Express Yourself!

Cheyenne Mann Knows How to Stand Out

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Express Yourself!

Ruthie Gustason, Co-Editor-in-Chief

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Cheyenne Mann is not the kind of person to ever do anything halfway. Whether it’s throwing herself into a role or developing a new obsession, Chey gives it everything she has.

“My friends and I were really obsessed with this show H2O Just Add Water when we were little, and I remember during sleepovers and stuff we would look up dark magic rituals online to try and turn ourselves into mermaids,” Cheyenne said. “Things like getting in a bathtub at midnight and pouring saltwater over ourselves, or chanting words while you light a candle and you’ll get turned into a mermaid. I still love mermaids. If someone was like, you can be a mermaid, right now, I’d say yes please.”

She has a passion for the supernatural and anything and everything out of the ordinary.

“I love sci-fi, but not in the traditional sense. I don’t like full-out fantasy worlds and far away planets, I like it to take place in my world– in our world– and to have just a little something in there. Like the idea of Hogwarts. The idea that there’s a wizard school out there somewhere, set in the real world, is just so cool to me. It makes it seems less impossible.”

Cheyenne is a dreamer in every sense of the word. She’s got big ideas, great plans, and an incredible imagination, but she also frequently experiences lucid dreams, which often serve as inspiration for her creative writing.

“I have really, really crazy vivid dreams. I actually went through a period last year where there was a solid three months where my dreams were– well, I have lucid dreams a lot– but my dreams were so vivid, I couldn’t separate them from reality, almost. I came up with this thing– I call it the dream test– and if I ever suspect that I’m dreaming, I jump three times. If I start, you know, floating away or something like that, then obviously I’m dreaming.

“There’s a particular monologue that I wrote– Allie Mersch performed it for Contest Speech last year, and she ended up qualifying for All-State– and it’s based on a clear memory of one of those lucid dreams. In the dream, I was a little boy, and my father was an entomologist– that’s a bug scientist– and I was dying of cancer. The monologue is called I See The Days In Numbered Colors, and it’s pretty different from the actual dream. The part I remember most clearly is when I found out that I was going to die, and I went into my father’s office, and I saw all of those insects, those butterflies in cases and cages and jars and I started to open the lids and break the casing and I pulled open the window and I let them all go. I couldn’t work that into the piece, though. That was just the most impactful part of the dream.”

Cheyenne is accomplished both as a writer and a performer in Contest Speech. Every piece she has ever written has qualified for All-State, and she herself has qualified six-times, which is a record for an individual at Linn-Mar.

“I crave validation, and while I’m very successful at Contest Speech, no one really knows what it is, and so I don’t get that from speech,” she said. “There are some things in high school that I really haven’t succeeded in performance-wise, and because of that, lots of kids don’t think that I’m talented. I know I shouldn’t care that much about what other kids think, but I am talented, and I’m constantly searching for ways to prove that.”

Conformity is not exactly Cheyenne’s strong suit. Her independence is something she prides herself on, and she is not one to shy away from her own uniqueness. While this has caused her some disappointments in her performing career, it will undoubtedly serve her very well in the long run.

“I always kind of stand out from the crowd,” she said. “I like being on a team and I like working with other people, but that’s not where I thrive. I thrive being an individual, both as a performer and as an independent person.”

Though she grew up in a fairly conservative household, Cheyenne identifies herself as a liberal Democrat, which can lead to some disagreements at home.

“While she doesn’t really always get what I believe, my mom tries her best to support me in it. This winter I went to a protest promoting gun control in the middle of a blizzard at Green Square Park, and the snow was so bad that my mom had to drive me there. We almost got stuck on the highway because the conditions were so bad, but I said, “nope, I’m gonna go,” and my mom just kept driving until she got me there,” Cheyenne said.

Cheyenne has been a vegetarian since she was ten years old, when she decided that she didn’t like the idea of killing animals for food, so she just stopped eating meat. It’s been almost eight years and she still maintains her vegetarian lifestyle, though her reasoning behind it has changed a bit.

“It sounds so pretentious, and I don’t hate people who aren’t vegetarian or think they’re bad or whatever,” she said. “But I don’t think I have the right to end something else’s existence purely for my own enjoyment. We as humans are so afraid of the unknown and we’re so afraid of death, and I don’t understand why that should be different for animals. I mean, sure, we have a more complex brain, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t feel emotions like fear and pain, so why do I have the right to make an animal feel that way just because I like the way it tastes or it provides protein of whatever? It’s just a little messed up to me.”

Though her vegetarianism has lasted as she grows, Cheyenne is a much different person than she was when she was younger. A sore spot in her development was middle school.

“I call it my emo phase,” said Cheyenne. “When I was in eighth grade, I was like, really angsty, and I distinctly remember taking a pencil and just writing “EXPRESS YOURSELF” on my wall because I was just so frustrated that I couldn’t get those emotions out and I thought that was the next best thing.”

That may seem a little overdramatic, but that’s just who Cheyenne is. She dares to dream in all directions, and she doesn’t try to mold herself into what she thinks she should be. Cheyenne knows she isn’t perfect, but she never lets that stop her from being herself.