• Kino McFarland

You Are an Artist: Become Someone Else

When you're a kid, you dress up, take on personas, and figure out who you are. At some point, you start thinking about how you come across to others and not just to yourself. When I was a kid, I would play as a boy. I'd call myself Nathan, because I really liked that name. I even portrayed myself as Nathan to defeat some neighborhood boys in basketball to claim the court and then take off my hat to reveal my long hair. I've always thought cinematically.

Strangely, it worked. I never thought it would work. I was either very good at being Nathan or the other boys were really stupid. I've always been a "tomboy," I guess. I never thought anything of it. It's just me.

I haven't portrayed myself as masculine in a long time, but when I saw the next assignment in You Are an Artist, I knew I had to do it. Just to feel a side of me that I hadn't felt in a long time. According to the assignment (inspired by T.J. Dedeaux-Norris), the purpose is for self-exploration. Change your posture, voice, clothes, name, etc.

I put on my husband's Wolverine shirt, a hat from a subscription box that I would never wear in public, and worked on my attitude. Then I took selfies and filmed my new persona.

Meet Kevin. The me who is me, but who is also not me.

The second part of the assignment is to make it a public piece. Now, we're still amid the Pandemic, so I'm not about to go out and interact with people, especially when I am feeling super anxious... so Instagram and Facebook it is.

Fears. My fears were (and still are) many. I am afraid that people will take this the wrong way. I am afraid that people will believe I am trying to take something away from those who are trans (I'm not). I'm afraid people think I am pretending to be trans (I'm not). I'm afraid people will tell me it's not me. I'm afraid. I have General Anxiety Disorder, so I have all of the What Ifs going through my head. All of them. Whatever you have to say, I'm probably afraid of that too, even if it's a compliment. I'm afraid I don't deserve it.

But this little assignment has made me think about so much outside of my fears. I'm thinking of the fears that my trans friends face every day. I'm thinking of the realities they face every day. I'm thinking of the family members who don't understand how one person can be another person. I have known so many people who have been afraid to be themselves because of what has happened to others we have known who have been run out of their own communities and even families.

I have felt that, too, but differently. I know I will never fully feel what is felt by others in the LGBTQ community because I don't consider myself any of that (despite not feeling like man, woman, girl, boy, straight, bisexual, etc. define me), but I think I understand. And it is scary.

And that is why I think you need to know that I love you.


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