ABOUT ME /
A JOURNEY OF SELF ACCEPTANCE
• SOPHiE LAWSON •
• Transgender Artist & Model •
Life is pretty crazy when you think about it. Looking back at my life, I feel like I’ve been so many different people, yet underneath, I’ve always been me. What follows is a timeline of my lil story, that started back in 1980 …
IT’S A BOY … OR IS IT?
I plopped out of my Mum on the 3rd of April 1980, entering the Earth realm with a lil willy, so they gave me the label of boy and the name Kevin Preston … but sometimes, tings aren’t always quite what they seem.
HE WON’T BE NEEDING THAT
At the age of four I was circumcised. I remember being in a bath of water … think this is my earliest memory. Shame they didn’t chop the lot off lol
WATCH THE HEDGE
My Big Sister Lorna is the best. Growing up she looked after me, even helping me learn how to ride a bike! I remember zooming down the hill outside our house and looking back at my Sister, only to realise she wasn’t holding my bike, but had instead let me go, and was still at the top of the hill. *CRASH* Into the hedge I went … she’s a good teacher my Sister :)
THUNDERCATS – HOOO!
The Thundercats and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were my favourite cartoons growing up, I even got to meet Lion-o for real :) Haha, I love this photo!
MY FIRST ART BOOK
One of the few tings I still own from my childhood, guess part of me knew it was important. It’s an Art Book inspired by the old Spot The Dog books. What’s interesting is the title. I transitioned into Sophie Lawson 30 years later … wonder if my Sister now asks, Where is my Brother?
WHEN WILL I BE FAMOUS?
Look how cool I look lol Here I am playing air drums to some classic Bros … I loved Bros and Michael Jackson the most growing up, before finding RAVE and Trance music in the early 90’s :)
JUST ONE MORE GO
Dad bought us a Commodore 64 to do our ‘homework’ on, but instead this was the start of a beautiful love affair with video games. Here I am playing Dragon Ninja, but DIZZY, a big fat egg with boxing gloves who went on crazy adventures, was my favourite character and series. That was until I moved over to the world of SEGA and fell in love with SONIC the HEDGEHOG, and than later being become a massive PlayStation fan.
I’M A MENACE
Look at that sweet lil innocent face … what a lovely child. LIES! From about the age of 6, I was a lil shit lol No idea why, my Mum said I was such a quiet peaceful baby, but this phase continued into the early 90’s. During these years I could be found: Joy Riding, Stealing from Shops, Taking Drugs to School, Chasing my Sister round the house with Knifes, Setting Fire to anything I could get me hands on … basically I was a menace, but honestly, these were pretty fun times :) Being naughty is kind of cool and exciting, but I look back now and wonder, what the heck got into me?
I was diagnosed with dyslexia at Primary school, and was a very disruptive child until the final few years of Secondary school. I had no interest in following the rules at School. I thought it was boring and pointless. School to me was all about Lunchtimes, when we got to hide in the bushes from the dinner ladies, climb the trees, and attempt to escape the school boundaries as if on a Prison break. That was fun, but for the most time I didn’t like school at all.
Having been a lil shit for so long, and in an environment that was on a collision course with me either ending up in a real prison, or addicted to drugs, the Universe stepped in and gave me just what I needed. A horrible experience at the time, that I now see as a great gift.
My Mums boyfriend grabbed hold of my neck one night and strangled me. I fell to floor and was left there. From this moment on I was a different person. Everything changed. I stayed with my Nan for a while, before moving in with my Dad, changing Schools, and being hit with insane Panic Attacks and Social Anxiety. On top of this, I was dealing with being Trasnsgender and seeing my body becoming more male due to puberty. Social Anxiety became like a shadow that followed me everywhere, through School, College, University, even into the workplace. One positive though, I was no longer a lil shit lol Karma?
Formula One saved my life. I’m convinced of it. On May the 1st 1994, I sat down with my dad to watch the San Marino Grand Prix. I had never watched an F1 race before, but what a race to pick as my first. The event was full of death and destruction. Ayrton Senna and Roland Ratzenberger both lost their lives, and there were crashes all weekend, with wheels even flying off into the crowd at one point. There was a dark cloud over Imola that weekend, that’s for sure, but this dash of danger grabbed me. I found it exciting, and noticed that the social anxiety vanished. When F1 was on, I didn’t care who was in the room, I’d throw my hands in the air screaming and shouting. Pure, uncontrollable passion. I dunno what it is about F1, but even now, when those lights go out, this normally quiet person comes to life.
Trees. I remember drawing trees all the time … and Penelope. I remember her too. She was my art therapist, something my Dad arranged hoping it would help me overcome the social anxiety that was threatening to ruin my life. I remember Mum and Dad having to talk to this male therapist, whilst I went off and did some drawing with Penelope. Art therapy didn’t cure the social anxiety, as we only ever spoke about the child abuse, and I believe the social anxiety was also linked to being Transgender. But this part of me I kept a secret like my life depended on it.
Drawing at art therapy was so enjoyable and relaxing, that I soon started drawing at home :) I’d always doodled all over my school books, but these F1 drawings were the first real drawings I ever did. I’d have kept going I think, but Dad used to say how pointless drawing was, that I should go out and get a proper job, and at some point I believed him and packed all my art stuff under the bed. Part of me knew Art was special though, because not only did I keep hold of these drawings, but 15 years later the pencils called me back :)
Me. At University? You Having A Laugh? lol But it happened! In 1999 I found myself going off to Sunderland University to study computing. While social anxiety did get in the way, for the most part these were fun times, with so many crazy cool memories. Moving into my own place was super liberating too. This is also where I started getting into making websites, including a fansite for F1 racer David Coulthard, which even resulted in me making a lil bit of money on the site :)
HAPPIEST DAY OF MY LIFE?
Look at that face. Does that look like someone whose happy? lol This is what social anxiety does. It ruins so much of your life. I had graduated and should have been happy, but this day was just pure fear. Fear of being around so many people. Fear of going up on stage. Fear of sweating so much. Fear fear fear. This is one of my least favourite photos ever, yet I feel it’s super important as a visual representation of Social Anxiety.
FIGHT CLUB UK
In 2003 I teamed up with some fellow gamers to create an Xbox live clan. We made it pretty successful too, even getting into the official Xbox magazine, and being featured on the demo disk. These were fun times, here I am modelling some of our FCUK glasses we made lol But sadly I vanished and left everyone in the lurch, as I could no longer suppress the need to express my female side.
THESE ARE MINE
I was now living on my own and one day realised, I could buy my own clothes online. Until this point, I had only ever dressed in other peoples clothes, sneaking into them whenever the Universe presented me with an opportunity … being able to buy my own clothes was a game changer. I could now get super sexy outfits, shoes, and even wigs! :)
FIRST TIME WITH MAKEUP
I could buy makeup too. I remember this night like it was yesterday. I spent all week at work looking forward to makeup night, when I’d finally get to see what Sophie really looked like? My eyebrows and facial hair were so thick I couldn’t hide them very well, but I didn’t care, while the signs of Kevin remained, the girl inside, who had been wanting to get out for 24 years, was finally starting to set herself free.
TELLING MY MUM & SISTER
2004 was a powerful year. Not only did I start to accept myself as being Transgender, but I also found the courage to tell my Mum and Sister, who were both lovely and accepted me. I came so close to fully coming out that year and starting my Transition, but fear got the better of me around Christmas time, and I hit a massive denial phase. Throwing away all my female stuff and trying to live a ‘normal’ life as Kevin.
This one lil photo is pretty important. It stayed with me during the years that followed as a sort of sign that I could do the impossible. This was the first time Kevin went outside during the day as me. I love this photo. The fear but excitement as I stepped out of the front door was insane. I’m surprised I didn’t piss meself lol Days later I hit the denial phase … it would take another 12 years before I next got to step outside during the day as me.
MENTAL BECOMES PHYSICAL
From 2004-2014 I tried to live a ‘normal’ life as Kevin, while keeping my female side a secret at all costs. No one must find out. I didn’t even talk about it with my Mum and Sister anymore, if I don’t talk about it, it will disappear I thought, but instead all that happened was an increase in anxiety, confusion, shame, and guilt … I didn’t know what to do though, as I was too scared to face the truth of who I was.
There were fun times as Kevin, and I’m so grateful he didn’t give up, but all this mental suppressing of feelings finally manifested itself in the physical as a voice disorder. I was in and out of hospital, at times unable to speak. A proper sign that mental health issues can create physical illness.
THESE ARE YOURS
The Universe was helping me all along. The synchronicities going on during these denial phases were insane. Like having just thrown away all my female clothes and moved into a new flat, for a fresh start as Kevin, the place ended up being full of female clothes … all in my size! I couldn’t believe it. It was like the Universe was saying you can’t hide from the truth girl. It was trying to help me accept myself. No matter how many times I tried to escape being Sophie, tings like this kept happening.
During the late 2000’s I created a pretty successful YouTube video game channel under the name RedBullRacer. I threw myself into the world of gaming as a way of escaping reality. These were innocent fun times, but in the back of my mind I could always hear the whispers of Sophie calling me back.
LEAVE ME ALONE
Sophie was who I really was, but I didn’t want to be her, I just wanted to be ‘normal’ :( No matter what I tried to do to keep her away, she’d find a way back into my life. The more I tried to suppress her, the more she had to express herself.
This is funny. I started boxing! I got really into too. Everyone at work was doing it and I thought, I know how I’ll get rid of Sophie, I’ll become a muscle man lol For 6 months I dedicated myself to boxing and lifting weights, even turning the spare room into a lil gym. When the inevitable happened and Sophie returned, I looked at my newly formed body, my muscly legs and hated myself. Why did I do this? It really was like being in the middle of two entities during these years, one trying to destroy Sophie, the other trying to set herself free. My body became a punching bag, literally lol
This cycle continued for about 10 years. One moment being Kevin and pushing Sophie to the back of my mind, the next Sophie would come back and take over for a while. I was convinced there was no way to find balance between these two entities.
PERSONA 4 CHANGES EVERYTING
Than it happened! This game changed me life. In 2012 I sat down to play a lil video game called Persona 4 Golden on the PlayStation Vita. Little did I realise, but this was the start of an epic journey. The game was about facing and accepting your shadow and true self, and over 100 hours later, the game started to become real. Having fallen in love with the Persona 4 characters, I was hit with this uncontrollable and irrational desire to draw them. Thus Art plopped into my life from nowhere, and the real journal began …
ART SETS ME FREE
…I picked up the book Keys to Drawing by Bert Dodson, and soon started to feel the power of art. Art helped me go deep inside myself to do the very things the characters in the Persona 4 video game had been doing. I started facing my shadow, my fears, and my true self. Soon after I found the book Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself by Dr Joe Dispenza, which introduced me to the world of Meditation and *BANG* I now had the magic ingredients I lacked in 2004 … Meditation and Art. These two tings together would Set me Free.
THE GIFT FROM THE UNIVERSE
2014 was a power year, not only did I quit a job of 12 years, and start going to Art Class, but 10 years after having first told my Mum and Sister I was transgender, I finally found the courage to come out to the world via this website, which at the time was called KevsArt.com :)
The gift that helped me was my therapist at The Laurels Gender Identity Clinic. She was perfect. This photo is from 2016 when I finally started going to the sessions as me, but right from the off we connected. I owe everything to her. A true gift from the Universe.
BY ARTIST KEVIN PRESTON
Social Anxiety was still a big issue in my life, and the thought of going to Art Class scared the crap out of me, but the desire to get better at Art was stronger than the fear, and in 2014 I found the courage to attend a local art class. So glad I did. It gave me confidence, and resulted in me making connections that would lead to my art being in art exhibitions and galleries. Ironically, Art Class not only helped me level up my Art Skills, but my Social Skills too, which would later help me in my transition.
IT’S NEVER TOO LATE!
This one gets its own entry on the time line, as it’s my most proudest moment so far. Diagnosed with dyslexia as a child, and having been a disruptive lil shit at school lol, in 2015, at the age of 35, I studied my nuts (or titties) off and managed to achieve an A in GCSE English. I even went up on stage in front of loads of people to be awarded On Course South Wests Learner of the Year. All thanks to my lovely teacher Jemma, who you can see smiling in the photo :)
Like my Graduation photo from 2012, I hate the way I look in this one, but I love the photo so much because look … I’m getting a hug from one of my Inspirational Artists DestinyBlue! Inside I was as happy as the smile on DestinyBlue’s face, but the social anxiety just wouldn’t let me relax :( This face of fear is what happens when social anxiety takes hold, but, least I faced the fear and actually spoke to her :) She’s super cool beyond words! It’s kind of funny though, I’m dressed as Superman, but look like I’m shitting meself lol
THE MAKE OVER
No one had ever seen me as Sophie before, that was until 2015 when my Niece came round with all of her makeup supplies and gave me a make over. I was so excited, but so scared that I almost didn’t do it, but again, I’m so glad I did because I feel this was an important day; I started to believe I could actually be myself around people.
I’M OUTSIDE AGAIN!
Another powerful moment. Whereas in 2004 I stepped outside during the day and snapped one lil photo, before sprinting back inside in case anyone saw me. This time, 12 years later, I got dressed up and made my way to the local park. I sat there for a few hours, sketching and drawing the trees, just being myself as people walked past. I was nervous, but so proud. After this I started pushing myself out of my comfort zone more and more, doing lil baby steps like going for long walks, riding the bus, and even going shopping in town for clothes and makeup. To think, it all started with this baby step of facing the fear by stepping out of my front door.
THIS IS ME
Sometimes the worst tings in life, end up being the best tings. In 2017 I was out for a walk to the local wig shop, when this group of lads on mopeds pulled up alongside beeping their horns. In the middle of the busy street they started shouting abuse, pointing and laughing, shouting “It’s a man.” When I got home I burst into tears and was hit with Suicidal thoughts that got so intense, they actually became positive … I found myself saying sod it. Sod it! I’m going out without any wigs on. That’s when the most beautiful ting happened. I went for a wigless walk in a lil dress, not hiding anything anymore, instead showing off my bald patches and facial hair. That’s when this girl walked past and gave me the warmest smile imaginable. I knew in that moment, I was doing the right ting.
I’M SOPHiE LAWSON
In 2016 I changed the name of this website to SophieLawson.com, and in 2017 I legally changed my name by deed poll. I changed my name to Sophie, but continued to live as Kevin for about another 8 months. Super weird I suppose, but this was the only way I could do it. I wanted to start living as Sophie but the fear was too strong, so I thought. If I change my name to Sophie but continue to live as Kevin, I’ll be forced into transitioning whether I like it or not lol It worked you know. In 2018 I finally threw all my male clothes away and started going to work as me. Woohoo!
I’M A PAINTING
One of the most amazing moments of my life so far was in 2017, when I posed for a painting with professional Artist Jo Beer. When my life flashes before my eyes in those final moments, I know I’ll be reliving this experience with a big smile on my face :) What an honour … thank you Jo Beer – JoBeer-Art.com
BY ARTIST SOPHiE LAWSON
Having exhibited my work on a number of occasions as Kevin, it was now time to show up as Sophie lol Again, shit meself, but I did it. I did it my way too, wearing a sexy lil blue dress :) My Sister, Niece and Nephew even came to the opening night event, which was the first time my Sister saw me as me :)
A lil PODCAST ABOUT THE ART & TINGS
In 2018 I started the So Free Art Podcast. It was something I kept getting told to do by the Universe for years, but I was just too scared. At the start of 2018 I said sod it, lets do it and see what happens. It’s been amazing. Since starting this lil podcast I’ve gained so much confidence, learnt a ton, and even started posting videos on YouTube. One of the best tings I ever did.
I AM MYSELF AT WORK
Here I am busy at work cleaning, in the glamorous public toilets setting … this was the first week of me being myself at work. I was shitting meself again, especially as this job was a super blokey bloke environment, but I did it. I again turned it into an experiment, and said, lets try it and see what happens. Once I did it, I thought, why didn’t I do this sooner?
AT ONE WITH NATURE
And that’s that. It’s now 2020 and I’ve sort of transitioned I guess. Thanks to Art, Meditation, Lucid Dreaming, and all the lil baby step facing fear experiments, I can now walk around Nature as me, posing for photos with people walking around.
Social Anxiety continues to bubble about, and I’ve still got many fears to overcome, but I’m no longer hiding from the world.
It’s like living a real dream, and it’s all thanks to Art.
Art Set Me So Free