I'm Finally Transitioning
This blog post is a part of my ever evolving truth and a small account of my life over the last 12 months. This is a piece about my budding transition and how I have arrived at this place in my life. I imagine this to be hard to read for some as it will mean the death of the idea they have created of me in their heads. For others, this may be an affirmation of my natural trajectory of growth. However, for me, this post is simply a chance to introduce a small piece of myself and to share what wisdom I've gathered over the last year. Hopefully. what I've experienced opens up a crack in the door of self-discovery for others to follow.
I am Jayla-Jermaine Lamond Sylvester, or Jai for short, a trans woman of color living in Houston, Texas. I have been a brother and son to some and a mother and sister to others. I consider myself a warrior and champion of the underdog.
That last statement may seem misplaced since I'm writing about my transition. However, it's important to note because before the idea of transitioning could fully root itself in my head I had to face the irony that I have not always been the warrior champion for myself. This year has taught me that any transition we have in life begins with putting ourselves first, even when that means choosing ourselves when others are begging for outdated pieces of us.
I spent the first quarter of my life learning and practicing how to take care of others until it became a part of my identity, my soul. What I didn't learn was how to practically care for myself in the process. Truly caring for yourself gives you the ability to say no firmly. The power of no has freed space and energy in my life that others were holding hostage. When we find ourselves constantly in the service of others we eventually realize that we don't have enough time to truly nurture our own growth and talents. Our lives become cluttered with the problems and emotions of others which keeps us immobile. Maya Angelou in one of her last interviews spoke of the best advice she's ever given, she talked about a place inside of each of us that we must keep clean because in times of trouble that may be the place we meet God. When we are facing the challenges of life it is vital that we have that place of clarity inside to utilize.
Once I found this place and began nurturing it I found myself in school with straight A's and resigning from jobs that interfered with my growth. I was growing so much until I started dreaming about new possibilities for myself. It seemed the more I dreamed the more I accomplished. One wintry night I woke up around 4 am from a dream in which I saw myself as a woman! I instantly dismissed it and went back to sleep. But after a week of repeatedly having the same dreams I just couldn't ignore it. I began to think about old thoughts I had as a kid and teenager about transitioning. I can remember thinking that those thoughts were silly and impossible. I couldn't even adequately talk to anyone about it because I didn't even have language to describe how I was feeling.
Fast forward to Spring 2015 and I more than had language to discuss the thought of transitioning. The kids today have so many resources at their disposal. I used my phone to google everything I could find about transitioning. Eventually, I stumbled across the multitude of YouTube videos of girls transitioning all around the world chronicling their life stories. Each story offered insight into my own life and what transitioning would possibly mean for me.
By Summer I was meeting with a doctor to discuss transitioning, and after thoughtful consideration I alone made the decision to do it. My award-winning mentor and trans sister Atlantis Narcisse made a Facebook post around that time that spoke about how some of us push forward in spite of our fears and possible regrets. That message was on time because it perfectly articulated how I was feeling.
By Autumn I found myself beginning to open up to others about the changes I was experiencing in life. I found this part of the year hardest because it meant exposing a part of myself I kept secret in my place of clarity Maya Angelou taught me about. This was the piece of myself that I shared only with God. By sharing this information it felt like I was inviting people into my sacred space, which meant I had to trust them. By sharing this information with you I am also trusting you to enter into that space with respect.
Now that it's again winter and the days grow shorter and the nights longer I find myself again in a place of discovery. I'm currently in the process of redefining what it means to be me and a woman. By opening myself up to a larger public I face potential violence but also a conduit for love and support. Love truly is the answer. I spent far too much of my life living unbalanced giving myself away in the service of others. I now bask in the radiance of what love can truly be. Love is standing in a mirror naked loving every inch of ourselves pushing forward in spite of our fears and possible regrets. Love is having a place inside where no one can curse us, a place that is clean and clear where we can go to meet God. Love is having the ability to love others while still being able to love ourselves fully.
Transitioning has been liberation for me. It is the thing that causes me the most anxiety, but also the most joy. In 2017 I'm looking forward to all the new discoveries I'll have since I've accepted a new part of myself. As I walk fully in the light of who I am, I am praying for your own transitions in life. May they provide you with as much personal growth and wonderment as I've had over the last year. Peace and Blessings.