There are so many negative stereotypes associated with millennials, that it often makes it hard to admit that I am one. I thought about some of the things people like to say about us, and cringed. Millennials are typically viewed as lazy, impatient, and fickle. One of the most common stereotypes is that millennials are unable to hold meaningful conversations, due to an overwhelming amount of time spent using texts and social media to stay connected.

While these stereotypes may be true for some, there are so many of us that are simply not that way. Many of our parents wouldn’t allow for us to be sucked into an entirely digital culture, or to expect success to just fall into our laps. I wanted to take some time and truly reflect on some of the things that really affect us as a generation. The majority of the people I spoke to battled with anxiety. As I researched further, I began meeting people that felt not only anxious, but as if they didn’t fit in. Anxiety is one of the most common mental illnesses in our country, and some people do an amazing job masking it. It doesn’t make it any less painful or present, but we may never know unless we are extremely close to the person experiencing it.

With incredible celebrities like Laverne Cox and Chaz Bono bringing an immense amount of positive attention to the transgender community, many people with non-binary genders began to feel comfortable truly being themselves. It’s not as though this was something that had never been done before, but when shared on such a large platform, people everywhere became more open and accepting of others and themselves. With that being said, some areas are still going to create some anxiety. Bathrooms for example, can be an uncomfortable space for people that don’t limit themselves to one of two genders. Their safety is often put at risk, and they often feel as if they don’t fit in anywhere.

Lastly, an overwhelming majority of people I spoke to seemed to view love as a way to fill a void. So many of us, (myself included) sought love in other ways. Whether it be sex between relationships, staying in a relationship with someone we knew was wrong for us, online dating, having a secret relationship with someone taken, or hooking up after the club, each one of us had our bout with lust in our own way. Lust is the watered down, temporary version of Love, and as a generation I believe we deserve so much more.

Not only were the beautiful people I interviewed open and generous with their personal experiences, they also happen to be talented models. As a makeup artivist, it’s always been about more to me than just makeup. This particular series tells a real story, of real people, and the emotions radiate from their faces in the photos. Kelsey Arrington nailed yet another shoot in under an hour, and captured so many amazing angles in the blink of an eye. I will never forget the energy on set that day, and I look forward to creating more beautiful projects in the future with her!

I gave each model the opportunity to choose one of three emojis, and it worked out perfectly as each of them chose a different one than the other. I asked them to briefly explain why they chose the emoji they did, and I was blown away by their responses. I can’t think of a better way to close this post than with the words in their own voices. xo

“I always feel different from everyone, almost not in society because society doesn’t recognize my identity. I’ve always been the ‘weirdo.’

In a world that so strongly believes there’s only two genders, being non-binary feels like being an alien. I come from a different planet where we don’t gender clothes or colors or activities or bodies…When I was little, I used to get bullied for not fitting in with the boys or the girls. To this day I don’t feel like many people really see or understand me. Other areas of my life are alien too – I’m the engineer who’s artistic and “out-there,” and the artist who’s systematic and loves math. I’m polyamorous and a minimalist, and having a house and kids is not my dream. I’m an adult and my favorite activity is hula-hooping. I’d rather spend my life being me than trying to follow society’s strange rules.” – Emory, alien emoji

“Anxiety is a personal emotion.

As a daughter of an Asian immigrant, perfection and external achievement were paramount to your worth. I was loved profoundly by my mother and my family and always will be. But Asian mothers are competitive and expect greatness from their children. It contributed incredibly to my discipline/ambition, and it was also damaging. It translated into an anxiety to always be the best and seek out external achievement. I have taken many years to carefully unlearn the self-impalement that comes with seeking ultimate perfection and competition for greatness at the cost of healthy relationships with others and myself. Now I love loudly and generously to heal the past and say thank you to my mother for teaching me to never back down on my dreams. I do this in a way that is healthier for me and teaches others to love themselves while still being steadfast to what they want out of their life.” – Kelly, fearful (anxious) emoji

“I chose this emoji because I resonated with it the most in comparison to the other emojis. It represents blindly falling in love, but also lust. I believe that with either of those two, it requires a sense of vulnerability and courage, which is one of the most beautiful things to me. Whether it’s the vulnerability of giving love everything you’ve got, or giving lust everything that love stole, this emoji conveys what I believe is life’s greatest purpose: to love and be loved.” – Jonalyn, heart eyes emoji

Peace and Blessings,

Dayna Marie

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