Updated: Apr 22, 2020
I've never questioned my gender identity. I am a girl. woman. female. I like dresses, pink and things that smell nice. So, when basically overnight, I found myself longing to be a tatted up man...I had to take pause.
Important to note: I've never wished to be anyone else. Even as a child. Sure I would imagine a reality in which I would receive the welcome letter from Hogwarts and a visit from Hagrid, but it was always ME. Not Harry, or Superman, or Sailor moon, or Finn imbued with my consciousness. Just me with my skinny limbs ready to take on adventure.
Again, the sudden ardor I felt to be a man, was more specific to the need to not be just ANY man, but a well known artist I admire. This person has consumed a section of my brain for the past few months, before you cue in the horror music, I must confess that in itself is normal for me. I'm constantly getting hooked on people, real or fictional, art, music, you name it. I'm intense about everything I love. What IS new is the want to fully embody that person. OK, maybe now you can cue in the horror music. This was a new feeling for me and it left me shook! or at least mildly intrigued to peel back yet another layer of my mysterious inner self. who is she (he? they?)
On another more abstract note: the idea of a self that exists in the deep pools of darkness that resides behind our eyes, who forms thoughts and plants ideas without consent. Is. Terrifying.
Breath in. So the man whose body, vulnerability and talent I suddenly wished were mine (Drum roll please) was and is Frank Iero. Naturally I've had to think about why this is. Why I buzz with the thought of how great it would be to be a 5'6' man with the coolest patched denim jackets, tattoos up my neck and down my fingers driven by unbridled passion not to fit in but to be true for the sake of art. Exhale.
And the conclusion is rather simple compared to the gender bender alternative that could be to uproot my very straight life. I JUST REALLY LIKE PASSIONATE PEOPLE. It's my favorite quality in others, and in myself. And through this thought exercise, or whatever you want to call it, it makes sense to me now that I would choose Frank to merge with. lol
Ugh, this is hard to explain but I think all of us have experienced this. I hope. For your sake.
I'm thinking about that moment in a really good LIVE performance where talent is no longer an important part of the equation for what makes the moment memorable. Like magic, talent becomes the vehicle through which the performer disappears fully into their art. As the audience we are overwhelmed with feeling. A feeling we will remember more than the clothes worn that day, or even the date. THAT doesn't always happen. That is what I mean when I say 'unbridled passion'.
Artists are put on this earth to seek that moment. To be devoured by a love, and a passion so deep that it becomes something more. All of us have tasted this, it is not alien or exclusive to 'them'. I too have experienced the joy of being consumed by love as I'm sure you have as well. But to give this passion, or obsession or never ending itch, the time and energy it needs to flourish and become art? true art? again and again? That's a level of commitment that I've only dabbled in and therefore gawk at whenever I find it ablaze in others like Frank, who has done it consistently for DECADES.
On an artistic note: I think what makes art 'true' is the intention of the artist. When an artist gains celebrity for being able to spark those memorable moments, then they will have to choose between diluting their passion with egotistical fantasies or walk through the haze and make the hard bargain to live passionately in servitude of this need. So is the intent of the artist to be famous? to keep up a certain status? or is it to create? As the audience we can't really know for sure what the intention was. An artist whose only goal is to create is 'true', all bullshit aside.
Nothing more beautiful than the intangible transaction that happens between artists and an audience.
So back to Frank. Unlike many of his contemporaries that have this gift, frank is a raw nerve every. damn. time. Every time he plays his guitar. Every time he sings with an imperfect voice. Every time he writes, his lyrics are vulnerable and open and angry and sad and direct snapshots of the status of his heart in that moment. THAT bravery is what makes me want to be him.
He is brave, filled with unbridled passion and he is kind. He's been playing gigs since he was 13, and neither fame or changing popularity have managed to dilute his pursuit to create what he feels. Most artists are storytellers, because can you imagine living with your heart outside of your hardened body all of the time? It would hurt. Frank is not a storyteller in that sense, he CHOOSES to write about his life. He lets the world in to judge him, to call him names. But then he walks through the haze, unashamed, walls down and willing to do it all over again.
Yeah... I want to be Frank.
This whole damn album: