people > places > things

Your Tribe Is Waiting

Jessie MaComment

We were belting out lyrics to a song (which one, I now forget,) at the top of our lungs when –

I slam on the breaks. The momentum throws our bodies forward and our seatbelts snatch them right back. I let out a gasp of “what the fuck” as my eyes settle back into their sockets. I squint to make out what triggered me to stop: 

Half a dozen cars in the previously clear single-lane ahead, lined up like a funeral procession. Some passengers had stepped outside, some were calling their friends in others to make sure they were okay. Most were kind of frustrated by the interruption, eager to get going, and all were thoroughly confused – “What happened?”

A few minutes pass, and the cars start to inch forward. Brows furrowed, I mutter a prayer. Heart in a knot, I manage to put the car back in Drive and gently press my big toe on the gas, as if politely tiptoeing through a scene that had suffered enough noise.  

We see a mangled motorcycle on the right, an ambulance on the left, a coroner's truck next to it. 

We pass by, forgetting how to breathe.

“You’re a different person to everyone you meet.” – Chuck Palahniuk 

We all play different role in other peoples’ lives.

You are YOU, to you. But to everyone else in the world, you are: friend, daughter, cousin, co-worker, teammate, a stranger they smiled at while crossing the street, etc. 

This person whose life ended moments before we passed through the accident scene still had a relationship with us. Though nameless, faceless, they were a part of our journey up the mountain, and our lives as we move forward. 

They reminded us of the fragility of life. The preciousness of the now. To keep our eyes on the road. To take care of each other. To forgive. To Love. To BE, as much as you can, while you can.

You, my friend, were and are with me – and will always be. 

The first time I lost someone close to me, I had so much trouble making sense of my own grief. I’d never before thought of death (nor life) in such a focused way, never had to force myself to accept a truth I found unacceptable. 

In order to find some meaning, I volunteered at a hospice; my role was to, more or less, just BE with a patient (as their family/caregivers can’t be with them 24/7). 

Surprisingly, the visits were never strange nor painful. I felt so honored to share a part of their lives with them – one of the most vulnerable parts. I sat by their beds and read books as they slept, listened to their families talk about what made them special, what they will miss most about them. Once, I held hands tightly with a beautiful great-grandmother as she prayed for her family to be safe after she passed.

These were moments when I felt so human, so connected – not because the looming salience of "Death" made the light of "Life" shine brighter, but because I grew to understand the connectivity that both are defined by.

I learned that the greatest gift you could ever give anyone – including yourself,

is to simply be, together.

A few days before our trip, I asked Philip what his intention with this project was. He was having a group of 30+ dancers hike up a mountain to perform in the dirt for a group of strangers that none of us have met before. (And we were all, as you can see, super down).

He said that he got his inspiration by the idea of a "tribe" – and fusing it with "the earth's natural energy - everything from the intensity of the mountains, the flow of the waterfalls, the resilience of the forests, the calmness of the deserts, to the force of the ocean waters."

We incorporated nature's movements into our bodies' movements to craft these stories of family, community, hurt, healing. 

On the way up the mountain, we talked and laughed and celebrated how good it felt...

To just be with your tribe.

“Find people who can handle your darkest truths, who don’t change the subject when you share your pain, or try to make you feel bad for feeling bad. Find people who understand we all struggle, some of us more than others, and that there’s no weakness in admitting it. Find people who want to be real, however that looks and feels, and who want you to be real, too. Find people who get that life is hard, and who get that life is also beautiful, and who aren’t afraid to honor both of those realities. Find people who help you feel more at home in your heart, mind and body, and who take joy in your joy. Find people who love you, for real, and who accept you, for real. Just as you are. They’re out there, these people. Your tribe is waiting for you. Don’t stop searching until you find them.”

Thank you Arthur for coming in so clutch with these designs!

Note: The Angeles Crest Highway leading up to the San Gabriel Mountains is one of the most scenic, yet dangerous roads in the country. There are numerous accidents and deaths reported each year. If you're planning to drive through, please check road conditions, the weather, and your car beforehand. Safe travels, my fellow Earth Tribe 🌎

Intro, Extro, Whate-vert

Jessie Ma1 Comment

I've never been a fan of labels.

Well – okay – I've never really understood them.

When I was in rehab (long story) a decade ago, my group leader explained how important it was to separate you from the thing.

"You suffer from an addiction; you're not addict."
15 year old Jessie nods...
But is also confused why that was even worth clarifying
To her, it felt so intuitive.

To have, say, do, but not be Something.
She never thought of herself as her disorder, as Anything.

Maybe it's because I'm so particular with my words. As much as I love them, (and boy, do I love them) ONE word is never enough to summarize anyone or anything... 

It still freaks me out when people define themselves categorically.

"She's the type of person that..."
"Our relationships is...."

"I'm a..."

To me, the generality of labels unfairly rule out the gloriously complex nature of a person or relationship or feeling or event. The dissatisfaction and curiosity drive me mad.

I guess that's why I'm so obsessed with stories.

I have to know the who/what/when/why/hows behind a truth.


I understand people not by ASL or zodiac signs, but by their idiosyncrasies – slight lisps, rose-tinted memories of a past love, the way they doodle bubble letters in their Passion Planner or use flirty sarcasm to deflect compliments because of an underlying insecurity or flinch when someone raises their voice because their dad used to yell, regularly, in a drunken rage when they were growing up.

These bewitching little details are everything to me. That's what makes someone them. It's hard to see society bundle all those characteristics in a tortilla and just call it a burrito.

I am not a burrito.

I remember first watching Susan Cain's TED Talk, "The power of introverts" and having mixed feelings. 

On one hand, I could relate to so much of what she was describing as "introversion." The craving of solitude, heightened responses to stimulation, even an introvert's ideal work environment for optimal creative flow and productivity. 

But I was so confused because (and I'll bet ya $5 on this–) no one that has ever interacted with me would think to label me an introvert. 

I am* outgoing, friendly, and happy to meet new people.
*Not because I naturally am, but because I want to be. 

Basically, there is gap between my "introvert nature" and "extrovert actions," and that discrepancy exists because of social pressures, work expectations, a deep-seated compulsion to transcend my suffocating shyness – to name a few.

So, how is one actually defined... 
By their true, inner, knee-jerk responses?
Or by their conscious actions and behaviors?
Nature or nurture?
Private self or projection of self? 

The label "Ambivert" is even more confusing. To me, that just describes a damn human.

Oh, you have different responses to different situations??
Totes both an introvert AND extrovert. ✅ 


I'm not shitting on all the surveys and studies on personality.

I just want to be understood in the way that I try to understand people – not by a word, but through words

Because any time the black/white dichotomy of introversion/extroversion comes up, I find myself struggling to explain the grey area that my identity occupies. As much as one can predominantly lean toward being a "Something," so much of human behavior is unpredictable – playing off context, environment, and most of all, mood. 

THIS is the whate-vert I am:

Honestly, I'm terrified of (and terrible with) most social interactions. I always feel like I'm talking too much or too little, not funny enough or not serious enough, or somehow offending or annoying the other party. I cut conversations off prematurely to let them escape and talk to someone more entertaining (or just less anxious). 

Don't even get me started on eye contact.

Yet social interactions have become somewhat of a masochistic, self-satisfying challenge. I throw myself in environments where I know I'll feel pushed, then be proud of myself for the moments I made someone laugh or feel loved.

Living situations have always been tricky. Throughout college, I either felt guilty for not engaging with my roommates, or stretched so far from what feels comfortable when I did. Because in my head, home = quiet. Now I live with 2 strangers I found online. People may think it's weird that we seldom interact, but I think that's how all of us prefer it.

As much as I love all the dance teams I've been a part of, it does involve a high dosage of social activity, which does require mental prep. I am writing this, literally, after walking out of a rehearsal I realized I could not handle. I could only get through 15 minutes before my hands started shaking. This week's been rough. I need more me.

I've found my home as a Creative because I know I have cool shit in me that I wanna share. But I can't always depict them face to face with people. So I spend most of my time letting my mind wander then making something that showcases my humor, pain, dreams, and endearingly relatable emotional instability. On the internet. 
Like my meme page – fuckin' dope.

I'm way closer to guys than I am with girls; always wondered why. One day a (male) friend **said, "that's natural, most girls are like that because they never have to question whether the guy wants to really hang out with them or not because guys always wanna hang out with girls."
**A theory based in heteronormative thirst, and like, no real evidence... but I can see where he's coming from. Whole 'nother rabbit hole. Anyway –

On this note, the only people I ever felt genuinely comfortable around were my (ex)boyfriend(s) and my mom. Those are also the most convoluted relationships of my life because I am a fucking crazy person and only they have seen/felt my full crazy. But in the same vein, they have also experienced my truly warm and loving heart. That's why I still hold onto them so dearly. Because once upon a time, their presence made me feel less alone.

And I always feel alone.

When I go to dance events, I put on myself the pressure to be a human champagne bubble.
"Hi! 。◕‿◕。 Nice to meet you!~~ YAS GURL LUV LUV LUVVVvvvvvvv"
Then I go to the bathroom, close my eyes for 5 minutes, take a deep breath. Then I skip back into the ring.

Yes, there are times that I want and even initiate hanging out. This is rare and happens only when my love for someone overpowers the comfort of my own company. And when I can, for moments at a time, quiet the voice in my head that tells me I need to perform in any way. If I have ever asked you to get coffee, you is so special to me.

I'm bad at interacting with people, yes, and EVEN WORSE at maintaining relationships with them. (As described in re: dance event vignette), I can be great at meeting people. Punny banter is my shit. But a deeper, more meaningful level is reserved for specific individuals, not a group, and it gets hard to manage. 
My closest friends are scattered around my life. A soul mate from college. A mentor in dance. A sister in faith. Etc., etc. They're all so colorful and extraordinary and lovely and I crave them – but it's so hard for me to ask for them to just be with me. I need to work on keeping in touch – by first believing that they need me, too. 

I always think that, if I were Filipino and had a debut (or ever got married but sigh I'm too behind in life to think about that rn UGH), my "court" (or bridesmaids) would NOT KNOW WHO THE HELL THE REST OF THEM WERE HAHAHA

And all of this is made a million times more confusing because I have ADD/ADHD. My focus, desire for stimuli, and energy levels are hard to balance. Even with medication.  

But that's okay.

That's me.

My point isn't that I'm socially crippled and it's sooo sad (although that is kind of the direction this took, my bad).

It's that I find it wildly insufficient and, quite frankly, boring to say "I'm a ___," when what I really am is a unique collection of predispositions and habits and feelings and scenarios.

I think personality tests are fun (ENFJ or INFJ here, depending on my mood when I take it), but I think embarrassing anecdotes and outrageous sex dreams are approximately 1000x funner. To me, building relationships is about accessing an authentic part of the self, story by story, rather than skimming the back cover of a book.

I want to challenge each of us to consider the stories in others.

The most alienating feeling in the world is to feel misunderstood... or even worse: that no one is trying to understand you.

Ask, and most are happy to share. 

Share, and most are happy to listen.

This is important because your stories make you You. 

Not your job title, but how you make custom cold brew coffees for your coworkers.
Not being petite or plus-sized, but how sexy you look in that white sundress.
Not your relationship status, but the way you wake up to a puddle of her drool on your chest and it somehow makes you want to stay with her forever. 

And, circling back –

Not me as an intro/extrovert, but the ebb and flow of figuring out how to love and be loved as Me.

(Whate-vert that is...)

To Be An Adult With Child-like Wonder

Jessie MaComment

Lately, several conversations with friends in my age range (mid-late twenties) have revolved around the topic of this developmental “limbo” we’re in. 

We just feel so… old.

Yet we recognize that, in the grand scheme of things, we're still so very young. 

Face to face with the real shit in life – holding down a stable job, filing taxes, maintaining our health,  fostering a promising relationship (organically, which is hard because it requires the drowning out of the increasingly loud ticking of our biological clocks), and trying (this gets more frustrating with each passing day) trying not to get fat as fuck cuz our metabolisms are like “Yo, I’m tired" – while feeling, at the core, unready (and quite frankly, too lazy) to actually “grow up.”

The things we know we need to do... feel at war with the things we want.

Because honestly...

We still feel like children at heart. 

As Britney Spears would say, “I’m not a girl, not yet a woman.” 

Bitch I FEEL U.

I avoided those “adulting” responsibilities for a long time.

K fine – I thought I was exempt from having to deal with them.

My short-sightedness could be to blame. I chased the immediate gratification of fulfilling my wants, while seeing any possible long-term reward only as a sacrifice in the present – and not an investment for the future. 

Basically, I spent all 4 years of college dancing because it was fun. And having fun was enough of a reason to direct all my time and money toward it. I trudged through my expensive UC education just to get a degree I knew I wouldn't use and never much thought about planting seeds for my career.

I gave my heart to guys I knew I had no future with. Which, to be fair, is totally fine if this is you and you're dating just to date. But I, the hopeless romantic who always dreamed of finding The Love Of Her Life, settled for The Loves Of Right Now. 

I wrote and wrote and wrote because I loved it, got several jobs writing, then when the writing started to feel like work, I quit. How could I compromise my passion like that???

Yep, it was all rainbows and butterflies, no responsibilities or ramifications. Designing this Neverland was my antidote, my blatant denial of a reality I didn't want to admit I lived in. 

Because giving in to the demands of the world would mean that I lose me. My spirit. My inner child. 

So I defended her.

"I'm a free spirit! I do what I want."

Last year, my sister gave me this reality check: 

“Being a free spirit doesn't excuse you from growing up or thinking about others’ feelings.”

Since then, I’ve noticed how guilty I am of acting rashly, impulsively, insensitively – often at the expense of others – and excusing it as “just how I am.”

Perhaps it is "how I am,” but it is definitely not how I’d like to be.

While it’s fun to prance around and give no fucks, that lifestyle is certainly not sustainable. 

That lifestyle cannot foster relationships, pay the bills, stay healthy, or pursue goals.

It forces you to confront crises, tragedies, and emergencies big and small with no idea how to navigate the situation because you never prepared for them. 

It's terrifying.

Yet another narrative of a Millennial blaming the world for her lack of practical skills... 

Well, not really.

Growing pains are not specific to our generation.

But with mine, I feel like I am playing catch-up to my peers, because instead of recognizing my weaknesses and trying to gear up for the real world...

My Peter-Pan mentality convinced me that, if I traded in my time to do more "adulty" things, my ability to see the world with curiosity, creativity, and wonderful appreciation would be in jeopardy.

Perhaps my naiveté compounded the situation, but we are too often told that cynicism is an unavoidable side effect of growing up. We witness ways that society will kill your inner child and rob you of the inherent joy and wonder that makes life worth living...

Getting older, working full time, settling down with a partner = no more funs.


Growing up means that we give up everything we want

for the things that we need in life.

Lately, though,

A lot of needs have become my wants. 

And it doesn't feel like sacrifice.

I work (this is also because I work for a start-up) virtually non-stop. I spend several nights a week visiting my mom’s house, typing away while she watches Korean dramas. I stopped checking Snapchat to see the ratchetry my friends are up to on Friday nights; I got money to make.

I went from being the most anti-relationship cynic, giving up on love and chasing watered-down affirmation from guys who barely know me, to being in a committed relationship with someone I Love with a capital mutha fuckin' L. Being with him feels both like having a middle school crush and a 50 year marriage at the same time. 

I spend less time making excruciating small-talk and more time nurturing friendships with people in whom I'm genuinely interested, whom I care for, who I know reciprocate my love and support.

I don't do anything begrudgingly. I still do what I want.

And what I want, now, is to take care of myself and the people around me. 

I will always aim to preserve my free spirit.

Without it, I'd have no words to write, no love to give, and a much less thorough idea of who I am.

But I’m also evolving to be more mindful. More present. More responsible, productive, efficient, and empathetic. Finances, changing a tire, a serious relationship – these aren't things I can master over night, but they are things I can work on. 

And working on them doesn't feel like I'm losing myself.

I actually kinda like it. And I still feel like myself.


My sister was definitely right. Being free-spirited does not excuse you from life.

But you also don't have to lose that part of you.

You can be disciplined yet spontaneous,

hard-working yet creative,

pragmatic yet hopeful.

If I could give my early-20's self advice, it'd be this:

Don't be afraid to grow up.

Because even as an adult,

You can still do what you want, kid.

(In fact, check out my meme page where I am more extra than ever. F4F?)



Jessie Ma2 Comments


I can't even try to make this sound pretty – it's been a fucking SHIT STORM of a year.

I thought 2015 was rough...

But as I tiptoed into 2016, wide-eyed and fingers crossed, hoping for a break, praying for some salvation...

The first 2 weeks of January kicked me in the face.

TLDR version: I moved to LA for a job (writing for a magazine), got fired from that job, went through the 16497385th and FINAL round of THE MESSIEST, MOST DRAMATIC AND TRAUMATIZING breakup EVER, got very very very sick, had surgery, and was bedridden for over a week and spent every night half wishing I wouldn't wake up the next morning.


In retrospect, it's crazy.. but not all that coincidental how all these shitty events took place within such a short amount of time. 

I mean, I was depressed. (To a sad and kind of terrifying degree that my present-self aches to recall.)

Although I didn't want nor actively make happen any of these things, I was somewhat of a walking magnet for tragedy. Because

I didn't care about anything.

And when you don't care, you "let yourself go."

You put yourself in dangerous situations, destructive relationships, and stay. You physically feel your body deteriorating, and just let it happen.

I took hit after hit, spiraled lower and lower, watched every aspect of my life falling apart and thought to myself, "What's the point?"

Giving up seemed not too shabby of an option.


So yeah. The first 2 weeks of January 2016 fucked me RAW. 

Then What?

In February, I got a job waitressing at a Japanese restaurant while continuing to pursue writing through freelance work. (I know, SUCH a typical "LA Creative.") I applied to and interviewed for a lot of different publications, but none of them felt right. I guess I knew that whatever opportunity I did hypothetically take would just be a filler job until I could (officially) work for my dream company... So I kept serving tables. And gogo dancing at gay clubs. I wrote whatever, whenever I could.

In March, I started my full-time position as Editor In Chief of STEEZY. EVERYSINGLEDAY I practice creating quality content, learn about about marketing strategy, meet new faces in the dance community, and (perhaps most significantly/interestingly) get to be a part of a startup company's journey from the seed of an idea to a movement with a purpose.

This year, I went from being straight up unemployed and broke to making a living from doing something I genuinely love. I went from feeling like I had nothing to offer the world, to knowing that my words matter and being empowered to use them to serve others. I went from not being confident enough to even call myself a writer, to collecting the courage to tell the stories of dancers I've admired for years. 

I don't wake up each morning just ecstatic about life and prance around everywhere with a pep in my step. But damn, am I grateful for my job and every opportunity it's given me, every lesson it's taught me, and every sacrifice I feel lucky to make. I know I have so, so much further to go, but –

in 2016, I found my voice and a way to use it. 

In April, I moved back home to the OC to save money on rent. Almost as a prerequisite, I tried to mend my tired, worn relationship with my mom. I fucked up in rather annoying and unnecessary ways, I.E.: driving my car into the garage door lol. I asked for a lot of patience. Received love veiled in harsh insults and nagging reminders. I moved back to LA with not much resolved, but more than enough evidence to support my theory that some relationships operate better with the buffer of physical distance. 

Then, a few weeks ago, I lost my grandma – and my mom lost her mom. I dropped everything and stayed home with her. Held her hand during the funeral and helped her clean out old belongings. I cried with her at the florist. Prayed with her at the cemetery. We shared the grief of losing someone who had given both of us life.

Almost by instinct, almost instantly, almost as if my grandma left us one last gift, everything petty between my mom and I melted away. And both of us, without ever even having to explicitly say it out loud, decided to love each other instead. 

Mamama and I are closer than ever now. 

In January, I let him go. I love/d him so. damn. much. But I'm 1000% sure we weren't meant to be in a romantic relationship. My stubborn resistance to this fact brought us both a lot of heartache until the mold of our incompatibilities spread to and infected even our sweetest of intentions. I hurt him a lot. Got hurt a lot. Stitched up those wounds in a hurry, slapped on a pretty band-aid, and tried not to look back, wincing only slightly when a reminder would brush up against the scars.

In March, I thought I fell in love. Not too long after, realized I loved the idea of being able to love again. My lover was more the object than subject of this story – and while my pride doesn't like to admit it, I think he experienced a similar illusion of love for an illusion of me. We don't talk anymore.

In June, I almost fell in love. THEN ALMOST IMMEJUTLY AFTER FORCED MY WAY OUT OF THAT SHIT because I was so far from ready to feel the full spectrum of emotion that love plunges you into. My PTSD overpowered his interest and my insecurities shone too bright a spotlight on both of our flaws. Triggered AF yet number than ever, I left with a quiet "sorry" and vowed to "focus on myself."

And I did. Until

November – I fell deeply, serendipitously, irreversibly in love. 

And I plan to stay here. 

More – much more – on that, later.

(I love you hehe)

BASICALLY. This year,

I started to grow into who I really am. 


Non-GMO. Dairy-free, gluten-free. LOL jk, but really –

Hitting rock bottom.. mercilessly smashed my carefully maintained facade to a million pieces and forced me to start from scratch. 

Because of this rebuilding, I took a lot of pride in my journey. I literally felt like I went from 0-100 by myself, rising from adversity and beginning to live.

But (with the help of my Lover's observation) I realized that this year was not me starting from shit then blossoming into a happy, healthy, thriving human.

It was survival. 

This realization hit me hard. It also made so much sense why I feel so restless and ready and eager for the new year.

I'd spent the majority of 2016 in a cocoon. Recovering in an incubator, if you will. 

I'm aware that there will always be obstacles and struggle and pain. I'm not striving for immunity from that, nor for absolute happiness, nor for any perfect of state of being. 

I just wanna live. 

This was the year

I learned that the best coping mechanism.. is NO COPING MECHANISM. That you don't really get over pain – you gotta move through it. I learned that temporary stitches deepen cuts and masks of happiness are so comically transparent. I learned to let myself hurt, then let myself heal.

I learned (and tried my best to practice) the elegant power of making the biggest statement possible through silence. 

I learned that perfect loves exist in very imperfect people. And the ideal relationship with them can take a lot of different, unexpected forms. And if you love them enough, the dynamic won't matter as much as the love. 

I learned how to write without stressing about sounding pretty or smart. I learned it's always best to just say what you mean and mean what you say.

I learned that it's possible and much more rewarding to choose to love those who've hurt you. I see it everywhere; forgiveness looks better on everyone. 

I learned that giving is receiving // receiving is giving. And someone giving me help, support, and love is a gift to them as much as it is a gift to me. 

I learned that "I love you" and "I'm sorry" and even "I don't really give a shit about you" are communicated more through actions than through words. 

I learned how to be my own best friend, spent days with nothing but Courage as company. I learned that I complete me. 

I learned that people are interesting because they are interested in things. That your love and passion makes you who you are. I learned to unapologetically do the things that I wanna do, and invite people along for the ride – if they want to join. 

I learned the value of rest and play, that they are not opponents but allies of hard work and productivity.

I learned how to be still. If only for moments at a time. 

I learned that I'm tired of denying myself the love that I know, deep down, I'm worthy of. And I'm tired of denying myself the opportunity to reciprocate it. I'm learning Love with him and don't ever want to stop. 

At the end of the day, people don't really change. 

But at the end of the year,

they kinda do. 

I went from being so depressed I didn't want to get up to pee, to now,

feeling like

there is so much life to live

and wanting to go fucking live it.

Happy 2017, lovers and friends. Can't wait to live it with you.

Keep Making Dope Shit, Please.

Jessie Ma2 Comments

Before we get started, I have 2 questions for you.

Yeah, you.


1. How do you hurt? 


2. How do you heal?

I always felt alone.

Not even in a depressing way – but for as long as I can remember, I saw myself as being fundamentally separated from the people and world around me.

I didn't like nor dislike it; it was simply the way things were.

When I was 14, I started writing. I'd always kept a journal for random thoughts and doodles, but that was the year that I mindfully, intentionally, desperately wrote. Everything I experienced, my perception of reality, my narrative of the truth – I had to get it out. 

Not to publish, not to share, not for any reason other than to release the things inside of me. 

It's been 12 years and I haven't stopped. 

Over the years, I realized that it's (ironically) not just me.

Everyone feels alone. 

And what looks like pen & paper to me

takes on different forms for others –

canvas & paint

music & a dance floor

a lover & a bed

a piano & hands

These are our weapons against the illusion of loneliness. 

These are our portals of release.

Art is My release.

All the things inside me that are so real and strong and heavy – joy, pain, love, loss, all the fucked up and crazy..

They'd otherwise remain trapped.

Intangible, nebulous, begging to be let out. 

Without release, I start to crumble under the weight. My insides threaten to implode from the pressure.

So I find a sanctuary in the alchemy of feelings into words.

And what happens to Art once released? 

When it's out there for the world to see –

naked, vulnerable, subject to judgment and ridicule?

Well, if it's honest art, 

The fucked-up crazy parts of other people

will look at the fucked-up crazy parts of you

and go,

"Hey, me too."

Art Is my Reconnection.

Art doesn't even have to work so hard to connect people – it doesn't need to actively push our minds closer to agree on something. 


it's in the subtle, effortless realization that we are not so disconnected that we are able to connect.

Loneliness is an illusion, after all. We just need reminders sometimes. 

I first found this catharsis in reading.  

Authors who wrote from a place of honesty – whether it was about excruciating sadness, overwhelming happiness, paralyzing anxiety, falling in and out of love – 

Hearing them speak my truths back to me was the most powerful thing I'd ever experienced.

I realized that we all share the same fucked-up and crazy. And we also share the same beautiful and amazing. The rest is trivial – we are so much more similar than our outer layers deceive us to be.  

It manifests as different stories, of course, 

but at the core, we all come from the same sacred space.

Art is how you invite others in to your sacred space.

Creating and sharing something real to you is intimacy that needs no physical contact. It's how we make love without sex.

Craving that connection, I wear my heart on my sleeve and my soul on my fingertips. I place my hand on my keyboard and take a deep breath. I let go, and feel you feel me. 

How To Make Dope Shit 101

To me, the only bad art is dishonest art.

So you – yes, you – whom I want to see dope shit from,

Don't be so scared of what people think.

In fact, the truer you are to yourself, the more strongly your Art will resonate with others. 

The more you pollute it with what you think people want, the more contrived and mediocre and nauseatingly unoriginal your Art will be. Said it. 

So keep baring your soul. Because as terrifying as it is, creating honest work is the only way you'll ever feel even remotely satisfied.

It's the only way that anyone else will ever get it.

"Do whatever brings you to life. Follow your own fascinations, obsessions, and compulsions. Trust them. Create whatever causes a revolution in your heart."
– Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic

It doesn't matter if the subject of your Art is ugly. Even if you're dancing about sadness, even if you're singing about loss, even if you're writing to keep your heart from shattering –

As long as you're making from the soul, your Art will be beautiful. 

Cuz as fucked up as they come,

I've never seen a soul that was ugly. 

Art is my Rebuilding

Even out of the tragic, the horrific, the devastating ruins of whatever I experience, creating art always, always rebuilds. 

In the very act of transforming my thoughts and feelings into Art, I've validated them, legitimized them, and given them opportunity to take on a new meaning.

For me, making shit kills my ego. It challenges me to define what I really feel and who I really am. 

Art makes me, me. 

Art has the power to build you,

and you have the power to build the world

= Art has the power to build the world. 

K, so Art can't cure cancer or invent a better iPhone. 

But don't ever let anyone tell you that Art doesn't matter. 

It's a universal antidote for mental and emotional turmoil.

It's also a powerful cultural statement – as evident throughout history, regardless of geography.

It's a voice for socio/economic/political issues. A tool for spreading awareness, a catalyst for change.

And most importantly,

It preserves the child-like wonder that is often extinguished by a world that shows too little mercy.

Art keeps us human.

“By investing in the arts, we can chart a course for the future in which the threads of our common humanity are bound together with creative empathy and openness."
– President Barack Obama

But let's be real: 

You're going to fuck up. You'll feel embarrassed and vulnerable and paranoid. 

You will make a lot of shitty shit. Until you make some dope shit. 

But keep making.

Keep learning and practicing and growing. 

I did, do, and will continue to,


I fucking love Art.

It is my access to flow, my glorious release, the heaven of my religion, the language of my soul.

Nothing is more important than love, and there's no better way to show it than through Art.

So use it.

Discover yourself through it and use those gifts to better the world around you.

Make, make, make, and show us so we can cry and celebrate with you. 

"Draw the art you want to see, start the business you want to run, play the music you want to hear, write the books you want to read, build the products you want to use – do the work you want to see done."
– Austin Kleon, Steal Like An Artist


Keep Making Dope Shit.
For yourself, and for the rest of the world.