Sometimes, the silence is so loud, that it will shatter our greatest fears.
Lexie Jay was 11 when she was first sexually abused.
Six years of unimaginable trauma that can last a lifetime.
The only way to take the power away from the abuser, is to speak out, and release all those emotions.
That act, takes a mountain of courage, and Lexie confronts that silence with The Blame (Exposed Version) along with her band Featurette.
An anthem of empowerment and bravery.
This stripped-down version featuring a piano intro and a more emotional version of the song, to let it all sink in.
Montreal Rocks spoke with Lexie about this important, yet delicate subject.
What was the catalyst to unearth the true meaning behind the song The Blame?
The way things fell into place for this was serendipitous. FACTOR Canada had extra funds allocated for music videos for our active JSR, and we had made so many music videos for Dream Riot already, that we didn’t have a lot of songs left to make videos for.
The Blame was an obvious choice because of the gravity of the piece, but I hadn’t been able to address it earlier because I wasn’t emotionally available to do so. I still wanted to sweep the topic under the rug.
Even the original recording that we released in January 2020 was completely wrong. A cool song, but it just didn’t address the issue.
I think I did everything I could to NOT confront it, but it kept bubbling to the surface.
When the pandemic happened, and Jon and I more or less lost our jobs. I had so much time, for the first time in 8 years, and the gearing down just allowed me time to be introspective and look inward.
When we found out about the grant money for a music video, we actually tried to make the video for the original version of The Blame, but one night it struck me: there was no way I could go through with it, because the way the song sounded, knowing what it was about. It felt like a lie.
A few weeks before filming, we made the snap decision to redo the track from scratch.
Best decision I ever made. From there, everything fell into place, and our magical team lead by one of my favourite people, Ian Macmillan (DoP/Co-Director), brought my vision to life.
I couldn’t be happier with the result, no matter how painful the journey of its inception may have been.
What enabled you to open up and share this traumatizing part of your past?
The time I took looking inward sparred me on.
It was so quiet without all the noise of the day to day that comes with work regularly. I spend a lot of time gardening, and time with my own thoughts, which I hadn’t done in so long.
I got to explore bigger thoughts, like what it would feel like to release this into the universe, and not carry the weight of it by myself anymore. I wanted to make a difference. I wanted to connect with people again, and one of the only ways to do that in Covid would be through my art.
The more I thought about it, the more real it became, and then one day it was just completed. Then there was no turning back.
In the book “Personality Isn’t Permanent”, it implies that we often take decisions based on past trauma. When we can reframe the Trauma, possibly even finding the good in it, it can help us take on a new “future self” personality, based on the person we wish to be. For some, abuse has made them more empathetic to the suffering of others. How has opening up about it, and dealing with the trauma help you grow?
Opening up about this has helped me immeasurably. I’ve actually become more spiritual, in unconventional ways.
Similar to the initial months of Covid, when I wasn’t so focused on the day to day and started exploring the bigger picture, I started doing that with my art as well.
I think for indie artists, it’s a really hard grind. It can be so taxing to face constant rejection and feel like you’re putting all your eggs in one basket, only to be met with minimal views, or no playlisting, or being compensated with ‘exposure’ instead of being paid for your performances – it can feel like you’re screaming into a void.
This release really alleviated me of some of those feelings.
This time, I don’t care what this release does for my ‘career’ as an artist, or my brand. Even though it’s the most important thing I’ve ever made, it’s just not about that in the slightest.
This release is about reaching one single person who needed it. Who felt like they’ve had to carry this weight all by themselves for all these years, and that someone finally shared something they can relate to openly, and started a conversation.
Even if that one person is *me* I feel as though I’ve already won, because this has helped me to heal.
What was shocking was in the days and weeks following the release of this single, and more so following the release of the video, people I’ve known for years, past and present, have reached out with their own experiences and traumas. Some who have never shared these stories with anyone else ever before; thanking me for my art, and for seeing them.
It’s a whole new world now, and while I still aspire to be one of the lucky ones that gets to make their art/music for a living. I think it starts with things like this: really connecting with people through art.
It’s beautiful, and I’m humbled by the whole process.
The video features some vivid imagery, like the paper airplanes, that help tell your story. What do they represent?
To protect myself, I’m letting the art do most of the talking, but there is clearly a lot of school imagery.
I used paper as a medium to tell a lot of the story, and pencils as well, as one would have in school, but larger than life.
Sharp things, death by a thousand paper cuts, which is what it feels like to hold a burden like this for so long.
I folded my thoughts and shame into hundreds of paper air planes, and strung them up, having them just float there, as they’ve floated in my head all these years.
The dancing girl footage is my inner child, in all her innocence, so starkly contrasted with the shadows that took her over.
Even in my present-day form as I’m singing the piece, I’m dressed in a see-through costume, which is meant to depict how invisible I felt in all of this, how many victims and survivors feel.
The origami predators I also made myself – not a panther, or anything so glorified and deadly but a snake, and a spider. Smaller predators that creep up on you, but still deadly if you were to be bitten without seeking help.
The magnetic cassette tape is physical music, laid out in a spider’s web, which I’m trapped in.
The birthday party should be joyous, but instead cast in shadow, and completely lonely.
Most importantly, the glass, at the crux of the song, reads: “You Won’t Own Up To What You Did, So I’m Taking All The Blame” and in smashing that glass, I’m releasing myself from the invisible barrier that’s confined me all these years.
I’m literally breaking my silence and breaking the stigma.
It was just as painful to create this piece as it was to conceive these ideas, but I hope the imagery I’ve put together resonates with others, and that in hearing and seeing my story, they feel as though they are able, if they’re in a position to do so, to shed light on their own. I hope it brings healing for other survivors, as it did for me.
If one was abused in the past, and feels the burden of guilt and shame, what do you suggest as a first step?
Kids Help Phone is a wonderful resource for victims of, and survivors of abuse: https://kidshelpphone.ca/our-e-mental-health-services/
Writer: Randal Wark is a Professional Speaker and MasterMind Facilitator with a passion for live music. You can follow him on Instagram, Twitter and YouTube. His Podcast RockStar Today helps musicians quit their days jobs with out of the box advice from Ted Talk Speakers, Best Selling Authors and other interesting Entrepreneurs and Creatives.Share this :