Every worthwhile series takes a summer hiatus, and I like to think of The Cis Jungle as a worthwhile series. A collection of real experiences and real stories that inspire, create understanding, and represent my life authentically. After a long summer hiatus I am now ready to return to the pen and paper (which really means iPad and iPhone) and spill my heart and mind. I’ve learned so much this summer and in the coming weeks and months I will share those experiences here at The Cis Jungle. I am in a new space, a new apartment in the heart of downtown Cincinnati (the somewhat gentrified streets of OTR) still getting adjusted over a month later. I like this new space but dearly miss what was, my two floor sanctuary in Covington, by moving back to Cincinnati in many different ways I feel as if I’m moving backward.
Today was rough, some of you may be able to relate. One of those days where you wake up with hopes of being productive but instead you’re a ball of emotions struggling to focus, one person around you is one too many, you just want to retreat into a private space and be unseen. Today was that day for me. I left the office and came back to home and pulled up the comforter while Grayson (my cat) rests in my lap. This is what I needed this is what today is for me.
Beyonce’s “radio” blares from my speakers, my go to song for those unexplainable lonely moments. “I think I’m in love with my radio because it never lets me down” I’ve been in bed all afternoon ignoring my phone all afternoon and immersing myself in the sounds of Beyoncé, Kanye, Kendrick Lamar, Sia, Wiz Khalifa, J.cole and Rihanna. I discovered the reasoning for this reoccurring loneliness which I will explore as a full topic in a future post.
This summer I needed to take a step back a step away and analyze my life and the direction in which I was traveling. I needed to leave The Cis Jungle alone for a while to clear my mind and check my authenticity. I had to step away from the media, step away from my surroundings and step away from all of these things and people who labeled me as a trans woman of color. While those labels may be accurate I am so much more than those three identities. I am a person with feelings and ambition who wants to be seen and remembered as more than just a black trans visual aid. I want to be treated like every other person every other woman instead of being “othered” and tossed aside or being seen as “the right kind of trans”. People flocking to me and want to help me or be my friend to up their diversity score. I want to to be a mom and raise amazing children. I want to design lingerie and wedding dresses in my own design studio and occasionally plan events and redecorate spaces. I want to travel the world with my children and show them other ways of life, other people who are different from themselves. I want the small things as well, such as tucking my children in at night and climbing into bed to at Grayson as he licks himself clean with his cat breath for the 40th time that day.
There’s a laundry list of things from this summer I want to explore in future topics; police brutality against black people, Caitlyn Jenner, dating, friendships, Cis white men, the black trans community, trans people in media, and my infatuation with men who happen to be in relationships with is really puzzling to me, but I will keep it simple for now and address my reality check.
Looking back on this year, I have done great things for the black trans community but I have also strayed far away from who I am at my core. There used to be a day when people knew what I wanted to do and be because I wouldn’t allow them to forget and now people hit me with the questions “What do you want to do?, What are you interested in?”. This was my reality check. I’ve been so distracted by “activism” I can’t even recall the last time I pulled out my sketch pad and a pencil. Contrary to what some may think I’m not giving up on advocacy I am just in search of a healthy balance and in the process I will continue to remind myself I also have other relevant identities and I will practice not losing myself in my blackness, transness, and womanhood because if I do it how can I expect others not to?
I am Christian Jackson the mom, Christian Jackson the designer, Christian Jackson the fashionista and lover of the arts, not just Christian Jackson the trans woman of color, today I am removing that name tag.
Welcome back to season 2 of The Cis Jungle