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Roanne Mendoza

You only realize you’re in a quarter life crisis when you search “quarter life crisis” on Google- and as dramatic as that sounds, that moment usually indicates a deeper issue that is present.


As an adolescent, there is a synonymous theme in coming of age when transitioning into adulthood. Confusion and teen angst is almost romanticized through demographic messaging because that ill fit is justified within the time frame of youth. Personally, the vulnerability in my actions was never apparent during those years. My quote-on-quote frivolous teenage years consisted of doing well in school, having a stable job, an internship in the creative industry, a solid group of friends, and being in a serious relationship. Although this may sound comforting, (and I am eternally grateful for all those experiences), earlier this year I internalized the idea of plateauing in life at such a young age. This was my biggest fear. Instead of feeling insecure about not doing enough for myself, I worried that this was it.


 To add onto that overarching stress, natural circumstances of unforeseeable change began to affect my daily routine and I was unsure of how to react to these adjustments. In preoccupying myself with both extra-curricular and personal projects because I was required to, or only because I was legible, I realized I wasn’t doing these activities that was once “fun” for the right reasons. It came to a point that I felt dissociated with reality and ultimately unhappy with myself due to this misconception. For over a year I didn’t quite feel like creating anything I was truly proud of because there was no personal purpose behind it. Rarely did I feel present. In actuality, nothing seemed ‘wrong’ per se, but going through the motions of disconnection affected all my relationships over time- my relationships with others, but also my entire understanding of who I am as a person. This overwhelming detachment turned out to have a silver lining- because it was the beginning of my “No-Auto-Pilot” journey.


It wasn’t until I was walking downtown less than a few months ago that I became self aware of all of this, and I could see the entirety of my yearlong quarter life crisis in abstraction. This particular day I was listening to Earl Sweatshirt’s album, Doris, when the song “Sunday” came on:


“I know it don’t seem difficult to hit you up/ but you’re not passionate about half the shit you’re into and I ain’t having it”.


Incessantly, I repeated this song for weeks following that day because of the weight that the opening line had resonated. I felt dismissive to my surroundings for so long now, that suddenly all I wanted was to create art (or anything for that matter) for my own enjoyment and to invoke these feelings I’ve cumulatively suppressed. Until then, I dismissed any form of passion as simply just a mundane passing. I read  “Sunday” like it was a love letter I wrote to myself, because Earl was right: I wasn’t passionate about (over) half the shit I was into. I began to question why I stopped painting after all this time, or why I never committed to any projects I wanted to. In the grand scheme of everything, this was a metaphor for the debilitating uncertainty that succumb my last year. I came to the conclusion that these insecurities of a monotonous future was indeed the only burden that would hinder personal growth, and result in the plateau I was always afraid of. For someone who always avoided change, my eyes were opened to the beauty that comes with embracing vulnerability for once. I had to let go of inhibiting my own emotions as a front to being “fine” in order to transgress any sort of development.


I feel feelings, and now I know that that’s okay. My art (whether if it is through painting, photography, art direction, or styling) is currently a product of how I feel in that moment of time, and is driven by thematic ideals that once overwhelmed my psyche. Enduring true discomfort has taught me to take in all these external elements that I once found destructive, and express it in a way that is beneficial. Regardless if I am creating something for an audience or just for myself, I have once again regained that passion that I thought I lost. Even if the end result isn’t perfect, making mistakes along the way have become benchmarks to show me how far I’ve come. Constant evolution can only be possible when you’re forced to adapt to certain challenges, and now I crave that visceral state of submergence. It is honest, and it is raw- but that exact infatuation is where I find self-empowerment.


This transformative progression has not happened over night, and it is humbling to know that there will always be kinks left to untangle in figuring out the inner tracing of my creative and personal understanding. Rather than being fulfilled with complacency, I have chosen to practice duality. Slowly feel that connection between the essences of spontaneity again and even hope to fall in too deep with the moment at hand. As I gain increasing consciousness regarding my prior stint of depersonalization, I am starting to finally feel happy with where I am. I had hurt myself, and notably those closest to me too much to not aspire for change.  In hindsight, if I were to think about my yearlong crisis in retrospect; I would have to thank that crazy Google search for not only fuelling a few trauma haircuts and the bouts of irresponsible retail therapy along the way, but also reminding me of what it feels like to no longer be in autopilot.


Roanne's involvement with the jewelry designer Hunt Amor and the clothing company Kit&Ace (where she frequently live paints!) only speak to the way she easily blends her art into her professional work. Check out her phtography and works here..