You Don’t Know Me Until You Know Me

Caleb McDonald, Staff Writer

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On February 16th, Teaneck High School had a guest speaker, Dr. Michael Fowlin, who had a compelling message embedded in a very engaging performance. Suicide, insecurities, trauma, sexism, homophobia, and plain ignorance; Dr. Fowlin tackled many serious issues along with four other of his personas on the stage. “What you see is not always what you think you see” and “What you hear is not always what is being said or spoken” were two of his opening statements, after sharing two anecdotes of confusion occurring between his daughter and fear and his foreign date and words. His message honed in on the significance of cultural difference and ignorance in society.

On the stage Dr. Fowlin portrayed four different personas for the audience, each with a story going into the heart of his pitch: An elementary school child who struggled in their household and with ADHD, a college football player who struggled with acceptance of his sexuality and trying to break the stereotype people see him as, an African-American who grew up in a predominantly white neighborhood whose best friend was in the process of transitioning from a male to a female, and finally a woman who could not speak up for herself without people deeming her rude and unladylike and frequently faced racism. Everyone has a struggle, and despite how severe each of those “people” on stage had it, they each could firmly say, “I’m still here.”

People have tried to make others stop laughing, loving, and living. He also makes the point that as a human you should value your pain. “Your pain has made you stronger; you are who you are despite your pain”. The Doctor gets personal with us and tells of his own traumatic experiences and how they affected him. In trying to prevent the pain from overcoming someone he tells us of steps we can take explaining that even a simple smile may keep someone alive, from doing something dangerous. This was a message to all

“I do this because I want you to stay. You’re more powerful than your pain, and more beautiful than the words used to make you feel ugly.””

— Dr. Michael Fowlin

 

 

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