The best way I know how to create art is through the triumphs and sorrows of my own human experience. I started curating what is now Growing Pains during week three of fall quarter with no intention of sharing it with the world: it was to be a chronicle of my first ten weeks of college, a chronicle that would solely be for my personal recollection. The decision to share this project on a public platform transpired from the realization that I was building a heart of armor at the hands of shame. The shame of still making sense of college, while everyone else seemed to have it all figured out. The shame that lead me to abandon what made me most me: vulnerability.
The development of the book was my safe haven away from an emotionally convoluted transition; it was means of reveling in the pain while concurrently finding my way back to myself. My freshman fall quarter at UCLA was neither the first nor the last time that I will be placed at a crossroads with who I am and who I have the potential to be, and truthfully there’s a tragic beauty to that reality. Growing Pains never die; they simply manifest in authentic ways and are felt to various degrees.