Interview 004: Elise Metzger
I met Elise at a party for creative ladies. We talked pop-psychology, she counseled me on boyzzz and biznass, and before I even realized she had co-founded Filigree Suppers (HUGE deal. Martha Stewart thinks so, too.), I knew I wanted to peer more deeply into Elise's beautiful brain. BECAUSE SHE'S HILARIOUS, and so smart, and she always tells it exactly like it is. So with that, here's Elise.
What character stuff have you had to actively work on over the past several years?
I've worked more on behaviors - like standing up for myself and not feeling guilty about it. I've also been thinking a lot about my role as a creative person, and a professional woman. Working in a male dominated industry right after grad school was the first time I realized how difficult being a professional woman can actually be. Add being a creative to that and BAM! - quite an eye opener. I have to really have a lot of faith in my own ideas, but then I still have to decide which ones are worth voicing. Sad but true - it took me 30 years to truly understand the point of feminism.
How are you doing on that stuff now?
Good! It's work but I just have to keep reminding myself to do it.
How would you describe your purpose?
My whole life purpose is probably to make sure that the people I love really really know that they are loved. And also, making connections with people that result in live comedy routines. I could say things like "being creative" but really, as much as that is part of who I am, creativity is also a skill and a way of problem solving. Creativity as a purpose? That seems lonely.
Define your career... Then tell us how it's different than you thought it would be.
There was a point when I wanted to be an architect, so I studied architecture. Also, at one point I wanted to be a choreographer slash set designer. Even though it's not my life purpose, creativity is my only real "must have" for a career. I have been designing and making things my whole life. There was never a time when I didn't want to create things, make beautiful spaces or take photos. My career isn't so different than I ever thought it would be in that I am a designer. The details of it, however, have been really exciting because I just keep going after things that interest me.
Do you feel like you've made it yet? Have things clicked? Explain.
My definition of "making it" means having peers I respect, seeking exciting challenges, and being generally happy on a daily basis. Without those components, getting up in the morning would be difficult. So by those standards, yes, I've made it. That's not to say I'm not really excited for my life and career to evolve!
How do you think others perceive your life path? Do you care?
I hope people see me as someone who trusts her gut and knows whats good for her. I mostly care what the people who really know me think of me. That's who matters most. Because they care about me to the core, not just on a she-does-this-or-that level.
Speaking of others, how have your relationships shaped you?
I have people who have been in my life for one, two and even three decades. When you maintain friendships with people for that long, the line gets blurry as to where certain aspects of who you are come from. I have a lot of really wonderful women in my life who are just as much my friends as my role models. My parents also encouraged me to explore whatever I seemed to be good at and enjoy, so I probably owe at least 50% of my self actualization to them. I also carry around little quotes in my head from all of the most important people in my life. They keep me going!
What's your perspective on life like now as opposed to 5 years ago? 10 years ago?
Ten years ago, I took a lot of huge risks all at once. I broke up with a guy, quit my job, went to Africa, moved to Texas. I risked everything all at once because I had a lot less to lose. Five years ago I moved again, but with grad school as a specific purpose. I was also in the business of really proving myself professionally. Now I feel like more of the puzzle pieces are in place, so I take more calculated risks with things that don't require a complete upheaval of my life. I don't think I would have been able to start Filigree Suppers if I didn't have a few other critical pieces in place. The things that are up in the air now are more nuanced. For example, within a creative profession, what should my next adventure be? That's in stark contrast to 10 years ago when I was wondering where in the world I wanted to live.
What are you most looking forward to?
Redeeming my frequent flier miles and going somewhere new, planning next year's Filigree events, seeing my sister after her 4 month trip to Laos.
In your daily life, when are you happiest?
At home with my boyfriend and our dogs, inventing a new dessert. It's really low pressure because sugar makes most things taste really good.
On the other hand, how do you pull yourself out of a funk when you're in one? And how did you most likely wind up in said hypothetical funk in the first place?
I get really deep into the funk and wear it out. I think it moves on quicker that way. I try not to feel guilty about being in the funk because I think that's actually a big reason for staying there. "Everything is fine, so whats wrong with me?" or "If I could just be in a good mood I'd be a better person!" That type of thinking is dangerous. Music is important to the deepest of funk states. Sometimes I just really get into it by cranking some Ryan Adams and then moving on with my day.
Any other questions you wish someone would ask you?
I think thats your natural hair color, am i right?