Witness the Small Life – The Mini Apple

This week’s page is dedicated to be a glimpse into my life while being home in the greatest city in the world: Minneapolis! I’ve been catching up on all my favorite things to do that I haven’t been able to in Ann Arbor (sit at the lake, drive a car, relax, etc.) and it’s been a splendid week indeed.

As the first person of my friends home for the summer, I’ve spent much time basking in the freedom of being alone. My relationship with being alone has changed so much this past year and it’s been very evident in how I’ve been spending my past week. In my senior year of high school, my greatest fear was being alone at any given time. I worried that because I’d be moving by the end of that summer and losing proximity to my friends and family that I would then end up being alone forever. However, throughout my time during this first year of college I’ve had to confront that fear head on every day in an unfamiliar place surrounded by strangers. It was extremely hard at first and I’m still adjusting to these new changes in my life, but after a while I felt more and more at peace with myself. I started to learn how to take care of myself outside the pressures of my surrounding social circles. I no longer had to worry about driving my sisters to school or rearranging my work schedule so I could make it to the next hangout with friends. During my day all I had to do was decide on where I was going to study today or if I wanted to go explore a random event posted on a flyer. This past week I’ve been able to apply this college-sparked freewill in my adventures of the city streets and it’s been allowing me to appreciate my home in new lights. From vibrant inspiration for my next art pieces to a new loving familiarity for the communities I grew up in, I feel like I’m entering a new journey of understanding what home is in a place where I feel safe and loved. Although I am surely going to fill this summer to the brim with bonfires with friends and excursions with my sisters, I’m planning on making sure that I get my alone time with myself and my city in order to appreciate both in new and beautiful ways.

To take into our summer:

Ins: Reconnecting with old friends, supporting your local art scene (always), horror podcasts, going to events even if you’re going alone, drawing on your hands, Costco, re-appreciating your old art, quality time with loved ones.

Outs: Not wearing sunscreen, only believing in the worst outcomes, flat soda, letting dust pile up, immaturity, bugs on the windshield, drivers in Minneapolis, not speaking your truth, the ending of Grey’s Anatomy season 5.

Have a beautiful, fantastic summer everyone! Thank you so much for a great semester and for reading (and hopefully enjoying) these entries. Trust that I’ll be back in the fall for our regularly scheduled shenanigans of loving life and each other. Be safe, have fun, and remember to witness the small life!

Witness the Small Life – Long Journey Home

I’M FREE!!! Classes done, critiques finished, dorm packed! Boy, what a semester it has been. A true rollercoaster of epic proportion with all the excitement a girl can handle on a day to day basis.

Firstly, I need to address my mistakes! My burnout brain was apparently so fried that I actually wrote the wrong date for last week’s post! I truly didn’t know what day it was (the prophecies fulfill themselves). Additionally, apologies for the late post! Between getting ready for moving out, actually moving out, and driving 11+ hours, there was a minuscule amount of time to get anything else done. Regardless, we are here! In my chaos of packing up my life into my blue storage bags, there’s been so much happening. From temporary goodbyes to friends to the difficult task of deciding whether or not to keep my various knickknacks or pass them off to others, I’ve been reminded of the multitude of ways we connect ourselves to the world. People, places, things, and memories all make up the different facets of what makes home home. Throughout my journey of intense homesickness and deep fear of change this past year, my relationship to each of these things in my life has shifted and transformed in ways that have been both gratifying and heart-breaking. There’s a duality to growing up and so much of that comes with how our relationship to home metamorphosizes. I feel like there’s never truly an end to this journey of change and that fact scares me while at the same time sparks a flame of excitement in my soul. Although we as people change throughout our lives and the spaces we inhabit will do the same, it helps to remember that there will always be love and support through the challenges of it all, even if it doesn’t feel like it. I find that as people we want to see the best for others, even if they’re just strangers, because we want to see and believe in the compassion and beauty of the world. People change and homes get moved but the existence of love always stays the same.

To take into our next week:

Ins: Limes, the smell of bug spray, remembering to take breaks instead of just giving up, being the early bird that gets the worm, biking, daydreaming on roadtrips.

Outs: Hoarding to the extreme, letting the paranoia get to you, forgetting to patch up holes, taking on more than you can handle, caramel in coffee, not putting recycling in the recycling, cheap perfume.

This is my second to last post for the semester! To everyone wrapping up their semesters, planning their summers, and taking a second to breathe you all are amazing! Remember that even though life throws a bajillion crazy things our way, we will always be there for each other.

Witness the Small Life – Hydration Station

To burn out or not to burn out, that is the struggle! I feel like I’ve been straddling the line between hyper-extreme productivity and rotting-in-bed exhaustion for far too long and this battle has only continued its siege on my life! From forgetting the days of the week to leaving behind entire artworks in classrooms, my life has been a mess of unrelenting chaos.

In addition to the constant threat of my near-death, there’s been too many a small things piling up this week for me, both good and bad. Little chores and errands I have to run that I constantly forget about and decide to do all at once which, of course, forces me to dedicate an entire day to finish them all. Fleeting moments of catching people’s exciting conversations as I walk past them on State Street and feeling happy to have been able to share in their musings for just a second. Although these small things do in fact add to my increasing stress and awareness about everything around me, they also help to remind myself that it’s okay to just exist one second at a time. It’s a cheesy thing to say, as most everything is, but it truly is so important to live in the moment when you can. When we move so fast and the world needs you to do everything everywhere all at once, it can become so impossible to take care of yourself. By allowing yourself to just focus on the small necessities in your life, like needing mend a tear in your pants or needing to take out the trash, it helps so much in the long run of managing your stress. It’s a difficult thing to remind myself of this fact even though I preach it so much, but I do stand by its importance in living a good life.

To take into our next week:

Ins: A robust sticker collection, student film festivals, taking things one step at a time, mosh pits (always), outdoor music, the first 8 seasons of Grey’s Anatomy, mixed metal jewelry, being able to let go.

Outs: Doomscrolling too early in the morning, cold feet (literally and idiomatically), playing stupid games and winning stupid prizes, not scheduling in time to eat, worrying too much about a future too far away, sleeping with wet hair.

I keep saying that we’re in the homestretch, but this time it’s really true! Many of us (including myself) will be finishing up finals and heading back home for the summer in these next few weeks so here’s to us and all of our hard work! May we all have a happy and healthy end of the semester (and don’t burn out too much!)

Witness the Small Life – Serenade on Comm South

Hi everyone! Welcome to my first post for my series Witness the Small Life. Through weekly doodles and photo-collages, I hope to encourage myself and you all to remember to stop, smell the roses, and appreciate the littlest parts of our lives that make them full.

A quick little introduction of me: My name is Mia and I’m currently a freshman studying Art and Design! I was born and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota but I’m happy I get to call Ann Arbor home now too. Some of my favorite artists include: Basquiat, Norman Rockwell, Julie Mehretu, and Ricardo Levins Morales (also from Minneapolis!). I currently love illustration and printmaking, and I’m hoping to become a teaching artist (or something along those lines) when I graduate. Besides art, I also love to crochet, roller skate, watch really cheesy movies, and listen to pretty much every genre of music under the sun.

With every drawing I do, I’ll include a little blurb about it/the things that happened within my week. Consider these posts a kind of diary/word salad/thought catcher of sorts. This week was a little bit of a hard one. I’ve been getting super homesick and with a bunch of last minute work right before spring break, everything felt extremely overwhelming. But, I’m lucky to have friends here to pull me out of those difficult moments and spend time singing on buses in the middle of the night with me. This week, I also took time to draw for myself instead of just for class. Keeping a steady art practice is so important! I’m so neglectful of making art for me and not for the sake of others, so even if it’s just a doodle a day it really helps to just do it! Even if everything you make sucks (in theory!) or you feel the imposter syndrome coming on yet again, consistency is key.

I’m a person who has a lot of thoughts, so I hope to share these with you to start our new weeks refreshed and with some words to chew on. I’m a big list fan, so here’s a list of my ins and outs for our upcoming spring break week!

Ins: Singing MORE, taking time to just sit in silence and stare at things, patching up holes, watching more movies on DVD, napping midday with the curtains open, smiling at strangers even if they don’t smile back.

Outs: Letting dirty dishes pile up, wearing too-tight shoes at the wrong times (even if they look super cool), sleeping in my mascara, popping cough drops like they’re candy, forgetting to text people back even if it’s just liking a video they sent.

Have a fantastic spring break and enjoy the small life out there! <3