State Press Magazine spoke to University students who experienced inner growth, positive change and exciting revelations within themselves due to the quarantine and isolation from the coronavirus pandemic. Time away from the pressures and stares of society has given students the chance for introspection and discovery. More excerpts from our conversations with them can be found on our Instagram.
"I think what I sort of realized during that time, like creatively, was fashion. I really like fashion, but seeing it as a form of art and as an extension of your true self. And so I feel like my fashion sense coming into the pandemic and out of it — like when we're outside and doing things — is very different now. I feel now I get to express myself through the clothing that I wear. And that's why I like to wear more feminine stuff, and not really care so much about the expectations of the patriarchy in our society — because it's literally falling apart right in front of our very eyes. So why do I have to satisfy these expectations of myself when I can just do myself and do what I want to do?"
Justin Lavilla is a junior studying architecture. Lavilla works as an intern at Blerr Magazine.
"As artistically inclined people we have to get very serious when we're introspective — like this is what puts my thoughts and my being into action and immortalizes them ... I can understand myself through a creative outlet. And I already took myself relatively seriously and my practices and stuff like that. But I realized that, no, I actually have to get somewhere, I have to do something with who I am, what I am. All of that combining and then with what I was dealing with at home ... the more serious things that I experienced in quarantine and being isolated revolving around creativity and reflection to the world around me. I wasn't too worried creatively, but I realized I could not control things — things change, people change too, but I can't change them, I can't control them. I'm left up to how I influence things and that's as much as I can change anything, and I would have to do that through my creative forces. I'd have to take myself more seriously, I'd have to put more brain power and love into it, in order for it to be effective."
Kendall Jade is an artist and sophomore at ASU studying financial math.
"I'm still a slut for that ya fantasy s---. It's so good. And every book has this rogue scoundrel Han Solo type — but not a bad Han Solo sort of vibe — just that one dude who's super expressive. Like the gunslinger, a cool dude. And so just trying to read a lot, I was like, 'I want to be more like that.' So let's just get weird with it, you know? Let's just have some fun with it ... I spent so much of my life worrying about how I was perceived. And even on the internet if I posted, how it would be perceived by people, even though it's maybe 10 people who are interacting with it. So it's funny. And so I just spent so much time worrying about that in my life so (when) it was at a point where I was literally getting zero attention from anyone outside of two people over the span of like six months, I was like, 'I can kind of just hit f--- it and do whatever I want at this point.' Then I realized just being more open, it was a lot more fun. And I felt like I was more enjoyable to be around after that because I said more of what I feel, I did more of what I wanted to do ... I just started experimenting a lot more in art and in presentation. I basically just threw a bunch of shit at the wall and started realizing there's a lot more things that stick than I thought."
Derek Scott is a senior studying screenwriting. He is one half of the band Space Sluts. You can hear a performance from the band and extended interview on The State Press Center Stage podcast wherever you listen to podcasts.
"I lived in a really toxic household when it came to masculinity and femininity. I have two siblings, my older brother came out as lesbian — he's trans now — but when he came out as a lesbian it shook my whole family. We got shunned from our church. It was a really big deal. And then my little brother came out as gay too, so it was me left and everyone was like 'oh, you're their last hope.' I mean my family would tell me, pretty much everyday 'you're our last hope,' and 'I'm so happy that we get at least one kid to have a good wedding, or one kid to have two kids,' and people at school were telling me that same thing. I think with the pandemic one thing I realized was how disappointed I was in myself that I wasn't masculine enough to be straight for them ... and kind of just battling that. And then once you get over that, like 'it's OK, it's not my fault.' It's their fault for putting these expectations on me from the beginning, and really enforcing them onto me ... I mean, I knew I was gay for forever. But I didn't come out until freshman year, sophomore year of college ... It was a long journey and I think the pandemic was one of the things that helped me figure that out and be OK with starting to dress feminine. And now I like dressing more masculine too because it helps me reclaim that for myself."
Sam Johnson is a junior studying fashion design. Johnson works as an intern at Blerr Magazine.
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