Date of Interview: November 25, 2016
Name: Shanon Lee
Location: Alexandria, VA
If you were a underwater creature which one would you be?
I would be a seahorse. They’re elegant; I used to be fascinated by them when I was a kid. I used to live in Pensacola, Florida and they would wash up on the streets out of the sewers. Also, because I think they’re feminist. The males carry the babies, so it’s an equal society down there for them ::laughs::.
What are you passionate about?
Love, family, art. Yeah, especially in my 40th year of life. I have kind of come full circle because I was huge into art as a child – just writing and painting and doing all those things. So, I’m slowly trying to work everything back into my life that I used to enjoy. My kids are a lot like I was, so I definitely encourage them. But in terms of me personally, trying to connect with my inner child and trying to get back in touch with my creativity has become hugely important this year.
What’s your favorite media to create?
Mmmmm, it’s pretty much tied right now between writing and film. I love film and writing, they can be so totally different. Writing can be really personal and it’s always exciting to reach a broader audience that can connect with something you thought was so personal to you. Certainly, if you write anything that’s impactful it can help someone in a way, but film can reach an even broader audience. It’s more dynamic and exciting in that you have to work with other people to create a project, so there’s always this buzz around it. But it’s so hard to get things done. I’m not trained to use any particular equipment, so I’m always working with a crew and that involves balancing personalities. If I was a magician and could take that part out of it, it would probably be my number one ::laughs::.
What’s something that you still struggle with?
I think it’s… I definitely don’t struggle with self-expression anymore. I think I struggle with letting go of the need to – I don’t want to say impress because that’s the wrong word – but just to please my parents. I’m definitely trying to let go of the need of that. I was never really close to my mother or my father, so just accepting that I don’t need their approval in any form with any projects I decide to take on, or any decisions in my life. What do you feel accomplished with? I think it’s two-fold because I feel very accomplished with everything that I’ve done this year in terms of writing and film. I think just being happy in the space that I’m in is my biggest accomplishment this year. Just because things are going well for me professionally doesn’t mean it’s always going well personally. I’m a co-parent, I co-parent with my oldest son’s father and that’s been a really trying experience. I think, regardless of if everything was perfect in my personal life or not, I’ve really been able to find a balance and be happy and comfortable with where I am. That level of emotional maturity, yeah.
What are your thoughts on relationships? Platonic, sexual or otherwise.
I think we need them to survive this life. I’m very happy to be in a partnership, to have a blended family and to have that to come home to. To have a support system. I think I approach relationships and love a lot differently now, at my age. I’ll watch these shows on TV – reality shows – and see the dynamics. It’s a lot of envy and jealousy and just… pettiness. I’m so glad to be at this point, on the other side. That was all stuff I was doing in my teens and twenties, so as you enter your thirties and forties you’re a lot more secure in who you are. Hopefully, you’re not going to have these stupid arguments over, you know, what somebody wrote on Facebook or text. So, I’m happy to be at that point. I’m not a traditionalist. I married for the first time when I was 20. Now, it’s 20 years later and I don’t really feel the need to do anything traditionally, I don’t feel like I have to get married, I will get married again if I want to. So I’ve let go of a lot of those expectations, the societal expectations, the cultural stigmas of having to live your life in one particular way. I think everyone would be happier if they could get to that place.
What are you afraid of for the world?
I’m not really afraid of anything for the world. Whether things get things figured out or not, we’re all going to die anyway ::laughs::. We were all put on this earth to do something and hopefully most people will figure out at some point what it is and will want to contribute in a positive way to the world. But, I think we’re entering some really interesting times, especially in the United States with the last presidential election and everything that’s gone on. It’s interesting because with the Obama presidency we’ve been able to fall into complacency. Some people have been a lot less willing to examine what was going on in politics and that has obviously led us downhill. What I wish for people is the ability to become critical thinkers, to become independent thinkers and to understand that we’ve had good and bad presidents for as long as the United States has existed. The world is not ending today.