In just one watch of Symon's impressive “Lonely Girl" lyric video on Youtube, it's safe to say that she is not your average aspiring pop sensation, especially since she incorporates American sign language in the video, something that's rarely done in pop music these days.
Her love for sign language isn't just a fad, or element she just incorporated in the lyric video to be edgy, as Symon says it's a language that got her through one of the darkest moments of her life, including high school.
“I went to a very demanding high school, and a lot of languages were mandatory there," Symon tells SWAAY over the phone. “I remember I was picking my third language, and I saw that sign language was an option and I thought: wow, how cool would that be."
Connecting instantly with her sign teacher, sign language definitely became Symon's emotional outlet back in her teenage years, as she faced bullies and experienced the loneliness and uncertainty many teenagers still experience to this very day. Signing also allowed her to bridge both passions of language and music together, something she would go on to do later on in life. “I fell in love with sign language in the midst of high school, especially since there were a couple of really nasty girls who were really horrible to me," she explains. “My outlet was sitting with my sign language teacher during lunch and just talking and learning sign. I became really fluent fast. I thought it would be really cool to bridge my two passions together (sign and music) and I knew at some point I would. I didn't know when."
Although sign language has not influenced her songwriting, Symon notes that it's something that continues to inspire her on a daily basis. The thing that draws her most to the language is that it's all about connecting, a skill this people-loving singer says she excels at. In addition, she notes that by incorporating ASL in the video, she hopes to shed a light on the deaf community, a community that is not much heard about or gains proper representation in mainstream media.
“Through my lyric video I wanted to shed a light on the deaf community," she says. “People always think deaf people are silent, and I wanted to prove them wrong and shed a light for the community."
Of course, writing “Lonely Girl" was also about showing the backstory of the dark periods (not limited to just high school) she has experienced. But instead of dwelling in sadness, she wants to remind and relate to others that there's always a light at the end of the tunnel, even when things seem grim.
“I hope this song resonates with people as it's not only about being a lonely girl, but it's about all of us," she explains. “Someone recently said to me you're not lonely, and I said let me tell you something, you can be in a room with a ton of people and still be the loneliest person. You can also be in a room by yourself and not feel lonely at all. I think each of us have moments in our life where we'll always be lonely, and there's a part of our hearts that always feel this way. That's what I want people to feel from it."[thb_image full_width="true" alignment="center" image="9774" img_size="full"]
The single has already achieved instant success, something Symon herself, never anticipated. The song currently is 47 on the pop chart, and the lyric video already has 200,000 plus views on Youtube. Symon never imagined the success she received through the video, as the song achieved 50,000 views in five hours. However, she feels the reliability of it, is what really struck a chord with viewers.
“The reaction to Lonely Girl has been really interesting, as it's just me being me, straight from my heart, and as authentic and vulnerable as can be," she says. “I didn't know how people were going to react at first, and I was very terrified. However, I literally had 50,000 views in five hours, and my Youtube crashed. It's been refreshing to see that people truly want authentic things. I think people are honestly sick of bullshit."
“Lonely Girl" may be Symon's latest hit, but her other song “Say" is equally enticing, especially since it's the catchy pop single we all love when the weather gets a little warmer out. However, “Say" did not use ASL in the lyric video, making “Lonely Girl" a true gem on it's own.
Aside from taking the music world by storm, Symon also proves to be a double threat, as she also currently hosts SiriusXM's Hits 1 in Hollywood (the show has over 40 million viewers) alongside hosts Michael Yo and Tony Fly. However, instead of just limiting herself to one thing, Symon sees the opportunities in her future to be completely limitless, as TV and film is something she's currently looking into going forward.
“People always say where do you see yourself, and I tell them I honestly I see everything. I love the different formats of art and the way they make me feel whether that's going to be in TV and film. I know that I am ready to try anything and for things to come my way, and I'm definitely like bring it on." -Symon
In 2016, I finally found my voice. I always thought I had one, especially as a business owner and mother of two vocal toddlers, but I had been wrong.
For more than 30 years, I had been struggling with the fear of being my true self and speaking my truth. Then the repressed memories of my childhood sexual abuse unraveled before me while raising my 3-year-old daughter, and my life has not been the same since.
Believe it or not, I am happy about that.
The journey for a survivor like me to feel even slightly comfortable sharing these words, without fear of being shamed or looked down upon, is a long and often lonely one. For all of the people out there in the shadows who are survivors of childhood sexual abuse, I dedicate this to you. You might never come out to talk about it and that's okay, but I am going to do so here and I hope that in doing so, I will open people's eyes to the long-term effects of abuse. As a survivor who is now fully conscious of her abuse, I suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and, quite frankly, it may never go away.
It took me some time to accept that and I refuse to let it stop me from thriving in life; therefore, I strive to manage it (as do many others with PTSD) through various strategies I've learned and continue to learn through personal and group therapy. Over the years, various things have triggered my repressed memories and emotions of my abuse--from going to birthday parties and attending preschool tours to the Kavanaugh hearing and most recently, the"Leaving Neverland" documentary (I did not watch the latter, but read commentary about it).
These triggers often cause panic attacks. I was angry when I read Barbara Streisand's comments about the men who accused Michael Jackson of sexually abusing them, as detailed in the documentary. She was quoted as saying, "They both married and they both have children, so it didn't kill them." She later apologized for her comments. I was frustrated when one of the senators questioning Dr. Christine Blasey Ford (during the Kavanaugh hearing) responded snidely that Dr. Ford was still able to get her Ph.D. after her alleged assault--as if to imply she must be lying because she gained success in life.We survivors are screaming to the world, "You just don't get it!" So let me explain: It takes a great amount of resilience and fortitude to walk out into society every day knowing that at any moment an image, a sound, a color, a smell, or a child crying could ignite fear in us that brings us back to that moment of abuse, causing a chemical reaction that results in a panic attack.
So yes, despite enduring and repressing those awful moments in my early life during which I didn't understand what was happening to me or why, decades later I did get married; I did become a parent; I did start a business that I continue to run today; and I am still learning to navigate this "new normal." These milestones do not erase the trauma that I experienced. Society needs to open their eyes and realize that any triumph after something as ghastly as childhood abuse should be celebrated, not looked upon as evidence that perhaps the trauma "never happened" or "wasn't that bad. "When a survivor is speaking out about what happened to them, they are asking the world to join them on their journey to heal. We need love, we need to feel safe and we need society to learn the signs of abuse and how to prevent it so that we can protect the 1 out of 10 children who are being abused by the age of 18. When I state this statistic at events or in large groups, I often have at least one person come up to me after and confide that they too are a survivor and have kept it a secret. My vehicle for speaking out was through the novella The Survivors Club, which is the inspiration behind a TV pilot that my co-creator and I are pitching as a supernatural, mind-bending TV series. Acknowledging my abuse has empowered me to speak up on behalf of innocent children who do not have a voice and the adult survivors who are silent.
Remembering has helped me further understand my young adult challenges,past risky relationships, anger issues, buried fears, and my anxieties. I am determined to thrive and not hide behind these negative things as they have molded me into the strong person I am today.Here is my advice to those who wonder how to best support survivors of sexual abuse:Ask how we need support: Many survivors have a tough exterior, which means the people around them assume they never need help--we tend to be the caregivers for our friends and families. Learning to be vulnerable was new for me, so I realized I needed a check-off list of what loved ones should ask me afterI had a panic attack.
The list had questions like: "Do you need a hug," "How are you feeling," "Do you need time alone."Be patient with our PTSD". Family and close ones tend to ask when will the PTSD go away. It isn't a cold or a disease that requires a finite amount of drugs or treatment. There's no pill to make it miraculously disappear, but therapy helps manage it and some therapies have been known to help it go away. Mental Health America has a wealth of information on PTSD that can help you and survivors understand it better. Have compassion: When I was with friends at a preschool tour to learn more about its summer camp, I almost fainted because I couldn't stop worrying about my kids being around new teenagers and staff that might watch them go the bathroom or put on their bathing suit. After the tour, my friends said,"Nubia, you don't have to put your kids in this camp. They will be happy doing other things this summer."
In that moment, I realized how lucky I was to have friends who understood what I was going through and supported me. They showed me love and compassion, which made me feel safe and not judged.