blog posts, personal journal posts, and new thoughts and feelings.

I want to create more music. Music will always be something I will have the need to create. This will never stop, and I hope that I will continue to produce music that I will be proud of.

I want to create a podcast. There are ideas in the works.

I want to create material for a one-woman show.

This is 30, huh?

Married. Goals. Financial freedom.

Goddam being “old” never felt so good.

xoxo

Shan Babe

PS: Isn’t my husband hot as fuck!?

26114778_10104863557289215_8363062939492794522_o.jpg