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At The Forefront of Cultural Revolution: A Dialogue with Emily Maroutian


At The Forefront of Cultural Revolution: A Dialogue with Emily Maroutian

In our ever-evolving cultural landscape, there are writers whose work not only reflects the zeitgeist but also helps mold it. They push us toward new horizons of thought and expression. Today, we have the privilege of conversing with one such trailblazer, Emily Maroutian, whose multifaceted contributions as an author, philosopher, and thought leader have etched a profound impact on the cultural consciousness of our times.

Emily’s unique blend of poetic eloquence and philosophical depth has garnered a dedicated following, resonating with those who seek more than just artistry in art—they seek transformation. Her words do not merely pass through the mind but linger, prompting introspection and challenging preconceived notions about the world around us.

As we sit down with Emily in an intimate exchange of ideas, we hope to uncover the layers that compose not just her work but her very perception of culture and its trajectory. We aim to explore the essence of what drives her, understand the challenges she’s faced in her journey to cultural icon status, and glean insights into where she believes our collective cultural narrative is headed.

Read below as we delve into the mind of Emily Maroutian, a voice that doesn’t just echo within the echo chamber but reverberates beyond it, aspiring to shape the culture in ways that are both subtle and monumental.

Emily, would you say there is a particular message or theme that is active throughout your work?

Yes, I think mostly empowerment, healing, and authenticity. I want my readers to be able to free themselves from the shackles of limited thinking, harmful beliefs, and trauma, whether that trauma is personal, cultural, or intergenerational. I don’t want mere labels to act as barriers to their self-expression or authentic living. They are just concepts in the mind, but when we behave as if the labels are tangible and permanent, we give them more power than they deserve. They begin to run our lives. They begin to limit our lives.

I’ve had to do an enormous amount of healing over the past couple of decades and a lot of my work now revolves around what I learned and released during that time. I’ve had to learn self-healing, authenticity, self-love, and empowerment the hard way. They’re all themes that have been prevalent in my life since birth. They’re lessons I keep having to learn over and over again. And as I learn, I share my insights with others so they can heal or free themselves as well. Everything I experience becomes a useful tool for me, so I try to pass those tools and insights onto others.

In what ways have those themes shown up in your life?

As a queer woman growing up in a traditional and religious culture, I’ve had to learn the lesson of personal power repeatedly, especially when my surroundings showed me otherwise. I was very obviously different, and I never really felt like I belonged in my own community. I’ve also had to unlearn the harmful messages that were engrained in me about my gender, both directly and indirectly. I’ve had to ask myself the question, what does it mean to be an Armenian woman? Are we allowed to be anything more than what we’re perceived to be? Can I be different and still valid?

I’ve had to face a lot of internal questions growing up that pushed me to look at my culture and my role within it. Who am I in a culture that wants me to be different than I am? Who am I in a culture that prefers my cooperation and smallness over my distinct voice and choice? How do I show up authentically in an environment that rewards sameness and punishes otherness? Do I have to give up my culture to be myself fully? Do I have to give up parts of myself to keep my culture? What if I don’t want either of those scenarios because they feel like lose/lose situations? I decided that if there is no way, then I have to create the way.

So, how do you show up authentically in an environment that rewards sameness and punishes otherness?

You show up anyway. You show up as yourself with the courage to be disliked. And you keep showing up regardless of the feedback. When your existence is an act of disobedience, you don’t need to do much except exist. You walk, talk, and behave as the paradigm shift. And you do it in a way that says, “This is who I am,” without saying, “You’re wrong for being who you are.” I don’t think it’s either/or. There’s room for everyone. I think it’s more about expanding the label instead of throwing it out. I’m not trying to throw anything out. I don’t think anyone is wrong for wanting to preserve their culture or their traditions. I just don’t like anyone forcing me into a box simply because it makes them less uncomfortable with my existence.

I think the majority of the problem comes from our need to reject others because they don’t fit into our mold of what they “should” be. When they won’t just get in the box, we blame them instead of throwing the box out. When we start policing each other’s identity and validity then we create problems within the culture. We create an unnecessary internal war because we think the idea of sameness has to encompass everything. As if we have to be copies of each other or else one of us is wrong. There’s no room for difference or change. We create barriers where there are none and participate in our ongoing division. We split our culture into sub-cultures and then fight among each other for validity.

In what ways do you believe your work has contributed to cultural change?

I think my mere existence has contributed to cultural change. I didn’t believe that before, but I do now. My work mostly offers people methods, tools, and insights into self-development and self-healing. It offers others encouragement and empowerment for their own journeys. But I think my life also stands as an example of that. I’m walking what I preach. These insights don’t just come from reading books, they come from my experiences. Some of those experiences almost broke me, but I’m still here.

There were times when I really couldn’t catch a break. I had depression for years, suffered through Complex-PTSD, agoraphobia, and anxiety. I’ve stood at the edge of my existence, ready to take the leap into the abyss several times. I’ve met the shadowy parts of myself and survived. I’ve been lost and found a million times over. Through it all I’ve lit the torch within me by healing myself and I’m ready to take it to the darkest corners of the world. I don’t know in what ways my work has contributed to cultural changes, but I know I’ve brightened some paths along the way. Perhaps that’s something. Perhaps those paths will lead to change.

How do you measure the impact of your work on society?

If I’ve helped others be brave enough to use their own voice or helped them heal, that’s enough for me. I think you can’t change anything unless you’re brave enough to do something different. You have to be brave enough to be unusual, to speak up, to express, to create, to exist outside the bounds of what your community is used to. You have to be courageous enough to look at your own wounds, to begin the journey, to take the next step. You have to be brave enough to accept accountability for your life, for your choices. You have to be brave enough to take the lead in your life, to stand up for yourself, for others. Dare to be disliked. Nothing happens without courage. I hope I spark courage in others by being courageous myself. I hope it’s contagious.

How important is the courage to be disliked?

It’s everything. You can’t do anything of value in this world unless you’ve accepted the fact that other people are going to dislike you no matter what you do. If you’re stuck in your head, constantly worrying about what other people think about your choices and decisions, you’re never going to make any. You’re going to second guess every decision. You’re going to be shackled to other people’s thoughts about you. And you can’t control that. You can’t control their thoughts, so they own you. They control you through their approval or disapproval. That’s too much power to give others.

You’ll waste your years bending and contorting yourself to be liked by them only to discover that they never really did anyway. And it doesn’t matter if they do or don’t. Having their approval doesn’t change anything of value. If you’re sad or unhappy in your life, you’re still going to cry yourself to sleep regardless of whether someone likes you or dislikes you. You have to make your choices for yourself. At the end of the day, make sure you’re happy with you. Being disliked by others comes with the territory of being human. Once you accept it as a reality, it frees you from their power over you. Then, and only then, are you free to live your life your way.

What changes do you foresee in cultural trends over the next decade, and how do you plan to be a part of that change?

I think we’re going to see a lot more people finding the courage to be themselves. I think we’ll continue to hear from diverse voices, and we’ll also hear from people who prefer to silence them. The culture wars will continue between those who want to preserve and those who want to expand. I think in the end, those who want to expand will win the war. There might be a few battles lost in the meantime, but ultimately, they will win the war because human beings naturally evolve and progress. All of human history has taught us that. We have had moments of regression and authoritarianism—and we still might see that again—but eventually progress wins. Always.

What advice would you give to young artists who aspire to make a significant impact?

Your impact is your voice and how you use it. You are the only one who can contribute what you can contribute. And it’s important that you contribute. Get in the arena. Put your work out there. Let your audience find you. Don’t be discouraged by the ones who don’t get it, it’s not for them. You’re not making it for the people who don’t get it. You’re making it for the people who need it. Don’t deprive them of that gift just because there are people who might not like it. There will always be people who don’t like it.

How has your own cultural identity evolved over time, and how has this evolution influenced your work?

I learned that I don’t have to give up one identity in order to fit into another. In the words of Walt Whitman, “I am large, I contain multitudes.” I can be different things simultaneously. I don’t have to pick and choose. I am large enough to contain all of the parts of me. Nothing needs to be ignored, repressed, or thrown out; I can be it all. I don’t have to fit anyone else’s labels or boxes. I don’t have to play other people’s game. I can do things my way. This has given me the freedom to write what I want to write, create what I want to create, and be who I want to be.

If you could initiate one major cultural shift with your work, what would it be and why?

The wide-spread healing of trauma. I don’t think people realize how trauma changes your personality, your identity, and your relationships with others and yourself. It’s not until you heal that you realize a large amount of your energy reserves were being used for survival. Once you free up all that energy, you can direct it toward creativity, purpose, progress, and innovation. Society will blossom when we are more healed than hurt.

How do you want to be remembered in terms of your contribution to society?

There is a neglected and lonely kid inside who hopes she’s remembered for her courage. But me, I don’t need to be remembered, I just want to create the impact that leads to actual changes. No one needs to remember my name to live the impact of my actions.

Do you believe your work will influence future generations, and how?

I certainly hope so. I hope future generations have healed parents who are able to offer them what our parents weren’t able to give us. I hope they’re encouraged to speak their minds and be themselves. I hope no one has to feel courageous in doing so because it’s so normal, natural, and expected. I hope my influence is one they don’t even recognize because they never had to live the difference of not having it. I hope they feel the effects of it and carry it down throughout their families. When you heal one person, you heal everyone they encounter. I hope those kids don’t have to be brave to be themselves. But in order for that to happen in the future, we have to be brave now.

You can find Emily on her website: or follow her on Instagram

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