Liar! Liar! Liar!

For the first 2 weeks, I shook. I cried. I barely ate. No longer being able to depend on denial as a coping mechanism was gone. I was out. Everyone knew. I woke up every morning anticipating the next brave woman who would speak out and stand with me.

Silence.

What came next was a barrage of hatred, bullying and victim shaming. On the flip side, countless emails and DM’s from victims desperate to tell me their story. Stories that only a few of us know. Countless people who know my assailant and what he has done to many others also fear to speak up. They fear the repercussions.

Nobody wants to be me because my abuser has received no backlash.

Is it because Harvey Weinstein or Mario Batalli haven’t been adorned on people’s childhood bedroom walls? Is it because he is young and considered desirable by his fans that he can get away with such atrocities?

“Liar! Liar! Liar!”- #ISTANDWITHNICK

All he had to do is claim it’s consensual and that’s enough for some people. Is it so impossible to believe that I never wanted to do anything sexually with him because so many women do? I’ve considered that I may be the only woman to have ever said “no” to him.

No, I’m not the only one. And I know because I’ve been contacted.

Silence.

I know why. Because of fear. Fear of him. Fear of his machine. Those who support him. Fear of how he will accuse THEM of being a liar too.

But we ALL can’t be liars.

This blog below attempts to make a case that I am, in fact, a liar.

The Curious Case of Melissa Schuman written by Sara Taylor on the blog What Happen’s On The Backstreet.

It’s a gem. Cherry picked information designed to create a narrative that fits what best defends him. Has anyone else noticed she’s an editor for his website NickCarter.net? That sells his merchandise. Who had a vested capital interest in how my story might expose him?

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Nick Carter owns the Copyright. Powered by Wonderful Union. A merch company.

Is it possible that Nick Carter and his team are responsible for orchestrating this attack against me?

What do you think? @USWeekly @People @LATimes  @NYTimes @Time @PerezHilton  @TMZ

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Interesting. Sara Taylor seems to be based out of Nashville. Wonder Union also seems to have an office there.

Coincidence?

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“Slut. You wanted it!”- #ISTANDWITHNICK

Sharna Burgess This blog you emphatically encourage people to read and declare “KNOW THE FACTS” is not unbiased. It has an agenda. You should know that your defense of Nick not only further victimizes me but that your part of the problem.

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How am I supposed to fight against such blatant hatred? How does any person fight against someone with more power than them? I don’t have a fancy PR team or an army of adoring fans to defend me and silence the other side.

As of now, I only have my voice. I will refuse to be intimidated and afraid despite the accusations from the other side.

I understand I am not required to answer the questions addressed in the What Happens On The Backstreet Blog. I owe answers to nobody. But then I think about all the others who are still too frightened to say something and that makes me want to be brave for them.

I have decided to address the questions brought up to support those who need that extra nudge of encouragement to come forward. The backlash will come but you don’t need to fear it.

“Why did you follow him on Twitter?”- #ISTANDWITHNICK

I followed a lot of people on Twitter that I wasn’t even aware of. It wasn’t a social platform that I used constantly or even understood it’s power and influence.

Many times I would click on the profiles that Twitter would “suggested” I follow. Why? Because I didn’t think it was a big deal.

If you “follow” someone on social media it doesn’t mean you “follow” them. I think we all know that just because you “don’t” follow someone on social media, doesn’t mean you “don’t” follow them.

ABC’s “Boyband”-#ISTANDWITHNICK

He was cast as a judge on Boyband. Yes, I was previously hoping to be considered for that project too. I didn’t know Nick was attached to the project until a fan on my Instagram Livestream brought it up. I didn’t have the privilege to be honest. How was I supposed to react when they told me his Dad died? When they brought up Aaron?

I had been publicly acting like nothing happened between the two of us for over a decade. I was supportive of the concept of the project because of it’s potential for a spin-off, “GirlBand”.

I had to learn to have compassion for him. After many years of therapy I have learned that “hurt people hurt people” and because of this, I could try to move past what he did to me.

Forgiveness and compassion became my cornerstone and was my only outlet to cope aside from denial.

#DILF- #ISTANDWITHNICK

My husband @BrandonHenschel was tagged in her tweet. It’s the only reason I “liked” the tweet.

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“Why would you forgive your rapist?”- #ISTANDWITHNICK

If you look back on my “condolences” tweet, you will see my response was nearly 10 years after the assault. The statute of limitations was up. This was my way of relying on forgiveness and compassion as I was convinced he would never be held accountable.

I never thought I would speak out about what he did to me and this tweet would be used to ultimately villainize me.

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She Needs To Become Important…On The Internet. -#ISTANDWITHNICK

Over the past 5 years, I have been focusing on my comedy sitcom and improv chops. The video below was my first attempt at writing a satirical piece on the ludicrousness of social media.

I was reflecting on how the industry was changing. The need to be popular or trending on Vine or even Instagram seemed ridiculous to me.

I even made fun of myself and my group Dream without realizing we would eventually get back together years later on the My2K Tour in 2016. After 15 years of being apart, how could I possibly had the foresight that this video would be used against me, attempting to use it out of context, as evidence of needing to be relevant again.

IT’S A SATIRE. *NOT AN ACTUAL BLOG

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What matters is the truth. You, the silenced victim, know the truth. I know the truth. Remember that truth is our best defense.

No matter the cost, I am proud to be on the right side of history and I hope you will join me too. Speaking out against sexual violence, assault and abuse are so important.

It’s also important to consider not only ourselves but others. To live a life well lived. And I believe we are all being called. Called to stand up, speak out and to not be afraid. Not just for our own sake but for the sake of our children and our children’s children.

It’s not about me, it’s about the moral principle and responsibility as a human to stand up against injustice and abuse. I will stand firm for the others. In your silence, as you struggle to find your way, your voice, your courage.

Know that your story matters. You matter. You deserve to be heard and seen and validated. And don’t be shaken when they scream,

“Liar! Liar! Liar!”

 

Need help finding your voice? RAINN can help.

Call 800.656.HOPE (4673) to be connected with a trained staff member from a sexual assault service provider in your area.

How does it work?

When you call 800.656.HOPE (4673), you’ll be routed to a local RAINN affiliate organization based on the first six digits of your phone number. Cell phone callers have the option to enter the ZIP code of their current location to more accurately locate the nearest sexual assault service provider.

How can the hotline help me?

Calling the National Sexual Assault Hotline gives you access to a range of free services including:

  • Confidential support from a trained staff member
  • Support finding a local health facility that is trained to care for survivors of sexual assault and offers services like sexual assault forensic exams
  • Someone to help you talk through what happened
  • Local resources that can assist with your next steps toward healing and recovery
  • Referrals for long term support in your area
  • Information about the laws in your community
  • Basic information about medical concerns

 

 

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Don’t worry, I won’t tell anybody.

I am about to share something that I’ve wanted to pretend never happened since I was 18. A burden I thought I’d have to carry for the rest of my life and suffer in silence.

For those who do read this story, I know will ask, like any other victim of rape or assault, why I never came forward earlier. And the truth is, I tried.

A short amount of time passed after the incident, I confided in my then manager, Nils Larsen, that I wanted to come forward. He heard me out and said he would do some investigation and would try to find me a good attorney as I intended to press charges.

He later informed me that my abuser, who’s name I will disclose later in this article, had the most powerful litigator in the country.

He was right. I didn’t have the money, the clout or access to an attorney who was powerful enough to stand up against my abuser’s legal counsel. I was told I would likely be buried in humiliation, accused of being fame hungry, and it would ultimately hurt me professionally as well as publicly.

I was focused on building a career and name for myself at the time and I didn’t want what he did to further affect my life and future.

Let’s rewind a bit. The first time I met my abuser wasn’t the first time the abuse occurred. The first time we spoke was briefly over the phone while I was filming “This Is Me Remix” music video with my group DREAM and then boss, P. Diddy.

My abuser was and still is, in a very well known boyband. My label informed me that this person’s rep had reached out to them and he shown romantic interest in me and would like to set up a chat over the phone.

My label reps sat in on the call, anticipating a spark between the two of us. I was already dating someone steadily at the time. I was transparent with my then boyfriend about the call and assured him I had no interest but needed to at least accept his call out of respect and courtesy to my label.

I took the phone call. He was very polite and the conversation was quick.

Fast forward a few years later. He and I were casted in the same made for T.V movie.

I was no longer in a relationship and now single. My first impression of him, he was kind and charismatic so when he asked if I’d like to hang out with him and his friend at his Santa Monica apartment on our off day of shooting, I said yes. I invited my roommate to come with me.

That evening my friend and I arrived to a barely furnished apartment. No dining room furniture, No living room furniture. Just a TV and a game console which both the guys were playing on.

My abuser, 22, provided liquor for the get together and asked us what we would like to drink. We all took a shot and proceeded to the living room to play some video games. This wasn’t a crazy house party, just a casual hangout. We were laughing, talking, nothing out of the norm.

Soon after, he asked me if I would like to come into his office and listen to some new music he was working on. I agreed and was eager to hear his new music.

I could draw a diagram of the layout of this apartment. Barely there furniture throughout with the exception of the office. He took my hand and led me down the hallway to the office. He went to his computer and started to play the music he was working on, he turned off the light and we sat there in the computer light listening to his new stuff. And naturally we started to kiss. He was aware that I was a virgin and that I held to religious conservative christian values. I was vocal about this. Everyone knew about this, including those who repped me.

Now this is where things take a turn and gets graphic. I want to warn you that what I will be disclosing next describes graphic, violent sexual behavior. Please continue reading at your own discretion.

After kissing for a moment, he took my hand and brought me into the bathroom adjacent to his office. He shut the door and we continued to kiss. I asked him what we were doing in there. He didn’t respond and continued to kiss me. He then pick me up, put me on the bathroom counter and started to unbutton my pants. I told him I didn’t want to go any further.

He didn’t listen.

He didn’t care.

He told me, “don’t worry. I won’t tell anybody.”

I told him thats not why I didn’t want to do it. He took off my pants anyway and then proceeded to perform oral sex on me. I told him to stop, but he didn’t. So I turned off the bathroom light so I wouldn’t see anything. He kept turning the light back on because he told me he wanted to look at me. I remember thinking at that point that maybe after this he will just stop, but he didn’t.

Someone in the house knocked on the bathroom door. So he took me into the other bathroom to pick up where he left off. He then took off his pants. I will never forget this moment. There was a bathroom nightlight so although it was dark, it was dimly lit enough for me to see myself in the bathroom mirror. He sat himself on the bathroom counter and asked me to perform oral sex on him. I declined, he was upset. He told me,

“I did it for you and it’s only right you do it for me.”

I felt scared and trapped. He was visually and clearly growing very angry and impatient with me. I couldn’t leave. It was evident to me, that i couldn’t leave. He was stronger and much bigger than me, and there was no way I would be able to open that door or have anyone help me. My friend couldn’t help me, I didn’t even know where she was. So when he placed my hand on his penis my thought was the only way to get out was to get him to finish what he had started. That’s where I saw myself, my reflection, watching myself do something that I was sicken by. Watching myself be assaulted, forced to engage in an act against my will.

Same as before his appetite was still not satisfied and now took me to the bedroom. It was late. The apartment was now dark and all you could hear was the remaining music in the living room. He threw me on the bed and climbed on top of me. Again, I told him that I was a virgin and I didn’t want to have sex. I told him that I was saving myself for my future husband. I said it over and over again. He whispered in my ear as to entice me,

“I could be your husband.”

He was relentless, refusing to take my no’s for an answer. He was heavy, too heavy to get out from under him. Then I felt it, he put something inside of me. I asked him what it was and he whispered in my ear once more,

“it’s all me baby.”

It was done. The one thing I had held as a virtue had been ruined. I went limp, turned my head to my left and decided I would just go to sleep now. I wanted to believe it was some sort of nightmare I was dreaming up.

The sun began to come up and my roommate came into the room and woke me up. We had to get home because she had work later that morning. My abuser was nowhere to be found. He was no longer on the bed and I never went looking for him. I just wanted to get out of there as fast as I could. I grabbed my things and my friend and I proceeded to the car.

Once in the car, she turned on the ignition and exclaimed,

“That was so much fun, huh?!”

“I just want to go home. I’m tired. I just want to go to sleep.”

I didn’t tell her. I didn’t want to even admit what happened was real to myself. Over the next few weeks I withdrew further and further from my friends and family and they noticed. I still didn’t tell anyone.

Shortly after he called me. He called me over and over and over again and I wouldn’t pick up. I didn’t want to hear his voice. He jammed my phone with calls for weeks, leaving me messages demanding I speak with him. Then he finally left me one last nasty, angry message and he never called me again.

It was over, at least I thought it was. I thought I’d never have to see or hear from him ever again. Until, I later signed with his manager, Kenneth Crear. Kenneth Crear was a very powerful manager who I thought could help me make my mark as a recording artist.

I quickly learned that Kenneth was thick as thieves with my abuser. Like family. I wondered what story or narrative my abuser might have told Kenneth of our once brief encounter. Did he know anything? I certainly wasn’t going to tell him.

Kenneth set up a showcase for me for a major label. We recorded a few songs, one of them was a duet with my abuser. We never recorded together. He had pre-recorded his part and I went in and recorded mine. Again, what was I supposed to do? I could’t tell my manager that his best friend had raped me so I won’t record this song.

I tried to justify that maybe something good to come out of something very bad. Maybe this song might help me get signed as a solo artist and I could move on and put everything behind me. Kenneth asked my abuser if he would be willing to sing the duet with me live at my showcase and he agreed.

I wasn’t surprised that he did. He knew this way I couldn’t avoid him anymore. The day of the showcase, he arrived. I waited quietly and anxiously backstage bracing myself for the confrontation. We stood next to each other in awkward silence. He was irritated with my lack of warm welcome and appreciation for the favor he was doing for me.

“How have you been?”

“Good.”

silence.

“I have a boyfriend.”

“Good for you. I hope it works out.”

The conversation was going nowhere. I was uninterested, un-engaging, unappreciative and it upset him further to hear that I was in a relationship that I was happy in.”

I could tell he was agitated, he wasted his valuable time doing something he didn’t need to do for me. His last words to me as we walked on stage was,

“Let’s just get this over with already.”

Ladies and gentleman, please welcome Melissa Schuman and from the BackStreet Boys, Nick Carter.

We performed the song. I did my set.

I spoke with the label head after the show, in which he mentioned the duet I did with Nick sounded amazing and that he could easily attach it to a movie soundtrack.

“We’ll be in touch.”

Weeks past and I heard nothing. No word from Kenneth despite calling for weeks, he was too busy to take my call. When we finally spoke, I was surprised to hear the feedback from the same label head I had spoke to before.

Dead pan, I was told,

“He isn’t interested in signing you. He told me your vocals were weak in the duet and that he was interested in the song only. Nick will be moving forward with the song elsewhere.”

I asked my manager what the game plan was next and he reluctantly said,

 “Maybe another showcase. I don’t know.”

I could tell by his tone that he was no longer interested in working for me and I couldn’t help but wonder if Nick had any influence in it.

I never did another showcase again after that and I quickly lost interest in pursuing a career as a recording artist.

I was broken.

I was tired.

I was traumatized.

I told my therapist. I told my family. I told my friends. I have a plethora of people who can attest that I eventually became open vocal about my experience, i’ve just never had the platform to come out publicly.

When the news broke about the gross accusations of Harvey Weinstein, many of my friends and family asked me if I wanted to come forward with my story.

I said no.

So many years later, the idea of reliving and re-writing the events that were traumatic, something that I have worked so diligently to heal from is painful. I did however promise that if another victim ever came forward I would then feel the responsibility to show my support by sharing my story.

And then I saw the write up from RadarOnline on 10.30.17 and the response it was getting in the comments.Screen Shot 2017-11-01 at 9.03.42 AM

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Victim shaming is a core reason why victims don’t speak out. The last comment is exactly what keeps victims, like myself, from ever speaking out.

The victim in the above article remains unnamed and I can’t blame her. I can’t help but feel empathy for her as well as sicken by the lack of belief and support. There is nothing worse than being victimized and having others call you a liar. Or claim you are looking for 15 mins of fame.

Let me ask this simple question. Who the hell wants to be famous for being raped?

I certainly don’t want to be “known” for this. I never wanted anybody to know about my story. I wanted to lock it in a box in my mind and let the memories slowly suffocate as time went on.

I feel I have an obligation now to come forward with the hope and intention to inspire and encourage other victims to tell their story. We are stronger in numbers. If you are reading this and you have been assaulted, know you don’t have to be silent and you are not alone. I know it’s scary. I’m scared.

I believe you. I stand with you and together I hope we can bring light to things that have been lost in the darkness for so long.

#MeToo

 

 

 

 

The Harvey Weinstein Effect

Sexual assault, harassment & age discrimination is no secret in Hollywood and I don’t know one female who hasn’t experienced it in one way or another. I myself have experienced all of the above. The Harvey Weinstein scandal is just the tip on the iceberg. Hollywood culture doesn’t nurture an environment that embraces women who hold to moral standards, independent thought or boundaries.

I never understood why women were limited to success in Hollywood after the age of 30. I knew and know so many beautiful, capable, talented and inspiring woman over the age of 30. Women I look up to and inspire me everyday.

Ageism. The news doesn’t cover it but it puts many women out of work in Hollywood. What I have come to accept about ageism is that it’s put in place for a reason, it communicates to women over 30 to go home, marry up and shut up. With an industry  controlled mostly by older men who feel they’re entitled to sleeping with younger women, it’s no wonder we hate getting older. No youth, no job.

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In my 20’s I blamed myself for years for not having the same amount of success after the leaving my group DREAM. Truth be told, I had the same opportunity to make it big on my own but said no to much of what was required. My opinions and convictions gave me a reputation of being “religious” “prudish” and “hard to work with”. Not something you want to be known for at the rip age of 18.

This is true for both the recording industry and film industry. I recall doing a music showcase for a major record head around 2005. The music industry was still suffering and navigating its way through the repercussions of music stealing sites such as Napster and Limewire. Labels weren’t signing as many new artists as before because A&R and label heads alike were worried about loosing their jobs.

I did a number of these types of showcases. This one in particular I remember clear as day. The male executive that I was essentially ‘auditioning for’ proclaimed without apology and with compliment, that “Melissa’s picture needs to be on every young man’s wall across the country to masterbate to.”

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My entire team beamed with pride and fully agreed. I was confused.Since when is this an appropriate statement to make about anyone? Despite the raving reviews of my potential profitability selling my sexuality, he still didn’t sign me.

So I continued on and I struggled for years to find my voice as a recording artist. Hindsight is 20/20 and looking back I understand why. Everyone around me wanted to record songs entirely focused on sex despite my spiritual and moral opposition to it. I shifted my focus again to the acting side, hoping I would have better success with solidifying projects that reflected true to who I was as an actor.

Shortly after, I receive a call from my manager telling me he got me a page in a men’s magazine. He was aware of my moral and religious boundaries, he knew I wasn’t going to be excited about the opportunity but stressed the necessity of doing a spread like this in a publication like Maxim or FHM.

He told me “Melissa, this is how executives discover new talent. The executives and studio heads read these men’s magazines while traveling and bring in the actresses they like the most.”

Full of scantily clad young, upcoming actresses just hoping for an audition with some of the biggest names in hollywood.

My manager promised me the photoshoot would be tasteful and we’d be in complete control of what was printed. I hesitantly agreed and the shoot was scheduled. Upon arrival I gazed upon a rack chock full of thong underwear, lace sheer bras, garter belts and high heels.

Wardrobe gave me a few “options” to try on and to come out to get approval.

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I couldn’t do it. I was expecting a corset or something the Pussycat dolls would wear not a thong bikini and a bra. I was 18. I panicked. I freaked. I froze.

I stared at myself alone in the bathroom looking at my reflection while holding the barely there fabric. I pulled my manager in and told him I couldn’t do it. I know I made his job hard because as I was told “most actresses would give their left arm to pose in something like this for a magazine like this.” I thought something was wrong with me because I didn’t feel the same way.

A middle ground was eventually reached. They gave me boy short options paired with camisoles and lacey pushup bras. My page in the magazine never made it to print due to not being sexy enough. Needless to say I was never called in by the studio heads.

I thought by making a stand, it would demand better projects. I grew up dreaming of being on a sitcom like FRIENDS, FRASIER, SEINFELD, I LOVE LUCY….and then it happened.

I was offered the lead in a “comedy” called Bald in 2008. The only joke that I could find in the script was the ‘genre’ it was given. It was a horribly written, male driven comedy about men making money off women doing soft core porn in their basement.

The only things meant to be bald are Eagles and Beaver!!!
No Money. No Hair. No Shame.

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They lost me at crotch shot as a relevant plot keyword. At the regret of my agency, I turned down the MPAA rated comedy. This was the beginning of what would become a long Hiatus for me.

I stopped auditioning all together and moved to San Diego. I decided that I would rather disappear and come back with a fresh start and a fresh perspective then to continue where I was. I got married, started a family and started to focus on volunteer work with animal rescues and the ASPCA.

In 2011, my husband and I decided it was time to move back to LA. I was older, not by much but hoped I was old enough to not be seen as a sex toy for projects or people.  I wanted to be seen for my craft and not my tits.

Now later in my 20’s, married and a mom, I have discovered the other side of sexual harassment. Discrimination. I couldn’t even get an agent. It didn’t matter if I had previous work experience or sold 2 million albums or was referred by a reputable source.

I even had an major talent agency tell me,

If it hasn’t happened for you yet, it never will.

I look forward to proving them wrong.

It was clearly being communicated to me that I fucked up. I should have never said no all those years. If I have posed for the men’s magazine in a thong bikini and a lace bra or if I slept with power men that I was encouraged to do, I wouldn’t be a social pariah.

I pressed on further and did what everyone told me I further couldn’t do. Make people laugh.

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So what did I do? I enrolled in acting classes focusing on comedy. I excelled in my class and was invited into the Master Class for the working professionals. Except, I was the only professional not working.

Then I did something I had dreamed of doing since I was 9 years old. I auditioned for The Groundling School in LA. I doubted myself and worried I wouldn’t pass the audition. and then, I did.

I worried I wouldn’t pass Basic.

And I did.

I worried I wouldn’t pass Intermediate.

And I did.

I worried I wouldn’t get invited passed Advanced.

And I did.

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And now in level 4 of 5 of the program. Why am I pointing this out? I want to inspire others that despite the opposition of our industry or your life circumstances, despite what others say about you, you can go after whatever you want and more.

Have I achieved everything I dream of doing? No, but my story isn’t over and neither is yours.

Never give up. It’s never too late. Never let the harassment, discrimination or falsified reputation stop you from bring true to who you are and what you dream of doing. The Harvey Weinstein’s of the world may never go away or the culture in which they create in the workplace however we can speak up.

Don’t be silent. Be Brave. Be Bold. Be You.

xoxo

-Mel

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A tribute to the dream makers

It was this time last year that DREAM was preparing for our comeback in over 13 years. We had agreed to join the My2K Tour with 98 Degrees, O-Town & Ryan Cabrera. It was scary, exciting and exhilerating.

I can’t help but wish we were doing it again.

So much that I find myself playing with the idea that I thought I had given up on a long time ago, getting back into the recording studio and recording music of my own.

I miss the fans. Especially, the fans who have been there from the very beginning.

Not many know this, but I keep a box full of the letters and pictures from fans that are so close to my heart.

I was going through my box the other day and came upon a pink teddy bear given to me by one special fan in particular that I miss so much.

Aleya.

I remember meeting Aleya for the first time so many years ago. We were 13, maybe 14.

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The picture above is us, DREAM with Aleya sometime in the early 2000s. Whenever we came to NYC, Aleya was there amongst many other OG Dream fans. You know who you are!

I’ll never forget reuniting with Aleya backstage after our performance in Brooklyn. It was emotional for me to see her grown up.

She had grown up. We had all grown up.

 

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Seeing Aleya once more brought those feelings of my childhood back. It was like taking a trip back to neverland for me, even for the brief moments we spent with her, we felt like kids again.

Aleya’s character, generosity and ability to bring so much joy into those around her never changed.

And just as she did in the past, Aleya brought each of us gifts. She held onto these gifts from our initial breakup in early 2000s until the time that we reunited in 2016.

I’ll never forget her words,

“I’ve held onto these gifts for 13 years believing this moment would happen again, that DREAM would get back together. And here we are.”

She believed in something I thought could never be possible.

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Aleya passed suddenly shortly after the My2K Tour ended Sept of last year.

It hit me hard.

DREAM was over once again and Aleya was gone.

I cried. For months I cried and I still think about her to this day.

Loyal fans like Aleya, breathe life into other’s dreams. I don’t think people realize just how beautiful that is. Fans are people who see you for who you really are. Fans see and believe in the parts of you that you may not even see yourself.

Without the fans who would we be dancing for?

Singing for?

Working so hard for?

So, thank you.

If nobody else ever tells you this, let it come from me. You are the dream weavers, the believers, the dream makers.

Fans are friends who make dreams come true.

And for Aleya, this is for you….

I miss you like crazy, girl!

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R.I.P

Alexa aka the Dream Warrior

Mosquito Bites

 

Most people assume I must have been pretty popular growing up and I don’t know why. I assume it’s because I remind them of a cheerleader they’ve seen on tv or something.

cheerleader

I was the complete opposite growing up.

Growing up I was a theatre nerd. A theatre freak, nobody at my elementary school understood me or had the same taste in music. I am a child of the 90’s. It was all about Alternative Rock and Grunge. My friends listened mostly to bands like Smashing Pumpkins, Sublime, Green Day and No Doubt. They did not opt for Phantom Of The Opera or Into The Woods like I did.

Eponine from Les Miserables was my heroine and dream role. She was me, set to song. I related to her on so many levels.

epionine

Anyway…

The kids that I went to elementary school with, were far beyond their years. They were feeling each other up in the bathroom and obsessing about growing DDD boobs. I had a “boyfriend” in the 4th grade. I use the term “boyfriend” lightly as we never hung out and barely spoke.

Looking back, having a boyfriend or girlfriend at my school was more of a weird social experiment. It literally meant nothing. Kids would bounce from one fake relationship to the next. The boys would hang with their cliques and the girls with theirs, never to really interact with each other.

Anyway, my 4th grade boyfriend eventually broke up with me because I was, in his words, “A carpenters dream.”  I had to ask one of the recess monitors what this meant.

I later inquired with the popular girl in school at the time, we’ll call her Tiffany Boner, for advice. I desperately wanted to be popular but had a track record of having only a few close best friends not a fleet of them. She blessed me with the wisdom that in order to be popular I must shop at Tilly’s and not Target.

nodoubt

I liked my Xhilaration tie-dye dress that my mom picked for me. But I knew that in order to be accepted by the cool kids, I would have to trade it for a pair of Dickies, a tank top and a bindi.

We must all look like tiny minions of Gwen Stefanie.

Of course this tank top wouldn’t do me any good because I was pre-pubescent and had no boobies.

Ah, Boobies. They were all the rage. When would they come in? How big will they be? I couldn’t wait. So I decided, the fall of my 6th grade year was when I would debut my new boobies but to do this I would need to stuff my bra.

And so I did.

giphy

And to my pleasant surprise, people liked me so much more!

I knew I couldn’t enjoy this too much. I knew the pit falls of this trick, I’d seen it too many times in tv shows and movies.

I would need to make sure the tissue was never more or less because then people would know my bra was filled with Cottonelle and not organic hormone grown breast tissue.

I took a lot of time alone in my room over the summer molding them, making sure they were the perfect size. I knew I had to re-use my wanna be VS chicken cutlets over and over again and they would need to stand the test of time.

Now that I have the perfect stuffers I would need the perfect bra.

I’ll never forget the moment I finally asked my Mom for that training bra. Naturally, it was on our way home from church and my entire family in the car. My Dad, Mom and 4 younger sisters.

Can we go tomorrow?” I called out to my Mom from the back of our purple Dodge Caravan.

Go where tomorrow?” my Dad asked my mom.

She want’s to get a bra.” my Mom replied apologetically.

For what? Her mosquito bites?!

I was mortified. I never wanted to talk about bras or body parts ever again. And I certainly didn’t want to get caught red-handed with my DIY cotton inserts.

Hiding this from my parents was the biggest obstacle. I walked to school in the morning so putting the stuffers in wasn’t the problem, it was when my Mom picked me up.

Everyday after school, after I said goodbye to my friends, I would quietly excuse myself to the bathroom and into the bathroom stall. This is where I would read about who has felt up who, as it was inscribed all over the stall doors. I would gently take out my stuffers and place them in the front pocket on my navy blue JanSport backpack.

jansport

I would briskly go from the bathroom and straight into the family van waiting for me in front of the school’s assembly building.

All was going well until it happened.

One morning as I arrived at school I realized I had forgotten to put in my stuffers.

I frantically ran to the bathroom panicked but relieved I hadn’t bumped into kids yet from school yet. I desperately reached into the front pocket only to find that they were gone!

“No! This can’t be happening. I can’t be sure of the original size!”

If they’re too small, kids will certainly notice. I decided the only solution to this problem was to stuff my bra more. And so I did.

boobies

I walked around school all day, everyday for months with my much larger stuffed bra. And to my relief nobody suspected or said a thing. The popular boy, Derek Gibby even talked to me. It was thrilling.

Like an addict trying to ween myself off my stuffing addiction, I needed an exit plan. I knew that I could only stuff my bra to a point and then over time I would need to gradually phase the stuffing out.

I did this until my own “mosquito bites” caught up. And thank God they did.

I’m struggling with how to close this post. Perhaps I should include a sort of life lesson, like the end of an episode of Full House or Step By Step. But I don’t have one.

All I can do is reflect on the absolute bliss of being an adolecent, relishing and anticipating what the next year might bring. But we’re adults now and we don’t have that joy anymore.

But at least, we have our boobies.