Sometime between yesterday and today, Miles McKenna uploaded a video which helped me to leave the house. To give some brief context, Miles McKenna is a wonderful queer and trans YouTuber and I am a very anxious person. I’ve been watching Miles’ videos for a few years, on and off, and have been watching him consistently since he came out as trans. Miles and I are the same age and for me, that’s been a really significant factor in seeing his progress, not only in his transition, but in growing up into his twenties. Around a year ago I had just started working on my mental health and I was initially regressing (a common stage when dealing with trauma/going through therapy); I spent much of my time feeling depressed and confused about myself. A period of hyper-femininity and misery correlated with this regression as I slipped into a familiar pattern of isolating myself and living in denial about my identity. Around the same time, Miles McKenna came out as trans.
I remember feeling paradoxically miserable and yet full of happiness when I watched Miles’ video titled, in all caps, SO I’M TRANS*. I desperately wanted to be brave enough to be myself- something which I doubted that I would ever achieve as I didn’t even feel brave enough to leave my house. At the same time, I remember feeling so excited that Miles was able to live his life being true to himself; it gave me the hope that, even though I felt far behind where he was at, maybe someday it would be me making a video, or writing a blog post, or calling someone to let them know that my pronouns are different now.
This morning I felt anxious, I tried to leave the house twice and failed. I slumped down onto my bed, opened up YouTube and watched Miles’ new video titled, I AM MILES. This video was a beautifully affecting look into the last year of his life and transition. As I watched it I saw glimpses into his past year which I could have never imagined from his coming out as trans video and those which followed. The whole video served as a reminder to myself to imagine people complexly and never to compare my reality to the edited lives I see online. The video also reminded me of how important Miles McKenna is for the queer and trans communities; he remains transparent and honest in his transition and progression in life. The ending of this video really struck me as he stated, ‘if I would have known in January that my problems in October would have been that I have acne, I would have been so relieved’.
Watching Miles reflect on his past year prompted me to reflect on my own. For me, somewhat selfishly, Miles has become a barometer of my own progression and, more recently, my social transition. If I would have known one year ago that my problems by now would simply be, occasionally struggling to fight my anxiety, I would have been relieved. I would have looked at myself and wondered how I had finally found self-acceptance. What seemed like an impossibility a year ago is now my reality and I’m thankful for that. One year ago I had hoped that someday I would find the courage simply to be myself, even if that was all I managed to do with my life. Today I looked at myself in the mirror before leaving the house and I recognised myself; I unlocked the door for a third time and succeeded in locking it behind me.
Miles McKenna is a hugely significant figure in the trans and queer communities (as well as being a predominantly good influence for young people in general) and I hope to make a more detailed post about his work and activism in the future. His latest video is a poignant one, so please feel free to watch it below this post and let me know what you think in comments; or let me know how you relate to this post, where are you in your (cough, cliche) journey, and where do you hope to be?- AB
this is part of my ‘let’s talk about…’ series, where I discuss the impact of influencers & pop culture figures on my own life and identity, read more here
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