A Hug

I stress myself out more than the average human.

This much I know.

First comes the fast, incessant talking. Then the teeth grinding. Then the pacing back and forth; my mind going a million miles an hour in circles like a racetrack. At this point, my adrenal glands have gone into overdrive and I start to feel a drunken kind of dizziness. I’m hot all over, cheeks flushed, mouth dry.

My mom used to tell me that I worked myself into a “tizzy” when this would happen to me in adolescence. Her telling me that just made me more anxious, angrier, more stressed.

Then she would hug me and let me take deep breaths into her shoulder until I calmed down.

Once when I was about 10, I was staying over at my grandmother’s house and came down with a terrible flu; the kind that makes your entire body feel like it’s engulfed in flames while simultaneously being hit with 1,000 lead hammers. I was sleeping in the same room as my mom on the bottom part of my grandma’s old trundle bed, and sporadically throughout the night go through bouts of intense pain where my entire body would freeze up.

When I thought the pain would never subside, my mom put her hand gently on my chest until the pain passed.

Another instance when I was 13 and I had my heart broken for the first time. I spent an entire night in her arms, sobbing, shedding the tears of young love and fresh heartache.

Her arms always made me feel safe. Her hands like novocaine, her hugs like a sedative.

Then there was the day when she told me that her doctor had given her 2-4 weeks to live. This time she was in just as much pain, if not more than me. I sat in her arms for 15 minutes? An hour?

It was like her presence could stop time; somehow make this horrendous situation a little easier.

And finally the night before she passed. She was weak, but not broken, laying in bed in between my brother and I.

The room was silent as I pressed my head to her back and wrapped my arms around her, listening to her slow breaths and heavy heartbeat.

If I close my eyes long enough, I can still feel that moment. Her smell. Her skin. The way so many unsaid words hung in the air like an impending thunderstorm; the clouds about to burst with the weight of the world.

After she died, I thought the tears would never stop, the pain would never end. And in many ways it hasn’t, it’s just become different.

It’s days like today where that un-fillable void becomes apparent.

I felt myself spinning out of control, into one of my “tizzies.”

There has always been something about me and control that can set me over the edge.

Obviously, in my 27 and some odd months of my existence, I’ve developed various ways to cope with my stress; some constructive, some destructive.

But there has never been anything quite as effective as taking my mother’s hand, hearing my mother’s voice, being enveloped in her arms. Sometimes I want a hug from her so badly that it feels like my heart has been ripped freshly open; the crack in the dam that has been hermetically sealed time and again, but always seems to break even with all it’s strength.

Today I needed a hug from you.

I needed words from someone whom will never be able to answer me.

I suppose what gets me through days like there is realizing that the pain will always pass, the tears will always dry, the wrongs will always right, the stream leads to the river that leads to the ocean.

The heart wants to beat.

The lungs want to fill.

It will be okay.

Tonight I’ll get by on the memories, and hope that someday I can do the same for someone else as you did for me.

Shannon Rose Allen

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The Shallenge Week 10: Rooftop Rendezvous

Hello Shallengers!

I can’t believe it’s been TEN weeks since I started The Shallenge! As always, you can look up the original rules of The Shallenge here, and look up archives of past weeks.  I’m always happy to share any of your personal Shallenges on my page, so PLEASE hit me up with stories!

Here we go with this week:

1. Experience something new.

9/18 Attend a rooftop party with old friends

This week was the week of the rooftop. On Friday, I had a beautiful night with some old friends on the rooftop of a friend’s Hell’s Kitchen building. Although this is not exactly a “new” experience, it allowed me to reconnect with some friends I haven’t seen in a few weeks.

And also, with views like this, I don’t know how anyone could ever hate New York City.

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2. Go somewhere in New York City that I haven’t been before. 

9/19 Little Branch Speakeasy

The Villages of NYC always have the best underground bars. Last weekend, I was looking for a quality (most likely overpriced) old fashioned, and Little Branch boasts a fantastic one. So I took a friend, and found out for myself. The space is small; the bar is located in the basement of an unassuming corner of the West Village. There is sometimes a line, but usually not too long. The music is present, but not overwhelmingly loud. I definitely enjoyed my $14 cocktail and some good conversation, but then it was time to

3. Do something alone that I would normally do with others.

9/16 Attend the Heart of Cool, weCliq NYFW launch party

A friend of mine, who I met through the Browns Backers invited me to his launch for his new app, weCliq with the fashion brand Heart of Cool. I had a plus-one to attend the party, but at the last minute I couldn’t find a friend to go with me.

So, I decided to be bold, and go alone.

Not only did I end up meeting some great people, but I also networked with some other creatives. I’m so happy that I decided to throw my ego out the door and go to this party alone.

And this was my view from the rooftop!

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4. Say “yes” to something to which I would typically say “no.”

Going on a “date” and letting go

Yes, I know. I’ve talked about dates on here many, MANY times, but I allowed myself to go on a date and really just let myself go and not think.

Perhaps one of the reasons I’m so bad at dating is because I go into every date with a cynical viewpoint. Although my dating intentions are optimistic, when it comes down to it, I allow myself to think, “this isn’t going to work out.” I end up self-destructing before I’ve even gotten to know the person.

I’m happy to report, the date went well, and I’m not overthinking. For once. In my entire life…

5. Do something that scares me.

9/18 Submit my music and have it rejected

Friday I received a generic email from Pandora, telling me that my new song was rejected from their platform. I was given no specific reasoning, and have no clue what I could have done (if anything) to gain acceptance.

Picture this: Shannon Allen as an artist is an air mattress. Every time I get rejected it’s like a little pin prick into the air mattress, causing me to deflate just a little bit, until I can find a way to block the hole, before I lose all my air. I successfully plug the hole, but then a new, bigger pin comes up and makes an even larger hole. Then, an air mattress monster comes up and take a giant bite out of my side. After a while, the mattress becomes so perforated, that I’m continually attempting to plug up holes, filling myself back up, and keep old ones from re-opening. Sure, I can inflate again, but I will never be shiny and new like I used to be.

That’s what creative rejection is like.

6. Make a new friend. 

9/16 Fashion Week Party

At the fashion week launch, I met a lot of awesome people. I even met up with a new girl friend the other night who I met at the party! This city is too big and too beautiful not to expand my network of friends.

Keep spreading that love around!

7. Have a book of the Week

One Last Thing Before I Go – Jonathan Tropper

Tropper is the same author of the novel, This is Where I Leave You, which was made into a movie. His writing is cynical, yet lyrical. The fiction I’ve been reading lately tends to display fallible, almost anti-heroes, that you can’t help but sympathize. Although most of the characters in this book have questionable morals and lives that are well beyond repair, the novel is a view into the ways we justify our existence, especially when faced with our eventual mortality.

I loved it! Quick read, excellent storytelling, tragic, cynical, witty, sometimes mundane, and REAL.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

I cannot even count the amount of times I’ve read this book, but it’s definitely over the 15 mark at this point in my life. I read the Harry Potter series at least once every year, sometimes twice…

And y’all KNOW how much I read.

The series never gets old to me. Every time I re-read these books, I’m reminded of why I love Harry and his world so very much.

8. Purge the unnecessary.

No purging today, but it’s slowly shifting into sweater weather, which means another re-vamp of the closet is coming soon!

9. Do something that makes me feel beautiful. 

Night time runs

This week I went on not one, not two, but three four-mile evening runs. Two of the runs were after 12-hour work days. Running at 9:30/10 p.m. is so freeing. The amount of runners, walkers, and bikers are sparse, so I am just left with my own thoughts and no distractions.

One of the nights, I had this pretty amazing view of the moon.

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10. Surround myself with nature. 

9/21 Appreciate the New York sunrise

As I was walking to work Monday morning, this was my view. Not too shabby.

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9/21 A night on the Chelsea Piers

That same day, I spend a lovely evening drinking wine, and eating a picnic of sorts on the Chelsea piers. The weather was perfect, and I enjoyed some good company.

Weekly Shallenge Score: 8.5/10

Shan Baby Score: 9/10

And here’s the Shan Baby Happy Face of the Week (ie my nephew this week while we were Face Timing because he’s SO FREAKING CUTE!)

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The Shallenge Week 9: FALL IS HERE!

Good morning my fearless Shallengers!

This was a busy week! I had a lot of work and auditions filling up my days (which is always a good thing,) but it left little time for me to squeeze in my Shallenges.

Although it doesn’t feel like I did a lot, there were some really amazing moments this past week. Here’s how I faired:

1. Experience something new.

9/13 Go to a Browns game NOT at Browns Stadium

Week One of the NFL regular season started this week! YAY FOOTBALL!

Several weeks ago, me and my fellow Cleveland-to-NYC transplants, bought tickets for the Browns/Jets game. Forecast said rain, but the day turned out to be beautiful, and it only started raining once the game was over.

I must say, it was heartbreaking to see my Brownies lose a game they were favored to win, but I had the best time making the voyage to MetLife stadium for the first time, tailgating, and then getting to see a live NFL game (which I haven’t done since about 2012).

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2. Go somewhere in New York City that I haven’t been before. 

9/13 MetLife Stadium

Heading to New Jersey on a Sunday morning at 9 am is not exactly the most exciting thing to do on your Sunday morning, but by the time I got there, I was so happy to be surrounded by fellow Clevelanders that it made the smelly bus ride from the disaster that is New York City Port Authority totally worth it!

This was the view from my seats. I would say it was worth it! 🙂

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3. Do something alone that I would normally do with others.

This week I was surrounded by friends pretty consistently. My partner in crime, Jennifer, was by my side for a lot of it.

Nothing this week sticks out that I did particularly alone that I would normally do with others.

4. Say “yes” to something to which I would typically say “no.”

9/14 Saying yes to a drinks date

I told myself that I would no longer allow myself to go on dates with men who wanted to get “drinks.” My generation has become so lackadaisical and unoriginal when it comes to dating, that I haven’t been asked on a real date in some time.

But the other night, I was asked out to drinks with a seemingly nice guy.

The date was a disaster. The guy begged me to meet up with him after I had worked a 14 hour day and then went on a four-mile run. And yet I obliged, packed my set bag for the following early morning call time, showered, and showed up in a cute, funky outfit to my local watering hole.

The entire date consisted of him cutting me off mid-sentence, talking about himself non-stop, and never asking me any questions about my life. Then, as I was about to order a second drink, hoping that he was just nervous, he takes out his phone and says, “I’m going to meet my friends at the Standard Hotel, so I gotta run.”

REALLY!? After you begged me to meet you, knowing I had just had a long day, you’re going to walk out on me!?

I’m not going to lie, it was a little blow to my self esteem. Hence why I gave myself the rule of no longer agreeing to “drinks.”

The next night I was supposed to go on a real date with another guy, who had set up drinks and a movie with me. (We both bonded earlier in the week for our love of horror flicks, and were planning on seeing The Visit). And right as I thought I was going to be wrapped from set, so that I could go on my real date, the PA picks me and four others to stay and extra two hours on set, and I had to cancel.

Just my luck.

5. Do something that scares me.

9/12 Music Video Release Party

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On Saturday, I invited all my best New Yorkers to a music video release and live performance. I’m always nervous whenever I have an event, because I really never know who will actually show up versus who says they will show up.

I was floored when I ended up packing the basement of the bar! Not only did my friends show up in droves, but most of them brought friends! I felt so loved and appreciated as an artist like I never have before.

After the music video premiered, as well as after my live performance, I had many people who were not associated with me or my friends tell me how impressed they were with the video and my performance.

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It was one of those nights where I looked around and thought, “Is this really my life!?” I’m constantly getting rejected in my industry, that sometimes it catches me by surprise when I remember that I am actually talented, and people really do love and appreciate my artistry.

You can see a video of the live performance by hitting up my Facebook Page. (You can also give me a “like” while you’re there!)

And in case you missed it, here’s the video!

6. Make a new friend. 

9/12 Music Video Release Party

As I said above, I was floored that so many people showed up. I got to meet so many new people, and connect with other creatives as well. I even got asked to collaborate at a SOHO art show. That night reminded me of why I love New York City.

9/13 Browns Tailgating

Oh Cleveland. No matter how many years it’s been since I’ve left my hometown, I will always carry Cleveland around in my heart. The best thing about being from Northeastern Ohio, is that whenever you meet someone else from Northeastern Ohio, you immediately become best friends.

At the tailgate I met two twins who were delightful! I told them to go to Twins Days! 🙂

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All of the Browns Backers also took a picture before heading to the stadium. I love these crazy kids. I’m so happy to be a part of this fanbase.

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7. Have a book of the Week

Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder

I know that this was my book of the week last week, but I finally finished it. What I didn’t realize when I was at the midway point last week, is that the book would take an extremely meta turn, and blow my mind apart. Talk about spinning my brain around in circles!

If you want to question your entire existence, and perhaps throw in a little bit of existential dread into your life, I suggest reading about 20 different philosophers in the span of one book. It will fuck you up.

8. Purge the unnecessary.

YouTube Trolls

I’m convinced that Dante left the ring of hell in his Divine Comedy reserved for people who post negative comments on YouTube. What in the world would possess a human being to post something mean on someone’s video when you know nothing about them?? It is just beyond me.

I don’t want to get on my soap box about how we are all becoming so bold and mean behind the screens of our computers, iPads, and phones, but it is seriously fucked up how callous people can be in regards to others’ feelings when on the internet.

One particular YouTuber recently posted mean things on my video, and I responded back with a kind message, asking that he please consider being nicer to people before commenting on anyone’s page. He responded like only a troll would… with more negativity.

So I not only deleted his message, but I blocked him from my page, and flagged his page 10 times for various offenses.

Don’t fuck with me. I may not fight you with more unnecessary unkindness, but that doesn’t mean I won’t get your ass kicked off the internet.

Byeeeeeee.

9. Do something that makes me feel beautiful. 

Getting back into running

I know that a few weeks ago I was on my 10k training. Well, that got derailed when it got so damn hot that I couldn’t even run in the evening because the weather was so intense. I threw myself into cycling and cross training for the past few weeks in lieu of running.

I’m happy to report that this week it has been so beautiful out, that the other day (after not running outside for about two weeks,) I was able to complete 4 miles like it was nothing!

The next day my legs were sore and I know that I worked out some leg muscles that definitely needed to be flexed.

10. Surround myself with nature. 

9/9 Spend a day off laying around in a park

Jen and I ventured to the West Side Highway park to lay out, do backbends, and handstands.

It was a good day. 🙂

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Shallenges Completed: 9/10

Shan Baby Score: 8/10 

I only knocked myself down a point because going to the Browns game accounted for a few of the Shallenges. Overall, it was a successful week!

And here’s my Shan Baby Happy Face of the Week: 

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Xx

Shannon Rose

MY MUSIC VIDEO! (And The Shallenge Week 7/8)

HELLO WORLD!

My apologies for not giving you my weekly Shallenge last week. I’ve been SUPER busy finishing up stuff for the EP, auditioning, and working.

BUT, I’m happy to report that my music video is DONE! Here it is!

You can also download the song on iTunes here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/you-hate-me-single/id1032069998

OR

Stream it on Soundcloud here: 

So here is my Shallenge for weeks 7 AND 8. (Roughly 8/25-9/7)

1. Experience something new.

Release an single on iTunes/Spotify and an official music video on Youtube.

(See Above)

I’m beyond excited to share this music with you. This EP (when it’s finally released in full) will be the fruits of a long, tumultuous, beautiful, stressful, artistic, eventful three years. I cannot even begin to tell you how happy it makes me to go through this journey of releasing my music with those who love me the most.

So please share and download in order to spread the love around. It will be GREATLY appreciated.

9/5 Watching the sunset over Central Park

I’ve never been able to watch the sun go down, and the NYC lights come up from such a hight! When Katie and Nick came to visit for the Labor Day weekend from Nashville, they stayed in the Le Meridien Hotel and the pool room had a GORGEOUS view. The walls of the pool house were just glass for days! You could see Central Park in its entirety. All of us just looked out, and took a quiet moment to appreciate how lucky we were to be there for those moments.

2. Go somewhere in New York City that I haven’t been before. 

9/5 Going to the top of the Le Meridien hotel and watching the sunset over Central Park

(See above)

3. Do something alone that I would normally do with others.

9/2 Turning off my phone for an entire morning

Now, this doesn’t exactly fit the category, but there was a morning last week where I very much needed to be alone. I had an audition that I signed up for in the morning, went home, released, made myself a light lunch, went back, auditioned, and CRUSHED the audition.

I was in complete silence that morning other than rehearsing for my audition. I had no worries about who was texting me, what people were posting on Facebook, the latest Twitter hastags, or any of the naked models on Instagram.

Most times, when I trust my instincts and truly listen to my heart, I give the best auditions. It’s often when I let others get into my head, that I don’t perform as well.

4. Say “yes” to something to which I would typically say “no.”

9/7 Do NOTHING on Labor Day

After one of the best weekends I’ve ever had in my LIFE, I was sad to see Katie and Nick leave. However, I had some much-needed downtime. I laid on my couch, caught up on TV, did some dishes, listened to some music, and took a few little naps.

I got invited to parties, to parks, to hangout, and drink, and yet staying it was the best decision I’ve made in a while.

5. Do something that scares me.

Releasing my single/video

Yes, I know I brought this up previously, but this scares the shit out of me. One of my best friends was visiting this past weekend and she told me (in a very nice way), that she liked my first album, but it wasn’t really “me.”  And I tend to agree with her.

However, this album is so much “me,”  that I’m left completely uncovered, vulnerable, naked.

6. Make a new friend. 

8/26 Meeting new people at a friend’s birthday party

One of my dear friends had a birthday dinner and then a karaoke party afterward, and there were several people at the party I didn’t know. The great thing about this friend, is he is so loving and accepting, that I feel that I can always trust his judgements regarding friendship. It was special to spend time with him, but also a treat to meet some new and interesting people.

7. Have a book of the Week

Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder

I picked this book up from one of the tables at The Strand. The book outlines the history of philosophy through a 15 year old girl (Sophie) and her philosophy teacher. I’m just about done with it (I haven’t had a lot of time to read these past two weeks), but it’s a great refresher course on philosophers, and also told in a unique way.

Sometimes reading philosophy can feel like a textbook, but Gaarder’s method of storytelling is accessible, yet not dumbed down.

8. Purge the unnecessary.

Throwing out old “unmentionables”

I threw out a bunch of old pairs of socks and underwear. Don’t judge me monkey; it needed to happen!

9. Do something that makes me feel beautiful. 

9/4-9/7 Hanging out with old friends for the Labor Day Weekend

Katie is one of my oldest friends, (I’ve known her since the 1st grade) and I just ADORE her husband Nick. They are one of the easiest couples to hang out with because they both compliment each other, are never needy, and truly just go with the flow. I never felt like third wheel the entire weekend (although we did bring Jen along for the ride to make it an even four a few times!).

There was a particular day, where we started in Central Park in Sheeps Meadow. We stayed in the park for a few hours, and then wandered back to their hotel suite. The entire day was full of good conversation, good vibes, and really just basking in our friendships with each other. We did not go to a fancy club. We did not spend a lot of money. We did not even need to be wearing nice clothes. Katie, Nick, Jen, and I were just able to be, and exist around each other without needing anything else.

It was a day/night, and it made me feel beautiful that I am lucky enough to share my life with such beautiful people.

10. Surround myself with nature. 

9/5 Central Park Sheeps Meadow

The summer is over, and ending it in Sheeps was a nice testament to this crazy season.

9/6 Walking the Highline

Because of the holiday weekend, the Highline was a bit more overpopulated than usual, but I do love showing off the beautiful parts of my city to those who haven’t seen them before.

Shallenges Completed: 9/10

I’ll give myself a 9 instead of a 10 simply because I used a few examples twice and didn’t always complete the challenges as they were meant to be.

Shan Baby Score: 6/10

My score is so harsh, because most of these challenges were completed in the last week, not in the week before. I let myself be a little lax for a week, and it honestly didn’t feel too great. Completing these tasks help me learn something new every week, and I never, ever want to stop learning and growing as a person.

One last thing before I go: PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE like, share, and spread around my music! Spread the love y’all!

Love always,

Shannon Rose Allen

How Much Love?

The Notebook is on. It’s 5:30 p.m. I still haven’t changed out of my PJs. It’s Sunday. In about an hour or so, I will probably order some Steak n’ Shake online because I REALLY want a milkshake.

It’s one of those wonderful, lazy, introspective Sundays. I haven’t spoken to anyone today, other than my roommate’s dog, who is sitting at my feet while I write this.

So since I’m in such a mood, I’ll write about my favorite subject: LOVE.

How much love are we granted in our lifetimes?

Do we have a limited amount of chances at love?

I remember the first time I watched The Notebook with my first love, a boy I dated in high school. We were mad about each other; in the midst of our teenage years. We had just finished his senior prom dance (I was a sophomore at the time). In my high school there was a day in between prom (Friday night) and the day everyone went to Cedar Point to enjoy rollercoasters, ferris wheels, and bad fried food (Sunday day).

So on Saturday, I convinced this boy, (who I was absolutely crazy about and was crazy about me) to watch The Notebook. I had seen the movie only once before on a long bus trip for one of my show choir competitions. I cried like a baby through most of it, and was so happy that I had a boy who I loved as much as Allie loved Noah. I was so lucky. I was 16 years old and in love.

Real love.

After we finished the movie, that boy pulled me into a hug and said, “I love you so much.”

I will never forget that moment, because it was one of the times in my life that when someone said those words, I knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that it was true.

I can now say wholeheartedly, being a 27-year-old woman, that what I had with that boy was real. Probably more real than any love I’ve experienced since then.

So this leads me to my initial question: How much love are we granted in our lifetimes?

Did I use mine up? I’ve been in love exactly twice in my life, one with the boy in my story above, and once more in my last relationship. Both loves were unique in their own way; they taught me different things. Obviously there were problems in both, (What relationship is without issues?) but I so, completely loved these two men while I was with them and gave them the sincerest form of my heart.

So is that it? Did I miss my chance?

Did I use up all my love?

Now, I know the counter-argument here: “Oh but you’re so young!” “You’ll find someone!” “Someone will come along when you least expect it!” 

Spare me.

Because honestly, I’m not convinced that the kind of love that I want still exists in my world.

When I say my world, let me clarify: my life as it exists in New York City. Don’t get me wrong, I love my life here, but I don’t know that love is here, for me, in this city. What’s more concerning to me though, is my generation’s way of going about dating and relationships. The cavalier nature in which pretty much every potential prospect has treated me, makes me sometimes wish I were born into a different generation. A generation who care more. A generation who felt more.

A generation who loved more.

Who knows, perhaps I’m wrong. Perhaps the love of my life is just around some unforeseen corner, under some unturned stone. Perhaps he’s not.

I suppose I’m lucky to have loved at all. (You all know the quote, don’t make me say it.)

I want to believe that I will find love of some sort again. Hopefully it is less like my generation’s skeletal idea of love, and more like the loves I’ve experienced in the past.

The next time someone tells me those words, I want to feel like I did that lazy day where I watched the Notebook over 10 years ago. I don’t want to question the sincerity of the statement or have any reservations.

I want to know.

Until then, I’ll still question whether this life will give me another shot at love.

Xx.

Shannon Rose Allen

The Shallenge Week 6: Stronger

I’m exhausted this week. Apologies if this week’s Shallenge is a little brief. I shall possibly explain in another post later this week. But right now it’s 10:45 on a Monday night and my call time tomorrow is 7 am. By the time you read this, I will have been on set for server all hours! 

Anyway, let’s jump in!

1. Experience something new.

8/19 Color Me Mine

Jen and I adventured to a lovely place in Tribeca this week called Color Me Mine. The deal is you pay a studio free for paints and supplies, then an additional price for your piece, depending on the size.

You can take as long as you would like to make your creation. Jen and I both decided to go with key trays that looked like quote bubbles. Jen went with, “Don’t 4get Ya Keys Ya D-Bag” while I went with my favorite Latin phrase, “aut viam inveniam aut faciam.” (translated as: I shall either find a way or make one)

We had a ton of fun AND found out that the place is BYOB. So next time we’re bringing the champagne!!

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8/21 Yankees vs Indians Game

I’ve been to Yankees Stadium a few times, but never to watch the Tribe play. It was a beautiful night, and I was with all Cleveland fans which was amazing. The Indians ended up winning which was awesome, considering we haven’t been doing so well this season.

Gotta love a good ol’ game of baseball!

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8/22 Bowlmor Lanes Chelsea Piers

It was my friend’s birthday this week, so we celebrating by renting three lanes at Chelsea Piers’ Bowlmor Lanes. I haven’t bowled in YEARS so it was great to make an ass of myself and have fun with a ton of new and old friends.

At one point in the night, my team created what was called “The Model,” where essentially one walks down the runway like a top model and then casual drops the ball into the lane. I’m surprised no one kicked us out for all the crap we were pulling. Regardless, it was fun!

I took a lot of video, but no actual photos of me bowling. However, here is my bowling “look” for the night.

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2. Go somewhere in New York City that I haven’t been before. 

8/19 Color Me Mine

(See Above)

8/22 Bowlmor Lanes

(See Above)

3. Do something alone that I would normally do with others.

8/21 Barry’s Bootcamp

I wrote last week about going to Barry’s Bootcamp and absolutely loving it. Well, this time I went ALONE and added on the treadmill rotation that I had previously skipped. When I tell you that Barry’s is the toughest, yet rewarding workout you will every experience, I mean IT IS THE TOUGHEST AND REWARDING WORKOUT YOU WILL EVER EXPERIENCE.

I encourage everyone who has a Barry’s location near them to check it out. If you live in NYC, you should absolutely check out my friend Zack H’s class because he’s incredible.

4. Say “yes” to something to which I would typically say “no.”

8/19 Joined a new dating app

Sigh. Yes. I did. And I’m already regretting it. This particular app promises to be free of any “fuck boy” riff raff, and yet it seems to be the same as all other forms of dating online: AWFUL.  I’ll probably delete it this upcoming week.

Side Note: I guess “fuck boy” has become my generation’s new term for douchebag. Yet, every time I hear the term, it just reminds me of a term one might hear on So You Think You Can Dance for a new type of contemporary dancer. Kind of like “B-Boy.”

Example: Next up we have Raymond, a “Fuck Boy” straight out of Detroit, Michigan.

Anyone else? It kind of makes me giggle.

5. Do something that scares me.

8/18 Set my new single, You Hate Me to arrive on social media sites

Yes. I will have a single AND a music video for you soon. Patience my friends. These things take time to perfect.

6. Make a new friend. 

8/20 “Basic Bitch” House Party

I went to a “Basic Bitch” party this last week that was light hearted and full of some super fun individuals. I was attempting to give you my best “housewife basic bitch.” I didn’t take a great picture dead on, but the whole outfit was complete with pearl, a sensible blouse and periwinkle dress shorts. Don’t forget the Toms shoes! 🙂

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7. Have a book of the Week

I’m still working on The Martian by Andy Weir. I’m finding it difficult to get past all the space and science jargon. I’m enjoying the story, but I can only stand the book for so long until I put it down and go back to bingeing episodes of Orphan Black (WHICH IS FANTASTIC).

8. Purge the unnecessary.

I didn’t so much as purge this week, as I did organize. I ended up doing something like six loads of laundry in one day over the weekend, and then subsequently re-organized all my already clean clothing with my cleaned clothing.

I still would like to try to go through my closet at least once a month and try to get rid of 5 pieces. That’s my goal. We shall see if it actually happens.

9. Do something that makes me feel beautiful. 

8/18-8/24 FITNESS FITNESS FITNESS!!!! 

I. CANNOT. STOP. WORKING. OUT! I know that I typically have a pretty regimented workout schedule, but now that I’ve been getting into classes like Flywheel, Soul Cycle, and Barry’s Bootcamp, I can literally see my body changing before my very eyes.

Here’s a silly picture of me dressing 80s style to my friend Zack’s Flywheel class.

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10. Surround myself with nature. 

I just didn’t hit this one this week. Unless you count being on a rooftop at the house party, I did not bathe myself in nature at all.

Shallenges Completed: 7/10

Shan Baby Score: 7/10

Even though this face looks distressed, here’s my Happy Face of the Week, which just so happens to be the artwork for my new single: 

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Love always,

Shannon Rose Allen

The Shallenge Week 5: The Art of Being Alone

Hi Shallengers!

This week was TOUGH. Most of my weeks in the some 1100 odd days I’ve lived in New York are tough, but there are some that attempt to break you in half.

Some weeks it can be tough to possess that unrelenting resilience required of me to be a performer, a singer, a musician, a writer, and a human being. There were days this week where I laid in bed and stared up at my “wall of love” with all its inspirational quotes and pictures of my family and thought, “I just don’t feel like being positive today.”

As Debbie Downer as that sounds, I’m entitled to those days, those weeks.

I had grandiose plans for this week, as I usually do, but this week was more about reflecting, being alone, and asking myself honestly, “WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU REALLY WANT?!”

1. Experience something new.

8/14 Build public art with LEGOs

After a strenuous 2.5 mile run in 90 degree weather, I decided to walk back to my apartment on the High Line rather than walk back up the West Side Highway or take the train.

At first, I was peeved by the congestion and the amounts of tourists, so blindly unaware of their own existence, but then as I approached the northern end of the park, it cleared out a little bit. Then I noticed a roped-off area with this sign in front of it:

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Originally I walked into the exhibit to take a few pictures and admire this cool community project. Art collective projects like this are my favorite. About a year and 1/2 ago, I participated in a The Strangers Project. I was instructed that my story must fit on a single side of an 8.5×11 sheet of paper, be true, and anonymous.

With this collective, it was more hands-on. Essentially, there were about 30-40 people all working on their own contributions to the work: some making more structural choices (towers, bridges, etc) and some (like myself,) making our own personal stamps on the project. As you can see below, I chose to create my initials.

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2. Go somewhere in New York City that I haven’t been before. 

8/15 Explore the East Village, Alphabet City, and Lower East Side 

Yes, I’ve been to the Lower East Side before. Some of the venues and bars down there are my favorite to frequent. However, I’m not as familiar with the area as other neighborhoods in the city. So I started on St. Marks, wandered in and out of the shops, pausing to watch all of the unique, trendy people who hang out in that area. I love St. Marks because it’s a place where anyone and everyone can be themselves. There is no such thing as a “freak” on St. Marks. On St. Marks, we’re all freaks.

I walked down to Tompkins Square Park and wove around the paths, admiring the families with kids, the dogs eager to chase the overfed squirrels, and the young NYU couples in love. I sat for about 30 minutes on a bench, without my trusty headphones on, letting the soundtrack to my day be the birds, and the wind, and the mindless chatter.

When I got up from the bench, I strolled down Avenue B past schools, and little community gardens, and found all sorts of cool street art and objects, that I would typically overlook being as fast-paced and focused as I usually am.

Here were two of my favorite sights of the day.

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One of the things I love about New York, is that “ugly” things can be made beautiful. The first photo is a trash receptacle. But someone chose to make it beautiful. Some people may scoff and say that graffiti is not art, but I think some graffiti is art at its purest form. Graffiti artists often make art for no financial gain, and are often not recognized for their work (unless you’re Banksy). This person was not defacing anything. He or she was leaving his/her stamp and saying, “I am here! WE are here! And we’re in this thing called life together!”

The next picture I love because I feel like this van is something so indicative of the Lower East Side. If you want to be a hippie and like Chris Farley (as Matt Foley) “live in a van down by the river,” you can! I am dying to know the history of this van. I’m sure there is a book full of stories about this van.

I finally made a giant circle and walked all the way back to the West 4th subway (with a short stop on 2nd Avenue to my favorite tattoo parlor and consider getting a third tattoo…) and then headed back home.

3. Do something alone that I would normally do with others.

8/15 Explore the East Village, Alphabet City, and Lower East Side 

(See the full story above)

There was something so beautiful and peaceful about being alone for several hours on a sunny day in New York. I was so acutely aware of how many people were in this city and how “alone” in those few hours I actually was. It’s both freeing and incredibly scary to realize how alone you are.

I’m sorry to be so introspective in this post, but that has simply been that kind of week.

4. Say “yes” to something to which I would typically say “no.”

8/13-81/14 Applying to a slew of jobs

This past week I put in something like 12 resumes and cover letters to various companies. Some were for music business related 9-5 jobs, others were part time positions.

I’m not giving up my dream to work in the industry as a singer/actress/performer, but I am allowing myself to explore options. I’ve been largely unhappy with my current work situation, and am looking for something new.

I also have been feeling lately that my knowledge that I spent years collecting, is sitting on a dusty shelf, WAITING to be used. The times I feel like I’m stimulating my brain the most are when I write music, write (either for this blog, or for my own personal use), or read a new book.

I want to use my education. I no longer want to feel like I’m an object, instead of a person at work. We shall see how this pans out.

5. Do something that scares me.

8/12 Get rejected… HARD

I had a big audition this week, and was rejected, quite harshly. I’m no stranger to rejection, but this one particularly stung. Perhaps it’s one of the reasons I chose to do so much soul searching this week. You can read the post here.

8/13-81/14 Applying to a slew of jobs

(See above)

I already have an interview on Wednesday. Cheer to new adventures!

6. Make a new friend. 

8/16 Central Park picnic

After a delightful Sunday morning at SoulCycle, and a brunch with some good friends, my crew and I went to Central Park to join some friends of a friend.

I had some great conversations with all these new faces, and was truly stimulated by these wonderful, interesting people. It amazes me how many like-minded, open, friendly individuals I’ve found in this city.

7. Have a book of the Week

The Martian – Andy Weir

This book has been a bit of a slow burn for me. I’m enjoying the concept so far, but the scientific jargon is weighing me down a big. However, I always like to finish something I start, and this book is not a National Bestseller for nothing. I will report back when I finish. Perhaps I just need to get over the hump of the science talk and dive further into the story.

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8. Purge the unnecessary.

I did not get rid of anything this week. Although my bag collection needs to be combed through. Perhaps this week.

9. Do something that makes me feel beautiful. 

8/12 – Dressing up for my audition 

Although my audition was not successful, I spent time making myself look and more importantly feel beautiful. I did not attempt to dress for anyone else, just myself. I felt completely comfortable, and let my inside shine through my outward appearance.

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10. Surround myself with nature. 

8/15 Explore the East Village, Alphabet City, and Lower East Side 

(See Above)

Tompkins Square Park and all the little gardens and pockets of green along my walk made me feel so lucky to live in this city. I’m excited to see more of what New York City has to offer me in terms of their spectacular park system.

Shallenges Completed: 9/10

Shan Baby Score: 6/10

This score may seem a little harsh, but some of these things hit multiple categories. This week I let a little dark raincloud hang over my head when I could have done more to fill up my week.

In a way, I’m glad I had a tough week; it helped me focus more fiercely on my end goals. I needed a slap in the face of sorts to make me ask myself tough questions: “What do you want? Who do you want to be? What makes you happy? Are you doing everything in your power to make yourself happy?” 

Here’s my Happy Face of the Week:

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Until next week,

Shannon Rose Allen