Lets get Provocative.

Hi friends,

I'm in this DOPE class called Design Thinking in the engineering department and we do things like construct mini roller coasters and take improv classes. This time the project was to rethink ads and take a few that stick to you emotionally and reframe them. I chose the american apparel ads and the ads about starving kids and twisted them in a provocative way. Enjoy,

[I used photoshop]



Its been a while...

 SO this is whats up:

Fuck Spring Term
By: Gaia Santiago

Fuck Spring term, dude. You always think you’re on your game, making moves in school and extracurriculars and what not, then you suddenly find yourself in your professors office, asking him to persuade you to intrinsically enjoy the material in class-- because right now it all just seems like paradoxical bullshit. I had a revelation that day, one of the many manic revelations I had that term, where I concluded that the all-nighter I pulled in that class the night before the midterm--and completely bombeb-- was due to my mental sublimation to the constructs of the American Dream. I believed that having fun and building friendships and enjoying spliff sessions are much more important and relevant to me, in my present life. Fuck regressions. Fuck panel data. Fuck dummy variables. Fuck STATA! Its all hypocrative nonsense.  That’s what I believed. That’s what my mantra was. Never strapped with less than an eighth, N027’s steady on deck, cell phone charged and up to date, headphones in.

I would always have swing-set sessions outside of Panarchy with my headphones iduringthat one Spring term, and hopefully a flowy shirt. I remember saying that it was meditational and that it would align my spine – I have scoli – and that my children would also swing on the swing set with their own music one day.

You know Maslow’s hierarchy of needs? Well, in the Spring term, I felt like I had climbed to the top of that pyramid and reached self-actualization. I felt like I earned that shit. I was on cloud 9, total euphoria, felt like a God, and felt that I should be treated like one. I felt like I understood things more quickly and could decipher situations in ways that others couldn’t. I was stealth, I was comfortable, I was always on the move; never had time to STOP.

I remember I had a blackberry bold that term, it was my mom’s upgrade. I had my entire schedule and all of my lists on that phone. I remember that my thumbs began shaking at an irregular pace, moving up and down just a millimeter apart. But I couldn’t let that slow me down, nothing could. I was untouchable, invincible. Grandiose ideas would stream into my mind at all times of the day – in class, before bed, in the bathroom, while brushing my teeth. I would write them all down in my blackberry as if they were my kryptonite, my gold. One of them included creating a nation-wide music festival that required groups of people to congregate with a shared symbol and travel to the center of the US -- somewhere in bum fuck no where-- and they would reach this music and arts festival that I set up. Like a Burning Man type-thing. Something totally crazy and random. I thought of that during my Econometrics class. I was probably on Adderall. I was also abusing prescription stimulants like Adderall and Vyvanc that damned Spring term. Smoking hella cigs, more than usual.

I got a tattoo that term. Something I was fixated with during my Spring break road trip from Hanover to Miami, with all my Panarchy homies. I had convinced myself that the tattoo embodied my revelations during that trip about “longevity.” Longevity of thought and of consciousness. I believed that it was important for people to think beyond the present moment and into infinity-- but infinity doesn’t exist -- so according to Emmanuel Lavinas,** you have converged to an incessant wave, or on-going parabola, that terminates at a fixed, yet serendipitous date. Your expiration date.  You have not yet fallen into the register of totality or the perpetual mental darkness. The darkness stimulated by the instinctual need to put expiration dates on actions, experiences, jobs, and friends or interests. Knowing the culmination of a period leads to built up expectations and a forced ending. Less reward.

From all of this, I decided to get a tattoo lining my side, starting underneath my bra to my hipbone. It’s of an empty rectangle with two crossed lines inside. It’s long and light, speaks softly, says nothing at all. I call it my Dada-ist perspective on life.

I thrived in that tattoo, thought it was the perfect fit. At least until I went to Florida on my break after Spring term. It was time to show Mama Santiago the tattoo. Dun dun dunnnn. Mama is a short, petite woman. Short colored-brown hair, a big ‘ol smile, and a total goof. She’s pretty conservative, but enjoys a good time. I showed her in when we were in our condo before we went to the pool. She ran to her room crying. Oops. This is the first time I have ever directly made my mother cry. She was so mad at me, she couldn’t even look me in the eye. Who had I become? The old Gi wouldn’t have gotton a tattoo the size of half her body on her side. What was I going to do at the beach in Italy with my conservative family? What would I tell my dad? What did it even me to me anymore? I WANT TO GET RID OF IT! MOM, I WANT TO GET RID OF IT! How do I get rid of it? How much is it? Does it hurt? Will it scar? How long will it take? How many sessions?

I lost ten pounds. Too stressed to eat. I lived in a vessel unknown to me and marked. It was a broken and permanently damaged vessel. Fuck eating, fucking sleeping, fuck school, fuck people. I stayed in my room at Panarchy that entire summer. Didn’t even move to shower. Showering and brushing my teeth and peeing was hard. Deadlines made no sense, relationships were pathetic, life was moving too fast, and it seemed worthless. People didn’t help, they made it worse because I didn’t want them to see me that way. Helpless and lost. That wasn’t who I am. I couldn’t recognize myself. I felt like I was tripping. Everything was out of place.

“Mom, I want to come home. I feel like shit and I cant live here anymore or be here or live for that matter.”

“Gaia, you’re scaring me. Where are you? Where is Chiara? Why do you want to come home?”

“Mom, I don’t feel safe alone and I don’t feel safe with myself. Something is wrong I need to go home. I feel illiterate and I can’t think straight. I can’t even manage two art classes.”

“Okay, talk to your Dad. I am in Italy. We will figure this out.”

“But Dad is in Spain..”

“Talk to him anyways, ask him if you need to go to the doctor.”

“Okay, love you. Call you in an hour.”

That’s what every conversation was for the next week until I left for home.

Home sucked. I was gaining weight and didn’t want to see any friends. I mean they probably wouldn’t even recognize me. Whats the point anyways? I stopped drinking and smoking. I stopped prescription pills. My mom and my brother called me a nun. I stopped my birth control. I stopped shaving. I stopped showering. I never got my period. I was always stressed. I started hiding desserts. I gained 15 pounds. Ew, fuck you. Youre so fucking ugly now. Nice job. You’re a broken vessel that is now fat, rotund. Why are you even alive? You are in a stand-still while the world around you is moving. End it now. No one will care. Ask someone to do it. Use a god damn gun. It’s the safest way. Or I guess the least safe. Am I becoming schizophrenic, why do I keep getting migraines? I cant sleep anymore either and everything hurts. I also can’t speak or walk two feet without wanting to sit. Where is my bowl of cereal?

How many seconds does it take to suffocate with a pillow, Google? 10 minutes. Someone would have to do it for me. Do I have to write a contract for them to sign so they aren’t liable? Hmm, who would even do it? Everyone is busy. Ill think about it later. More cereal.

I really enjoyed going on “joy rides” with my brother—that’s what he liked to call them. He also enjoyed calling me chubby gi. He would drive down LSD in Chicago and I would stick my head out of the window and let my hair and face flabber by the wind. I felt like it was the best mindless past time ever. He got over it after the third ride and I had no money to contribute for gas. I guess, its back to the couch then.

I gained 5 more fucking pounds. FUCK.

“Gaia, when are you going to start heading to the gym?”

“Haha, funny ma. I have to finish watching these Japanese game shows.”

“Gaia you’re stressing me out.”

“Sorry Mom, I’m depressed.”

“I am going to call you a therapist.”

“Whatever you want mama. Pass me the wasabi chips!”

I felt like my expiration was soon to come, so why not splurge on food before the end date? Lemon cookies, oatmeal raisin cookies, Panera bacon turkey bravos, subs, banana bread, popcorn, all that good stuff. All the stuff I never allowed myself to eat so I could stay thin and cute. Well, I aint thin or cute anymore, so time to eat!

Chiara was working in New York at the time, making moves like I knew she would. Like a true boss. We switched roles this season. I was no longer your rock, you were mine. You had gone through it before and understood and led me through it. You took it slow and showed me the ins and outs, the short cuts. It helped, but wasn’t good enough. I had to learn for myself. So I went to New York for a visit. Luca, my brother, and I stayed with Chi in her room in Bedstuy, Brooklyn. It was the first time I actually began to forget or even feel for that matter. I felt some neural connections spark in my brain. I remember those sparks. Don’t leave. Please come back. It would tease me every once in a while with a spark and then disappear like that. I began to rewire my neural circuits from unhealthy ones to happier ones. New York was what I needed. The fast paced life, the friends, the movement and mobilization, the diversity and love, no mercy. Survival of the fittest.

I lost weight. Gaia was coming back. Friends noticed my recovery. I could talk about it. Suicide was no longer on my mind. I was happy to be back. I told my mom I wasn’t coming back home. That was it. I got out of it. I climbed out of that damn downward spiral that seduces you into a latent trance. You love it but it eats you up. People give you leeway, they get it, they’ve been there. But when is the leeway too much before they decide to jump? Its happened before. You just miss the mark.

That didn’t happen to me, I refused. There was a light inside of me that New York sparked, that my homies sparked, that my jobs sparked, that my sister and brother sparked. I lost more weight. I lost the pimples. I lost the stress. I began smoking cigs again and weed. But in moderation. In a balance. The natural balance of life. The yin and the yang.

I knew things got better when Chiara and I stopped fighting as often. We no longer piggy backed on each other. We did our own thing. No more symbiotic relation, just sisters and friends and a little more meta than that. She was that light and so was the rest of my family and friends. I began liking my tattoo again. I’m not removing it. It means something to me now. Or still even nothing. Whatever it is, its something and that something will stick forever.

“Quanto buono é il café con un goccino di vino.”



 pictures chi took of me for her photo I class




Peace & Love,


Say hello to Lizzy...

So, we have a new member joining the TYTB crew

her name is elizabeth.rose.johnston

..and she has been our bestie since we were five and she still had her iconic overbite [which took about eight years of intensive metal wiring of the mouth to align..poor liz]

here she is now as a hawt, 21 year old, Savannah School of Art and Design undergrad studying fashion/marketing::

Black slit maxi ~ Asos 

Ankle ching ching chain ~ indian boutique NYC
Brazilian T-strap leather sandals ~ Goodwill
Daisy button down tank ~ thrift store NYC 

Chain ~ magically landed in my closet   
Hoop earrings ~ Virginia art fair