I often wonder what kind of value I bring to the lives of people around me. I wonder if I have value to others who are outside of my immediate social circle. Sometimes I just feel like blip, but isn’t that what we are, in the grand scheme of things. I am one person in how many people that exist in California, the US, North America, the world. There are more people who I will never meet than could be quantified. So, knowing that, I ask, do any of my contributions matter?
I want to make larger scale impacts. I want to be able to reach people outside of my admittedly very small social circle. Yet, I don’t know how. Even with a job in education, I feel too bogged down by the politics to be making a difference for anyone.
I was recently approached with a project that could possibly help me to make a difference on a larger scale- er, my girlfriend was approached and I tagged along. Long story shots, as individuals and as a couple, my girlfriend and I have a compelling story to tell, according to the producer and filmmaker we met. So they want to do a documentary about us.
I can think of a million reasons for me to not participate in a documentary- I’m white, I’m middle class but upper class adjacent thanks to my girlfriend, I’m white, I am read as cisgender and am conventionally attractive, and I’m white. Though the ways in which I am marginalized could be interesting, I feel that I lack the intersectionality that would make my story much different from the norm.
What makes me hold on to the idea of being in a documentary is this- I look straight. I look cisgender. And though that shouldn’t be a thing, “looking” a certain way, it means something to most people because of how we like to categorize and compartmentalize individuals. One of my biggest complaints about seeing other queer people, as they are portrayed, in visual media, is that there isn’t anyone who I have seen that I feel represents me. I can’t watch at any tv shows or movies and see a non-binary, AFAB, femme on screen. I particularly struggle with this femme invisibility and how that disconnects me from the queer community. I question the validity of my identity as a result of my presentation and how my story deviates from the mainstream norm we see. Everyone is different and the path that we take to get where we are going is unique but to own an identity and not see anyone similar is nothing short of a mind fuck on my most insecure days.
So there isn’t anyone for me to see who can validate the existence of my identity outside of myself, but maybe I can be that for someone else. Part of what needs to happen in society is that we need to throw away the ideas we have of how people should look, and I feel my gender expression can help break past those barriers. Im not who I say I am simply because I look like something or someone else else.
Now there is one other factor that makes me more inclined to say yes to this documentary. Earlier this year I made a blog post where I described my word for the year, a ritual that I have never participated in prior. The word that really hit me for 2019 was authentic. Not I don’t know that I believe in signs or a higher power, but this could be the universe giving me exactly what I need to be a more authentic version of myself. It provides a higher level of motivation to come out and decompartmentalize my life in addition t the opportunity to really allow myself to embrace who I am. With self embrace comes, hopefully, a level of comfort within my identity that I have not been able to yet achieve, and hopefully, that will allow me to continue to be out and visible.
I haven’t signed the life rights agreement, and honestly, there is a part of me that is absolutely terrified. Terrified of what may come out, the final product, judgment from other people in the LGBT community or feminists who realize I am not intersectional enough or my story doesn’t matter.
Maybe, similar to this blog, if I can reach just a few people it could be worth it…