Black Lives Matter

Let me just get this out of the way now:

maxresdefault.jpgIf you choose not to agree with this statement, feel free to read no more.

I know I haven’t blogged in quite some time, but today, I am afraid.

Why am I afraid?

I’m afraid that my country is becoming divided like never before.

I’m afraid that the killings won’t stop.

I’m afraid that my black brothers and sisters who are like family to me will be unjustly treated. In fact, I’ve WATCHED my black brothers and sisters be unjustly treated, and it is gut-wrenching.

I am afraid because a man who I love and care for deeply is black. He is one of the kindest, gentlest humans I’ve ever known and he’s hurting.

I’m afraid because he’s afraid.

I’m afraid because I cannot help him feel less pain.

I’m afraid that I have a nephews who, although not black, are bi-racial.

I’m afraid because I see people I grew up with on Facebook saying, “this is not a problem.”

I’m afraid because I see so many of us losing hope.

I’m afraid because I feel helpless.

If we cannot peacefully protest; what do we do? If our Congress men and women will not listen to our pleas; what do we do? If I am a white, female, who has never been subject to racism; how can I help?

Please, tell me how I can help. I want to help so badly. I cannot watch another video of someone being murdered. I cannot wake up and turn on the news to find that another gun has taken another life. I cannot watch the ones I love be treated unfairly and do nothing. I HAVE to do something. And yet…

I feel helpless.

I feel depleted.

I feel angry.

I am afraid.

Shannon Rose Allen

#BlackLivesMatter

 

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The “Shallenge” Week 1 (Rock and GROHL)

Hello readers! So as some of you read last week, I decided to put myself to the test, pull myself out of my comfort zone, and complete a series of weekly challenges. Essentially every week I have a checklist of 10 generic things I can do to make for a more fulfilled life. I must complete at least one, but the idea is to complete as many as possible.

Each week I will give myself a score out of 10. (ie if I complete 5 items off the checklist, it’s 5/10). However if I complete an overwhelming amount of items in one category a certain week, I may adjust accordingly. There are no strict rules of the challenge because it’s my life after all, and I’m not a girl who typically plays by the rules.

For the full synopsis of my challenge, please check the entry out here. I also couldn’t decide what I wanted this challenge to be named, but I think I have the perfect name: The “Shallenge”

(See what I did there?! Shannon + Allen + Challenge = Shallenge. I know, I know. I surprise myself with my genius sometimes too 😉 )

So here is what I have completed between the dates July 14th and July 21st.

1. Try something new.

This week was full of “firsts.” Perhaps because I’m on overdrive, attempting to prove to myself that I can actually complete the Shallenge with flying colors. It’s also because I had some really fucking cool opportunities come my way.

I’m a lucky, lucky girl.

7/15 – Foo Fighters at Citi Field

I’m ashamed to say that I’ve never before been in the general admission section of a large concert. I’m not talking about New York City rock shows where the only option is GA standing room. No, I’m talking about arena/stadium shows. Even when I was at GOV Ball last year, I had VIP access the entire weekend, so I think I maybe stood in the GA section for all of one band’s sets.

I think that I’ve always been slightly afraid of having my feet stepped on, beer spilled on me, puked on, not being able to see, or trampled to death. (At least the last one is rational.) Plus, the seats in the wayyyyy back of the stadium tend to be more cost effective. (I paid $75 dollars to sit in the nosebleeds of all nosebleeds for Paul McCartney’s tour in 2011, and it was BAD-FUCKING-ASS).

But I knew this time around I needed to really experience a rock show. So, several months ago, I bought two GA tickets to Foo Fighters without someone in mind to take along with me. I figured I would work it all out. And I did!

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So, on a balmy Wednesday, July 15th, I trekked out to Citi Field at the end of the 7 line in Queens and watched the Foo Fighters play face-melting ROCK AND ROLL for three straight hours.

Yes. THREE. FUCKING. HOURS.

I was bumped into. I was gently shoved. Luckily, no one spilled or puked on me. I jumped around, shook my lovely rock and roll shaggy haircut, and sang along to pretty much every song.

Dave and the Foos played hits, lesser-known songs (which I LOVED), and covers too! You can tell these guys really love their jobs. Fuck, if I got to sing and play rock and roll and have literally thousands of people screaming and singing back at me, I would love my job too!

At the end of the show they brought out Chad Smith of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and did a cover version of Rod Stewart’s Stay with Me. Taylor Hawkings (#swoon) was on lead vocals, Dave on guitar, and Chad (of course) on drums.

I think it was the best show I’ve ever been to. Yes, I know, I know, I saw McCartney in 2011… but this one I think simply must take the cake. (I LOVE YOU PAUL! You’re still my #1 forever and ever!)

7/18 – New England Revolutions Game

For as much soccer as I watched my brother play over the years, you would have thought I would have been to a professional soccer game by now, right? (Well, I suppose I did go to a Cleveland Crunch game when I was maybe 5 or 6, but let’s be real, I probably spent more time nagging my dad to get me an ice cream. Dad, can we verify this?)

Over the weekend in Boston, I got to go to Gillette Stadium  (also another first) and watch the New England Revs play a game agains the New York Football Club. (NE won, which gives me conflicting emotions, because, well… I live in NYC. Duh!) Our tickets were great and I even got my Instagram pic featured on the big screen during the game! (See said picture below.)

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7/19 – Foo Fighters at Fenway Park

I call this one Foo Part Deux!

Yes, I saw Foo Fighters TWICE IN ONE WEEK! ROCK! ROCK! SO MUCH ROCK!

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

7/14 – Central Park Conservatory Water Pond/Alice in Wonderland Statue 

I honestly cannot believe it took me THREE years of living here to get to this spot. And what’s worse is that reason I was there was for work! (The set I was on was filmed there). Still, I’m glad I finally got there!

7/15 – Citi Field 

(See Above)

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

This week I was surrounded by friends and loved ones pretty consistently. Not that I’m complaining, because that is always a good thing. I just simply did not have any real “me time,” not to mention any time to do something alone that I would normally do with others.

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

7/16 – Sending in an Audition Tape for a Reality Television Show

Last week, I recorded (with the help of an awesome friend), edited, and sent in a casting tape for a popular reality television show. I’m not going to name the exact show in order to maintain some shred of mystery (Hint: It’s on ABC).

Do I think I’ll get cast on this show? Maybe. Probably not. But the point of making this casting tape was more than just the hope of making it on the show (and what the show is about: love. See, there’s another hint. If you haven’t guessed by now, please dig yourself out from whatever rock you live under.)

Sending in this application and video was also about challenging myself; I wanted to say “YES!” with a capital “Y,” and allow myself to be vulnerable and open to things which I would typically say “No!” with a capital “N” to.

And who knows, maybe I will hear back. Negative thoughts make for a negative life, just as positive thoughts lead to a positive life.

5. Do something that scares me.

7/16 – Sending in an Audition Tape for a Reality Television Show

(See Above)

7/17 – Driving on the Highway from NYC to Boston

Oh boy. I HATE driving. Hate may not even be the accurate verb to describe my adverse feelings toward driving.

Detest. Loathe. Resent. Abhor. Despise.

You get the point.

But, alas, after avoiding driving for the good part of the last five years (other than the occasional trip to the grocery store when I go home to Cleveland,) I found myself driving on a freeway for part of the trip from New York City to Boston. I think most of the reason I hate driving is A) I am not very good at it and B) it scares the shit out of me.

I don’t like the idea that my life, the other passengers’ lives, and those who are on the road, depend on my precision in driving to continue living their lives. Now, I’m not a horrific driver; I follow traffic rules and rarely speed, but I don’t drive with the ease of others.

You can find me white-knuckled, leaning so far over the steering wheel, looking like a member of the elderly community when I drive. This is especially true at night, when it’s raining, and on an unfamiliar highway.

But I did it. I got myself, the passengers, and two lovely dogs home safe. I also gave the driver a well-deserved break.

6. Make a new friend. 

7/15 – Reconnecting with an old friend

I took an old friend who I haven’t seen or spoken to in a very long time to Foo Fighters. We figured out that it had been about a year since we last saw each other, and even then, we only hung out for max 45 minutes to an hour. It was really nice to see him and experience a show that we both considered to be of equal awesomeness as aforementioned.

7/15 – Meeting a Wonderful Classical Singer

After Foo, I went to visit my friend who helped me make my casting tape as he closed at his bartending job. I ended up meeting a lovely individual who was a classical singer from Chicago privately auditioning for Les Miz on Broadway. I sincerely hope his audition went swimmingly, and that he gets a callback, or even cast!

7. Go on an actual date with someone. (Drinks do not count)

I knew when I came up with the Shallenge, that this one would be difficult. I was only in New York City for a total of three full days this week, so I knew this one probably wouldn’t happen. Not to mention, that my definition of a “date” has drastically changed.

Small tangent: I received a slew of texts from a few different men with whom I’ve “talked” to in the past few months. Most of the opening texts consisted of something like, “What’s up?” or “Hey you!” or “Hey stranger!”

No, no, no, no, NO! The only reason a man texts you something out of the blue that is so un-tactfully ambiguous (I think I just made up the word un-tactfully. Oh well.) is because he is A) lonely, B) horny or C) a combination of the two.

I have no time for this.

8. Purge the unnecessary. 

7/16 – Starting to Clean the Monstrosity that is my Closet 

I’ve started making a clothing pile.

Baby steps, people. Baby steps.

This needs to get finished, lest my closet rod break in half down the middle from the weight of the inordinate amount of clothing hanging on it.

7/14 – 7/21 – De-friending People who Openly Display their Bigotry on Social Media 

I always feel bad de-friending people, and I don’t know why. In real life, when a friendship is no longer working, it’s not like I feel bad and keep them around to make my life miserable. (Well, perhaps some of you do this in real life, but I sure don’t.)

But lately I’ve gone on an un-friending spree. I simply cannot get on board with bigotry, racism, sexism, ignorance, bullying, hate, negativity, or just sheer lack of respect and humanity toward others.

I just want you off my Facebook wall. I want you out of my thoughts.

Now, this is not just those who post things I don’t agree with. Everyone has the right to an opinion, even if it differs than mine, but if that opinion contains hatred, marginalization, or degradation of a specific race, class or group of people, I will not stand for it.

I will continue to spread the love, and keep those who also love to love close to me.

To you others: #GirlBye

9. Do something that makes me feel beautiful. 

7/18 – Trying on Dresses at Nordstrom Rack

I tried on two gorgeous, flattering gowns the other day at Nordstrom Rack because… why not!?

These dresses flattered my shape and made me feel beautiful. And I told myself I was going to do something every week to make myself feel beautiful!

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10. Surround myself with nature. 

7/15 – Ungluing Myself Temporarily from Technology 

During Foo Fighters at Citi Field, I took all of three pictures: one of the opener, Royal Blood (who are AMAZING and worth checking out), one of the Foo Fighters’ logo before the show, and one of Dave and his infamous Broken Leg Tour throne.

That was it. Three pictures. I took no video. I was not holding up my phone for the entire show, and missing THE GREATEST SHOW I’VE EVER SEEN. I experienced that show. I lived through that show. I was tuned in, which is more than I can say for all those fuckers missing Dave and Taylor and Chris and Pat and Nate and Rami ROCK THEIR FUCKING FACES OFF because they are hiding behind the shitty-quality video (that they will NEVER look at again) behind their phone screen.

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Shallenges completed: 7.5/10

I say 7.5 because I really didn’t fully complete my nature challenge. Sure, I was attempting to be more aware of my surroundings, but what I was really thirsting for was a grassy knoll, a beach or something non-man-made.

Shan Baby Score: 8/5/10

I really busted my booty this week to do almost everything on my list. I missed two and a half: going on a date, and doing something solo completely, and nature by .5 points. However, I really did have a great week as far as getting out of my comfort zone and attempting to live my life more fully.

And here’s my Happy Face of the Week: (Perhaps it’s more of a Rock and Roll “smirk”)

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Peace and Love

Shan Baby

The Challenge

As some of you know, I went home to Cleveland for the weekend for my nephew’s 1st birthday party. It is always a treat to spend time at home with my family, especially since I don’t see them often.

I always tend to use an escape to Cleveland as an opportunity to assess my current life situation. I know I’ve said this before, but I feel as though trips back home “reset” me in many ways. I get back to my roots; I have a place to sit in solitude and reflect in silence.

At my nephew’s birthday party, I was surrounded by people (who really aren’t that much older than me) with their spouses and children. I felt severely out of place, even though there was no need. Perhaps this is due to what I call the New York City Bubble. 

The Bubble (being the Greater NYC area) is a place where people discover their greatest strengths and allow their dreams to prosper. It is a Mecca for the creative minds, the hardest of workers, and the forward thinkers. 

The Bubble also consists of men (and women) who maintain a healthy (or unhealthy)  fear of commitment, are only focused on themselves, and live by the “grass-is-always-greener” mentality.

In the real world, (although New York often feels like the “realist” of the real worlds that exist), people are generally not like this. In general, both men and women at some point or another, would like to be with someone of the opposite (or same) sex and make a significant commitment.
Once I realized this, (in tandem with finishing Aziz Ansari’s new book, Modern Romance, which was read cover to cover in one sitting while on set, and was a DELIGHTFUL read), I decided it was time to put my romantic life into my own hands.

So when I finally decided that I was going to be the captain of my own ship (or whatever dumb analogy you will have here), I formulated a plan.

And that plan became known as “The Challenge.”

(I know, I know, “The Challenge” sounds extraordinarily similar to the horrible MTV show, The Challenge, where former members of the Real World/Road Rules compete in various challenges in order to win a cash prize.)

Alas, this is not That Challenge. No cash prize. No screaming, pull-out-each-others’ hair cat fights. 

My apologies.

So until I can think of another title, The Challenge is as follows:

For the foreseeable future, each week, I, Shannon Rose Allen must complete at least one of the following challenges:

1. Try something new.

This could be something simple as testing out a new restaurant. It could be taking a class at Barry’s Bootcamp. It could even be as bold as signing up for a half marathon, or taking a trapeze class. The spectrum is broad.

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

I’ve lived here for three years and I’ve never been to the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, either of the zoos, The Cloisters, The Whitney, or the famed Astoria beer gardens. As creatures of habit, we love what we know. As much as I love The Strand bookstore, Sheeps Meadow in Central Park, and my local sushi jam, I simply must explore everything this city has to offer.

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

I’m no stranger to taking myself on a date. I frequently see theater shows and movies solo. However, I think there is a certain magical quality, that is being able to take oneself out of his/her comfort zone and do something alone. Being alone is not easy, but if Cheryl Strayed’s book, Wild, taught me anything, it’s that being alone can be the best teacher. When we are in solitude, we really begin to understand ourselves better.

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

Some of my best experiences in life have been when I decided to dive into something I normally would have brushed aside. Take, American Idol, for instance. When I was first approached with auditioning, I was hesitant to say the least. Hell, the day of my first audition, I almost didn’t show. And I can proudly say that not only did I make it to the top 200-ish contestants of season 14, but I also had a wonderful experience and met some awesome individuals.

5. Do something that scares me.

A lot of these “challenges” may overlap one another, but doing something that scares me is important. And I’m not talking necessarily about jumping-out-of-an-airplane scared; I’m talking about joining an intramural league, completing a Tough Mudder, or even approaching a guy at a bar to give him my number. I can’t begin to think about living a fulfilled life, without doing the things that scare me the most, even if they are on the smallest of scales.

6. Make a new friend. 

This has never been a tough one for me, but I simply must keep expanding my network of friends and acquaintences. The more people I meet, the more I appreciate and revere the spectrum of people in this beautiful, beautiful earth.

7. Go on an actual date with someone. (Drinks do not count)

Obviously this one is contingent on someone wanting to go on a date with me as well…

I no longer consider a “date” an invitation to go for drinks at some crappy bar. No, a “date” consists of dinner, a movie, a museum, a comedy club, live music, an art show. Hell, he could even take me to some obscure coffee shop! But drinks at a generic “I-have-inherent-commitment-issues” bar is no longer cutting it.

8. Purge the unnecessary.

This one can include physical things (clothing, clutter, etc) or the abstract (negative feelings, stress, anxiety, etc). It can even include trimming the fat of friends who are merely in my life to act like barnacles. (For those of you who do not know what a barnacle is, it is a “marine crustacean with an external shell which attaches itself permanently to a variety of surfaces.”)

Barnacles are ugly. Barnacles attach themselves to things (or people) and serve no further purposes. Barnacles do nothing more than sit on the surface of people and give nothing to them in return.

DOWN WITH THE BARNACLES OF THE WORLD!  

9. Do something that makes me feel beautiful. 

Obviously we all struggle with self-worth, self-image, and self-esteem. Making myself feel beautiful could be as simple as telling myself, “You’re beautiful!” in the mirror. It could also be getting a mani/pedi. Making myself feel beautiful could be taking a fitness class, or feeding my body with a colorful spectrum of whole foods. I want to make myself feel beautiful every single day if I can. I want to tell my body, my mind, and my soul that I accept it for exactly what it is, at that exact moment of existence.

10. Surround myself with nature. 

Nature is not exactly easy to come by in New York City. Unless of course we are referencing the subway rats, who function more as dwarfed cats as we enter and exit the platforms of the MTA. Typically on days off, you can find me in Sheeps Meadow in Central Park; a large lawn where friends and families go to mingle, lay out, socialize, (and drink) with one another. 

This is my oasis.

However, being in Ohio this past weekend makes me realize how out of touch with nature I am. I took a five-mile bike ride with a good friend on Friday and was surrounded by trees, and water, and wildlife. It felt good to be next to something that was not man-made. I would love to go on more hikes. I would love to see more beaches. I would love to sit under a tree and get lost in the sounds of the birds with a good book and a bottle of water.

I want to be more grounded.

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So there we have it.

The “Challenge.”

Now, you may be asking yourself, “Shan, didn’t you say this was about your romantic life?? How do all these general statements have to do with you ‘taking control’ of your romantic future?”

Well reader, let me answer this for you: I’m simply becoming a better version of myself. And when we become the best version of ourselves, we are open to meeting others who complement that version of ourselves.

Instead of going out and searching for someone to love me, I’ve decided to love every bit of myself, so that I don’t have to worry myself with who does (or does not) love me.

I implore you, my dear readers, to take my Challenge (or whatever it is until I can find a better name) and do this yourself. I will be blogging each week and letting you know which categories I fulfilled. I think this may be a positive step toward the happiest life I can lead.

I love you.

Always.

Shannon Rose Allen

Fast Life, Steady Heart

Hello there!

I bet some of you thought there was something wrong! I haven’t posted on here in almost two months.

Well, I promise I’m still here. I was going through a hectic move, have been recording my EP (FINALLY), and have also begun writing for the site Elite Daily, so some of my creativity was spread a tad thin.

I’ve been a little introspective lately; spending a lot of time writing in my own personal journal, reflecting on my life and how it’s slowly shaping into the life I’ve always dreamed.

The first 5 and 1/2 months of this year seem to have flown by. I’ve joined Actor’s Equity, almost finished the recording portion of my EP, moved into a new apartment, and have been steadily standing in/working background all over the city. I’m miles away from the girl who came to New York in the summer of 2012, thinking she would work in the music industry.

I’m miles away from the naive girl who booked an off-broadway show with essentially no experience. I’m miles away from the clueless non-union background actor who used to get star struck every time she was on set.

I have a good life: family, friends, a budding career, a band, my health, my talent, my music.

I am not content. No, that is not the right word. But I am incredibly happy with my life.

I’m so tired of listening to fellow creatives complaining about not making enough money, not getting callbacks, no one coming to their shows, not becoming “famous.” We all want the same things. We all would love to be at a certain level.

But it all started with a song, or a play, or a painting.

A feeling.

Watching American Idol this week, and seeing the season I was a part of slowly come to and end especially made me realize how grateful I am that I’ve had my own unique experiences. Sure, I can still picture myself up on that stage, confetti streaming down, crying out of happiness. But that’s not my story. My story brought me to Hollywood Week where I was one of about 200 amazing singers, who all shared the same dream. And now one of them is about to see it realized.

As will I some day.

It may not be on the American Idol stage. It may not be on Broadway. It may not be at the Grammys. I may never reach that level of notoriety. It does not mean I will not spend every last breath I have attempting to do so, but the reality is that not everyone has the Cinderella ending.

But I guarantee you, that I will find my happy ending. I will never look back on my life and have any regrets, or wish that I did something differently. I will fight my creative struggle with integrity; always being true to myself and my craft. I will fight tooth an nail to have everything I’ve ever dreamed of, but not be disappointed when not everything goes my way. I will laugh, cry, scream, smile my way though every creative endeavor I have yet to experience.

Because I don’t want to spend all my life wishing and hoping for something, when there are so many wonderful things right in front of me.

I want to live a fast life with a steady heart.

Because everything I ever wanted, will want, and will have, is right here.

Xx

Shan Baby

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The Craft of Deceit

So I know I’m overdue for a post, so I’m just going to compile my thoughts, and hope that it presents itself as some sort of nonsensical discourse that eventually all makes perfect sense. Okay?

Okay.

So I feel the need to vent/be a little sad about something that happened to me a few weeks ago.

Side Note: I own a tank top that states: Be nice, or you’ll end up on my blog.

You were warned.

So here it is. I met a person that I felt an instant connection with. I felt like I was comfortable around him; we fit strangely into each others’ lives even though it seemed as though we barely had anything in common. We came from different places, different backgrounds, had different types of friends. All this being said, I felt like we complimented each other.

Now, I’m aware that sometimes these things tend to get so intense, that they burn out like an exploding star, but I honestly didn’t think this particular instance would end like that.

Until it did.

Like this:

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Why is it that I allow myself to get close to these men, who often have to PRY my emotions from my clenched, cold hands and make me have The Feels, and then kick me to the curb!? It’s almost like one gigantic cosmic joke. Almost like the Universe is telling me that it’s going to dangle these men in my face who do and say all the “right” things and then lay the smack down and say, “HA HA SHAN! Just kidding! You can’t have a man who is smart, and funny, and successful, and good looking, who likes you and might actually care about you!”

No. That would just be too easy.

Look, Universe, I’m twenty-fucking-seven. I’m not saying that I’m “old” per se, but I am getting “old-er” and I feel like it’s not fair that you keep treating me like some broken baby doll from the Land of Misfit Toys.

Except it doesn’t look like this:

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It looks like this:

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What’s the fucking deal???

And the PROBLEM with this, is that each time something blows up in my face like one gigantic bomb, that sets fire to all the blood and tissue and sinew in my poor, sad broken heart, I feel the need to EXPLAIN MYSELF.

Well then THAT just ends up blowing up in my face like another land mine that was left undetonated and the cycle continues.

And I look like this:

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Long story short, when this particular boy blew up in my face, I thought perhaps I could justify my feelings by writing a well-written, concise email that explained EXACTLY why I reacted the way that I did and gave a DETAILED account of “The Feels.” I hoped that this person would read my heartfelt words, and know that the only reason I reacted the way I did, was because I had actual FEELINGS for this person. And they were indeed reciprocated. How do I know this? Because this person did things like call me “just to hear my voice,” send me text messages about future plans, wanted our lives to be integrated with one another. He told me that he was happy, and I was too.

Then, WHAT here is the problem?

And here’s what I think it is.

The men of my generation know how to say and do exactly what women want them to do. The sincerity of everything has been brushed aside. It’s an equation; a way to solve a problem. Men are usually the ones to find solutions to problems that their ladies present to them (often at the annoyance of the lady, who only want to vent).

My generation of men has perfected the craft of deceit.

And this is how that makes me feel:

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Now I know I appear to sounds like a broken record about this particular subject, but I still cannot believe I continue to be duped by these men. What drives me crazy is that this one in particular felt so REAL. Perhaps I still fail to see the risk I’m taking every time I try to see the best in people.

I don’t know.

Anyway, after my email was sent and I presented my unfiltered feelings to this person, his first reaction was (and I quote), “I think it’s best for both of us if I take a step back.”

WHAT?! AM I TAKING CRAZY PILLS. I was aggressively courted by this person; swept off my feet, introduced to his best friends, told I was beautiful, told I was cared about. I did not concoct an imaginary person out of thin air!

So why does it always feel like I’m the one suffering when things go awry?

Here is this person who essentially took me for this magnificent ride in his flashy car full of “promises” and “futures” and “respect” and “caring for one another,” and then the MOMENT I decide that I would ALSO like to reciprocate feelings, he needs to take a “step back.”

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I call bullshit.

I call bullshit on the entire thing. It’s like women of my generation can’t be fucking honest about how they feel because they will be labeled as “crazy,” whereas the men of my generation I believe actually WANT relationships and WANT to care about another person, but if they let themselves too close they feel like they are losing something. In New York a big excuse is the “career.” Another one I’ve heard is that they are just “confused about what they want, and looking for someone to help them figure it all out.”

What? Help you figure your shit out so that you can leave me in the dust, while you pursue your budding finance career and go off to fuck some other chick with a thigh gap and an IQ of 50?

I don’t get it.

I will never “get it.”

I’m sorry Taylor Swift, but boys don’t only want love if it’s torture. In FACT, the first hint of torture they start running. The reason they stay with you is because you’re beautiful, and powerful, and famous.

I feel like I’m almost a different species to these men. And I’m not talking about being a woman in general, I’m talking about being the specific kind of woman I am: strong-willed, driven, emotional (without qualms), blunt, honest, but also loving, and nurturing, and respectful, and thoughtful.

You don’t get to have one side of my personality and run aways when things don’t go the way you want them to.

Basic human interaction is full of choice and compromise. I feel as though my generation has become so self-indulgent that we’ve forgotten this. We’ve forgotten what it feels like to love and be loved. We allowed ourselves to achieve greatness in our lives, but not with each other. We’ve become hard; addicted to machines, and sex, and instant gratification.

Let’s let go of the deceit and start getting real.

Until then… scratch everything I said in this blog post (What I Think About on Airplanes) and let me go back into my shell until the winter is over and have someone else use a hammer and chisel to try to get my heart-sickle to open up again.

Goodnight.

Shan Baby

27 Things I’ve Learned in my 27 Years

On Saturday, December 20th 2014, I will turn the ripe old age of 27. I have successfully been around the sun 27 times. Although I do not pretend to have all the answers to my life (in fact, I really don’t know most answers… isn’t that what your 30s are for???) I feel like I should gather up my knowledge I’ve gained in a little over a quarter of a century, and share it with you lovely folks. Some of my points are introspective, some of them are general things I’ve gathered, some of them are tidbits of advice. Take them as you will.

Because I felt like 27 things is a lot to write, I hired the help of two of my favorite people, Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen of Portlandia, to help me deliver the impending information you are about to receive.

(Also… I’m going to change my POV from 1st to 2nd to 3rd a lot. So you tense nazis can fuck off because I just don’t care. I’m aware of my incorrect usages of several tenses.)

Here are Shan Babe’s “27 Things I’ve Learned in my 27 Years”

1. There is always time to learn more

If I learned anything from going to college for six years, it’s that my education is never truly finite. I’m always looking for new ways to educate myself, whether it be academic or socially. We as humans only have a limited amount of time on this earth and I believe that learning should not be something that stops once you exit school.

I’m a big reader and try to read a piece of fiction and non fiction simultaneously. Most of the time I can finish books in about a week, and then I start right back up with a new set. The Strand Bookstore is my favorite place in New York City. No. Not just my favorite bookstore; it’s actually my favorite place to be in all of New York.

Sometimes I feel like I’m over-educated for the type of work I do. Then I remind myself that just because I don’t use all of my knowledge all day every day, does not make me less educated. It does not mean my brain is worth any less.

Plus, smart girls are the prettiest. 🙂

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2. Never apologize for loving someone too much.

This is a doozy for me. I’ve often felt that I love a little too much, and often receive not enough love in return. My love scares people away. My love is too big for most people, ESPECIALLY when it comes to romantic situations.

But you know what? I don’t really care anymore. I used to do a lot of apologizing for my big heart. I like to shut it up in a box and keep it to myself. Sometimes it peeks out of its cave and makes an appearance like the Loch Ness monster of hearts, and then quickly disappears once it feels the hint of a threat.

Someday, when the time is right, my heart will come out of it’s Walden Pond and live in the real world again. But you will never hear me apologize for the way my heart feels. I will be sorry for things my heart has made me say, but I own my feelings.

I own my feelings.

That is a nice thing to say.

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3. I’m much better alone. 

With all the above being said, I think I function much better off when I’m left to my own devices. I can wake up every morning and let whomever into my life, at the time and place that I choose, on my own terms. I don’t ever have to justify my feelings, who I am, what I want to be, or how I choose to spend my days.

Being alone is not being lonely to me.

I fulfill myself. I don’t need anyone else to do that for me.

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4. Waking up every morning and telling yourself you are beautiful/amazing/perfect/loved in the mirror really works.

If I’ve learned anything by being a strange person, it’s that not everyone will accept your weirdness. If I could count the times I’ve been told I’m not pretty enough, good enough, skinny enough, talented enough, etc, etc, I would be a rich person.

However, on the flip side, if I counted the number of times I’ve been told I am enough, whether it be from friends, family, casting directors, mentors, random strangers, and (most importantly) myself, I would probably be even richer.

Too often, we focus on the negative, not the positive. Sure, I’ve been on the other end of some pretty palpable vitriol in my 27 years, but I also get told regularly that I bear resemblance to Jennifer Lawrence and I WILL TAKE THAT TO THE BANK!!

Reinforcing myself, to myself, every day is just another thing that makes my life a little happier.

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5. Keep a journal

I love to write, which should be pretty obvious, as I’ve been blogging steadily for about three years. But I also keep three journals.

Now you are probably asking yourself, “Shan, what the fuck do you do with THREE journals!?”

Well, I have one general journal where I write my thoughts, one where I write down how I’m feeling that day based on a “glass-half-full” vs “glass-half-empty” scale, and a five-year journal that asks me a question a day for five years.

Keeping these private journals helps remind me of who I am. It allows me to release my thoughts on a paper, so that they don’t cloud up my mind. I see my journals almost like Dumbledore’s pensieve in the Harry Potter novels (NERD ALERT!).

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6. Never apologize for being a Feminist with a capital F!

I love being a woman. It does not mean I hate men. Being a feminist does not mean I don’t shave my armpits (which by the way, is absolutely okay if you are a woman and you don’t). Being a feminist does not mean I don’t allow men to hold doors or pull out chairs for me. Being a feminist does not mean I don’t like it when a gentleman (gentleman being the operative word) tells me I look pretty, or sexy, or cute.

Being a feminist means that I believe in equality of the sexes. Plain and simple.

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7. All men aren’t ass holes. All women aren’t crazy.

The battle of the sexes never ceases. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve heard a friend call a man a “douche,” “ass hole,” “prick,” etc. I also cannot even tell you how many times I’ve heard my guy friends tell me a girl is a “bitch,” “insane,” or the worst label anyone can give to a woman, “crazy.”

Millennials are conditioned to believe that we have to give extreme labels to everything. (ie. “I LITERALLY CANNOT EVEN.” “He/she is SO crazy.” “He/she is the WORST”)

This is bad. It hurts us in the end.

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8. With that being said… Dating sucks

I feel like I can embrace most of my generation’s quirks and qualities, but dating is not one of them. Maybe I’m a little too old school with this one. The fact that we are all supposed to be okay with everyone dating, seeing, fucking everyone at the same time is just something I’m not into.

Whether or not you embrace the new wave of dating, it still does not change the fact that dating is pretty awful. Dating someone, especially post-college can be exhausting. Having to meet someone awkwardly at a bar after chatting with them online a few times, and then do this whole dance of “should-I-or-shouldn’t-I-tell-him-this-or-that” just feels like complete bullshit to me. There are too many games in dating. If you don’t show enough emotion, you’re fucked, but if you care too much you’re also fucked.

Perhaps this is why I’m single. I don’t know. As I’ve stated earlier today, I’m okay with being alone.

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9. It’s okay to eat a pint of ice cream, drink two bottles of wine, and cry by yourself watching Crazy, Stupid Love when your heart is broken

We’ve all been there. Honor your feelings when you are heartbroken. We aren’t robots.

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10. MAKE TIME for the family, friends and lovers

There is nothing worse than falling out of touch with a good friend or family member. We are all busy. We all have crazy lives. Make time. Don’t just send a text or write a message on Facebook. Make a phone call. Write a letter. Take the L Train to bum-fuck Brooklyn and smoke a friendly joint and watch Mean Girls. Send your family gifts just “because.” Tell the people you love that you love them as often as possible.

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11. Do not make time for negative people. 

Negativity only feeds negativity. When I’m around negative people, this is what I turn into:

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12. You only get one body: treat it with respect and kindness.

Do NOT work against your body; work with it. I am built curvy. I have big legs, a big butt and thick arms. When I started working with my personal trainer I made it very clear that I did not want someone who was going to try to shape me into a size 0. That is just not realistic for me. Instead, we focus on strength and agility and endurance.

Guess what? I look and FEEL better than I ever have.

Also, can we all just agree to stop picking ourselves apart? You are the only person in the world with your body. Let that fact sink in and embrace it.

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13. Good makeup saves lifes. Also… fuck it if I don’t want to wear makeup sometimes

I love makeup. I like the way it makes me feel. I feel like my face is a blank canvas, and my makeup brings out my best features.

I also love a blank makeup-less face sometimes.

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14. It’s okay if I don’t get married in my 20s

ALL RELATIVES IN MY LIFE: Stop asking me when I’m going to get married. I’m making a life for myself in New York. My life does not revolve around dreams of a white dress.

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15. It’s also okay if I don’t get married at all

Deal with it.

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16. VOTE

At risk of sounding preachy, I’m just going to say that with everything that has been going on in our country lately, our voices are important. Voting is imperative.

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17. Do not be afraid of things that are strange, new or different

I often find that people and things that are strange, different, new, obscure, quirky, and unfamiliar are the most beautiful. Just because something is different does not necessarily mean that it’s wrong. If everyone and everything were the same, this world would be a boring place.

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18. Good mothers and good fathers are hard to come by. If you are lucky enough to have both, keep them close.

Ok. Let me get preachy for a moment. I don’t have a mother. If you do, I implore you to pick up the phone and tell you that you love her. Same with your father. I tell my dad I love him every time we text or call each other. Just remember, not everyone has their parents, and not everyone has good ones. If you are fortunate enough to have both, spend every moment you can with them. Ask them questions about their past. Drink a beer with your dad. Hug your mom and let her get nostalgic over your baby pictures. Help your dad get rid of his hideous tie collection and then shop for new ones together. Let your mother relax on the couch while you clean the entire family’s Christmas dinner dishes.

I love my parents.

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19 . Good brothers and sisters are hard to come by. If you are lucky enough to have both, keep them close.

Again, not everyone is fortunate enough to have loving brothers and/or sisters. I have both a wonderful brother and an amazing sister-in-law. I got to spend an entire week in Houston with them for Thanksgiving and for that, I’m overwhelmed with gratitude.

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20. Good friends are VERY hard to come by. If you are lucky enough to have even one, keep them close.

Just because you don’t necessarily have the best biological family, does not mean you cannot have a “family.” My friends, both in New York, and across the country are integral to keeping me sane. I wish I could take the time to praise each and every one of my friends right now, but then the blog post would become so much longer than it already is! (If you’ve made it this far btw, kudos! This is a long motherfucking post!)

Get into trouble with your friends. Be silly with your friends. Be weird with your friends. Let your friends into your lives and love them deeply. And always, listen.

Fred Armisen, Carrie Brownstein, Mike Chase, Photo Credit-Augusta Quirk/IFC

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21. BE PASSIONATE.

I will quote one of my favorite poets, T.S. Eliot, “It is obvious that we can no more explain passion to a person who has never experienced it than we can explain light to the blind.”

Find your passion(s). Make your entire existence revolve around these passions.

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22. Bad relationships need to terminated as soon as they get bad

Learn to let go. Do not hold onto someone because of who they “used to be.” I learned the hard way in my last relationship. By romanticizing a person based on the good times, we hinder ourselves from moving on.

Most relationships end. Learn when to say goodbye. It doesn’t mean that the love you had was not real. It doesn’t mean those feelings weren’t real. It just means that it is over, and you will both be better people without each other.

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23. There are things I love about being a Millennial

I love that my generation follows their dreams. I love that we dream big, and take huge risks. I love that we are individualists. I love that my generation cares less about skin color and sexuality, and cares more about character content. I love that we have the power to connect with people instantly from across the globe. I love that we are innovators and believers even when the odds are stacked against us.

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24. There are things I absolutely despise to my core about being a Millennial 

I loathe our dating culture (as noted previously). I don’t like that we are so wrapped up in our digital words that I seldom ever hear someone’s voice over the phone. (I’m SUCH a phone talker. I want to HEAR you. Meaning and emotion get lost in texts). I hate how selfish we can be. I hate that we are often so disconnected with reality when we are so connected with the Internet. I hate how we seldom ever show our true emotions to one another, because caring is overrated.

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25. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.

We are human. We cannot do everything ourselves. Sometimes a fresh pair of eyes, a fresh set of ears, or a shoulder to cry on is the best thing we can ask for.

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26. Do not be afraid to disagree with someone, even if it is someone whom you love and respect. 

The wonderful thing about living in America, and being a free-thinking individual is that we can have different opinions, cultures, religions, lifestyles and still simultaneously exist. If you see something that you disagree with, or someone is treating another person unfairly, or someone is being racist or homophobic or sexist, do not be afraid to disagree. The tough part about this is when this person is your family member or friend. It is okay to disagree. It is also okay to agree to disagree. Use your best judgement.

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27. You will not receive the kind of love you want from others, until you learn to fully love yourself. 

This last one is basically just reiterating what I’ve been saying this entire blog: Love yourself.

There was a point in my early 20s when I did not love myself, or even really like myself. I was confused about why others didn’t love me and figured there was something wrong with me.

I know what each and every one of my flaws are. I know I talk to much. I know I talk too loud. I know I overthink everything. I know I push people away the moment I feel threatened. I know I can get a little too drunk sometimes and make a fool of myself. I know I’m stubborn. I know I’m selfish sometimes. I know I don’t have skinny legs or arms. I know I can come off as pretentious, especially when I talk about music. I know I have a lazy eye that is only corrected by glasses or contacts. I know that I wear too much black and probably too much makeup sometimes. I know I’m weird.

But there are a lot of wonderful, amazing things about who I am. I also don’t love myself any less because I have flaws. It’s not very easy to love yourself all day every day, but it must be done if you expect anyone to ever love you. Whitney called it the “greatest love of all.” (RIP Whitney)

And with that, I’ll leave you with a quote from Mr. Leonardo da Vinci: “Life without love, is no life at all.”

Smile more.

Laugh more.

Live more.

Love more.

Here’s to the next 27!

xoxo

Shan Babe

All the Warm Fuzzies

I am feeling especially grateful today.

I was wrapped early from set yesterday, and had the entire day to run errands around the city. As I was walking around Union Square among the droves of tourists and Christmas shoppers, I stopped and looked up at the skyline of my beautiful city.

I still just cannot believe I’m lucky enough to live in this beautiful city, with such beautiful people, and beautiful friends, with the loving support of my beautiful family.

So let me just go to a dark place for one minute, to explain why I feel so, incredibly grateful on this chilly, December day.

A few years ago I thought I would never be happy again.

Really.

I had become so accustomed to shitty things happening to me, that I started to believe that perhaps that was just my lot in life; to be unhappy and get through life always a little sad.

Reading that sentence back, it sounds really depressing, but I’m getting to the happy part, I SWEAR!

I might sound like a broken record for those of you who avidly ready my blog, but something profound happened after my mother died. I told myself that my life would revolve around loving.

Loving what, you ask?

Well, I had to start by loving myself. And whether or not you’ve gone through hardships or not, loving oneself can often be the hardest kind of love to exhibit. Loving myself was not easy. It’s not easy to wake up every morning, look in the mirror and tell yourself that you love you exactly the way you are.

Side Note: I actually tell myself I love me every morning in the mirror. Try it. Seriously. You will that me later.

After I decided to love myself, I started giving more love to my family. Experiencing my mother’s death with my immediate family changed us all. I never hang up the phone with my father, brother or sister-in-law without telling them I love them.

Then I moved on to my friends (or my second family). There have been actual moments where I’ve texted friends and tell them I love them “just because.” Sometimes I don’t feel like I tell my friends enough how important they are to me.

I also decided to honor and love all aspects of my life: love for my city, love for my career path, love for my talents and creativity, love for my health, love for my body (this is a tough one).

I feel like this epiphany, or gift, or realization, or whatever you might call it was almost the universe’s way of telling me a little secret.

When I first moved to New York, after making the grandiose decision that I was going to “love” everybody and everything, I was confused about why the love did not immediately come back to me. I went through months where I was lonely, frustrated with my career and missed my old life in Boston. It took me a while, but I eventually found my core group of friends, found a groove with my starving artist lifestyle, and started living the life I’ve always wanted.

Yesterday, while strolling around Union Square, snow falling, wind blowing, I took a breath with my little asthmatic lungs, and smiled.

I wanted to run into the park, spin around and scream, “NEW YORK! I’M THE LUCKIEST GIRL IN THE WORLD!” (Someone please write a screen play about a neurotic, 20-something girl from the Midwest, and put this cheesy line in it. I’m waiting. No? Okay.)

Sure, I’m broke. I’m not famous (yet). I’m under-slept. I can get a little too drunk sometimes. I talk way too fast and too loud.

But I am LOVED.

I AM LOVED!

I had a moment this morning when I woke up and realized that I cannot even count the number of people who love me on my fingers and toes because there are just too many.

Now, this is not meant to come off as conceited, or brag-y, or look-at-me-I’m-Shannon-fucking-Allen-and-everybody-fucking-loves-me!

I’m saying this because I’m GRATEFUL. Grateful might actually be the understatement of the century. I am grateful, thankful, honored beyond belief, lucky, #blessed (even though I detest this hashtag, it is imperative that I include it to demonstrate my sheer level of gratitude), fortunate, appreciative, overwhelmed, HEART FILLED WITH ALL THE WARM FUZZIES I COULD EVER WANT OR NEED TO EXIST ON THIS PLANET UNTIL THE DAY I CROSS OVER TO THE OTHER SIDE!

Seriously.

Literally.

(And not literally in the figurative meaning, which apparently Webster has recognized as an acceptable definition of a word that literally means the opposite of figuratively. No. Literally in the literal sense!)

The love I have received in the past few months has surpassed any and all expectations. The support for my creativity, career, life, and just in general who I am as a human being, is incredibly overwhelming.

I thank you.

I love you.

I always have.

I always will.

xoxo

Shan Baby

AND HERE’S A PICTURE OF A REALLY CUTE KITTEN… Because… Just because.

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