Metastate is about honoring each other’s stories, no matter how different, and creating a more complete picture of our hopes, our fears, our dreams. We’ll share our conversations here and invite you to add your voices to the discussion. Pull up a chair and join us as we recount the stories and lessons of our lives…
Maryn: In my lifetime I’ve been a tomboy, a girly girl, an intellectual, an athlete. I was in the Model UN, a beauty pageant, a corporate job, a creative job…always struggling to fit in, but never quite succeeding. How has your identity evolved over the years?
Darrée: For a long time I struggled to fit into one archetype – whether it was nerd, misfit, or granola eating tree hugger. It wasn’t until college that I discovered I could be all of those things. I said a big screw you to societal expectations and let my flowy dresses coexist with my volleyball uniform; I sprawled out my paintbrushes next to my guitar and I’m all the more sane because of it.
Maryn: How did you give up that social striving and begin to carve out your own identity?
Darrée: Performance art was a way to get in touch with something greater than myself. My college professor (E.G.) challenged us to create a persona from which we could create art for several months. I named her Victoria S. Lee. She was a CIA agent who was strong, independent, intelligent, and an all around badass. Over the years of developing this character, I found myself taking Tae Kwon Do lessons, doing yoga, meditating, and eating healthier. I even gave up smoking. I respected myself more and started speaking up in class. Victoria began as a class assignment, but she changed my life in a tangible way. She was this vision of the person I wanted to become and I eventually stepped into her shoes.
Maryn: Wow, I think my “Victoria” would be someone who is unafraid to be different. She would challenge the status quo and inspire others to ask questions and perhaps think in a different way. She would be the embodiment of something new.
There would be no social attachments or labels – ethnic, professional, gender, etc. She would exist outside and perhaps beyond these identifiers.
Darrée: In many ways, she sounds like the Maryn I already know. Do you feel that you are moving towards this vision, i.e. who you really want to be?
Maryn: I’m slowly finding the courage to express my opinions and abstain from activities that pull me in the wrong direction, even if that means I’m less popular or harder to understand. I’ll never fit neatly into a box and maybe that is okay. Like Russian nesting dolls, that chubby girl I was in middle school, that overachiever I was in high school, that hot girl I tried to be in college, they’re all still here inside of me and yet I am continually changing. The hardest part has been learning to accept it all – the innocence, the shame, the joy and the sadness. I’m becoming grateful for each step of the journey (however awkward) that led me to where I stand today. In the end, that is what makes us whole.