CAT (Creative Artists Transcend)

Joining artists together one blog post at a time

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Inside the Mind of a 20-Year-Old Mother (Part III)


Two weeks ago, I took a trip to what many people would consider to be: The American Nightmare, The Department of Public Social Services. If you are not familiar with what this place is, it is the government assistant office. It is where people of low income come to get help to support their families. Two weeks ago, I was one of those people.

I walked up the stairs and instantly saw two security guards at the entrance standing next to metal detectors ready to search my belongings. I knew this was never a place I would imagine myself to be. Here I am, a 20-year-old, Black, single mother at the aid office in a need for help. At that very moment, I became what I never wanted to be: another statistic.

People of color is all I saw when I took glimpse around who was in the building. There was a Latina young woman with three kids and a baby on the way sitting next to me. She couldn’t have been any older than twenty-five. I could see the exhaustion in her face. I could also see that she had possibly given up, but who was I to judge? We were all in there for the reason, to feed our children and get by.

On the outside looking in, you may find it out of the ordinary that I had to apply for government assistance. But the truth is, I recently moved out of my parents house, and although I work an above the minimum wage job, I still cannot afford to pay for rent, childcare, groceries, and all of my other expenses all on my own. The truth is, if my mother wasn’t kind hearted enough to stock my fridge up last week, I’d be hungry.

I’ve been taking the initiative to make a better life for my daughter and I. I recently enrolled in school at a local junior college in Long Beach and I plan on going to school full time while continuing to maintain my job at a credit union and take care of my daughter. It’s a struggle, but it’s worth it and I know everything will pay off in the end.

As of right now, I’m waiting on a letter from the aid office to inform me that I’ve been approved for food stamps. I’ve still been going to work every single day and doing what I can to provide for my daughter and I. Taking care of her is my number one priority. And as a close friend of mine once said, “The amount of money in my pocket will never determine my wealth, ever. It’s my faith that every little thing is gonna be alright that makes me a rich man.”

Filed under singlemother dailybread love cat aidoffice losangeles mom welfare

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Inside the Mind of a 20-Year-Old Mother (Part II)

Here I am at 9:22 PM, sitting on the couch in the living room of my mothers house writing this blog post of my thoughts. I arrived home from work about an hour and a half ago. When I made it home, Leia was cranky. After an eight hour shift at the credit union, all I had time to do was feed Leia, bathe her, and put her to bed.


Nights like this occur often. Recently, I moved back into my parents house to get ahead on saving some money for a car and a better place. How unfortunate that I just found out that Leia and I have to be out within the next thirty days. Back to the drawing board. 

 As most of you know, I recently posted the article “Inside the Mind of a 20-Year-Old Mother” to my blog. It received a lot of attention. Most of the attention it got was positive, but a few people felt as though the article was a “glamorization” of what it’s like to be a mother at twenty years old. That conclusion is false. In no way, shape or form, did I intend to glamorize being a mother at my age.

As I stated in my previous article, since I’ve become a mother my life has turned a full 360 degrees. I’ve had many positive changes occur in my life since I’ve had my daughter but that is not to say that I have not struggled. At nineteen years old and seven months pregnant, I had to move out of my parents house and move into my own place with the father of my child. This was a conscious decision we both made and our parents helped us get to where we needed to be.

Although we had helping hands from friends and family, we still struggled often to make ends meet every month. I remember taking the train and commuting two hours to and from work every single day at seven and eight months pregnant. There were times when it was very close to the end of the month, and I had no idea how we’d pay our rent. But by the Grace of God, something always came through and we’d make it.

There is nothing glorious about having a child before you’re ready. In the past nine months that I’ve had Leia, I have been through more than you’ll ever know. One thing that I’d say about parenthood is to expect the unexpected. Nothing about my experience as a parent has been what I expected it to be.

Who knew that my body would have to go through such a traumatic birth with a c-section? Who knew that my baby would have colic as an infant and wake up religiously every two hours and cry without any known reason? Who knew that me and the father of my child’s relationship would not work out and that our engagement would be broken off after nearly two years? 

Who knew that the cost of having a baby can be as much as $335 a week? Who knew that after applying for nearly over one hundred jobs, I’d finally land a stable one only to make about three dollars over the minimum wage? Who knew that even with that income, I still can’t really afford a place of my own and am sleeping on my parents couch?

Many people choose to keep their private life private and that is something that I have always chosen to respect. But me, I am a journalist. I am a writer. It is my purpose to share stories with people. If I choose to be open about what goes on in my life, I expect people to respect that decision just as much as I respect theirs to be private. I share my thoughts and experiences because I know there’s someone out there reading that can relate. So, there’s another peek inside my mind (a 20-year-old mother).

Filed under 20yearoldmom youngmom inspiring thoughts mind CAT respect journalist creativeartiststranscend relate mother insidethemind inside

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Miss Independent-Do They Really Love Her?

Relationships, marriages, families, and circumstances have definitely changed since the 1950 Betty Crocker days. Back in the 1950s, the majority of women in America were homemakers and married to men who were bread winners.

These women spent their time at home preparing meals and cleaning their houses for their families while their children were in school and husbands were working their blue and white collar 9 to 5 jobs.

Being born in 1994, most of my friends and peers have been raised by single mothers. I can probably count on my fingers how many people I know that were raised by both of their biological parents in the same household. The number of single mothers I know is endless. According to CBS, the number of economically independent women in this country grew from 39% to nearly 45% between the years 2000 and 2007.

Since the late 90s and early 2000s, there has been a significant increase in music written about independent women. Popular songs like “Independent Women” by Grammy award winning recording group Destiny’s Child, “Miss Independent” by Grammy winning singer/songwriter Ne-Yo, and “She Got Her Own” by Grammy winning recording artist Jamie Fox topped the Billboard charts when they initially came out. I think it’s safe to say that in Pop Culture today, it has become a trend for any woman to be independent and “have her own.”

So, what do the men in this era think about all of this you ask? With more and more financially independent women on the rise, what’s a man’s take on a woman being just as or more financially secure than he is? Many people would say that men might find independent women intimidating in a relationship.

How does a man feel about a woman making more money than him, having a better career than him, a better degree than him, and just being more successful than him all around? CAT got a chance to ask a few guys this question and we received some interesting results. Most men in 2014, do not mind being with a financially independent woman and completely support women pursuing their own careers and being stable on their own. However, most men would not prefer to be with someone that is more successful than them.

In other words, although men are supportive of “Miss Independent” they still want to feel like the “bread winners” in a relationship and would rather be in “control”. So, do men love Miss Independent? Absolutely. They actually find her very attractive, but they’d still rather be Mister Independent standing next to her so that they can feel like the “winners” for their families and relationships.


Filed under missindependent bettycrocker loveher love CAT women independent

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Inside the Mind of a 20-Year-Old Mother


The day my life changed was on my nineteenth birthday in 2013. I didn’t do anything extravagant that day because I wasn’t exactly in the mood. And when I spent more than half of my day vomiting in Julian’s bathroom, I knew that my life would never be the same. After that, it was time to take a pregnancy test.

I hadn’t eaten anything out of the ordinary and I knew that Julian and I had performed unprotected sex a few weeks prior, so there was a possibility that there might be a life growing inside of me.

We walked to the drug store together and purchased the test. My heart never pounded so fast in my entire life as I went into the ladies room to see what the result would be. Positive. My heart dropped and I was in tears immediately. I came out the restroom with this overwhelming look across my face and as soon as Julian saw me, he knew. We both hugged and I sobbed as he whispered in my ear, “I’ll never leave your side. I’m not going anywhere.”

Even though I was only nineteen and having a baby for anyone at that age is definitely not ideal, I had a voice inside of my head telling me that keeping the baby would be the right decision. I had nothing to lose, I wasn’t doing anything productive with my life and I felt that having my baby would be a motivator for me. I was a high school drop out who had just gotten her GED, most of my friends were in college, and although I worked full time I spent most of my spare time smoking weed and rebelling.

Since I’ve had Leia my life has taken turned a full 360 degrees. Between working a 9 to 5 job at a credit union as a teller, making efforts towards getting into college, maintaining a social life, running my own blog, and in the midst of everything still managing to find time for myself, it has definitely been a heavy load to carry. But my daughter has given me the strength and the motivation to get through it all on top.

Our society should not choose to encourage young women that get pregnant at a young age to get abortions. Our society should also not choose to look down upon young women that decide to keep their babies. And I don’t say this to glorify having a baby at nineteen, but I would not be nearly as determined as I am today if it wasn’t for my daughter.

Being a 20-year-old mother has showed me how strong of a person I am. I have finally learned the meaning of responsibility and how to stand on my own two feet. When I originally decided to have my daughter, I had a crowd full of faces looking down on me and voices telling me I was making the wrong decision. Now that my daughter is here, I have a crowd full of people that can say they’re proud of me. I know I wouldn’t have my life any other way.

Filed under mother young journalist cat creativeartiststranscend inspiring love mind inside

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Where She Sees Fashion


Bianca Luini, a twenty-two year old fashion design student from Milan, Italy created her blog “Where I See Fashion” just last summer in 2013. Since then, she has gained thousands of followers and a loyal audience. Her blog focuses on fashion and everything else that inspires it: art, photography, design, nature, and much more. In her words, she likes to pick fashion related pictures and match them with photos that she finds related to them for different reasons. CAT had the lovely pleasure of interviewing this fashion blogger. Here is our interview with Bianca L. below:

CAT: Your blog focuses on displaying the connection between fashion and artwork. When did you originally begin seeing this connection?

Bianca: I believe that art and fashion have always had a symbiotic relationship, they’re two entities that feed off of one another and this connection is getting stronger and stronger. I’m constantly inspired by the incredible creations of high fashion designers, I think it’s really interesting how we are all inspired by what’s around us but each one of us is attracted by different things. This is why I love to try to find the source of inspiration in different designs or editorials and show it in my blog!

CAT: As a student of fashion design in Milan, Italy, how would you describe the fashion scene in that city? How closely related is it to other fashion capitals of the world?

Bianca: Fashion is really important in Milan, I think it’s more an industrial kind of design compared to the other fashion capitals, but never giving up on quality of course!image

CAT: What do you enjoy most about fashion in Italy?

Bianca: I really like that fashion here is often connected to our traditions, landscapes, monuments, or even food! I love my country and Italian designs are a way to show a little bit of its spirit to the world.

CAT:  In your opinion, what makes fashion an art to you?

Bianca: The definition of art in the dictionary is the following: “the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power”. To me, fashion fits perfectly in.

CAT: Why is showing the world the relationship between fashion and art to you important?

Bianca: Unfortunately it seems like a lot of people think that fashion is something shallow and useless and don’t take it seriously, but most of them have no idea what they’re talking about. This is why it’s very important to show that fashion is not just about trends or what celebrities wear, it’s much much more! I truly believe it’s a form of art.

CAT: After graduating, what do you plan on pursuing with your degree in fashion design?

Bianca: I still don’t really know what I want to do in the future, but I would love to become a fashion photographer or a fashion editor. High fashion magazines are my favourite thing (my mum always yells at me because I buy too many), it would be amazing to be part of that world!

CAT: Between Paris, New York City, London, Milan, and Tokyo, which fashion capital would you prefer to live in?

Bianca: I was born in Milan, I’ve always lived here and I would love to stay based here. I am lucky enough that not only it’s a fashion capital but also the city where I have all my friends and family.

CAT: Would you ever date anyone in the fashion industry?

Bianca: Of course, why not!

CAT: If you had the opportunity to collaborate or work with any fashion designer or artist of your choice, which one would it be?

Bianca: It’s so hard to choose, but it would probably be Iris Van Herpen. Her designs are incredible, she never fails to amaze me.

CAT: Any upcoming projects from you that we can look forward to?

Bianca: Unfortunately no, I am graduating from Uni in July so right now that’s what I am focusing on, besides WISF of course!


"I believe that art and fashion have always had a symbiotic relationship, they’re two entities that feed off of one another and this connection is getting stronger and stronger. I’m constantly inspired by the incredible creations of high fashion designers, I think it’s really interesting how we are all inspired by what’s around us but each one of us is attracted by different things. This is why I love to try to find the source of inspiration in different designs or editorials and show it in my blog!" -Bianca L. 


For more blog posts from Bianca and matches like the ones above, visit her blog at

Filed under fashion love design italy milan unitedstates popular blog blogger bloggee bianca aayajoan creativeartiststranscend creative artists transcend unique cool wow woah awesome whereiseefashion post new art one now

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A Rising Star

Hey guys, here is a written article/interview that our founder Aaya Joan wrote two years ago about Chicago native, Alia Jhane. Read the interview below to see what this rising star had to say about what it’s like being an independent female artist and how she got through her struggle!


Alia “Idiomatic” Jhane is a 17-year-old Chicago native that has been independently making her way as a local artist for quite sometime. Her artistic abilities are extensive and extremely versatile. Not only is she one of the most driven and young-female hustla’s I know, but she is also a painter, writer, entrepreneur, and rapper. Jhane also often spends time sketching ideas for fashion. She says her love for art began in 2005 when she was only 10 years old by practicing drawing her favorite Japanese anime characters. She launched her love for painting in 2008.

When I asked her who her biggest artistic influence was she responded, “It’s really hard to choose one because many celebrities and people in my life have been influences. Right now in my life, my biggest influence is Frida Kahlo. She taught me to spiritually know myself artistically. Sometimes I would feel depressed or have certain things on my mind, but after I would paint, I would be back to normal and happier than I was before. Painting is therapeutic." Her words are truly inspiring and so is her work. The painting below symbolizes the pain in her past she used to feel with the bloody red face; the face in the front symbolizes herself in the present moving on from her past struggles and never looking back to the depressed girl she once was. 


CAT: As a person that is involved in visual art, music, fashion, and creative writing, which art form would you say you focus on the most? Is it difficult being involved in more than one artistic area? How do you find the energy to balance all of that?

Alia Jhane: Well, I never knew I was capable of all of the talents I hold such as drawing, painting, writing songs, poetry, short stories, sewing, sketching, and designing. But there must always be one passion that keeps all of us going. If a person held a gun to my head and asked which art form I HAVE to only focus on, it would be visual art. Drawing and painting was my first love… it is a little difficult to balance everything but, it’s not a problem for me all the time. It’s quite fun because when I get tired of painting for one week I can focus on anything else that needs to be accomplished like music or sewing which I rarely do. The energy I gather to make everything happen comes from my soul that’s full of dedication, determination, motivation, and the drive. I’m at my starting point wanting to complete my goals and give back to the world and possibly change it. But it is hard when I stay up late and still have to finish things the next day. It’s a nonstop hustle.

CAT: Being a person that loves both music and art, which would you rather be, blind or deaf? Why?

Alia Jhane: This is such a hard question. I even ask myself this and never come up with an answer. Being blind, I wouldn’t be able to see the beautiful things in life to draw and paint. I would be frustrated and depressed for the rest of my life but that means I’d get better at rapping. Being deaf would be a major problem because I need music to paint. Although my artistic skills might strengthen, it just wouldn’t be the same without music. I unfortunately can’t decide.

CAT: You always seem so focused. It’s obvious you’re a hustla. You’re a full time student, you have a part time job, and on top of all of that you’re always working on some type of art project. What keeps you motivated?

Alia Jhane: I love what I do, I can’t complain. The only thing I do complain about is school and work. It gets in the way when I want to get artistic things done. Education and money are mandatory because I have to be accepted in the business world and people who I need to make things happen with have to make a living too. I keep that in mind along with building materials for art projects. My motivation is the future. I plan to teach art and help people through art therapy. I want to be able to travel the world and start charities for other countries who need our help as well as helping teens and children start a better path for a healing generation.

CAT: What would you say is the hardest thing about being an independent artist?

Alia Jhane: To stay on task and finding big opportunities. When they don’t come, you have to develop your own. That’s when collaborations and networking starts. You have to keep a business oriented mind or nothing will happen for your future. It’s about staying dedicated for your craft!

CAT: Are there any upcoming art projects/collaborations you’d like to tell us about?

Alia Jhane: Great question! Well, a friend of mine named Kiara (an Art History major at Columbia college) is gathering an exhibition about Generation Y, in which I’m very proud to be a part of. It’s addressing individuality and identity. We plan to have the event in the Spring. Another event that I’m personally planning is with another artist friend of mine named Jose. This event will distribute our series about psychedelic minds and our personal pieces we’ve created. One of my music projects is to develop an all girl band with saxophonist Chakeiya, and pianist/guitarist/photographer Lucinda O’Dea. I also want to finish an E.P. I’m creating with beats from NewEgo, Christain Milo, The Breaks, Cos, and possibly other producers. All coming soon!

Click the link below to listen to Jhane’s original song “End of the Summer.”


One of the most beautiful things about Alia “Idiomatic” Jhane that sets her apart from other artists is her unique life story of once being so discouraged and depressed to now being such a refreshing and uplifting person. She exclaimed in the interview I had with her that there was a time when her life became a twisting twirl that didn’t stop until she left her neighborhood high school, Kenwood Academy. Before that, she was teased and bullied in elementary school, which lowered her self-esteem.

I felt that I had no one. I soon became popular because of my style and beauty but it wasn’t enough because people were still talking about me. I realized that I didn’t have real friends and that I was living the image people developed for me. I had bad grades 8th-Junior year, smoked marijuana everyday for 3-4 years, and was not going to school. I later made a self realization and looked up to spirits and God for an answer. My move was to start over and begin a new, empowering and career based life. I transferred to Joshua Fine Arts and Design Charter School gaining more skill, motivation, and friendships with art and business oriented teachers. I realized that in order to be great, you must recognize struggle and pain.

Another original art piece by Alia “Idiomatic” Jhane: