topic_interest is exactly sister
2020-03I am a Game Art major at Full Sail University, but my sister goes to Northeastern University, so we are a Northeastern family. I am of Mayan descent, so living through COVID-19 was a little scary because we got all the news and updates about how COVID-19 was ravaging Mayan communities in Guatemala. We live in the USA in a rural area, so we were a little "safer," but the fear remained. I am proud of my people and my heritage, and I don't doubt our ability to survive the pandemic. Here is a quick sketch I made.
2020-06-05For as long as I can remember, there has always been music playing in my house, whether it be as my two sisters and I wake up each morning or up until the moment we fall asleep. Over the years, we have memorized thousands of songs and have connected with thousands of artists as we listen to anything we could find in the depths of our parent’s music collection. Our parents soon realized that they could teach us anything by means of a good song. As we would press play on the little radio that used to sit in our room, each CD would expose us to a different place, time, or mindset, while also subtly infusing messages of acceptance, equality, culture, kindness, and more. My sisters and I memorized songs in different languages, while also learning about the history and experiences that shape good music. Music became our life’s foundation and soon, in addition to listening to music for hours on end, my sisters and I started singing at various places in the small town of Smithfield, VA, where we grew up together. Hungry for more, we each picked up an instrument and learned to play guitar from listening over and over to our favorite albums and the occasional YouTube tutorial. We started to dissect the harmonies that we would hear in our favorite songs and ultimately formed our own sound that we loved sharing with the people we met within our little southern town. After learning hundreds of songs to play together, we soon realized that we wanted to start writing songs of our own. We were excited to create something that was inspired by our own experiences together, whether it be derived from feelings of happiness, sadness, heartbreak, anger, or excitement. Since we had listened to and interpreted music since we were born, the importance of songwriting is was not lost to my sisters and me. We understood the power it holds, as it frees the minds of thousands who desperately want their perspective to be represented and encourages storytelling that is inspired by real love or real loss. We were intrigued by the strong beliefs, wild imaginations, and raw emotions that ensure the timelessness of great songs. Being provided a space and a medium to write down unbridled and heartfelt ideas in addition to working with artists who inspire a safe and collaborative environment has allowed the intricacies of songwriting to come naturally to my sisters and me. Sharing my songs to audiences of all ages and sizes is absolutely exhilarating and I view my passion for meaningful lyrics as the greatest gift that has been given to me. My sisters and I began traveling to and from Nashville, meeting and collaborating with songwriters and artist to create meaningful lyrics and beautiful melodies. As our music began to directly represent what we were feeling as individuals, over the years my sisters and I started to use our original songs to communicate with each other and those around us. On March 13, for the first time in our lives, the music in our house stopped. It was replaced by the sounds of live updates from the news. As we watched the death toll rise and the heartbreaking stories of people who lost their loved ones to the virus, we were silenced by the impact of the disease. We realized that people were unable to interact with each other and that the effects of virus was attempting to strip humanity of things it needed to survive. As for my sisters and I, our entire lineup of summer performances was canceled, as well as the final trip to Nashville we had planned before I left for college. My sisters and I finally had to come to terms with the reality that we may not be able to sing out together again, as I would leave Virginia to move to Boston at the end of the summer. We struggled with the fact that we wouldn’t have the time to say goodbye to the thing that had connected us the most throughout our entire childhood and as we came to terms with our new reality, turned to music to help us get through this challenging time. With the rest of my senior year canceled, I had the time to sit and think about a lot what music has given me throughout my life. I discovered that even though I loved the songs and albums I listened to over the years, it was the time spent with my sisters that meant most to me. I thought about all of the different experiences we have shared over the years and how hard it is going to be when I would venture off on my own soon. My sisters were truly the thing in my life that I loved the most, so how was I going to be able to live 700 miles away in the middle of a global pandemic? My sisters faced the same uneasiness and uncertainty, and as usual, music served as our escape. We realized that while our situation may have been difficult to navigate, we are so incredibly lucky and grateful for the experiences we have shared and the opportunities we have been given. In the end we understood how fortunate it was that we were healthy and committed ourselves to always staying grateful even in times as unprecedented as this. We discovered that all we ever really needed was each other, and that there is more power in the relationships that you build with the people that you love than any virus or other obstacle that may come our way. I think that throughout this pandemic, the world is coming to terms with the same lesson: that human connection is one of the most impactful aspects of our lives. I hope that in the aftermath of a world redefined by a global pandemic, we all hug each other a little tighter and sing a little louder. Attached is my sister and I singing on Zoom for the first time.