How Art Became My Saving Grace

How Art Became My Saving Grace

"When you place something at the center of your universe, it can really change your perception of it."

When we dedicate ourselves and our careers to our passions, sometimes they become less of a joy and more of a burden; especially in the creative fields.

There have been nights where my body has tensed up and my hands have cramped and shook from the anxieties and pressures I have self-inflicted derived from the expectations I set for myself; the expectations of what I feel I should produce. When something as organic as songwriting becomes your intentional career path, it becomes a responsibility rather than a hobby. Of course, I would have never of ventured down this path in the first place if I thought my love for the craft was going to quiver and diminish with hardship, but I didn't realize when you place something at the center of your universe, it can really change your perception of it.

"I'm not good enough."

"This song isn't commercial"

"This song isn't good, at all."

"This doesn't reflect me."

"I can't write prolifically, what's wrong with me?"

"I'll never make it as a writer if I can't produce."

Once, a creative outlet for my expression had become a chore; something I felt obligated to do rather than called to.

This summer I chose to stay in Nashville in order to hone in on my craft as a musician, music business "young professional," and grab a taste of freedom off-campus and alone. I didn't approach the summer with the intention to find myself, but I feel sometimes you need to let yourself find you. I was lonely, depressed, anxious, and homesick; most of my friends left for the summer and the few who stayed either wallowed in my self-pity as well or had lived there their entire lives and of course had other obligations besides entertaining their friend. The only thing which was constantly around me was work. I set goals for myself to write all summer, and the reality is I wrote one song ALL SUMMER. This is when I realized songwriting isn't only a passion, but it's become work, and therefore, I need to find another hobby to counteract the negatives from this shift. Change is hard, and I'm not saying songwriting is a negative thing for me by any means, but now I just need to approach it differently. I needed another creative outlet where it was simply for expression; something without expectation, so I could return to songwriting with a clear head. So, I began to paint.

The shift from verbal expression to image-based reflection was interesting, and I didn't even realize I was healing at first. I began to paint prolifically, every time I picked up a pallet it was a catharsis and I couldn't figure out why; until one day it clicked. I felt like this with music before I decided to dedicate my adult life to music; it was easy. I wasn't painting in hopes of sales, or to be noticed and discovered, heck it not even to please others. It was only for me, and I played mindless music while I wrote. As soon as I got in the rhythm of letting myself be a mindless creative again, my creativity with my writing flowed once again. It is so important to have an outlet without expectations. The weekend after I crafted four paintings, I felt like myself again. I was okay with this shift from hobby to lifestyle with my writing and realized it was simply a matter of keeping a balance. And ultimately it gave me some insight to the rest of my day-to-day and how everything needs a balance, and it's ok if things aren't what you expect them to be. Learning change is inevitable, but understanding it's okay is key. And with my music, it may be more than a hobby now, but at least I know how to handle it. Learn to channel ALL of your creative energy.

Cover Image Credit: Giuliana Mignone

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14 Stages Of Buying Jonas Brothers Concert Tickets As A 20-Something In 2019

"Alexa, play "Burnin' Up" by the Jonas Brothers."


In case you missed it, the Jonas Brothers are back together and, let me tell you, they're giving us some major jams. For those of us who were there when it all began back in 2007 with their first album, It's About Time, this has been one of the most important events of the year. But nothing, and I mean nothing can rival the excitement every twenty-something felt as the Jonas Brothers announced their Happiness Begins tour. I, for one, put my name in for ticket presale, have been following every single social media site related to the tour/group, and, of course, listening to the Jonas Brothers on repeat. And if you did manage to snag tickets, then you know that this is how your brain has been ever since they announced the tour.

1. Finding out that they're going on tour

2. Hopefully entering your name into the lottery to get presale tickets

3. Finding out that you actually get to buy presale tickets

4. Impatiently waiting for your presale tickets by listening to their songs on repeat

5. And remembering how obsessed you used to be (definitely still are) with them

6. Trying to coordinate the squad to go to the concert with you

7. Waiting in the Ticketmaster waiting room...

8. ...And feeling super frantic/frustrated because there are about 2000 people in line in front of you

9. Actually getting into the site to buy the tickets

10. Frantically trying to find seats you can actually pay for because, let's be real, you're twenty-something and poor

11. Managing to actually get the seats you want

12. Joyfully letting your squad know that you've done it

13. Crying a little because all of the dreams you've had since 2007 are coming true

14. Listening to every single Jonas Brothers song on repeat (again)

If you, like me, have finally fulfilled one of your dreams since childhood, then congrats, my friend! We've made it! Honestly, of all the things I've done in my adult life, this might be the one that child me is the most proud of.

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The 7 Best Food Places Near UCLA You Need to Try ASAP

We have great dining food AND restaurants around us? Wow, we are #blessed.


Westwood is the home to UCLA and offers plenty of interesting and diverse dining options for students and locals alike. Since the area is firmly Bruin territory, you will find lots of on-the-go, affordable eats along with a mix of more modern and upscale restaurants.

Though I definitely haven't had all the food Westwood occurs, being here two years now (omg already!?), I think I can safely recommend certain places to eat.

1. Shamshiri Grill

South Westwood Boulevard is often referred to as Little Tehran, so most of that area is just Persian restaurants. Shamshiri Grill just makes the best meat and whenever I go there, I always order my meal with their special hot sauce, that is to DIE for. A must try.

2. Gushi

I can not tell you how many times I've been to this place. Located near Fat Sal's, you may be tempted to just miss it but let me tell you that is a mistake. I always get their Gushi Bowl which is just heavenly and the right amount to make me feel satisfied without being too filling. Be generous with the Teriyaki and Sriracha sauces on your meat and you are guaranteed to have a good time.

3. Pinches Tacos

I know Mexican food is very common wherever you go but Pinches Tacos is aesthetically pleasing and their food? Even more so. It just tastes so good! I definitely recommend the Asada fries and any tacos.

4. Saffron and Rose

Saffron and Rose is a Persian ice cream parlor like 10 minutes away from Shamshiri Grill and the quality and variety of ice cream is truly impressive. I would not have known my weakness for Jasmine ice cream if I hadn't tried this place and as always, the Saffron and Rose (it's namesake) deserves to be the name of the restaurant because of how rich in flavor it is.

5. Maharaja

I am very particular about my Indian food but the buffets in the afternoons at Maharaja definitely passes my checklist. I actually went there for my birthday so that just tells you how the food doesn't disappoint.

6. Nekter Juice Bar

I found out about this place very recently and I'm so glad I did because their bowls are so good. They also serve smoothies which I haven't had the pleasure to taste yet but I expect the same kind of quality. I am very partial to the Bruin Bowl and the Dragonfruit Bowl.

7. BJs

They have $3 Pizookies on Tuesday.

I am always there on Tuesday.

Are these two facts connected? Maybe.

What can I say? I just love the restaurants here.

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