I remember this moment.
I held my phone in my hands, sitting on a former housemate’s couch as the light shining from the screen illuminated my face. I typed out sentence after sentence for what would become my Coming Out status. Apprehension and exhilaration warmed my skin while I imagined the questions and comments I’d knew would arise about what I just posted. Over a hundred of my friends flooded my thread, congratulating me on my coming out while others were happy to meet me again.
Before I even logged into Facebook, I called my parents and my brother Sherman to inform them of my being Agender Trans masculine. My father was the first person I reached out to. Though supportive, he seemed more confused if anything.
“So what do I call you?” Dad asked innocently. “Are you my son? “My daughter?”
“I’m your child,” I replied, not knowing how else to answer that question but relieved he asked it nonetheless.
My mother’s reaction was the complete opposite of ecstatic (and I didn’t expect anything different). “My plate is full” were her words spoken through my phone.
“That’s dope,” Sherman responded, his tone laced with a quiet excitement. “I’m happy for you.”
That night, I continued to bask in the glow of my arrival as Javi Mason and the support I received. And so much have changed since then—so much that I began writing this narrative with a stream of consciousness that flowed from pen to paper. I seriously didn’t know what crossroad to turn on. Then I realized that the best option was to focus on what I’ve learned spiritually within the course of a year.
The lesson I learned is that there isn’t one way to express one’s gender identity. Soon after coming out, I sifted through my drawers and ripped out the women’s clothing that once draped over my body. They were soon replaced by garments that screamed their masculinity—slacks, button down shirts, ties, bow ties. I also knew I wanted to be on testosterone, so I immediately made an appointment to see Dr. Shaefer and was able have a consultation with him a couple of months after. During our initial meeting at Trillium health, he asked me why I wanted to be on T. My exact words were:
“I want to look as masculine as humanly possible.”
In the past, the only type of trans men I’ve seen were those who passed as cis males. In fact, I didn’t know very many trans people who had no interest in medically transitioning (I can count on one hand how many friends have not gone that route). But my desire to pass didn’t derive from wishing to be viewed as a man (I am very Agender). I harbored a strong desire to reject every sliver of femininity occupying space within my body, hoping that the testosterone purged it somehow. I’ve been known as a “cis woman” for too long and felt that my outward appearance was reflecting a lie I no longer supported.
When my voice starts deepening, I thought to myself as I massaged the gel onto my thighs, people will hear the difference between Meeka and Javi. At least that was the plan.
Flashes of the person I was becoming reeled through my mind everyday and I soon recognized the distinctions between the “cis woman” I lived as and the person that lived quietly within. The mustache that naturally grew above my upper lip became more pronounced. A week or so later what I thought was a sore throat turned out to be the subtle deepening of my voice. After experiencing little to no intense emotion or libido since having my hysterectomy in August 2017, I suddenly felt the return of both (while my emotional state remains at a normal level, my sex drive elevated and still remains, uh, healthy).
Even my mental health changed for the better. The emptiness I once felt in the center of my chest was replaced by a wholeness that was awarded to me when I began living as my authentic self. The depression and anxiety that enveloped me since childhood vanished. As a result, my confidence rose from the debris of uncertainty and it was apparent to those who met eyes with me.
“You even feel different,” said one friend when they embraced me for the first time in months.
Though my friend’s assessment was accurate, there was this nagging suspicion that some part of me was missing energetically. Like I was still pretending to be someone I wasn’t. Meanwhile, I am still rejecting any association with femininity in the fear of being misgendered. And I actually thought I was doing better without it considering that I even tackled certain projects (a blog, a new podcast) without a crippling fear.
I asked Spirit what was going on and why was this happening. The response I received made me extremely uncomfortable: I am both masculine and feminine spiritually and I am to embrace this fact.
I’m not going to lie. I wasn’t even trying to hear it because acting feminine, from my perspective, only contributed to the misgendering I endured on the regular. At the same time, I had no intention of passing at this point and only wished to have top surgery. So I figured I’d express my feminine side every once in a blue moon by wearing nail polish. But even that wasn’t enough as felt the energetic pull becoming increasingly evident.
It wasn’t until I have done work with my spiritual mentor, Nahkila Isha’ that I realized what had happened.
It occurred on the night I came out; The moment I realized I was trans, something inside me split in half and was snatched out of me. I remember looking down at my hands and blinking as if I didn’t recognize my body or who I was. I thought nothing of it at first, believing this experience to be normal for all trans people who were freshly out of the closet. But as time sailed on, I noticed that the feeling remained regardless of me appreciating myself.
The reason why the split happened because I was rejecting Meeka. To me, she embodied fear, depression, and anxiety in its purist. She thrived on the approval of others—men in particular—and would contemplate suicide if she even suspected rejection. In her mind, nothing she did or said was close to good enough. Because of the Attention Deficit Disorder being untreated the majority of her life, she considered herself the weakest link despite her best efforts. She was the one who was severely abused, sexually assaulted, and ridiculed—not me. She acted out inappropriately simply out of the fear of being abandoned—I didn’t. So when the energetic split did occur, I (Javi) had a clean slate on which to build an entire history. I am not exaggerating when I state that I’ve transformed into a different human being.
But by distancing myself from Meeka, I was distancing myself from kindness, patience, creativity. A person who loved unconditionally until she was hurt enough, someone who fought for what she believed in and who gave people the benefit of the doubt. She had a childlike wonder to her that I could never possess on my own, but I had the logic that kept us both out of harm’s way.
Most importantly, Meeka is and will always be my feminine energy. Without her, I am not completely whole and by, rejecting her, I am rejecting a part of myself. I’d also be dishonoring the one that has protected me from significant harm for so many years. By walking away from her simply because of my desire to carve my name into the world’s history book, I’m abandoning her and that is something I will not do to her—not after all she’s been through.
So through meditation, I told her I was sorry. I told her that she is extremely important to me, and that she and I are the very same. Because together, we are one person with both masculine and feminine energy, one who loves beautiful people, places. We call each other out and we reign each other in when necessary. Neither one of us is trapped by the past. We share our stories to empower ourselves and other trans and queer people who’ve experienced trauma—regardless of the severity. Since then, we “emerged” so to speak and the sensation once experienced was relinquished.
When I first arrived as Javi, I was under the impression that I was to be masculine twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. That I can be a new person without ever having to address the past I seriously wanted to push deep into the corners of my mind. But what I’ve learned over the year is that, for me, it’s not possible without vanquishing the one who kept us both alive for this long. It’s because of Meeka that I’m here and finally whole, which is the reason why I am free.