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
For decades, women have been unknowingly suffering from PSD and intergenerational trauma, but now Dr. Valerie Rein wants women to reclaim their power through mind, body and healing tools.
As women, no matter how many accomplishments we have or how successful we look on the outside, we all occasionally hear that nagging internal voice telling us to do more. We criticize ourselves more than anyone else and then throw ourselves into the never-ending cycle of self-care, all in effort to save ourselves from crashing into this invisible internal wall. According to psychologist, entrepreneur and author, Dr. Valerie Rein, these feelings are not your fault and there is nothing wrong with you— but chances are you definitely suffering from Patriarchy Stress Disorder.
Patriarchy Stress Disorder (PSD) is defined as the collective inherited trauma of oppression that forms an invisible inner barrier to women's happiness and fulfillment. The term was coined by Rein who discovered a missing link between trauma and the effects that patriarchal power structures have had on certain groups of people all throughout history up until the present day. Her life experience, in addition to research, have led Rein to develop a deeper understanding of the ways in which men and women are experiencing symptoms of trauma and stress that have been genetically passed down from previously oppressed generations.
What makes the discovery of this disorder significant is that it provides women with an answer to the stresses and trauma we feel but cannot explain or overcome. After being admitted to the ER with stroke-like symptoms one afternoon, when Rein noticed the left side of her body and face going numb, she was baffled to learn from her doctors that the results of her tests revealed that her stroke-like symptoms were caused by stress. Rein was then left to figure out what exactly she did for her clients in order for them to be able to step into the fullness of themselves that she was unable to do for herself. "What started seeping through the tears was the realization that I checked all the boxes that society told me I needed to feel happy and fulfilled, but I didn't feel happy or fulfilled and I didn't feel unhappy either. I didn't feel much of anything at all, not even stress," she stated.
Photo Courtesy of Dr. Valerie Rein
This raised the question for Rein as to what sort of hidden traumas women are suppressing without having any awareness of its presence. In her evaluation of her healing methodology, Rein realized that she was using mind, body and trauma healing tools with her clients because, while they had never experienced a traumatic event, they were showing the tell-tale symptoms of trauma which are described as a disconnect from parts of ourselves, body and emotions. In addition to her personal evaluation, research at the time had revealed that traumatic experiences are, in fact, passed down genetically throughout generations. This was Rein's lightbulb moment. The answer to a very real problem that she, and all women, have been experiencing is intergenerational trauma as a result of oppression formed under the patriarchy.
Although Rein's discovery would undoubtably change the way women experience and understand stress, it was crucial that she first broaden the definition of trauma not with the intention of catering to PSD, but to better identify the ways in which trauma presents itself in the current generation. When studying psychology from the books and diagnostic manuals written exclusively by white men, trauma was narrowly defined as a life-threatening experience. By that definition, not many people fit the bill despite showing trauma-like symptoms such as disconnections from parts of their body, emotions and self-expression. However, as the field of psychology has expanded, more voices have been joining the conversations and expanding the definition of trauma based on their lived experience. "I have broadened the definition to say that any experience that makes us feel unsafe psychically or emotionally can be traumatic," stated Rein. By redefining trauma, people across the gender spectrum are able to find validation in their experiences and begin their journey to healing these traumas not just for ourselves, but for future generations.
While PSD is not experienced by one particular gender, as women who have been one of the most historically disadvantaged and oppressed groups, we have inherited survival instructions that express themselves differently for different women. For some women, this means their nervous systems freeze when faced with something that has been historically dangerous for women such as stepping into their power, speaking out, being visible or making a lot of money. Then there are women who go into fight or flight mode. Although they are able to stand in the spotlight, they pay a high price for it when their nervous system begins to work in a constant state of hyper vigilance in order to keep them safe. These women often find themselves having trouble with anxiety, intimacy, sleeping or relaxing without a glass of wine or a pill. Because of this, adrenaline fatigue has become an epidemic among high achieving women that is resulting in heightened levels of stress and anxiety.
"For the first time, it makes sense that we are not broken or making this up, and we have gained this understanding by looking through the lens of a shared trauma. All of these things have been either forbidden or impossible for women. A woman's power has always been a punishable offense throughout history," stated Rein.
Although the idea of having a disorder may be scary to some and even potentially contribute to a victim mentality, Rein wants people to be empowered by PSD and to see it as a diagnosis meant to validate your experience by giving it a name, making it real and giving you a means to heal yourself. "There are still experiences in our lives that are triggering PSD and the more layers we heal, the more power we claim, the more resilience we have and more ability we have in staying plugged into our power and happiness. These triggers affect us less and less the more we heal," emphasized Rein. While the task of breaking intergenerational transmission of trauma seems intimidating, the author has flipped the negative approach to the healing journey from a game of survival to the game of how good can it get.
In her new book, Patriarchy Stress Disorder: The Invisible Barrier to Women's Happiness and Fulfillment, Rein details an easy system for healing that includes the necessary tools she has sourced over 20 years on her healing exploration with the pioneers of mind, body and trauma resolution. Her 5-step system serves to help "Jailbreakers" escape the inner prison of PSD and other hidden trauma through the process of Waking Up in Prison, Meeting the Prison Guards, Turning the Prison Guards into Body Guards, Digging the Tunnel to Freedom and Savoring Freedom. Readers can also find free tools on Rein's website to help aid in their healing journey and exploration.
"I think of the book coming out as the birth of a movement. Healing is not women against men– it's women, men and people across the gender spectrum, coming together in a shared understanding that we all have trauma and we can all heal."