By Blair Moore

The Industry's Pivotal Forces

Ingalls Photo

Everybody says it, but music has genuinely been an extremely pivotal force in my life since before I was born. My dad was going on tour with his punk band when I was a baby, and now we sit in front of Logic files and my sampler board as we try to figure out how any of it works. 

I grew up singing bad pop and Paramore. I still do. But as I got older, I started paying a lot more attention to lyricism and creativity. I would say it started when I heard “Chocolate” by The 1975 on the radio for the first time. My 13-year-old self was in awe. I had never heard a voice like Matty Healy’s, I’d never heard guitar licks like the ones in that song, the melodies were unreal—it was like something clicked in my head. I wanted more of whatever it was. I looked the band up and became a fan immediately. I don’t want to say they changed things for me, but they did. As I listened to them more, I realized I’m really good at picking out all the different components of a song. I can isolate the bass from the drums and the drums from the guitars and guitars from the harmonies from the main vocals from the lyrics. Learning to pay attention to all of these things caused me to appreciate them, too. I was slowly but fortunately emerging out of my emo-screamo rock music phase at this point, so from then on, it was like a clean slate. The 1975 (and whoever else could make me feel like they did) was my new type. 

Fast forward five years and music is completely intertwined with my identity. I can still appreciate a catchy pop song, but it’s safe to say that I get all inspiration—for not only my music and my writing but also my lifestyle—from people I feel are revolutionizing the business today. It’s not their sounds that are inspiring. I don’t listen to them and think, “I want to create something exactly like that.” It’s more the individuality I want to emulate. I want to write a song or a story and feel confident that every single aspect of that creation is saying something important just like the artists below do.

This is not the first nor the last time a Lithium staff member will rave about BROCKHAMPTON, and I’m not upset about it. The “boy band” and rap collective from Texas who met through a Kanye West fan site will undoubtedly be one of my favorite groups until the day I die. These boys are actual legends, and I mean that as seriously and genuinely as possible. Releasing three full length albums in one year, the SATURATION trilogy, the main rappers (Kevin, Matt, Ameer, Dom, Merlyn, and Joba) tackle topics like homosexuality, dropping out of college, drug abuse, black identity, and mental health. What’s interesting, though, is that even their heaviest songs are still easy and fun to listen to. The production is subjectively the most creative and innovative I’ve ever heard, as unconventional samples and sounds are prominent in all three records (with thanks to producers Remil and Q3). While they’ve collected a dedicated following, the boys and their iconic blue makeup are sure to continue rising in the ranks. 

Declan McKenna
My dad and I found Declan by accident. We randomly clicked on the “Paracetamol” video and unanimously decided that he was brilliant. The keyboard in that song stands out in a first listen, but the provoking lyrics quickly push their way to the frontline while the video explores nonbinary gender identities and LGBT relationships. At 19, Declan stands as a strong voice for young adults and is a strong force in the industry, writing other songs like the FIFA protest “Brazil” and the rebuttal against modern stereotypes against teenagers in “The Kids Don’t Wanna Come Home.” 

Lorde made a name for herself at just 17 years old with her chart topping single “Royals.” As for the rest of the Pure Heroine album, it’s almost like she wrapped up the feeling of being a teenager with the most cathartic and honest bow. Somehow, both times Lorde has dropped an album have been times in my life in which I needed to hear what she had to say. Her music is charming, intelligent, and clever, while her lyricism and utilization of all instruments (like the iconic trumpets in “Sober”) create something cinematic. She alludes to her own lyrics from her previous record and tells stories with her words, even painting an image of a car crash in the most elegant way possible (“We’ll end up painted on the road / Red and chrome / All the broken glass sparkling”) At the end of the day, Lorde does her own one-of-a-kind thing and doesn’t let anybody stop her. When critics began making a mockery of her eclectic dancing, she attended the 2017 VMA’s and performed an entire dance routine with no vocals. 

Billie Eilish
At just 15, Billie acted as her own writing credit with her brother Finneas on production of her first EP, don’t smile at me. Her lyrics are entirely driven by her personality, as she’s often stated that she doesn’t find it necessary as an artist to only write about things to which she can relate. We see that in the song “bellyache,” written from the perspective of a serial killer. The EP showcases her individuality and charisma as a musician, with a sarcastic voicemail introduction on “party favor” and “Alright dude, go trip over a knife” spoken in the bridge of “my boy.” Not only does Billie maintain a unique identity in her music, but her online presence is unmatched. She’s solidified a look with her oversized clothing and silver hair, exuding a refreshing self-confidence and security for such a young and eccentric character. 

Jessie Reyez
Few artists have the ability to sound better live than recorded, and Jessie is one of them. The heart-wrenching vocals and lyrics of “Figures” made for an impressive debut, but “Gatekeeper” honestly made my jaw drop. The raw and blunt song challenges the music industry and its expectations of women, and the music video illustrates an unfortunate reality for not only Jessie but countless other women trying to succeed in the business. She nods to Colombia in other songs like “F*** It” and “Colombian King and Queen,” adding a cultural layer to her work. Jessie used her first EP as an emerging artist to talk about what’s important with no bounds, and I think that’s the best first impression she could have made. 

Hayley Kiyoko 

If I’m going to exist at the same time as any modern lesbian musician, I am so glad it’s Hayley Kiyoko. We’ve had LGBT musicians before, and Hayley isn’t the only one we have today (Syd from The Internet! Halsey! Troye Sivan! Kevin Abstract!), but I’ve never seen anybody do it how she does it. The thing about her is that she’s completely unapologetic. Her songs talk about real feelings, and her music videos (which she always directs or co-directs) showcase real situations that we don’t normally get to see no matter how much we want or need to. She doesn’t shy away from pronouns or using diverse women in all of her videos. She doesn’t shy away from talking about or alluding at female sexuality. Somehow, in her short but budding career, she’s found a way to give us all of the representation we’ve been looking for from an LGBT artist. 

By Angelica Crisostomo

The Burden of Serving: Sexual Harassment in the Restaurant Industry

I was 15 when I started my job at a local catering hall. It was my first job, and I was incredibly excited to work somewhere so formal—the employee dress code was black-tie, and from what I’d heard, the entire venue had historical prestige. During my 8-hour shifts, I waitressed; I catered to increasingly drunk wedding guests and raced around the ballroom for seemingly endless amounts of time. 

At first, it was harmless fun. I got to meet hundreds of people each weekend, starting conversations and helping people on the happiest day of their lives. But after a few weeks, I began to notice that something was a bit off. Had men always looked at me like that? Or was I just overanalyzing it? 

This trend of increasing concern—all of which I tried to brush away with a haphazard it’s probably nothing—continued relentlessly. I received cheeky comments while blowing out candles, endured painstakingly chauvinistic, flirtatious banter during cocktail hour, gently turned down a 30-year-old man’s drunken invite to that night’s after-party, and pretended as though having tips tucked into the hem of my pants was perfectly fine. I found that when I wore more makeup, my tips almost doubled. The majority of this cash came from (you guessed it!) creepy old men. 

But none of that compared to what happened during a cool April wedding last year. I was 16. A man approached me at coat check and initiated a conversation. I thought nothing of it—it was the end of the night, and he was probably bored out of his mind waiting for the bus to come so he could leave and go home. So I stood there, responding minimally to his small talk, until he rested his palms on top of my clasped hands and looked at me.

“You know, you’re really cute. We should hang out sometime. I’m an entertainer—I could entertain you.” He slurred, reaching into his pocket to hand me a business card. At this point, several thoughts were reverberating in my brain.

1. This is a 50-year-old man. He could be my father.
2. An entertainer?
3. Coat check is isolated from the rest of the ballroom. Where were my coworkers?

After he left, I stood there. I felt the odd, misplaced sentiment that so many women have felt in my place: was this my fault? Had I somehow led him to believe I was interested in hanging out? What should I have done differently?

That was bad, but it’s not like it was the be-all and end-all of my Bad Workplace Experiences With Men. Three months ago, I was working another monotonous wedding and a table of slightly rowdy men, all of whom were at least twenty to thirty years my senior, were giving me coy looks. Okay. Nothing I hadn’t handled before. But what really threw me for a loop was what followed.

“Do you have class tomorrow?” One of them asked. He had to be my stepdad’s age.
“Yes, unfortunately!” I smiled. I could be friendly from a distance.
“How old are you?”
“17. Why?” He looked disappointed.
“That’s a shame. Me and my friends,” he said, gesturing to the other men at the table, “were taking bets on whether you were old enough.” Old enough.

I have bonded with my female coworkers over the threat of sexual harassment too many times to be as naive as to not understand what that meant. And in all honesty, it wasn’t until I read an article by Kirsten King that I realized how prevalent this harassment is across the industry. It wasn’t just me, and it wasn’t just my catering hall; in fact, it’s been discovered that tipped-wage workers across the board are more likely to experience higher levels of sexual harassment. Even worse, a stunning 90 percent of women in the restaurant industry report being subject to unwanted sexual advances while on the job. After all, the principle has always been that the customer is right. Why would that differ when sexual comments are introduced to the conversation? As Dianne Avery, a writer and retired professor at the University of Buffalo’s School of Law, has remarked, the incorporation of tipped wages creates a harmful dynamic between the male customer and female waitress. 
Says Avery, “This is the exchange: ‘I’m getting to look at you and talk to you, and I’m paying for it.’” 

I am thankful to live in a time in which men are finally being criticized for the sexually imbalanced workplace culture they have created in the film industry. But it’s time to expand this conversation to the other industries in which this culture is running rampant: while more than 14% of sexual harassment claims between 2005 and 2015 were made by members of the restaurant industry, retail workers came in a close second with 13.44%. If true progress is going to be made, it must cater to those beyond the silver screen; it must cater to the average woman. 

By Olivia Ferrucci

No More Silence

By Syahirah Harun


This piece is based on the freeing yet painful nature of initiating self-transformation.

By Cecilia Lu


By Adèle Mathieu

The World Needs a Revolution

No matter how large the scale, change is both crucial and impactful. A revolution can be a subtle type of fighting or a loud outcry, because both are healthy contributors to change. I believe that there is a deeper meaning to be found in all things; if you can't find one, then you should create it yourself. In this piece, I converted an ordinary photograph into a powerful statement to show that there is always something you can do to benefit progress. Whether you choose to make art, sign petitions, or join protests, all methods have the same end goal: to raise awareness and support a revolution. Make whatever voice you have loud and resonant, and always be proud to contribute to the noise.

By Amanda Pendley

Loss Memory

In 2018, I want to start making more personal art. Coming home for my first long break from college was a strange transition for me, and I found myself trying to reconcile who I had become in college and who I was at home. These two parts of myself felt at war.

At home, I had so much time to myself, time I spent reflecting. In college, I felt that I had become the person I was trying to be for years, and I didn't know how to balance that with people's expectations of who I was supposed to be. I had to change my habits in order to feel at peace.

At the start of a new year, I find myself striving to balance all the parts of myself that are at war. I'm trying to balance all my experiences and memories and dreams for the future. This photo series is an examination of my search for balance as I search through memory.

By Carly Hough

To a Kinder 2018

Starting the new year off right is really exciting for me, because it means I get to make a list of my 'resolutions' or simply just some new things to do, whether it's breaking bad habits, going to new places, or trying out new activities. For me, it doesn't always have to be big; even the simplest of things can get you started off right this year. Here's to a kinder 2018!

By Julia Tabor

How I Deal With My Anxiety Through Writing

Sawyer Dixon

I’ve always found myself weaving in and out of times in my life during which I felt so overwhelmed I didn’t think I could get through another day. As time has gone by, I have found that these times are spanning longer periods of time and have gotten much more severe. At this point in my life, I constantly have this feeling that something is going to go wrong, or that I’m in the wrong place, or that I’m living in a dream world where nothing around me is real. Even though I am past just being sleep deprived, I still lay in my bed staring at the ceiling for hours on end before I can even consider the idea of sleeping. I spend more time with headphones in my ears than I do without. The sound of silence makes my heart beat so quickly that my body can barely keep up. 

Despite all of this, I’ve been scared to open up to anyone about just how bad my anxiety has gotten for fear of over dramatizing. Is it really as bad as I think it is? I mean, it’s gotten to the point where I rarely have a day that I don’t have a panic attack, but could that just be me overreacting? Overanalyzing? For the past three months I have been tense, stressed, and filled with this feeling that I am going to mess my entire life up. I’ve tried to convince myself that this happens to everyone, that I’m overreacting, but as each day passes, it becomes more clear that this isn’t something I can avoid anymore.

I started talking about my anxiety with friends on a very lowkey basis, casually mentioning how stressed I was or how I may have completely panicked over absolutely nothing the night before. I was hoping they wouldn’t catch onto how often it was occuring or notice how much more tense and reserved I’d become. Unfortunately (and fortunately), I have very observant friends who’ve called me out on my dismissal of how bad my nerves have gotten. As days have turned into weeks, I have become almost completely honest with them; at the same time, though, there is still so much I just can’t tell them. On my own time, I have started writing a page or two a day about my feelings, which has helped immensely, but not completely. I have also turned to music as a source of serenity and hope. It has allowed me to go into my own world and block out the big, scary challenges that I have to face every moment of every day. The problem with these escapes is that they don’t solve those hours that I spend in school. The amount of stress and nervousness I experience skyrockets when I even think about going to school. The constant stress of getting good grades, looking presentable, and being a good friend piles up. 

At this point, I have decided that I need to make a decision about how to continue each day. I can keep telling myself this is nothing, but that isn’t going to help me. For all I know, I could just be overly stressed and not actually have anxiety—but I won’t know that if I keep bottling my feelings up and automatically shutting down until I have another panic attack. Writing has become a huge outlet for me, which is strange because I’ve always hated doing so for school. However, being able to get my feelings onto paper has decreased the amount of panic attacks I have daily. Although I am not at the point where I feel like I can open up to my mom about this topic, I do want to get there eventually. Being someone who has never opened up to my mom about things as simple as getting my period or the boy I think is super cute, it feels impossible to talk about something so personal. By writing every day, I am able to organize my thoughts and figure out how to approach my anxiety. It has really become my anchor.

Writing is something you can do, too. The most important thing is that you don’t pressure yourself to write a certain amount each day. Some days I only feel like writing a handful of sentences about what I ate that day or how that boy in that one class made me smile so much my cheeks hurt after a matter of minutes. Other days, I write about how my day was so horrible that I shook nonstop and just wanted to go home so I could cry and hide in my room. If you try to force a certain amount of words a day, it will become more of a burden than an escape. Also, keep in mind that what you write is NOT going to be graded by a teacher. So make it yours! Write in slang or write in full words, write paragraphs or write random sentences in different sizes. What you write and how you write it is completely up to you. If you want to write with the same ballpoint pen each time, do it! If you want to be creative, use different colors! You don’t just have to write words down, either—you can doodle or draw full page pictures, too. Write or create what makes you feel good. I can only hope it brings you as much comfort as it has brought me these past few months. 

By Rosie Lauezzari


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The world does not revolve around us. We are reminded of this every day as we interact with countless other beings and engage in the various workings of the world. When we’re so focused on contributing to something greater, what we do for ourselves can seem irrelevant or meaningless, and feel unproductive. However, sometimes we have to remind ourselves that we are allowed to be the center of our own universe. We owe ourselves more than letting other people or our relationships dictate what we do. It’s important to connect with yourself and discover who you are as a person.

Centered around a girl searching for a guide on her journey, this series conveys the concept of a search to find what it means to revolve around oneself. Initially, she looks and reaches towards various objects, including the Sun, the center of our Solar System, for guidance.  Eventually, however, she realizes that she’s been looking in the wrong place all along and looks within to guide herself. This is depicted when she blocks out the Sun in the last photo.

Others come and go. You are the only constant in your journey. It’s up to you to guide yourself through every storm and surpass every obstacle in your way to beat the odds and reach the shore. Start looking to yourself for the answers and start a revolution within.

“I’ll walk where my own nature would be leading. It vexes me to choose another guide.” - Emily Brontë

Modeled by Bella Havens