Graffiti: Art Or Vandalism?

Graffiti: Art Or Vandalism?

Graffiti as art has the power to make a difference, and tells a story worth reading.
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In the debate over graffiti’s classification as art or vandalism, I always fell somewhere in the middle: graffiti is, in it's purest form, an artistic expression of ideas and emotions, but it is also often unwarranted. This debate struck me as I walked through the streets of New York City last week. Out of all the places I have traveled to, cities are my favorite spots to explore and people watch. They now also have a special place in my heart because their buildings have become canvases for some of the most honest art I have seen. I understand the controversy surrounding graffiti and respect both sides of the argument. That being said, I think that the positive aspects of graffiti are worth being celebrated.

Two years ago, I visited Jamaica on a service trip. The first impression that I had of Jamaica was the delicious food we picked up at the first take out restaurant we could find outside the airport. Still the best fast food I’ve ever tasted. The second impression I had was the attitude of the people. Every person that we passed said hello, waved, or stopped to talk to the local man who helped us find our way around.

Looking back on the trip, I remember the first thing that made me feel welcome was the graffiti on the side of a building in Kingston. I wish I had taken a photo of it, because it really captures the overall character of the trip. One person had written the word “love.” It had faded over time and would have been invisible had it not been for another person that wrote in larger writing after it “will always be enough." This is my favorite type of graffiti because it shows a dialogue between two people that have probably never met. Some of the people we met in Jamaica were so full of light and yet they had so much less than what Americans consider as living in poverty. It’s safe to say that I will be returning to Jamaica some day, and I can’t wait to see who else I will meet.

Graffiti has become a more legitimate form of art through artists like Banksy, who has had his work displayed in various exhibits. People buy his artwork and he has many followers who are fans of his political activism and satirical images. Graffiti can be used to vandalize, but at the same time, it can be used for good. Graffiti is not all names, swears, and offensive pictures. Some of the graffiti I have seen have positive messages and sometimes quotations that someone felt was worth sharing.

Public statement is part of the power of graffiti, but I think it could be just as powerful without being unwarranted. I like to think of graffiti in a similar way to scars on a body, because it serves as evidence that the building (or the body) has been lived in. Many people have taken to graffiti to showcase the voices that feel unheard. Graffiti has value as art and it tells a story worth reading. Instead of walls being used to separate people from each other, graffiti brings people together and keeps conversations going.

Cover Image Credit: Banksy

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To The Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.

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To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

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20 Amazing Songs You Need For Your Travel Music Videos

Planning to make your new travel video? Use one of these songs as your perfect background music!

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Based on the mood you're currently feeling, here are 20 different songs categorized by when you should use them for a traveling music video:


1. For Those Classic Summer Feels

"Harvest Moon" by Poolside

"Gone" by JR JR

"Hold My Hand" by Jess Glynne

"Summer" by Calvin Harris

For all the lake adventures and mission trips, these are the perfect songs to put behind them to share your experience. Using these songs, your video can have a perfect summer vibe to it!

2. For A Good Winter Vacation

"The Days" by Avicii

"Something Just Like This" by The Chainsmokers

"Roses" by The Chainsmokers

"It Ain't Me" by Kygo ft. Selena Gomez

It's hard finding a perfect song for a cold winter day. These songs can work amazingly to any snowy adventurous video you've made for your winter break.

3. For Everyday Adventures

"Shut Up and Dance" by WALK THE MOON

"To Let Myself Go" by The Avener

"All That Matters" by Justin Bieber

"Youth" by Troye Sivan

We all have our daily vlogs filled with school and friends. These songs can put a touch of amusement and thrill to these videos!

4. For The Perfect Spring Break At The Beach

"Steal My Girl" by One Direction

"The Nights" by Avicii

"Runaways" by Galantis

"Bohemian Rhapsody" by Queen

Every girl has the perfect week at the beach once a year! These songs can show off how incredible your experience with your friends was.

5. For Those City Nights

"Bullet Train" by Stephen Swartz

"Love You Like A Love Song" by Selena Gomez

"G.O.M.D." by J. Cole

"The Heart Wants What It Wants" by Selena Gomez

We all take visits to the city and never have the right songs to make a video with. These upbeat songs will make your city vlog into a perfect travel video!

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