No. 2.1 The Little Things

It seemed as though the planet took a collective sigh of relief as the clock struck 12 on New Year’s Eve, marking the end of 2020. People sat, huddled in their homes, optimistic for a new year - a better year - excitedly fantasizing the wonders 2021 would bring. Even those with low expectations seemed to look forward to a sense of normalcy.

And, for a brief moment, it seemed as though that would be the case. Under a new presidential administration, we would finally come together as a nation to defeat COVID-19, to deliver justice, and to tackle our rapidly deteriorating climate. People of all backgrounds would come together, looking forward with their heads held high, shoulders pushed back, ready to take on the world.

Six days later, on January 6, 2021, at approximately 3:00 pm (Eastern), the United States Capitol building in Washington, DC faced a domestic terrorist attack following a “Save America” march. The march, organized and advertised in advance, aimed to protest what an immense amount of Donald Trump supporters believed to be a fraudulent election. President Trump himself spoke at the event. While the protest began peacefully, it quickly escalated to rioting, a group of people breaking into the Capitol building during a congressional proceeding that would confirm the findings of the Electoral College.

News spread instantly, and a group of young COATA members gathered in a video call, multiple live streams running to watch news reports and videos from the raid. They sat in silence, staring at their screens, listening to the cluster of reporters and shouts, in shock at what they were witnessing.

They were, in fact, witnessing history.

They were witnessing the crumbling of democracy as we know it.

From the very beginning, COATA has aimed to give a voice to young artists looking to make change, and yet - for the first time - it seemed there was nothing to say. There were no words. No messages.


It is during times like this we find it easy to lose sight of what’s important. In a country and a political climate in which everything is amplified to the nth degree, we must take a moment to appreciate the little things. The world is massive. It’s scary, and it’s, - as we’ve seen - easy to engulf ourselves in problems so immense there seems no escape.

To start off this year’s collection of Mental Health Monthly, we wanted to challenge our artists and viewers to take a step back - even if for just a moment.

Our youth are faced with seemingly insurmountable tasks, most of which stem from years of systematic societal influence by our world’s elite. Many feel overwhelmed, overworked, and simply tired.

It was this shared mindset amongst young people in America that inspired this month’s prompt. We wanted our artists to take in the world around them for everything it is. We asked them to pay extra attention to details they would normally overlook. Examples included ‘the sound of a dog’s nails on hardwood’ and ‘going under a tunnel when driving in the rain at night, and hearing everything go silent for just a moment’. Small details so often ignored, but that would completely change our world should they disappear.

With that, we ask you, the reader, the same question:

What are the little moments worth living for?

Remember to tell someone you love them today.


Community Outreach and Activism Through Art

By: Bailey

COATA member Bailey created a video admiring the little things of quarantine in a submission for the organization's Mental Health Monthly article.

By: Juniper

"It is easy to let the monotony of quarantine get to you. It is easy to take small things for granted, even the house you live in. I know that I, for one, do. Even just looking at my living room. I am so incredibly lucky to live a comfortable life, and I don't often take the time to appreciate it. However, it is worth living for.

I chose to put 'Sound of Silence' by Simon & Garfunkel over this simple video. 'Sound of Silence' tells of feeling alone even when there are people around you. I feel like this is something almost everyone can relate to in quarantine and isolation. You may be around your family, but feelings of loneliness are inescapable. I feel this myself, but I am trying to take these small moments where I am feeling alone and use them as a moment of repose from the busy life that I led previously.

Sitting on the couch listening to calm and soft music, like my cover of 'Sound of Silence,' helps me change those feelings of loneliness to feelings of halcyon and peace."

The little things

By: Sarah Agnello

Being stuck in our homes for as long as we have been, I've found that it grows increasingly hard to focus. Whether it's schoolwork or games or conversations I'm engaged in, there's always something that draws my attention elsewhere, but the one remedy that never fails: focusing on the little things.

During the day - especially classes - this approach becomes as objective as possible. I find something on my desk that won't make me slowly backslide into wanting to get into bed and never go to class again, or I meander out of my room to make coffee in an attempt to feel more awake.

My sleep schedule leans towards later in the night, so the latter half of this past week has been rough. Semester schedule changes affecting how early our school day starts kicked my ass, to say the least, but one small bonus is I wake up knowing the people I care about most are also awake.

There are some bonuses to being nocturnal, though. Out of every time of day, nighttime is the quietest. Lights look more defined and colorful at night, too, which having a soft spot for is an occupational hazard. Getting into Minecraft servers at ungodly hours of the evening and building interrupted (albeit, an idiosyncratic) little thing I cherish.

Today, the biggest little thing I've focused on is the cold, all-encompassing silence of snow falling. Sitting outside and watching the world change colors simultaneously with the canopy of clouds overhead is a seasonal one, something I'll never take for granted. Never let the little things slip your mind.