Gender: A Progression








Youth








Photos by Willian Alava


She's a Little Blue But So Are You


   Whenever the night closes around me like a dome, I am scared. The walls are so close that I feel the cold glass pressing against the tips of my fingers when I reach out. I see the smokey clouds twist around the twinkling stars and pockets of darker darkness all around me. Sometimes, it makes the back of my spine sound as though it is being beaten by a xylophone mallet. I feel that cold sometimes. I used to think nightfall was my friend. I used to think he'd let me hide in his pockets.

   But there are days when the sun breaks out around her fellow stars and dissolves all that inky infinity in the sky (for the time being, at least). Her rays reach out to me; they are warm. Always warm. I wish I could feel them all the time. Even when they touch me, sometimes the night still holds his grip tight, coating my skin like sludge from an oil spill.
I feel disgusting, but I wake up knowing that the sun will sleep with me when nightfall wakes me up in the morning when it is time for her to spill through the cracks between my curtains. She'll push me off my bed when I start believing I'm too sunken into it to climb out. She gets me showered and dressed and makes sure I'm wearing enough of her kisses to keep warm when the dark tries to freeze me over. 

   But sometimes, I don't even let her hold my hand. Sometimes, even her touch doesn't soothe me, and next thing, I am exploding like a volcano and I'm so hot that I burn even her.
She is the sun. She doesn't get burned. But I feel her recoil. I feel her recoil and it makes me hate myself, but she always comes back, brighter for me every morning. And that's how I know she loves me— because she allows me to feel the pain and the pleasure. She allows me to return her satin touch, and sometimes I can't even believe she has a human form. She is too sacred.
But still, we are perfect.




Everything is blue when she looks into the mirror, even her smile.
Under fluorescence she looks bluer, but that's okay. I see her pulling out her classic red lipstick, and she painting on a grin for everyone to remember tonight.
She's like a walking hologram, flickering in and out like she's a part of constant bad service. I see her faltering. I see her and no one else does.
I'm learning she's a phantom. I'm learning that everything's blue when she comes around because she can't help it. She hides her face in her hair to deny it. She makes half-hearted jokes and sometimes they're even whole-hearted. That's when it's tricky, but still, I know.
Believe me, she's still beautiful when she's blue. Sometimes, I see her flicker in reds, pinks, and yellows. I like to watch her drift in and out because it reminds me she's still here. Somehow. Anchored by what, I don't know, but she's still here. I know it when I see life flare into her cheeks. I know it when the sunset is beautiful after a storm and she is smiling like she's never seen one like it before. I know it when she's dancing because she never dances. I know it when she tells me it's going to be okay, even as she turns bluer.




Photos by Natalie Ondrik & Text by Gwen Peralta

Editor's Letter: September Edition


After a great deal of research, I have found that the word 'passion' has no true synonyms. There is no other phrase in the English language that defines a fervent love, an ardent need to create, or the sheer amount of emotion the human mind is capable of. I haven't been this excited about an issue since our self-love installment in February. Our content this month is rich, thoughtful, and beautiful. The Lithium team awed me with their creativity and brilliance, and I'm sure you will be too! Some of my favorite pieces include Julia Tabor's drawings of Lithium contributors (hint: I'm in there), Dvita's article on mental illnesses of all sorts, and this photoset by Marina Shapiro. I have had an incredible time learning more about our staff this month- not only through their submissions, but our newly established group chat. I cannot tell you how much this month has meant to me! Lexi and I work so hard to bring you the best material and message we can. We wanted the theme 'passion' because that is exactly what I feel for Lithium- it is why I put countless hours editing, trying to figure out HTML, or even making my dream of a New York City magazine birthday party come true (things I did: that). It's why I will never stop putting everything I have into this thing- this intangible creation that has given me hope. I am so endlessly inspired by not only the contributors, but our readers. Thank you for keeping me inspired and wanting to create. See you next issue- until then, stay passionate.

With the most love,
Olivia Ferrucci
Editor in Chief


Visual by Kathryn Zix

Towards Dreams & Goals


By Imani Allen

Passion: A Collection of Short Poems


By Lexi Miller

I.
Her hair blows
Surrounding her face
Like a vine entangling an overgrown garden.

Her laugh radiates
Extending in a warm embrace
Like the sun when she wakes up each morning.

II.
My handwriting swirls around on my paper
As my cursive writing flies onto the page.
In my three years of high school, I have written
One creative writing piece.

I do not know how anymore.

III.
Humans have the innate desire for attention.
I’m not sure why.
All I know is talking to someone feels better
Than the deafening silence of loneliness.

IV.
I’ll pour out my heart for you,
As long as you pour it back into the container
When you are done.


Girls Girls Girls


a mix about girl power, fighting for your rights and loving shamelessly.

Curation and visual by Nicole Rayner

Enclosed Gaps



By Samantha N. Fabian

Lexi's Editor Letter






A THANK YOU TO THE LITHIUM FAMILY


     As Lithium nears its one year anniversary, I can't help but think how lucky I am to be apart of it. For those of you who don't know, Olivia started this magazine in December of last year and I began editing for her not long after. Olivia has such creative energy and an amazing talent to create; I am incredibly lucky to work with her.

     After seeing this issue take shape, I can honestly stay I am amazed at the collective talent of all our contributors. Seeing each and every one of the contributors improve over time and create even better content is honestly so special to me. I appreciate each and every one that helps make Lithium Magazine great. Thank you so much for a beautiful issue and thank you so much to our amazing contributors and supporters.

When I Woke Up


This piece relates to the 'passion' of emotion. It leads the viewer to interpret it as their own story about loss, learning, or whatever this piece sparks on an individual level. Personally, I view it as a passion for a person that is then lost, but they eventually find other emotions. This challenges the idea of how passion can be perceived as many different things.

By Ruby McVicar

Blue Lovers


By Marte Lindholm

Struggling in Passion







Photos by Marina Shapiro

The Lithium Team: A Visual Series

BY JULIA TABOR


Syahirah Harun


Daisy Acosta


Dharma Gilley


Hannah Thompson


Iya Perez


Jada Moore


Laura Oyuela


Marina Shapiro


Olivia Ferrucci


Rally Telano


Fall Favorites: Beauty & More



By Bridget Fitzpatrick
FALL FAVORITES

Morphe 35OM Palette: This palette is beautiful. It’s full of fall colors including reds, oranges, and browns. The palette is filled of only matte colors, but there are versions that come with all shimmer, or a mixture of both. The set is very affordable for such amazing pigment.

Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water: This product is a fantastic makeup remover. Taking off eye makeup can be hard, but this does it. I just wet a small cotton circle and with a few swipes, my makeup is gone. 

Too Faced Hangover Primer: Made with coconut water, this primer is EVERYTHING! Using only a small amount, you can feel the primer get tacky on your face but also moisturize. The primer helps your makeup last perfectly all day.

Nunzio Saviano Anti-Frizz Sheets: These portable sheets are made with coconut oil to help maintain frizz. I like to swipe one across my hair on humid days to calm down my frizz. 

Wet Brush: The wet brush is the PERFECT brush. Though it seems like a cheap one you could buy at the dollar store, it gets through knots easily.

X Infinity by Watsky: Watsky kills it yet again with this record. Through his mix of rap and slam poetry, Watsky sends messages through his music and provides a commentary on the state of our society. Such songs as “Pink Lemonade” and “Stick to Your Guns” make this album an instant hit. 

Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur: This book is extremely thought provoking, to say the least. Writing about her personal experiences, the author pulls the reader into a journey of loss and the harsh realities of life through her poetry.

Model Co Power Lash Mascara: I received this in a monthly subscription bag and it is MAGIC. I use it for my bottom lashes and as one coat on my upper lashes. My lashes grow so nicely and there are no clumps whatsoever. 

Torrid Faux Leather Zip Ankle Booties: These shoes have been my obsession this past month. They are perfect for a night out or just for a casual boot. These are for wide feet, which is perfect, because a lot of people with wide feet can’t find shoes like these for them. 



FALL FAILS

Garnier Blackhead Eliminating Scrub: I wanted this to work so badly. Overall, it hasn’t done anything to remove my blackheads or pores. 

NYX Liquid Illuminator: These are just a huge miss for me. The colors don’t work, and they’re terrible to blend out. I love NYX as a brand, just not these illuminators. 

Too Faced Melted Liquid Lipsticks: These are not the matte liquid ones, but the ones found in tubes. I cannot say how much I hate these. The tip is fabric-ish and I just can’t deal with it. The application is terrible, and the feel of them is so weird. They also stain your lips. I do not recommend, although I haven’t tried their new matte ones. 

NYX Loose Glitter: Everyone raves about these, and maybe I’m not using them right, but I’m not a fan. They fall off and get everywhere. 

Lush Dry Shampoo: As much as I love Lush, this product is terrible. It doesn’t come in an aerosol can, which is good, but it comes out very quickly and in big clumps. The product sticks to already clean hands. This product does NOTHING for your hair. 

Buxom Mascara: I don’t remember the exact one I bought, but it was too expensive and not worth it. It does NOTHING to my lashes. Skip it. 

Tarte Glossy Lip Paint: I bought this thinking it was a liquid lip, so I guess it’s on me. This is way too glossy and just completely comes off. It’s supposed to be a glossy liquid lip sort of thing, and I’m just not a fan. 

Stila All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner in the color Periwinkle: This was so so disappointing. I was so excited because liquid colorful eyeliners are so cute, and this is the cutest shade, but it had no pigmentation. I would go for the Too Faced Sketch Liners or the NYX Vivid Brights. 

Boy #1


By Liza Rosen

Coming from a girl who used to bleed for pleasure, loving you is the most painful form of self-harm that I have ever indulged in. I am running through a forest flooded with an infinity of trees and you are the only living thing that provides me with fresh air; I cannot breathe without your instruction and I'm not sure I want to anyway. I have never felt so wanted as I did when you handed me a slew of broken car parts and you asked me, “How much?”. Why doesn’t the fire burning inside me satisfy the tip of your cigarette? You know you can die from broken heart syndrome; I know you are a black hole, a deadly labyrinth of the damn milky way, but I do not hesitate to be engulfed by the wrath of your adoration; I can’t wait until the sun explodes. I don’t know why I can only feel my heartbeat when you touch me or when I’m going 90 on an interstate; God––how I pray and pray and pray to a god whose existence I question––God, how you electrify me to the point of lethality; the intensity of your gaze replenishes me with enough energy to escape eating for months; I could muster all of the hatred in my soul, but thrust not one ounce of it in your direction; there’s an uncanny comfort in accepting rejection before it comes from you; I can still feel the skin you touched swell in apprehension of our next meeting; please tell me I’m not making this up.

Action Potentials: A Love Story Against Romanticizing Mental Disorders


“Flirting with madness was one thing;
when madness started flirting back,
it was time to call the whole thing off.”
-Rohinton Mistry, A Fine Balance

Your brain is a mesh of complication. It’s a mess of information forming microscopic three staged structures that fold in a specific way to form long, weaving bodies that don’t really ever touch each other. These bodies send electrical signals that control your every movement, breath and thought. It’s a tangle of electrical signals called action potentials that send either a positive or negative sign and are controlled by little channels in the brain made by a selective sieve that decides whether or not molecules can pass through the holes or not. It’s a chaotic swirl of these action potentials who then, with their positive or negative signal, float like little puzzle pieces across the gap between the bodies and latch on to their matching puzzle piece on the other end which then releases another action potential, another puzzle piece and once again, another action potential – all traveling in less than one meter per second.

With a complication as big as this one, the human brain inevitably makes mistakes. In these mistakes lies the basis of mental disorders: perhaps too little puzzle pieces cross the gap, perhaps there are incorrect positive or negative signals, perhaps the channels don’t open up as they are supposed to. Mental disorders occur in the moments of disruption in the chaotic logic our mesh of bodies follows.


This summer, I studied our mesh of bodies and the irregularities that come with it in the Abnormal Psychology class in Stanford University. I learned about when and why and where the channels open and close. I learned about the different puzzle pieces: GABA and dopamine and serotonin and how they affect the brain. I learned about puzzle pieces that are waiting to be latched on to, and I fell in love with action potentials- intricate, essential and all happening as I press my fingers against the keys to type this now.

Falling in love has its drawbacks. Doing so with action potentials helped me realize that some brains fall short of reaching their potentials because of dysfunctional parts that stop their action. Mental disorders such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and depression simply lack the right actions to fill their potential, and as medicine advances, drugs that complete that potential can be formed. However, drugs can’t ever complete the potential; society must advance too.

In recent years, we have seen a great advancement in the education of mental disorders and lessening the stigma around these conditions. While talking about disorders and allowing those with mental disorders to feel as equal to others as they are is aiding in the control of these disorders, there is a flip side to the spectrum that modern society is delving into.

Romanticizing, or regarding mental disorders as an ideal, is an issue in our modern society. Mental disorders are glorified in social media sites, music, art, and writing pieces when, in truth, there is nothing desirable in making your life harder that it is.


Depression is the most abundant mental disorder in modern society. Depression, or clinically Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), has a lifetime prevalence rate of around 20 percent – 1 out of every 5 people will have to deal with a depressive episode of two weeks or more at some point in their lifetime. The United States of America loses $192 million due to loss of jobs because of depression. This disorder is not poetic. Depression is sleepless nights and slept-through days. Depression is not having the energy to get out bed and make a bowl of cereal in the morning. Depression is repetitive thoughts that one is less than, inadequate, unloved, and not good enough for life. Depression is the one million people that die of suicide each year.


93 percent of people born to a parent with bipolar disorder will inherit it. Bipolar disorder is thoughts buzzing through your brain so fast you get a headache. It is logically impractical, consisting of dangerous ideas you come up with because you are a GENIUS that you believe could fully work. It’s driving down a straight road and ending up in the middle of a forest, it’s almost breaking the car door when you get out in the forest, it’s shrieks of anger, pain, and frustration because you have no idea what is going on. Bipolar is a high and a destructive fall.


It takes over an hour for those with severe OCD to even leave their houses. OCD is not adorable. It is knowing that tapping the wall twice is a silly idea, but also believing that if you don’t do it the world will crash around you. OCD is washing and re-washing your hands until you bleed, it is waking up at 4 A.M. every morning just to be able to get to your job on time. OCD is losing your job because you are always late and you just can’t help it.


Schizophrenia is not trippy. Schizophrenia is depending on another person for the rest of your life because you are always a danger to yourself. It is voices, mean, demanding, screaming behind your ears telling you to do things that are ridiculous. It is seeing things that don’t exist and believing in things that are untrue without you knowing it. Schizophrenia is the homeless people shouting on the streets at one in the morning because they have no one to help rid them of the voices.


Substance abuse is not cool. Alcoholics and druggies are not dope. Substance abuse is needing a chemical to survive, substance abuse is going to extreme lengths to get more of the substance, substance abuse is making the substance more important than the people around you. It is the shaking, the need for a constant high, and the idea that you can’t live without it. Substance abuse is the reason there are more people with mental disorders in prisons than in hospitals.


Mental disorders are not cool or poetic. They are a pain to live with, a pain to control, and a constant reminder that your actions can never fill in your potentials. Mental disorders should not be glossed over and made pretty, but they should be acknowledged. They should be talked about, and they should be diagnosed.

Mental illness should be treated like a disease or a broken leg. When you realize you broke your leg, you go to a doctor. When you realize your mesh of complication isn’t working all that well, you go to a doctor. You don’t say “She’s being so bipolar lately” because you wouldn’t say “Oh my god, you’re being such an Ebola today”.   

By Dvita Kapadia  

Visual by Aimee Cole

Let's Stay Together




By Samantha N. Fabian

Ergo Sum


Pull the blinds and hear a shudder
For it was your arms to lift them
Dismiss the blurry vision
What was it?

To wear an invisible armor
That doesn’t weigh?
What is it?

To be a woman
To chew up and spit out
To be weary of even ones we sit in the thrones
To bang heads clash bones
with nothing else but flesh up the sleeve

To give with my hand when tongue cannot meet teeth
To solidify over mystify
To defy
my own self and name it comfort

To speak with a muscle

To listen
not hear

To guard with myself
those who gather around my rest

To be
knees deep
in left right side brain

They ask for one single word
What was it?
What is it?

Close the blinds
Hear the shudder
Start again tomorrow

Text and Visual by Angelica Crisostomo