Xoe Arabella: Identity

Xoe Arabella is an adolescent poet and social media mogul. With over 300,000 followers on Instagram alone, Xoe has a tremendous voice that resonates with positivity. She serves as a role model for teens everywhere. Lithium recently had the privilege to talk with Xoe about her own identity and social media's impact. Interview by Olivia Ferrucci.
Lithium: You've made multiple poetry videos, published on both on your YouTube and Instagram. How has poetry impacted the ways in which you see yourself and the people around you? 
Xoe: I believe that being a poet impacts how you see the entire world. In my personal experience, you see little everyday things and you can construct them into a sentence much more beautifully. For me, I can turn any bad experience into precisely made sentences. By the end, they all come together to create something better and more positive than the original experience. I guess I view many things as opportunities due to poetry. I'm often taking little notes in my phone- it can be the smallest experience, but I know that I can make it into more. I believe we take the world around us for granted. We have the capability to see a greater value in actions and experiences. You can turn them into art for others.

Lithium: What has been the hardest part in finding your true self as a young adult?
Xoe: The people around me. If you aren't surrounded by people who shape you for the better and are a positive to your life, it holds so many things inside you back. Half the time, you probably don't know who’s doing so and who isn't. It's under the surface, and I don't think a lot of people realize how badly people can impact their well-being unless they are directly harming them. We often accidentally surround ourselves with people who beat us down, and I believe I am constantly learning and trying to recognize who these people are so I can be my best self.

Lithium: Would you say having a large following (exceeding 300,000 on Instagram alone) has overall helped you in accepting the person you are?
Xoe: My Instagram following has helped me accept who I am, but more so through the negativity I get. The Internet is placing yourself out in the open, vulnerable to whatever people want to say. You have to be able to have a solid foundation on how you view yourself before you put yourself out there like that. While the compliments have encouraged to keep doing whatever I like, the negativity has really helped me form a more solid view of myself in order to combat them.

Lithium: What would your advice be to all of the teenage girls following you and trying to find their own identities? 
Xoe: What really messed me up the most in finding my identity, as cheesy as it sounds, was labels. Sexuality, gender, style- everything people feel the need to file under a category. I wanted to be punk rock, knew I wasn't straight, and why the hell was I so masculine for a girl? I was searching up types of sexualities, genders, styles...it just all seemed so silly after awhile. In the end I found I liked all types of people, that I am a girl who likes to feel masculine, and I can wear whatever the hell makes me feel good- I don't have to be giving off a certain image. The only reason I was ever confused about gender/sexuality is when I started trying to name it. Don't name it, experience it. Love people and, through love, find out what's best for you. You might have a solid grip on who you are and what you like your whole life, but for most people, everything about you will always be changing and fluid. You will rediscover yourself every month, and you will not do so through finding a name for it. You do so through simply living.

Lithium: As of now, how do define yourself?
Xoe: I define myself as undefined, as cliché as that sounds. I will change a million times throughout my life, I am not one permanent state of being. I am looking forward to all of them. ★

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