There were many times as a child when he felt words couldn't escape his lips. His father a deaf coal miner; his mother a maid and caregiver; his own creative fire had a hard time finding a voice amongst the life he was born into. That life was anything but glamorous.
Raised in the Bible Belt of the Dirty South, he began to feel alienated and repressed in the cages of the religion that entrapped him. He fantasized an escape, one that involved flashing lights and a stage beyond the local revival tent.
"I felt like a pop bottle that had been dropped. And I couldn't wait to be opened."
But even after escaping, he struggled to break away from his deeply rooted past. Out of nowhere, episodes of anxiety and pain hit Brayl when he least expected it. Usually a free-spirit, his pain was hard to grasp and traumatizing.
On the search to find meaning, he found his way into spiritual hibernation, abstaining from the rebellion he explored once he departed from his small town roots, trading his newly adopted rock n' roll lifestyle for something pure and substantial. But what he found wasn't either.Using writing as a cathartic vehicle, he began to pour out the words in what would become his first novel, Little Dish. Searching for the resolution in his blurry and chaotic past, he found a blanket he could cover himself in when he began to write. He also fell hard into the heart of music.
"Music was my initial escape, before writing. Music is my painkiller. It's always been there when I needed it the most."
But it wasn't until he was inspired through numerous teachers and other extraordinary human beings along the way that he would feel inspired to finally believe in himself, taking his artistic talent to the podium.
"I never believed in myself. I had always carried and fought with horrible self worth issues. Most spend a majority of their lives trying to figure out who they really are. I know who I am, and I'll spend the rest of my life trying to love the person I've found."
As the book was near completion, Brayl moved to New York to pursue his creative ambitions. The move and the process of writing the book felt so emotionally draining, that—once he found the courage to do so—he began see a therapist.
In therapy, Brayl learned that the journey his main character in Little Dish endured was actually what had happened to himself, through the route of a repressed memory, one that he had forced his mind to forget. Throughout the traumatic process, he held on to his mother's positive reinforcement and the love his family provided.
"My mother always told me I could be anything I set my mind to – and in the midst of the chaos, those words turned out to be my saving grace."
Brayl no longer feels silenced. Ready to share his story in hopes to bring others courage and hope, he now holds a megaphone.
Little Dish is a powerfully honest story of how far we go for approval and acceptance. Brayl splatters his paint and his pain for the world to see, in a way that exposes the cracks and wipes away the dirt that once covered the truth.
Brayl lives in New York where he works as a freelance writer and music blogger. He is currently working on getting his book to the masses (stay tuned for details) and creating his own music (see the music tab for updates).
Visit Rob's music blog at BiggerThanBeyonce.Com