This is the second of four interviews spotlighting some of the talented individuals behind the pieces they submitted to Mad in America’s “Beyond Labels and Meds: What It Feels Like to Be Me” art exhibition. Each contributor was asked the same questions about themselves, their perspectives, and the inspiration and intention behind their work. This blog series will run each Tuesday through March 7.

Title: “Collide”
Medium: Music composition
Artist: Aurora Ramos
Age 16, Virginia

What do you want the world to know about what it is like being a teen today?

I can’t speak for all teens, but I can speak for myself. In America, we have significantly more opportunities and privileges than in other countries, so it’d be stupid to not take advantage of them… even when they shake you violently. With all these people, there’s bound to be someone who wants them just a little more than you. But you have to hold on, because if you don’t, you fall behind in such a fast-paced society.

Of course, even falling behind in America doesn’t mean something horrible. Today’s teens have so much access to media, which is underestimated. Why do you think so many books got banned? It’s because they have access to your mind and sneak into your thoughts and ideas… which lead to action. Most media is helpful, but some can be harmful, and some can leave you confused about yourself.

We hold all our problems on the inside that sometimes not even our parents or friends can access them. And for what? To not be a burden? To not be vulnerable? Why not? Isn’t okay to be human.

Aurora Ramos
Please tell us about your song. What inspired it? What is its main message? What would you like readers to know about it?

Mental health has been a lot more prominent nowadays. I’ve literally seen so many lonely people at my school, and it’s sad to watch them get left out or eat lunch alone. This is what inspired my art and music. I used to feel left out too, and I told myself I was fine. I wasn’t, though, because life isn’t meant to be lived alone. Luckily, I was saved by an extrovert, who has helped me to make friends in my own introverted way.

As a famous saying goes, “As iron sharpens iron, a friend sharpens a friend.” This means that friends help each other to grow and can help the other up if that one falls. But what about the people who weren’t reached out to? I knew a girl who we didn’t reach in time. She was lonely, and she was lonely when she committed suicide. Even when they think or say they’re fine being alone, they are not. If people are left to their own thoughts for too long, it could either lead to a pretty cool invention—or something detrimental.

I would like readers to take action and not let peoples’ outward appearances fool them. Take the chance to know someone even if it means getting rejected because at least you know that YOU just might be saving someone from themselves or their circumstance. Stop avoiding lonely people. Talk to them. “Collide” and change their course. That may be all they need—a genuine relationship.

What are some of your biggest stressors and how do the arts help you cope with them?

School is fun, but it definitely is a stressor when you combine it with the rest of my life (and my ‘bomb’ time management skills). I’d say nobody can get to my feelings at this point and make me extremely stressed because I am my own worst enemy. My thoughts are so damaging to myself, I wonder how they come up in the first place.

Music and art are such beautiful gifts, though. Music helps me to meditate my thoughts on something nice and to help get them out right away. (Even when the lyrics are cheesy). Visual art takes me to another place completely. If I paint a beautiful sunset, I am there. If I paint the sky, I am there, too, gliding through the fluffy clouds.

I think art is underrated sometimes because of its seemingly uselessness, but I highly believe it can cure many minds. So many therapeutic services include art as well. My grandma, who is paralyzed, and my grandpa, who also has a health issue that prevents him from speaking, almost seem back to ‘normal’ when they sing their favorite karaoke song. They appear cured in that small but precious moment. When my thoughts start to crush me, I just sing and all of a sudden, I can take the next step forward to becoming a better person. Negative art can obviously have the opposite effect. It can spread hate, make you feel depressed, and spark meaninglessly aggravated emotions.

Do you have other art pieces in any medium that we can include with your interview?

See the lyrics to collide here and the image below.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?

Thoughts are powerful, and in America, for most people, there’s a lot of room for them to think. Perception of others is never the full picture. Dino nuggets are supreme. Thank you.

Instagram: @heyoitsroe


MIA Reports are supported, in part, by a grant from The Thomas Jobe Fund.


  1. “Perception of others is never the full picture.” Wise words that all “mental health workers” – who frequently stigmatize people with “invalid” disorders in minutes – should heed. “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover” was my thought, as I was leaving the insanity of today’s “mental health” system.

    Thank you for sharing both your music and visual art with us, Aurora.

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  2. Aurora, I hope you don’t mind that I used the word delightful to describe your song that conveys lonely, sadness, yearning. Your song IS so sweet and it reminded me of listening to our own Catherine play her ukelele and sing. I think she would have really liked you.

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