Shelby Parris is an 8x author (6 physical/digital, 2 albooks), speaker, graphic designer, and self-publishing coach. Within just three years (21-24) Shelby's created a one-stop shop self-publishing service including live classes, structuring and formatting, proofreading and editing, logo design, cover design, and marketing materials and has contributed to the publishing of over 300 authors. Along with his publishing service he's created his iTrapBooks brand/merch with the mission being "Changing the narrative of trap". Encouraging young men to read and write and not limit themselves to music and sports, has spoken on over twenty panels and keynote events on the subjects of rewiring the subconscious, financial literacy, small business, men's mental health, and youth mental health. Shelby is also the owner of Garden Apparel clothing, founder of the MenTell men's support group, and a majority contributor to the Any Giving Day foundation. He has been featured on outlets such as NBC, CBS, and FOX.
During his undergraduate years Shelby attended Brevard College of North Carolina where he led as the co-captain of the men's basketball team. Shelby also received the DII player of the week award and was 2nd in scoring and steals for the Tornados. Shelby also was one of twenty-six selected for the 2017 USA Select basketball program to play across 21 countries throughout Europe. Off the court Shelby restarted the campus’s Black Student Union and won the college’s Rising Star (Leadership) Award (2017).
I began my writing career September of 2017. I knew after making it through what I've been through I not only wanted to share my story but knew I wanted to share my process and how I was able to start creating the life I desire. After about a year of gathering ideas I knew what I was going to say. I saw a post on Instagram about a book called Kwame Meets Jackie Robinson by: Moise Michel and DM'd him right away. We got on the phone, the first thirty minutes he was telling me the self-publishing process, and the next hour we just conversed and by the end of the call I had a mentor and just months later my first book.
"Life really changed for me once I got to college. I dealt with the basic little home sickness initially but quickly got passed that when ball really got rolling. Then I was comfortable. Once that second semester came and season was over shit was real different. That’s when life really changed and I hit my abyss.
I was going to school in North Carolina and was considered a walk-on, non-scholarship player and was playing on the JV team. After the season my coaches offered me a position on the varsity team but I still wouldn’t be on scholarship. So now I’m thinking since I’m not on scholarship and with who’s returning, I’m not gonna have a fair chance to play with scholarship players already on the team and they’re not even really getting tic. Then I tried to justify my fear with “Let me do a JUCO for a year and save some money and maybe the grass is greener on the other side.” Shit was the worst dirt ever *laughing*.
Now the end of the school year's coming and my girl say let’s go to Beach Weekend down in Virginia and I’m like word. And my cousin said he going and my brother live down there so I get to visit and stay with him. This perfect. But at the same time my pops was going down to Florida to visit my grandmother in the hospital I remember saying “I’ll just go visit her later,” and went down to Beach Weekend.
When I got to Norfolk the first thing me and my brother did was go get something to eat from a bodega around the corner from his crib. We walking, bout to cross Norfolk State’s campus, it’s a three-way intersection, the cars stopped so I started to cross the walkway, I guess this one driver saw everybody stopped, looked right, didn’t look back left, and shot out from the stop sign.
So he shoots out making his turn and drove straight at me and life just froze. I’m thinking of the superstition of death coming in threes and how one brother from my town had gotten ran over by a car and died. And that another brother died a car related death a little before him. The only thing that made sense to me was to go over the car and off to the top right if I was going to live.
As I got hit I heard and felt my right (dominant) shoulder crack then and slide down before I landed on my right side, felt my arm slide again, then the impact bounced me back upright then felt my arm slide again! It was a hit and run, I walked away with only a dislocated shoulder but again, to my dominant/shooting arm. As the summer went on I struggled with my confidence ‘cus I couldn’t shoot. Barely could get the ball over my head. My form was horrendous. And it was constant pain. I always felt it. As cliché as it is- I was always a shooter. So the main thing that got me to school was gone.
One night during the summer after a day of work and working out I had just dropped my girlfriend off at her crib, then as I walked in the crib my mother approached me and told me that the hospital just called and my grandmother died. This created an instant regret for the obvious reason, I didn’t go visit her and went to go get hit by a car instead; Fast forward to her funeral I left with another regret after not seeing her body in the casket up close like I would’ve liked to. I called myself being patient and figured I see the body when they called for the immediate family to go up before closing the casket but they didn’t do that at her funeral. Now I got double regrets of not seeing her when I had my last chances.
Getting closer to the school year I had a workout for my JUCO. After the workout, only my second time meeting my new coach, he pulled me aside and told me “I don’t like you. You remind me of a player I coached before and me and him didn’t get along because he was an ass. He felt like he knew everything and always talked back. I know it’s not right to do so I apologize but my gut is telling me not to trust you.” I was appalled to hear such a statement and so boldly. I was always praised for being so coachable. This was new to me.
Now the school year started and life took a sharp drop. Not only did the school have a dark cloud feel around it to me but at this time my mother wasn’t working, I was working two jobs, getting up at 5:00am for work then going to class, practice, back to work, or to work then practice or game (whatever my schedule was for that day) paying tuition, dealing with the new environment, my playing time rapidly dropping, shoulder getting bad again, My coach telling the team “You’re the worst group of guys I’ve ever coached (He even kicked us out the gym multiple practices)", failing classes, battling depression, and I then dislocated my shoulder again after getting it caught in a bad play at practice.
At this point I figured everyone’s career has to end at one point and figured this was mine. I quit the team and basketball as a whole and just focused on school and work. I was hitting new lows. Crying every day. Trying to force myself to smile. I was contemplating suicide. I didn’t care if I lived or died.
Then I get a call, never forget it ‘cus it was a Friday and I was at Fridays, my girl call me and and asked if I heard about Claude, she tells me he died, then I go on Facebook and the gram and he’s really dead. Claude was a cousin to me. We called each other cousins but loved like brothers. After that I was hurting. I would drive and tell myself just close my eyes, hit the gas, and let the car go. If I live, cool I’m a superhero and I get to tell the story. If not, oh well.
One night I was driving to my night class, crying, zoning out in my thoughts and said “Fuck it”. I closed my eyes, hit the gas and let the car go. I swear it was like something stopped the car ‘cus I never hit the brakes. Luckily there were minor paint chips on both cars but nobody was hurt.
Time goes by, life getting better, me and my girl had broke up but was tryna figure stuff out still. Then we chilling at the crib about to order some food, she start looking through my phone, see I met and was talking to somebody else, then we get in an argument, then she admits to cheating on me the year before. Then she broke up with me. *laughing* That’s not even supposed to happen, I’m supposed to break up with you. I remember at one point during this downspin launching my phone not wanting to talk to anybody. Losing my license, again, every day I was crying on my way to campus, on my way home, crying myself to sleep, contemplating suicide. The only thing I knew was that smiling releases positive endorphins and that it could rewire our outlook on the world we experience, so I just kept smiling and affirming through the pain.
Eventually I got back on the court and back in the weight room and within weeks was witnessing a major change in my life. I was dunking consistently, had a six pack, and was in the best shape of my life. My grades was up, I’m in the best point of my life ever. Fast-forward to the summer time I get a call from my old coaches telling me they want me to come back and play for the varsity team. With no hesitation I went back to Brevard. Eight games into the season I was starting and finished out the season with accolades and nominations of Player of the Week, my name was in Player of the Month, All-Conference, and All-American talks, but was still battling this cloud feeling of depression. I then stopped watching tv, started reading again, cut out meat completely and went through a full change.
The bulk of the badness happened primarily over six months to a year. I look at my life four/five years later and now have six books with one being the first ever audiobook mixtape, a couple classes and curriculums, am sharing my story and process to help others, Got to play professionally for the USA Select Basketball team, started a clothing brand, have a few businesses I’m growing, and manifested a Porsche at twenty-two. I say it all the time. "Keep grinding ‘cus your life WILL change in one year." I have a saying, "Preach what you practice." I’m just the walking proof that your life will change in one year."
Excerpt from Write My Pains Away