The Positivity Issue (v.13)

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Volume 13 <strong>The</strong> <strong>Positivity</strong> <strong>Issue</strong> Spring 2017

photography<br />

Saul G. Hodgers<br />

Hayley Rheagan<br />

Mark Baker-Sanchez<br />

LaCharles Trask<br />

Amy West<br />

words<br />

Tawanda Suessbrich- Joaquim<br />

Cydnie Smith-McCarthy<br />

Charles Austin Ross<br />

good eats<br />

Andie Fuller<br />

editors<br />

Darnell Thomas<br />

Mariah Romero<br />

design<br />

Mariah Romero


hello<br />

hello<br />

hello<br />

Welcome to the <strong>Positivity</strong> <strong>Issue</strong>! We would like to thank all of our amazing contributors<br />

for making this issue possible. In this issue they help us shed some light on<br />

why being positive can be the smartest life decision we can make. <strong>Positivity</strong> is not<br />

an easy thing to practice but it sure does feel good when it is considered right? Our<br />

contributors gives us some insight on maintaining a healthy balance of finding your<br />

happy place while there is so much going on around you. We think that positivity<br />

can come in all shapes and forms but it is what you make of it. When life gives you<br />

lemons you must make an easy lemon pie, right? We will take our slices to go! Enjoy.<br />

Darnell & Mariah<br />


8<br />

“A”<br />

Hayley Rheagan | Darnell Thomas<br />

16<br />


Tawanda Suessbrich-Joaquim<br />

18<br />


Lydia Abernathy<br />

20<br />


Saul G. Hodgers<br />

26<br />


Charles Austin Ross

30<br />

GLORY<br />

La Charles Trask | Keynan Johnson<br />

36<br />


Cydnie Smith-McCarthy<br />

38<br />


Mark Baker-Sanchez | Mariah Romero<br />

44<br />


Andie Fuller<br />

48<br />


1905 Magazine | Amy West<br />


A<br />

photography, Hayley Rheagan<br />

creative director, Darnell Thomas<br />

model, Amy West<br />









<strong>Positivity</strong> In <strong>The</strong> Face Of Negativity<br />

Tawanda Suessbrich- Joaquim<br />

When we think of the past few months, on social, economic,<br />

political and global levels, it’s enough to make<br />

most of us frustrated. Some of us might laugh nervously.<br />

Others might actually take a few moments to<br />

hold in tears. It may, for some, seem like the world is<br />

falling apart—an incapable president, environmental<br />

issues not being taken seriously, police brutalities, less<br />

and less rights for marginalized groups every day. <strong>The</strong><br />

list seems endless.<br />

​But how do we stay positive in the face of all this negativity?<br />

Is it even possible?<br />

​I’ve found the answer to be yes. We can absolutely stay<br />

positive, and here’s why—it’s the only way to make it<br />

to where we want to go.<br />

​We tend to think of things in terms of everlasting dichotomies—light<br />

and dark, happy and sad, good and<br />

bad, positive and negative. <strong>The</strong>se ideas come from<br />

thousands of years of survival through distinction,<br />

knowing which plant is poisonous, expressing our<br />

emotions, trusting the people in our tribe and protecting<br />

ourselves against those who aren’t and so on and<br />

so forth. But I don’t think things have to be so black<br />

and white.<br />

​Personally, I like to relate positivity and negativity to<br />

ebbs and flows—picture a wave rushing in and out<br />

again with the tide. Good times and not so good times<br />

are like the seasons. We all go through our spring,<br />

summer, fall and winter cycles, just like our environment<br />

around us. <strong>The</strong> world and all the people in it<br />

need to go through beautiful warm, sunny days spent<br />

outside into cold, snowy days where we’d rather stay<br />

in, because just when we think winter will never end,<br />

the sky will clear and the flowers will start blooming.<br />

And the seasons will begin all over again.<br />

​Staying positive in times like these means understanding<br />

that life is filled to the brim with happiness and<br />

sadness, and both of them are good. <strong>The</strong>y are good<br />

because they are both essential to our growth as beings.<br />

If we were never sad, we wouldn’t be so thankful<br />

for laughter, for hugs and kisses, family and friends.<br />

Sometimes we need a little bit of difficulty to push us<br />

towards doing the best we can, towards working hard.<br />

And at the end, it’s all worth it!<br />

​I guess what I’m trying to say is: with the change in the<br />

global atmosphere during the last year, you know this<br />

year, 2017, is going to be all about big moves and even<br />

bigger changes. So GO FOR IT. Don’t let anyone, including<br />

yourself, keep you down. Begin every day with<br />

an affirmation—a simple “I can do this,” “I’m beautiful”<br />

or “inner peace equals outer peace” will help you<br />

move mountains. Get off the couch. Take matters into<br />

your own hands,<br />

and don’t be afraid<br />

to learn, to ask for<br />

help. Spread love,<br />

joy and knowledge<br />

everywhere<br />

you<br />

with the change in the global<br />

atmosphere during the last<br />

year, you know this year,<br />

2017, is going to be all about<br />

big moves and even bigger<br />

changes. So GO FOR IT.<br />

go. Stay educated. Stay aware. Stay healthy, and do<br />

whatever is best for you. Get together with people who<br />

make you happy, eat your favorite foods, learn some-<br />


thing new about the world and continue to create art.<br />

Know that a bad day every once in a while is only preparing<br />

you for all the good ones ahead—remember:<br />

spring is just around the corner. No matter what, do<br />

not stop seeking positivity in everything you see and<br />

do. Just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it’s not<br />

there. When hard times come, take time to go within<br />

yourself and feel into your emotions. Really feel it. Let<br />

it all out. Cry. <strong>The</strong>n, let a ray of light in, plant a seed<br />

and watch it grow. Live everyday as the best you that<br />

you can possibly be, and love yourself every step of the<br />

way! You’re the only you that the world will ever know!<br />

And just think about how much more beautiful the<br />

world will be after you share your positivity with it.<br />



illustration by Lydia Abernathy<br />





& REPEAT<br />

photography & direction, Saul G. Hodgers | model, Karen Bringas at<br />

New Icon Model Management | hair & make up, Neftali Camacho<br />

styling, Janeth Uribe | production assistants, Paulina Lagarda, Raquel<br />

Partida & Duende Montaño<br />


Top by Genesis Solano / Buena Sangre | Skirt by Gibran Murillo<br />


23<br />

Top by Genesis Solano / Buena Sangre | Dress by Gibran Murillo

Jacket by Mayra Navarro | Dress - Stylist’s own | Necklace - Stylist’s own<br />



potential<br />

Charles Austin-Ross<br />

In two thousand and nine I was a freshman in<br />

high school. At that age I didn’t know that I would<br />

be twenty-three in seven years, let alone be dealing<br />

with the stress that comes with being a twenty-three<br />

year old. <strong>The</strong> only twenty something I<br />

knew at that time was my sister and she was off<br />

in college. Needless to say I wasn’t influenced by<br />

her very much in that time of my life because she<br />

was in North Carolina studying at the prestigious<br />

Duke University and I was in St. Louis acting like<br />

a fool. My main influences came from Music, TV<br />

and School.<br />

Metro Academic and Classical High School was<br />

a place for the brightest individuals; anything<br />

below a C- was considered an F, and if you<br />

had three F’s you would be “asked to leave”.<br />

Bright was not how my teachers would describe<br />

me and so when I walked in to school on the<br />

first day I was already intimidated by high walls<br />

and serious teachers. I would say I cared less<br />

about my classes and more about my friends.<br />

Metro pretty quickly became an access point to<br />

our frequent vices as an escape from the stress.<br />

Keeping that secret from those around was my<br />

utmost priority. #truly<br />

Lots of things happened in high school that I will<br />

never forget. When I was eighteen, I was failing<br />

math horribly. Consequently, I was going to fail<br />

out of high school too. I would have to tell my<br />

parents that I wasn’t going to walk the stage with<br />

the rest of my friends, and even more dreadful;<br />

why I was failing Math.<br />

I remember the vice principal of my school approaching<br />

me in the cafeteria.<br />

He said “You’ve got a lot of potential Austin but you<br />

know that smile isn’t going to get you everywhere.”<br />

He patted me on my shoulder and walked away.<br />

“Ha!” I thought.<br />

I knew what he meant, but it was lame so I pretended<br />

like it never happened.<br />

In my heart of hearts I knew that he was right.<br />

He knew that I wasn’t doing my homework and<br />

he knew that I wasn’t passing my tests. I felt like<br />

a piece of glass, and in that moment I was about<br />

to crack. Up to that point I had pretended like<br />

everything was okay, and that my habits couldn’t<br />

change the trajectory of my life, but I was discovering<br />

quickly that the opposite was true.<br />

I was sitting at home when my best friend Morgan<br />

called me. He said candidly, “Bro, where are<br />

you? Mrs. Funk said you haven’t been to school<br />

in two weeks.”<br />



“Two weeks?” I thought. “No Way” I swore it<br />

had only been one.<br />

For two weeks I skipped class everyday and got<br />

high. I told myself it was okay to continue this way<br />

if I could just bury myself negative thoughts.<br />

Long story short, I passed high school that year<br />

and fortunately my parents never really knew<br />

the extent of how close I was to not graduating<br />

on time. I got to walk the stage and be applauded<br />

and squaded with everyone else that<br />

day. However, I was not sure that I deserved the<br />

acknowledgement so graduation day was full of<br />

guilt and fear that my parents would find out.<br />

I was cracking again. <strong>The</strong>y were proud of me,<br />

smiling. <strong>The</strong>y saw that I had graduated high<br />

school despite everything. Honestly, it was a<br />

good feeling.<br />

More recently I met this guy named Emmy. I<br />

was twenty two, he was thirty-five, but we had<br />

a lot in common; young, black, artist. He said<br />

he saw a little bit of himself in me and immediately<br />

a shudder ran down my back. From my<br />

high school experience I knew that as soon as<br />

someone sees potential in me, they would start<br />

to expect a lot.<br />

I was working in a city that I wasn’t familiar<br />

with, so I would stay with him three days here,<br />

two days there. Naturally we got to know each<br />

other pretty quickly, his eyes always watching<br />

to be sure that I was acting the way he<br />

would’ve if he could go back in time and talk<br />

to his younger self.<br />

Potential.<br />

po·ten·tial: having or showing the capacity to become<br />

or develop into something in the future. I<br />

swallow that word like a bag of rocks.<br />

Emmy took care of me, so in a lot of ways I<br />

owed respect to his crazy methodology. If he<br />

asked me to do something I would do it and<br />

do it right the first time. To be honest, I never<br />

thought about making a mistake because he<br />

had become my friend too. But, when I finally<br />

uffed up I remembered my responsibility to<br />

keep things the way he liked it.<br />

He asked me to lock the doors when I was done<br />

getting my bag from his car, but I didn’t. He had<br />

that look in his eyes like “You know? That smile<br />

isn’t going to get everywhere.”<br />

I froze in suspense and made my best attempts<br />

at being respectful, responsible, and redeemable.<br />

Emmy was cool so disappointing him was not.<br />

Believe me when I say the doors to his car were<br />

locked every day from then on out.<br />

When I was in the thick of it [being scolded by<br />

Emmy] I could feel the walls closing in again.<br />

I was becoming glass. Emmy was serious, Mr.<br />

Mayhem was serious too, and so were my parents.<br />

I wanted to explode, or maybe just disappear.<br />

I wanted it all to go away.<br />

I think back to that time in my freshman year of<br />

high school. Finals were approaching and the<br />

walls were closing in again. It got really dark.<br />

So, I planned do something that I would never<br />

be able to talk about again. I went to my basement,<br />

tears running down my face, and wrote<br />

the note that would explain why I did it. Why I<br />

killed myself.<br />


It’s moments like that where everything comes<br />

into focus that the solution can be simple. I don’t<br />

think I have to say that I didn’t commit suicide<br />

that night.<br />

I walked into class the next day. <strong>The</strong> professor<br />

was in the front of the room eyeing everyone that<br />

walked in.<br />

“Do you have your assignment?” She said. I think I<br />

was one of two people who didn’t. <strong>The</strong>re was a girl<br />

in the class named Sara who had always done her<br />

homework on time, she had an in with the teacher.<br />

“How come you didn’t prepare for the final Austin?”<br />

I shrugged it off thinking about where I had<br />

been in the past fourteen hours. <strong>The</strong>re was nothing<br />

to say.<br />

“Did you know you can buy Marquita a box of<br />

chocolates, and she’ll pass you?” My jaw was on<br />

the floor.<br />

<strong>The</strong>re’s a point in pure chaos when everything<br />

stops and the air is calm. It’s called the eye of<br />

the storm. That’s where I operate; in full throttle<br />

crashing into all the other atoms around me, vibrating<br />

at the perfect frequency to become a solid.<br />

I find peace in knowing myself, because the truth<br />

sets me free. My favorite line in a song this year,<br />

and probably forever is:<br />

“I know you think it’s fake, maybe fake’s what I like”<br />

“<br />

qualities either, but<br />

this is what I need<br />

in my life right now.<br />

You can either get on board or you can get out of<br />

my life.” I love that! That line is about acceptance.<br />

I accept that I am still that fifteen year old who is<br />

that twenty-three year old who will be a thirty- five<br />

year old in chaos trying to graduate high school<br />

with a smile and positive thinking. <strong>The</strong> truth is;<br />

it’s impossible. I had to get a lot of things rolling<br />

before I was able to walk the stage with my friends<br />

that day.<br />

What I learned from all those experiences is that<br />

life is unpredictable; it literally makes no sense. Yes<br />

there is structure and rigor but only in an attempt<br />

to put a method to the madness. Don’t stress. Life is<br />

like a workshop. Everyday I wake up, I have to work<br />

to clear the fog and tackle the days obstacles. It’s not<br />

easy, and sometimes I feel my past selves wanting<br />

to take charge. But, honestly, I would describe that<br />

more as me letting go. We have to take control.<br />

Long story short what ever it is you’re doing, you’re<br />

doing just fine. If you are alive, you are winning,<br />

and if you are deceased you’ll be back soon. Love<br />

the people around you and be positive. I promise<br />

it will all work out, or your money back.<br />

“Life should be made as simple as possible, but not<br />

much simpler” -Albert Einstein<br />

I find peace in knowing<br />

myself, because the<br />

truth sets me free.”<br />

-New Person, Same Old Mistakes Currents 2015<br />

As cliche as that band is the line is special to me. In<br />

a hyperbolic way it says “Maybe you don’t believe<br />

that jumping over shrubs makes me feel closer to<br />

God, and maybe I’m not so sure of its spiritual<br />


glo·ry<br />

ˈɡlôrē/<br />

magnificence or great beauty<br />

Spring 2017 fashion show held at Santa Fe University of<br />

Art & Design. Curated and directed by Keynan Johnson.<br />

Behind the Scenes photos by La’Charles Trask<br />









<strong>The</strong> mind is your most powerful weapon.<br />

Mind over matter is everything.<br />

As a advocate of self-care/love/esteem/confidence<br />

etc. I highly believe in mind-power and the ability<br />

it has to change the way you walk through life.<br />

And let’s be real, it’s HARD to stay positive.<br />

For me, it’s hard because I tend to be easily<br />

stressed and overwhelmed but — like everything,<br />

it’s a process and it’s slowly getting better with<br />

each visit.<br />

I’ve made a list of things to focus on in your personal<br />

life in order to allow positivity to fall into place.<br />

Have a year of YOU<br />

We all get caught up in hustling so hard that<br />

we tend to neglect ourselves and our needs but<br />

PLEASE don’t forget about yourself!<br />

Sometimes this can be tough because there is so<br />

much going on, and so much we want to stick our<br />

hands in that we over exhaust ourselves because<br />

we haven’t taken the time to self-care.<br />

Whatever self-care means to you, do it.<br />

Often. No one is going to do it for you.<br />

If you don’t start making yourself a priority you<br />

will one day look back and wonder where your life<br />

went. It’s not selfish. It’s more like the greatest gift<br />

you can give to the people around you.<br />

When you feel more balanced and whole, the rest<br />

of the world gets the best parts of you, too.<br />

Change your approach<br />

In his most recent album, the song “No Favors”<br />

he says:<br />

“When my grandma died I realized I got an angel<br />

Show me everything’s a blessing, dependin’ on<br />

the angles”<br />

Perfectly said.<br />

You’ve gotta look at all the angles and determine<br />

your blessings<br />

Every negative, brings some type of positive.<br />

Don’t work to accept things you cannot<br />

change.<br />

“Change the things you can’t accept.”<br />

Just like you can change the course of your future<br />

by taking a long look at your life and surroundings<br />

and deciding which parts are no longer acceptable.<br />

Have a “this isn’t working for me anymore” moment<br />

and take out the trash!<br />

Empathy. Get acquainted with it.<br />

And this may not even apply to all of you reading this.<br />

A lot of people are already extremely empathetic.<br />

All im saying is that there is power in learning and<br />

listening to others.It’s truly a hidden secret.<br />

Once more people start putting themselves in others’<br />

shoes, this Karma thing might actually show<br />

up and start to bless all of us.<br />

Cydnie Smith-McCarthy<br />


dream huge<br />

Failure is only failure if you choose to quit.<br />

Dream big, but start small.<br />

Make a list and slowly start checking those things off and i promise you will feel<br />

better about the bigger goals you have.<br />

It’s all a process.<br />

It’s okay to start small.<br />

What this does is open ourselves up to the possibility of a goal without boundaries.<br />

Invest in yourself on a greater scale.<br />

You’ll be surprised at how much you truly accomplish<br />

If 2016 has taught me anything, it would be that gratitude is a thing.<br />

Be grateful for the people you have in your life and the time you have with them.<br />

Enjoy them. Because nothing is finite.<br />

it’s important to make a difference, change a heart, really live a life this year.<br />

Let’s make the most of it.<br />



photography by Mark Baker-Sanchez | styling by Mariah Romero | model, Analyss Robles<br />






L.L.P. (Lazy Lemon Pie)<br />

Welcome to Spring my friends! I’m sharing a health inspired dessert because<br />

well, we now live in 2017 and duh?! In all seriousness I’ve discovered<br />

that sugar is something that causes an inflammatory response for my body,<br />

whether that’s just currently or forever, I’ve committed to a much reduced<br />

sugar intake which has made me re-think dessert.<br />

One of the best ways to get your “glow” on the outside is to approach<br />

things from the inside. In 2017 I’ve committed to creating glowing health<br />

and beauty both inside and out. So, comes this recipe I’m calling Lazy<br />

Lemon Pie. It’s EASY. I promise. And it’s just such a good substitute to a<br />

normal dessert.<br />

Here’s a drop of wisdom with your pie, feeling vibrant in life is your birthright.<br />

If you don’t experience that on the daily, go within. If you don’t go<br />

within, you’ll go without.<br />

All the love,<br />

Andie<br />



What you need<br />

Base<br />

2 ½ cups desiccated coconut<br />

1 egg<br />

3 tbs coconut oil<br />

½ tsp vanilla powder (check your local health food store)<br />

½ tsp cinnamon<br />

½ tsp liquid stevia<br />

Pinch of salt<br />

Curd<br />

¼ cup fresh lemon juice<br />

6 tbs coconut oil<br />

3 eggs<br />

Zest of 2 fresh lemons<br />

½ tsp liquid stevia<br />

What you do<br />

Preheat oven to 300°F. Mix base ingredients in medium bowl until dough like and sticky.<br />

Press coconut base into a 9 inch pie pan and build sides up to ½ inch thick. Be sure to<br />

back down well so the base it totally firm. Back until golden brown, about 20 minutes.<br />

Once crust is cooling, make curd on stovetop: Add eggs, coconut oil to saucepan and<br />

whisk until oil is melted. ***Note: stir constantly to avoid clumps. Once oil is melted,<br />

add lemon juice, lemon zest and stevia stirring until mixture becomes thick (roughly<br />

5-10 minutes).<br />

Take curd off heat and press through a strainer, into cooled crust. This should leave<br />

most if not all zest i n strainer. Shake crust gently to settle the curd and make it level.<br />

Serve it warm and runny or leave it in the fridge until totally set (at least 4 hours).<br />

You’re welcome babes, happy Spring and cheers to our health!<br />



RUSA<br />

“ Rusa is a bunch of obsessive<br />

musicians determined to bring<br />

you the best listening experience<br />

they can deliver, and will stop at<br />

nothing to achieve that goal. <strong>The</strong>y<br />

are genuine people who want to<br />

make your life better.”<br />




What’s the vibe of your sound?<br />

Something along the lines of Neo-soul combined with Progressive Rock, think<br />

Hiatus Kaiyote combined with the Alabama Shakes plus some weird stuff.<br />

How does the relationship with music and style coincide?<br />

Well we don’t know if our style has anything to do with our music, mimi style<br />

(she calls it grandma chic) comes from her afican heritage, thrift stores and<br />

her need to feel comfortable at all times. <strong>The</strong> rest of us just try our best not to<br />

look homeless.<br />

How do you stay positive as a group?<br />

Muffins and Beer. Being there for each other, but mostly the muffins and beer.<br />

Can you describe your aesthetic as a band in one word?<br />

Casualdadwear<br />

How is the relationship between the band?<br />

Silly, it’s like the show comedy bang bang (Mimi is Reggie Watts).<br />

What does your band name mean?<br />

Javan Rusa is a spices of deer. <strong>The</strong>re was a night were that name came to Kyle,<br />

and he told us and we thought it was cool.<br />

Who are your music influences?<br />

Music influences are Hiatus Kaiyote, Snarky Puppy, Esperanza Spalding, Lianne<br />

La Havas, Ravel, and Erykah Badu.<br />

What’s the future of Rusa?<br />

Touring the world with Hiatus Kaiyote and other heroes of ours would be pretty<br />

cool. It’s really hard to say because the future is so unpredictable, but we’re working<br />

on an EP right now and we’d like to travel and keep making music. We are<br />

always trying to improve and so that is always a plan for the future.<br />

Keep up with Rusa!<br />

Facebook -Rusa | Instagram -rusastuff<br />


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