I Never Understood, Until Now

Madi Skinner, 17, she/her/hers

There is nothing more important to find in this life than health,

That most people can agree on.

Except, there is one exception to this,

That being the quest for happiness.

However, finding this can be tricky,

As happiness doesn’t look like what we expect it to.

Happiness can look awfully similar to sadness.

I find myself crying when i‘m overjoyed,

And laughing when i‘m in pain.

I find myself confusing the sound of my friends laughter for tears,

Or mixing up the mournful quiver of their voice for the cackle of silent chuckle.

I find that people drown themselves with substance when they are down in the dumps,

And they intoxicate themselves just the same when they celebrate.

I find that the exact same bad or good habits stem from both these roots,

And that the outcomes are generally intertwined.

You can not be truly happy without a taste of desperation,

You can not be truly sad without having seen the sun.

Happiness doesn’t always look like what we think it might.

We feel happiness the same way we feel sadness.

Of course they are polar opposites, yet they attract each other.

Magnets in the range of our minds.

You can not have one,

Without having the other,

And they never come alone.

Find Madi on Instagram @madi_skinner53

“M A T I L D A – pretty ugly”

By: Nour Al-Haddawi, 15, she/her/hers

for my portraits, (I like to give my subjects names since it feels more meaningful and it is based on the personality I see in them and the characteristics they embody) this piece represents one of the few struggles people deal with, which is the constant question of beauty and it’s norms. we are constantly dwelling on our appearances and worth compared to what we perceive as beautiful. Everyone wants what they don’t have, and while we are knit picking on our flaws, others are envying them. It is a constant battle that everyone deals with, and it is one of the few things that prevent us from enjoying the fuller picture of our life. we spend so much time on these things that hurt us which shouldn’t.  This painting was meant to contradict the traditional appearance of art, to further accentuate the controversial view on beauty.