MR. BRAY

Studios, LLC

503-334-7521

       MR BRAY

A boutique design & animation shop that dissolves the line between studio and agency.

The Public Journal

Sunday, September 14th 2019


The Public Journal


As silly as this sounds I'm wanting to express a post about what my blog means to me. I journal almost everyday, now not everyday has an adventure but everyday does have a battle or a journey. This might seem unnecessarily detailed but I like to outline my day's events and then as much as I'm able I'll layout my thoughts and feelings for the day. However sometimes I'll feel apprehensive to share a blog/journal entry. I might even wrestle for weeks. Then I'll post it. The issue is I'm discovering myself - a new life without my best friend beside me and a new town far away from the place I called home for over a decade. Why even bother explaining these details it should be self explanatory? Well I'm compelled. To me a post can be like a capsule in time: fresh from the moment it was created yet ancient when re-examined. I've progressed, digressed, evolved and repressed. Hopefully I'm growing in strength but I'm often frail about one thing while I'm empowered in another and at times these things flip. Life is a paradox. I'm often at peace with chaos and sometimes distressed with tranquility. I miss things like rain clouds, overcast and melancholy tracks. This California sun sometimes dries out my energy, but the sunsets and sunrises exhilarate my eyes as I come alive after dark. 

To those that are interested there will be times that I'll share very vulnerable things and I'm always appreciative of the love and support they'll garner, especially if I'm speaking on subjects like depression or suicidal thoughts. For me the greater worry is often not in what I'm sharing but when I'm silent, that is a cause for more concern. I need to express myself even when none are paying attention. This blog is a bit of my daily therapy though not always publicly expressed daily. It is my proofs of my stream of consciousness. 


-Jesse

Empty Vending Machine

Wednesday, August 21st 2019

Journal entry

Sometimes the love you don't get is the love you keep begging for from the same people that will never give it. It's like an empty cosmic vending machine you keep putting money in and expecting something to come out. 

The Wolff

Tuesday, July 9th 2019

Journal entry 

I recently had a strange occurrence. I had a bizarre nightmare. I'm inside a home and outside I see a white wolf outside a sliding glass door. A little boy on a bicycle, I instinctively know is me, that I try to warn but instead he is swallowed by this white wolf whole. I begin to wake up but just before I see the boy fighting from the inside as the wolf begins to gag and vomit the boy up alive, and well onto the cement.

The next morning my sister who had flown up to Portland encouraged me to sort a few of my divorce related issues, particularly refinancing the Kia into my name (as my ex said I could keep it while she would take the newer car). At the credit union I meet my loan officer for the first time, her name is "Wolff". She's is amazing! She handles my paperwork and even shares a personal story about her ex wife that made me feel not so alone. Unbeknownst to my ex (which if she read this blog she'd find out) The Wolff saves me a bunch of money and helps me waterproof some of my finances. It was crazy to have this dream of the White wolf the night before only to meet this incredibly helpful loan officer named Wolff. Perhaps it's just a coincidence or perhaps my fate has more of a pathway than I presently feel. Either way I felt like Neo from the Matrix being told to follow the White Rabbit. This white Wolff helped me immensely.


-Jesse

Bury Me At The Getty

Saturday September 14th 2019


Journal entry


We parked in the underground structure five levels deep. Like a bee working deep within a hive searching for honeycomb everywhere we looked said compact, compact, compact. I thought out loud "There's no way in the world there could be this many compact cars?!" We finally find a spot and trek our way to the surface. A roped line of swiveled like a centipede around the building. A row of security guards check bags, purses and etc.


They ushered us through in pockets of fifty as a tram arrives to pick us up. The light rail of windows and seats briskly hugs all of us passenger up the mountain. It's absolutely breathtaking! The L.A. landscape comes alive with such grace and complexity I forget where we're heading, "oh that's right The Getty".


The tram stops as we billow out the sides and the most beautiful architectural experience I've seen here to date. To continue with words doesn't give it justice it's just astounding! The Getty is as if someone took 40+ Portland Art museums and stretched them across a gorgeous plot of land. The collections upon collections stunning and gripping I felt humbled by this place. The actual buildings where in themselves just as magnificent as the masters works inside them, not to mention the many gardens and living artworks. 


We spent several hours here and I still only scratched the tip of the iceberg which is The Getty. I felt like I was some country yokel visiting the big city for the first time! Privately I shed tears multiple times. A few of joy and a few of sorrow. I dreamt of feeling the wind rush past my face imagining I could fly across this campus. My heart ached that I my ex best friend wasn't here with me to share this beautiful experience. It was such a profound experience I secretly wished I could sneak onto the property and make it my permanent residence. I've joked with friends and family that when I pass away I'd like my ashes spread across the Shire in New Zealand. I believe I might need to amend that request and include perhaps some of my ashes to be left at The Getty. 


I hope to make many many more visits to The Getty.


-Jesse

Pasadena Possibility

Friday September 13th

Journal entry

I'm in love with this little big town. In no subtle way my sister and brother in-law have injected my mind and eyes with the opportunities of Pasadena, California. While I can't say really anything for certain it was fun to be a tourist in Pasadena for a day, looking at offices and rooms for rent to gorgeous homes and beautiful landmarks. Pasadena is stunning! Adjacent to the mountains I felt inspired there. This I'm discovering might be the norm as L.A. while hot and desert like has no end of surprises. We surveyed one particular place, which was a reasonable cost for a room for rent yet I didn't quite feel like it was the place for me. However what I found memorable was the woman showing me the room. She had an adorable baby that was napping in the room and I was reminded how much I just love babies. Might be a silly confession to some but I had always wished, sometimes outwardly and sometimes deep down that my ex wife and I would of had children or at least adopted(like she said she wanted). 

Babies just fill me with a calm and hopeful disposition. Even when they're fussy. I'm great with children I just am. Even when others are annoyed by kids, children settle my anxieties, they just do. So this woman that showed me the room asked me a few questions about myself and why I was looking for a place. I told her how I was recently and reluctantly divorced and how I had just moved down from Portland Oregon. I also mentioned how I was going on The Camino in Spain soon and she uncorked the most authentic encouragement I've experienced down here. She spoke for a good ten minutes of sweet, reassuring and encouraging words. It felt so good, I wanted to hug her.


While I decided not to rent the room a person from Pasadena moved me and was incredibly nice to me. Later that even I met some of my sisters extended family, my brother in-law's sister and her husband while :we ate, for my very first time, "authentic" Chinese food. It was delicious!

No two meals have been truly the same down here and so far no meals have been disappointing, at least no sit down restaurants.

I got to dream out loud of the Pasadena possibility, and I enjoyed it. I'm still very much interested in settling in Whittier for my office but Pasadena you're a cute city!


-Jesse

Suicidal Preacher

Thursday September 12th 2019


Journal entry


As I entered the building I was greeted with this colossal sculpture made entirely of surf boards. The ceilings reached no less than twenty feet high, with cement columns and rustic decor I thought I was at some trendy Google campus, yet this was actually called a "church". Ushered through the large double doors it opened into a gigantic auditorium. A large stage was in the corner, cameras on cranes, lights, Jumbotron screens and a band was warming up. It was like walking into a coliseum or event center.


The music began to swell as the main lights dropped and the stage lights twirled. The band sounded amazing. Playing tracks I had never heard before I was easily singing along to the catchy melodies before the end of the first verse. There was no question this was a well oiled and pristine production. After the first couple songs a mid thirties looking gentleman interrupts the concert to give a cliff notes on the evenings itinerary. Greg Laurie & Kay Warren we're going to speak on the subject of suicide. I was clueless to the events topic until this moment. What I discovered was a pastor by the name of Jarrid Wilson had unfortunately committed suicide not three days earlier. 


The messages were powerful and intense. In the realm of these Christian celebrities I had naively assumed they were bullet proof. Why in the world would they have ever struggled with something so pedestrian or fragile like myself. Yet people are just that people, flawed, fragile and never truly bullet proof. My mind raced to unfair conclusions to why this young man would of taken his life. It puzzled me at best and pulled on my heartstrings throughout the evening. This man has left a loving wife, two healthy children, a promising career and huge amassed amount of friendships behind. Things that feel I can easily say I don't have. He had so much yet he gave up on life. 


I began to feel encouraged by the event and for several hours afterwards yet I slowly started to regain my sullen feelings. I had wanted to kill myself too. And these thoughts seem even more natural now than they have ever been. Like grooves in the ice they started to become well made tracks. I know what it feels like to be in pain from living. I don't know this young man’s demons or why they prevailed but I at the moment had a strange hope that while I held onto much looser threads I was holding on perhaps tighter. Perhaps being surrounded by all that he thought he wanted only left him feeling even more isolated? It's somewhat tactless to make assumptions, and wrong to pass judgements. But I saw myself in this hurting Christian man. Though I never knew him I could relate. I do believe there is hope when it seems hopeless and everyone is vulnerable to extreme hurt. Perhaps this is what filled me with this experience of innermost joy. My heart has been broken since my ex wife left me, yet I felt the pinch of a tiny thread stringing the million little pieces of my broken heart together. I'll always be a little broken, yet while there is air in my lungs I need to remind myself that my life is precious in God's eyes and in the eyes of those that love me.

-Jesse

I Won’t Cry


Monday September 9th, 2019

Journal entry 


I miss my princess.

Despite the wounds you gave me and the fault I had in yours, I'm truly truly sorry. I'm so sorry you gave up and I refused to see or listen. I'm sorry I hurt your feelings or railroaded your inner voices or aspirations. I'm sorry I leaned on you to the breaking point. I'm sorry for needing you with a desperation none could bare. I can say you've stolen my heart but I gave it to you freely. You're not so much the villain to this story as you are my vice, my drug and my very limbs. I thought we were one, that we were closer than the best of friends. No aroma is as sweet without you. No food, film or sleep is as enjoyable without you. I miss you. My heart breaks as I outwardly pray for you to one day miss me. Yet that is like staring at the shadows as they disappears in the sunset. Night has set upon my heart. You were my sunshine. The warmth to my soul and my daily joy.

Where did we go wrong? We were never bulletproof but I had thought we were close. What made you give up on us? It's as if you let go of the rope while we were climbing up the hill. I'm angry but only to mask my obvious pain. I'm mad and feel betrayed. Your words used to mean so much to me! Now they're hollow and faded. I want to believe you'll return to me. But I am literally a thousand miles away. You cut me off like I was an old garment. You surrounded yourself with gross people that don't really love you! You've insulated yourself with shallow self serving people that don't see you like I do. Even though you've left me I haven't left you. You're still the center of my heart. This divorce was your choice and I gave it to you because you claimed to have stopped loving me. You were surgical with your pain and you did deceive me. But I don't care because my love is blind to all that! I still love you! I still want you and I still crave your friendship. I don't care what others think or say because this life is ours to live. I'm with you regardless where you are. You have said goodbye to your first love but I have already said that to you. Each time I attempt to move on I can't see anyone else's face like I see yours. If that means I'll waste away without a warm embrace so be it. Know that you always had all of me. Paint the picture however you wanna see it but the truth is I always loved you and I always will.

-Jesse

Uno, Dos, Trejos!

Wednesday September 11th, 2019

Last night I decided to finally really survey the L.A. studio landscape after moving here on the 1st. I checked out a place I've been considering renting along with the famous Grove Market. A veritable cornucopia of delicious little shops line the streets of a once and present epicenter for food and culture. If there's a point where L.A. felt like a melting pot this is here. Then it caught me!...

Trejos Tacos!

Beautifully designed and filled with excellent flair of Hollywood's favorite on screen gangster, and the definite article, Danny Trejo. I had heard of Trejo’s Tacos from select food shows and enjoyed his charm and charitable nature. So in the spirit of a possible tourist place I opted for Trejo’s Tacos. And boy was my brother in-law and I astoundingly surprised! We both grabbed the "Surf n' Turf" burritos along with an array of signature sauces. Wow! Just wow! This burrito made me happy to be here. It was a genius dish that Danny poured so much love into it it seriously began to rebuild my faith in my decision to move to L.A. 

It's cliche, but even being here for a short time, to say, this area is filled with desperate phony beauty and artificial aspirations. This is not to disparage all people in Hollywood it's just the nature of a business that synthesizes empathy through forced images and media. It's a side effect of film and the arts as a business. But Danny Trejo’s food reminded me that there's artists here: that giving people a good meal is a calling. Yes I'm clearly waxing and waning about this experience. However if you've followed this blog you'll be painfully aware of my struggles with depression and how my appetite has been severely suppressed because of it. So a meal that brings a smile to my heart and opens my eyes is powerful. I'm not gonna lie I got teary eyed from this thing of beauty. My brother in-law and I equally bonded over this place and it was as if I was sewing relational fabric with each bite. We high fived each other and began to dissect the magical ingredients we were ingesting. There's clearly some type of blue or Brie cheese that is the glue to this burrito, not listed on the menu and paired with the "Trejo" smoked chipotle sauce, heaven on earth! And since we both were enjoying separate burritos of the same selection that meant consistent service.


The greatest burrito of my life made me miss my ex wife less. Yes I said it! There's been no small cloud of melancholy hanging over me since I arrived. Yet this burrito began to burn off some of my souls overcast. Food has a power to pull people through a time of grief even if just for a short while. Don't agree with me then explain why we have food at a wake?! My heart has been in a funeral of lost love and Danny Trejo's Taco stand gave me a piece of comfort worth every penny! Thanks brother! Tonight I'll sleep a little more restful than I have all summer.


-Jesse

Last Beautiful Girl

Poem by: Jesse Bray


I wish I could forget you

But I can't 

You were the sweetest

My reason to dance

You were my sunshine 

The light of my eyes

My peace my dreams

The joy to my life

If I'm ever to breathe again

I need to leave then

But I just can't 

Not completely 

Not live or eat or sleep again

Without I feel you missing 

You were my everything 

You were my world 

You were my last beautiful girl 

Push & Pull

Journal entry: Sunday September 8th, 2019


Today in preparation for our Camino adventure we had an inspirational and yummy potluck at St. Bartholomew's church. We watched a film that was released in 2016 titled "I'll Push You". It's a brave and beautiful documentary about the real journey of two friends that walk the Camino. The catch is one friend is a quadriplegic. So the whole experience had a powerful and significant struggle to it. I'm hard pressed to imagine anyone watching this movie without shedding multiple tears.


I've been rapidly learning the vastly layered power of the Camino. Rich in a millennium of stories people take this pilgrimage as an incredible place of rediscovering yourself. Having spent time doing nonprofit and missionary work I'm so used to the results of doing things for others yet the Camino seems to be about doing work on yourself. 


One of my favorite understandings about the Camino is the simple scallop shell. Apparently the inspiration for the Shell oil company. This shell has a wonderful symbolism to it. For example during the medieval times when a prisoner who had the desire to make penance for their crimes the Pope at the time would sentence them to walk the Camino and return. Now that's twice the distance of the some odd 500miles that makes up this journey. There and back so that's a 1000mile trek! And the proof that this prisoner had completed this experience was you guessed it a scallop shell. Now this shell offered much more uses than just proof of the Camino. It was used for alms, drinking water, and as a type of flat wear for food. The scallop shell was the pilgrims multi-purpose utensil. Also in medieval times these were anything but safe roads. Bandits and villainous characters lined the way. So when these rehabilitated prisoners had returned having pulled a scallop shell from the sea that was no easy task! 


There's an astounding beauty to the labor of purification. I understand it's not a popular idea yet when we overcome obstacles despite the odds that's when we really show our true selves and the power of the human spirit. I'm excited for this adventure and for the immense blessing I'm being given with this opportunity. I know there is a great deal of work for me to do on my inner self and this is such a gift to break free from all the busyness and to put it frankly artificial aspects of my life. I anticipate tears of joy and pain. Physical toil and emotional catharsis. Spiritual empowerment and soulful centering. A renewed depth on life and radical authenticity in my relationships. Ultimately I pray I can return even more changed than I am inspired today!


Just two more weeks before I can officially say "Bon Camino"! 😄 


-Jesse 

Beauty Marks

Journal entry: Saturday August 31st, 2019

As dawn broke across the rural Oregon countryside we drove through the forest. Approaching "The Avenue Of The Giants" I felt a familiar calm rush over me. It was bittersweet - a mixture of feeling at home and yet homeless. The Redwoods towered over us in ancient significance and grace that embedded me with awe. I wanted to stop and just let the surroundings completely absorb me, as roots consume water. I wanted my every fiber to be here now! Nature's grand and forgiving. It's powerful, and violent yet always ready to be at ease. Like a river that bends, turns into a raging rapid to a waterfall then finally into a still river.

I envy this place. You have a beginning wiser than my own, an existence more serine and a future beyond my few breaths on this planet. You're beautiful. Yes this stretch between the southern Oregon border and Northern California is a home to me. There's something here that makes my heart leap and bound. And yet my heart is set to press on. I must leave these trees for an ocean breeze.

You press upon me for eternity, your beauty marks.

-Jesse

A Cult Of Inclusivity

Poem by: Jesse Bray


Changed her Name to "Danger" and joined a cult

Inclusive to all except the free minds 

They rewind hurts that barely break reality

To coddle their misconceptions of life

Gender benders of twisted strife

Railing against misery that's make believe 

In the cult leaders eye

Only true believers

Will understand her van life

While she scissors your sisters and throws them aside

Because 

Well

She's the "open mind"

The one that's "allowed"

To free your life from the trappings of sacred

Her color red

Is the succession of her next victims

The home wrecker

Undertaker 

Takes

The low and out of shape

She fronts that she's brave and she eats every lonely mental slave

Cruelty 

Is her brutality

Which is obvious

To the unindoctrinated

Postcards From California

Journal Entry: Sunday September 1st, 2019


I went on a walk to hold in the tears. Everywhere I went it was like a dam behind my eyes. My throat swelled and I used all my strength to keep my composure. I needed to break. I was buckling down. I just couldn’t keep it together. In the distance a sign read “Refuge”. It over hang across an office building. It appeared to be a church of some sort. I sat down in the parking lot and broke down. As the sun faded across my back I slowly sobbed. Why was I here? I left my home and all I knew and loved. I left the beautiful mountains and lush green trees of Oregon to now feel so alone and empty in this hot California sun. 

The pavement scraped my jeans as I curled deeper into my weeping. Here I was this man all dressed in black aching in this hollow sanctuary parking lot. I wanted God to reach down and pluck me from this life… However as I breathed in and the saline poured from my face I began to feel lighter. I needed this breaking. I needed to release all this anxiety, this sorrow upon sorrow and let myself embrace the overwhelming uncertainty of the now. Death is the only true end. And at this I began to dream again. My trip here was not all pain. My dear friend accompanied me, was both a confidant and a pleasant distraction. I needed strength and differed attention to pull me through. I needed a human manifestation of grace. My friends & my family have been the emotional wheel chair I’ve needed. None of them can walk my own steps, only I can do that. Yet with each day I climb this mountain. Closer and closer to healing. Perhaps to someday feel whole enough to collect the million tiny pieces of my heart into one place.

I began to write again. I began to feel the waves of hope rush new life into me. This culture shock has been my immigration from my home of over two decades. Oregon you were my lovely home. I love you Oregon! Thank you for all the memories; both sweet and sour, for the love you gave and the love you took. Thank you Oregon. Thank you for your emerald breeze that taught me. Thank you for the loves I still hold there, for the family of choice and the times I’ve cried and laughed in your borders. Here’s my first of many postcards to you. I love you Oregon, you’re a gem and precious place to me. My heart hasn’t left you but my spirit needs to be here and elsewhere.


Child of Oregon,

-Jesse

Return of the Go Forth & Nerd podcast...

Almost one year later and what I said was never going to return is returning haha. For those new to my website, my studio, blog or podcast: on May 2nd 2016 I started a podcast called Go Forth & Nerd. Originally it was just me ranting and raving about my favorite pop culture references and growing up as a nerd. It quickly evolved into guests and interviews across the globe, stories and even co-hosts. Voicing my experiences I wanted to identify with a group of people out there, basically nerds. In my opinion if you've ever felt like hiding your nerdiness then that's probably a badge of your authentic nerdiness. If you're a nerd and have always been loud and proud, good for you! However I have suspicions you'll truly understand the nuances of what it means if you haven't been mistreated for being one. It's not that I want people to have gone through the fire for being other it's just part of the reasons why I felt compelled to lift up fellow geeks. I'm a bit of a soap box preacher when it comes to things I care about, I think we all are. So you can understand where I'm coming from: the heart of why I started this podcast was specifically to try to encourage and unite people under the nerd banner. I also wanted a podcast that wasn't just an "Angry Nerd" talking about disappointments/or reinforcing negative stereotypes as well. 

However I discovered something...

The podcast became a sort of public therapy for me. I unwrapped old wounds, expressed fears, trauma, and made a lot of personal confessions. This at times made me feel uncomfortable and even caused riffs in relationships that weren't fortified. Yet it was important for me to get those feelings and experiences off my chest. I experienced a profound sense of catharsis. Especially while I was searching for a good therapist. A good therapist, and I mean a good one because there's a lot of crummy therapists out there, is like finding your favorite tv show. They're rare and comforting. They're also relatable and hard to let go when the time ends. And finally they're always worth a revisit even when you're running through the same material, you've got layers of re-reads and new self discovery.


From between the time I had started the podcast to this day I've had a great deal of loss and growth. My grandpa, who was more like a father to me growing up, died. My mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer and died shortly after. The relationship between my dad and I died, meaning I effectively lost both my parents in the same year. I had extreme financial and health turmoil. From theft to almost losing my business entirely! I suffered from intense anxiety and had to be prescribed meds to help me cope with PTSD, from deeply disturbing memories that unfortunately my mother's death released these repressed experiences like a floodgate. My anxiety was so extreme it was mimicking all the signs of a heart attack and I had to be rushed to the ER. Then the worst I could imagine; my wife and best friend of twelve years left me, took our bed and most of our possessions including my lovable cat and then quickly divorced me. I got severely depressed lost 25lbs in less than two months, and was so sad I actively wanted to kill myself. I had struggled with depression at points in my life before but none of it so prevalent. I wasn't just contemplating suicide I actively plotted realistic ways to end my life. It was dark. Ultimately I settled on stop eating until it was all over. Starvation is this weird sorta slow suicide that people often seem to completely ignore. You'll say you're depressed and you haven't been eating and they'll say "but you look so good, or thin". As if they rejected your actual message and are hyper focused on you loosing weight! There's a strange sickness to our society. Yet here I was ending my existence minus one meal at a time. Then a light appeared... A bright and somewhat distant light...

Through my tears I reached out to my friends, family and colleagues. A ray of hope appeared when I relayed my pain to a friend I made at Netflix which threw open doors in the most incredible way. All of a sudden people were taking my calls and career doors not only began to open but like a vortex pulled me through! My dearest friends proved again and again that they loved me and they were there for me! My mother in-law (hence forth my New Mom for all time!) surrounded me with the most beautiful love and support which was mirrored in my other sister in-law and her husband (henceforth now just my brother and sister of choice) threw their arms around me and just loved the crap out of me. My sisters reached out in the most amazing ways, my brothers too! My older sister Micah has been a rock to me be along with my wonderful friends Cody, David, Kevin and Mike. These saints pulled me out of the pit of pits! All the while Netflix, Nickelodeon, CBS, Disney and more said to me in no uncertain terms PLEASE WORK WITH US JESSE!!! It has been this overwhelming experience! When I felt my life was without worth, when I was at the emotional lowest I've ever been the hands, face and feet of God showed up in the love of these people. I had friends! I had people all across the globe that love me. And loved me for me! 

So as this realization began to burn brighter and brighter I saw something missing. Something bigger than myself. The friendships I've built one at a time. That's what the podcast was for me. Building nerdy friendships. While all this support wasn't directly related to my podcast it was the fruit of love and friendships that has pulled me through. So I'm now reinvigorate to continue my nerdy mission to make friends of all shapes, sizes, backgrounds and differences to truly Go Forth & Nerd! I'm excited looking forward to being your friend in your ear, online, in person or anywhere in between. While this relaunch won't be the same, perhaps it'll be a bit grittier but the heart and soul has more resolve than ever! To lift you up!!! To help you enjoy yourself as a part of a geeky family across all tribes and nations. Thank you for being you and let's be friends together!

Sincerely with nerdy platonic love,

Mr. Jesse Bray

Art & Faith

Journal entry: August 25th, 2019


I recently spoke with a lead writer at a studio that soured my stomach. During this interview the writer asked me how I became interested in the world of animation. I mentioned to them an incredibly cliff notes version of; growing up homeless and how libraries and churches were my healthy sanctuaries that pulled me out of my circumstances. I explained that there is often three assumptions people have about the children that are watching a kids show.

  1. That they're receiving three meals a day.

  2. That they have a roof over their heads.

  3. And finally that they have parents that are looking out for their safety.


These are three things that I can unequivocally say I didn't have consistently growing up. That I was often hungry and seldom could I rely on having three meals a day, that I was often homeless and that my parents we're not looking out for my safety.

I continued in this interview to express how libraries gave me a window into my imagination and how animation, along with my animation heroes really gave me a safe way to dream. Animation represents that freedom and that power to me.


Well as if from complete left field this writer zeroes in on how they're convinced that there's really no way they could see us getting along because I'm a Christian! I was taken back by this statement. They continued to say that since I was a Christian they thought I was incapable of clicking with them or their team. Here I was clearly being openly judged for my faith. You see I have deeply sincere friendships and colleagues that range from all sorts of religious and non religious backgrounds. And I wasn't sharing any particulars about my faith outside that when I was a homeless kid churches helped me. Because last I checked libraries don't usually run a food bank or soup kitchen or shelter beside their doors. Churches help people! Plain and simple. You don't have to prescribe to their point of view but that's what they do. Churches, synagogues, temples and mosques and beyond are big on feeding and taking care of the homeless.


Yet this writer wouldn't let up. They insisted that because of my Christian faith that I was unfit to mix with their own point of views and incapable of fitting in. Now granted this writer and the company they represented was from another country than the great United States of America. Perhaps where they're from they don't believe in the freedom of religion. I wasn't pushing my faith down anyone's throat I was just answering a very personal question in a very personal way. 


Here's the thing at my company I'm not pushy about my faith. While I have the right to voice my opinion I invite friends and colleagues to disagree with me. I'm not going to ever look at differences as reasons to disqualify a creative partnership. Difference are really what make amazing work. Ultimately if you've had an experience be that good or bad that's your valid experience and I'm not threatened by people seeing the world another way.  However I'm never going to ask someone to water down their convictions. 


I'll never work with an industry that I morally disagree with. For example if your business is involved in the sex industry in any capacity I'm gonna bow out. No thanks I'm not interested. If your business promotes the lack of the sanctity of life or is about removing humans rights to life, or is overtly hateful or racist I'm not interested either. I say overtly because some see disagreements as hateful when perhaps people just disagree, no malice is intended. Truth is brands and companies are made up of people. We all have prejudices and biases, it's just part of being human. Until we're evolved into emotionless robots we'll always have blinders. And if there's certain nuances to a creative partnership that doesn't really work I'll graciously bow out. You don't need to click with everyone. But if you're a Christian you're welcome to work with me! If you're a person of faith or not a person of faith you're always welcome to work with me as well!!! Sure their might be some projects that you may not be an ideal candidate for the work. But I'm not gonna shy away from the reality of faith! I'm here to learn and be respectful.


While yes I know what I believe I don't have an agenda. Jesus loved people for who they are and that's what I think a true Christian should be about. You can be an atheist or anything in between that's your freedom to do so. But if we're gonna work together we need to respect eachothers differences.


Lastly I find this souring encounter so puzzling that someone would consider themselves an artist and have such an aversion to faith. When the lion's share of art and art history involves stories of faith. From all cultures across time stories of faith while often called myths have endured. Without faith inspired works I'm convinced your art museums of the world would be very empty.


I ended my interview with this writer with the following: I said " you know I wouldn't imagine you would like to feel like you're being judged by your faith, or gender or color of your skin". They paused for a moment and slowly started to take in what they had previously said. Then went off to make silly comparisons about what they thought all Americans believed. It was honestly a blessing in disguise. We shouldn't feel pressured to work with people that think they're so open minded they can't respect someone with a different world view.


Don't compromise your integrity because sometimes as artists that's often the most authentic thing we can share. Thanks for following along.


-Jesse

Blood and Water

Poem by: Jesse Bray


Blood is mud in the face of water 

The mother

Sometimes mothers 

That treat you closer than kin

They begin to heal your brokenness

With their never ending kindness

Teaching

Preaching

Being a light in my life

Biology is hardly

A prerequisite 

For tenderness

While blood has made me dirty

This water has washed me clean

Salt


Journal entry: August 13th 2019


It's a strange thing to find comfort in such a raw piece of my art that predates my current pain. Yet I've found a strength in listening to my earlier sorrowful self. Why? Because I survived it! I'm here today, albeit to live to enjoy fresh pain haha. But the fact is there's air in my lungs and I made it through the struggle and time to be at this very moment. It fortifies my faith, my journey and reminds me to never forget God's presence and love is with me. So while the following poem and track our "salty", bad joke they're about authenticity. You deserve to be loved and there is love out there for you. So even when in your current mourning their is hope beyond the tears.  I pray this brings you some solidarity and comfort.


Salt

Poem & song written by: Jesse Bray

Circa 2006, recorded in 2007


How long

Til these eyes become

Salt

Oh can

This man

Turn to sand

Slow die

It cuts like a knife

Oh it haunts

In saline hope

You pull the rope

Say no to the world

And be my girl

How long

Til these eyes become

Salt?

Oh can

This man

Turn to sand?

In saline hope

You pull the rope

Say no to the world

And be my girl

Say no to the world

And be my girl...


Baggage

Journal Entry: August 11th, 2019


I want to preface this subject of “Baggage” before I begin: if people find your sincerity, or intensity or authenticity too hard to handle that's their problem not yours. You're looking to be a whole person and they're to caught up in hiding who they are. They're shallow to a fault and that's gross but not uncommon and not your crusade. You be the truest you and let everyone else wrestle with themselves.

Baggage

Baggage, we all have it but we just don't like to admit it. We can either talk about it and learn to live with it; and hopefully find others that understand and overlook it. Or we can pretend it isn't there and go on never growing or freeing ourselves.

Baggage is just apart of life. 

I've got baggage, and lots of it! From childhood stuff, body and mind issues to relationships and even faith. I've made a lot of mistakes in my life and I've also been very stupid at times and thought both wrong and very ignorant things. I want to give myself a pass but that's often easier said than done.

My biggest baggage today is surviving divorce. All the reasons why aside, for me being now divorced I feel a bit like a relational loser. I lost my best friend and wife of twelve years. Sure she wanted to leave me and I fought like heaven and hell to make it work. But she wanted out. Her heart left me years before telling me and when her feet caught up I was spinning in the whirlwind of pain and loss. I'll always love her but my truth is she betrayed me. She abandoned me. And my heart is in a million pieces. I've lost over 25lbs in less than two months. I'm constantly on the verge of tears. It's hard to breathe most days and it is a constant battle to force myself to eat, shower and get out of bed. Have I made you feel uncomfortable yet? If so then my sincerity is challenging you to see my pain. We all have pain. Life involves pain. But how do we move from pain that becomes a scar instead of a festering wound? Truth be told I'm still working on that.

I'm not trying to offer quick fixes or a sermonette about how easy this is. Heaven's no! If I knew how to fix this stuff I would of a long time ago. I'm just sharing my baggage in hopes to free my soul from holding on to it all the time. And possibly to encourage the random reader as well to let go of a bit of their own baggage too.

Next month I'm planning on moving to Southern California. Eventually landing in the Hollywood area. Basically for work opportunities and a fresh start. Personally I see it as a spiritual experience. I need to let go of the past. I'm whole heartedly reluctant to leave my old life but my wife destroyed that life so there's nothing here that truly resembles it. If I was to stay in Portland, Oregon I'd have to forge twice as hard to believe in myself as I'm haunted by every landmark of my old life. If I was to stay here that would be for me to choose to live in a relationship cemetery, one where I'll never find life just gravestone reminders. I know this probably sounds romantic or overly dramatic. But I am a romantic and this is both how I feel and see my world. Like I said I've got baggage. And I'm trying to let some of it go or at least learn to live with the weight. Thanks for listening and thank you for following my journey.

-Jesse

Movies

Poem by:Jesse Bray 

Cinematic 

So dramatic 

Friendship on a silver screen 

Sometimes L.E.D.

Sometimes bright and shining 

You are my empathy machine

That speaks to me

From my sad seat of misery

Sometimes romantic 

Sometimes probiotic 

Always on in the air

Filling me 

I binge

I buy

I cuddle up for the whole night

Watching 

Waiting 

To feel these vicarious mates

Singing songs of camaraderie 

I pause to rewind

I'll savory the flavor of the well spent time

To cheer me up

From

What?

From my lonely longing inner need

It is an opioid of a mass

That delivers a communion

Of common dreams

Don't poke fun at what helps me

It's just my trip to the movies 

First Class

Journal entry:  August 6th-7th, 2019

What can $99 get you? Well apparently a lot! Today I was wrapping up a flight home from Colorado. I had the fortune of being able to tie in a family visit with a work trip. It was a full time for sure. But even with the distraction of work and my absolutely adorable nieces. I was feeling a bit low, emotionally down. So I thought why not give myself a boost. My flight there my sister had purchased via miles as a gift and my client purchased my trip home as I was able to extend my stay and work at their Denver office. So overall it was a pretty thrifty visit. So I sprung for an upgrade to my ticket to a first class seat.


Never having any experience like this before, the attendant says "that'll be $99". And I'm like well that's not cheap but not that bad either, having no frame of reference other than an imaginary gigantic number in my head along with imaginary fat cats that needed to be separated from the commoners. That's totally not me but hey I was feeling blue, and traveling all alone. Because it's important to the story since I'm sharing this publicly. This has been my first trip to Colorado to visit family where I didn't have my now ex-wife with me. So I was feeling the extra weight of her absence. Especially when I was with my nieces and one of them asked a lot about her and being only three years old it wasn't an easy thing for her to understand.

So began my first time riding first class! Now when you sit in first class, I was flying United so I can't speak for other airlines, the seats are downright comfy. And with just two seats to a row you're thinking to yourself umm this is the perfect spacing and how in the world do they cram three seats together on the rest of the plane?! Next you notice the first class area is sturdy and you can't help but think that heaven forbid this feels like the only part of the plane built to survive a crash landing haha! So just the comfort of the seats I'd of easily paid $40 for that! I pay $20 for a movie theater seat that's not nearly as comfortable and for half the time sitting I'm doing now. So just for fun the first class math is coming across not bad at all. $99 minus $40 for excellent seats totals $59. Then they offer you drinks! Now I'm not a big drinker to be honest. I'm usually between a social drinker to an almost non drinker. Growing up in a quasi-baptist church alcohol was sorta frowned upon so it wasn't until much later in life where I challenged that notion. However by that time I got older I just didn't have much an urge. Long story short I'm a lightweight when it comes to booze. I get kinda truth-y and ask inappropriate questions so I try to avoid it. Nonetheless I paid for this first class ticket so I wanted to enjoy all the perks. I heard people ordering alcohol so I ordered a rum & coke. Which turned out to be mostly rum with a splash of coke. So back to our first class math let's just guess this drink was worth $9, maybe a bit high but then again airplane amenities are never really a bargain. I ended up ordering, slash allowing the attendant to refill my drink three more times! So that $9 dollar drink was now four beverages totaling approximately $36. So $40 for seat, $36 for the drinks we're looking at a running total of $76 Not bad right?! It gets better! Now add a free blanket to wrap yourself up, free internet, a private bathroom for first class and snacks. All for $99 bucks! Now I thought this was a fantastic deal until later my sister tells me that my upgraded ticket also came with a entrance to a lounge that also had cool perks, which I totally had no clue about.

So end conclusion my first experience with first class was pretty memorable. It lightened my spirits, was relaxing and completely worth it. Sure this might be a rare opportunity but one that I'm convinced is a pleasant way to travel. We all need to do self care and I don't see myself doing this stuff often, but I had a pretty crummy birthday the weekend before and easily would of spent $99 had I of had someone to enjoy it with. Why am I feeling this need to express or justify this expense? I think it's because how I've been so misled about what first class was all about. I like to think of myself as down to earth. Yet what is life without an experience that makes it memorable. So I say treat yourself if you're able to on an occasion. Some fine living here and there can lift your soul.


Sincerely,

Jesse