As a former medicinal student, Jona Guzman trudged through work, faked their smiles, and tried to keep up with the corporate, structured healthcare environment. Their workplace condensed and dwindled their purpose down to an ant- sized existence. Guzman opened up with us about their journey that would eventually propel them into understanding their place in the world.
Rooted in Dallas, Texas, they seek solace in the community around them. Their friends undergird them through life, finding comfort in constructing music and sounds that resuscitate them, providing a cathartic space for the people around them. Through their music and social media platforms, they are able to wear their vulnerability on their chest, visible for everyone around to see.
Interviewer: Why do you think our generation is drawn to apps like Twitter and Tik Tok?
Jona: I love Twitter more than Instagram. I gravitate towards it because Twitter isn’t that serious- neither is Tik Tok. Instagram can feel serious. On Twitter and Tik Tok, I get more information there. I didn’t know about the Kanye West and Jeffrey Star scandal until a friend told me. I was like, ‘What the fuck?’
Interviewer: What has your college experience been like?
Jona: My freshman year, I was a baby. I was getting to know myself. That’s where I found people who I really connected with. From then to now, it’s been so different. I thought I wanted to work in healthcare and that’s why I dropped out. I was working in the hospital at the time, and it was a lot. It was kind of traumatic seeing every stage of life. You see birth, death, the middle, and people laying there with no thoughts. I went to a really dark place. I worked there for 2 years.
I was registered and would roll around asking for demographics. That’s why I hated the job because I hate the healthcare system.
Interviewer: What was it like working in the medical industry?
Jona: I was bored and didn’t have the drive to do it. I felt like I was wasting time. I saw people working in the healthcare world and they seemed so miserable. I’m sure they enjoy it, but I’m not built for that.
Interviewer: What’s your relationship with medicine and psychedelics?
Jona: The last time I did [acid], I had [an] ego death. I was analyzing my relationships with everyone who was there. It was me and two friends. My roommate came with two other people who were drunk and it was a clash of energies. We were chilling and they came in ready to party. I was like, ‘I need to go to the hospital. I don’t want to be tripping anymore.’
With shrooms, you feel feelings and you feel happy. The first time I did shrooms, I was with my friends in my old apartment. It was pretty late and it was beautiful. I felt content looking at my friends. I had bought a mini keyboard and played around with the sounds.
Interviewer: Talk to me about purpose.
Jona: I started my spiritual journey; meditating and writing. I was depressed back then and seeing [my coworkers] miserable made me not want that. I found [purpose] within myself.
I didn’t get in touch with my emotions until later in life. I felt like I was so oblivious to them. My sophomore year, I got in touch with them. I think my family taught me to not acknowledge them. Growing up in a Latinx household, there’s a stigma about therapy. I’ve realized that I have helped my family be more in touch with their emotions. Now that I’ve grown, I can see where they lack because of their traumas.
Interviewer: How do you help the people around you without weaponizing your help?
Jona: It helps to understand that they don’t get it. I don’t take it personally and I have my own life outside of their trauma. The libra in me likes to keep a balance.
Interviewer: How do you feel about the idea of adulthood?
Jona: I’m in my SZA era. I used to hate it- getting old. I still have so much time. I’m only 21. Sometimes, it can feel so scary. Time is going by fast. It’s really scary. I just wish it could slow down sometimes. It helps knowing that some of my favorite artists are in their prime in their later years. I’m not going to grow and be old. I can still grow and be sexy.
Interviewer: What have your adult years looked like so far?
Jona: They’ve looked scary because of the pandemic, but there have been beautiful moments. I’ve grown, learned, created. I feel like I’ve come into myself more. As I grow, I gain more knowledge. Looking back, you can see how much has changed.
Interviewer: What do you do to keep yourself happy with yourself?
Jona: Making music with my friend. Every time we make music together, I feel happy and think that there are opportunities for me.
Interviewer: What movies, albums, and art inspire your creative style?
Interviewer: What’s tea with raves?
Jona: I was always interested in [raves], but where I live is country and no one was into that. When I moved to Dallas, I made it a goal to go to a rave. It’s interesting because I made connections online. You have to find the people who do it and the artists who are there in Dallas. Connect with them and they’ll post the rave. Dancing is really inspiring to me also. Getting into the music- it’s fun.
Interviewer: Do you believe in life long partnerships like marriage?
Jona: I used to. I’m iffy about it. My friend and I talk about how long term relationships can be toxic. Marriage is kind of scary. It can turn ugly. Not having that status of being married helps make it not so confining. When you see someone you like, it should be a human connection rather than breaking someone’s heart. You’re going to meet so many people in life.