VITAL VIEW: Zoe-Emma illustrates her mental health journey

I wish that the elimination of stigma worked as simply as us all saying, “Hey, you know what? Let’s agree to not stigmatize mental health issues anymore, k?” And yet – and obviously – it does not work that way. Until there are readily-available mental health services for people across economic and gender and racial and geographical lines and a universal realization that we all deal with some shade of mental health issues, there will be this stigma. It’s that fucked up thing where people need to SEE what’s wrong with you to make it valid in their minds.

Artist Zoe-Emma has been illustrating her daily journeys with mental health to beautiful and affecting results. She depicts mental health itself – the multi-eyed creatures – and the sufferer.

DAZED featured Zoe-Emma’s work and had a quick chat about what her art is attempting to accomplish. It’s going to take personal, evocative art like this (paired with policy changes, as always) to chip away at this stigma. She’s doing her part.

Head to DAZED to see a gallery of Zoe-Emma’s work here. 

– Martin Cullens for Elm

The Art of Arriving by Mia Pokriefka

Two Co-Founders tell you what they’ve “learned”

Up until this point in our life we have been wearing the equivalent of beer goggles when admiring the [insert Influencer you admire here]’s of the world. That is to say, we thought everyone just arrived one day at who they were supposed to be.

We were confident we would wake up one day speaking with the finesse of Obama, start caring about rising gas practices, and have more exquisite taste than gummy bears. One day we would stop logging into Netflix and instead pick up a physical copy of the Wall Street Journal. To sum it up, we thought there were successful characteristics that were as easy to obtain as going to the store, buying dresses, and be able to start wearing them immediately.
We’ve anxiously awaited for our ‘Arrival’ since birth.

Maybe today is the day I’ll arrive at who I will be”… but then reality hits. We don’t run a fortune 500 company (yet), let alone have multitudes of employees, nor do we have the luxury of jet-setting around the world, and we have way more than zero insecurities.
So much for waking up flawless (Thanks Queen Bey).

Today was a rude awakening. It hit us that there is no ‘Arrival’ (child-like, we were still holding on). We’ve realized that if want to be where we want to be — founding a successful company, being strong mentors, etc — then we can’t bypass the fear of pitching in front of venture capitalists, undertaking the daunting task of coding, nor firing our friends.

And so we’ve learned, ‘Arriving’ is standing up day after day to face the fear of taking Action. It’s all fun and games to talk about ‘changing the world,’ quite another to do actually do something about it.

And with that, we say to our selves, “take off those beer googles.” Arriving’ isn’t something that happens everyday. Some days it’s too hard to face the fear of action. But most days, we stand up to that fear, take action, and ‘arrive’ at who we are.

In conclusion, take your old notion of ‘arriving’ out of your vocabulary. Who you are is about making the choice to take action. There is no need to keep waiting around.

– Mia Pokriefka
Co-founder  // CEO of Elm

VITAL READ: Elite Daily profiles Roxane Gay in "I Want Your Job" series

We love Roxane Gay, and we’ve gone on about her before because she’s an essential fucking genius in contemporary dialogue. She’s a writer and educator and speaker and public intellectual. Her latest offering, still being written, is June’s Hunger, and it appears that it will be as splendid as her previous works An Untamed State and the now iconic Bad Feminist.

As part of their “I Want Your Job” series, a string of profiles on women owning their shit, the site Elite Daily profiled Gay, discussing her career and her process and her newly-minted place in the feminist canon.

Read the profile of Gay over on Elite Daily’s site.


– Martin Cullens for Elm

FOLLOW: @ilovekotbonkers on Instagram

Kat Bonkers is a designer and illustrator and artist sharing her genius and provocative shit online from her home in Lithuania, and she’s just so very much amazing. Her art is political in the sense that it’s just personal. Nothing feels like its an attempt to ride the back of a hashtag moment, and that dedication to just portray truth is so fucking refreshing.

Her work speaks better than I, so here are some recent shared from her feed:

#mood / Just ordered some pizza for breakfast. A photo posted by Kot Bonkers (@ilovekotbonkers) on

Follow @ilovekotbonkers on Instagram here.

– Martin Cullens for Elm