#JCarReads | Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More

“I believe that telling our stories, first to ourselves and then to one another and the world, is a revolutionary act. It is an act that can be met with hostility, exclusion, and violence. It can also lead to love, understanding, transcendence, and community. I hope that my being real with you will help empower you to step into who you are and encourage you to share yourself with those around you.”

“I’ve heard parents say all they want is “the best” for their children, but the best is subjective and anchored by how they know and learned the world.”

“Those parts of yourself that you desperately want to hide and destroy will gain power over you. The best thing to do is face and own them, because they are forever a part of you.”

“Words have the power to encourage and inspire but also to demean and dehumanize. I know now that epithets are meant to shame us into not being ourselves, to encourage us to perform lies and to be silent about our truths.”

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Y’all….when I tell you this BOOK…changed me…I just can’t. even. begin. to. explain. I first  really got to know Janet Mock during her Super Soul interview with Oprah. Click here to access that, it’s truly a gem. As I was witnessing her words touch my ears, I realized that I had so much work to do inside of myself. Her story was so incredibly moving and her points so valid surrounding the transgender community, experience, life, and fight. I decided that I wanted to delve deeper into her story and begin to purposefully and thoughtfully educate myself more surrounding different women’s issues. Her book is so beautifully articulated that it’s astounding. Her fight to own and define her own identity is one that I think we all can so closely relate to that it makes this book so incredibly personal. She’s so incredibly brave, so incredibly strong and so wise to put the issues she has faced at the forefront of her work. This book allows a glimpse into the life of a transgender woman fighting to live a life she deserves. This book tugs at the inner feelings of struggled identity and ownership, and this book gives you bravery, access and freedom to be a person fighting for what’s right. I hope to one day own my own story with her grace and poise, and fight my good fight with half of her strength. I can’t recommend this book enough.

Here are some of my favorites quotes from the book:

“Self-definition has been a responsibility I’ve wholeheartedly taken on as mine. It’s never a duty one should outsource. Of this responsibility, writer and poet Audre Lorde said, “If I didn’t define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people’s fantasies for me and eaten alive.” Self-definition and self-determination is about the many varied decisions that we make to compose and journey toward ourselves, about the audacity and strength to proclaim, create, and evolve into who we know ourselves to be. It’s okay if your personal definition is in a constant state of flux as you navigate the world.”

“Kindness and compassion are sisters but not twins. One you can buy, the other is priceless.”

“The misconception of equating ease of life with “passing” must be dismantled in our culture. The work begins by each of us recognizing that cis people are not more valuable or legitimate and that trans people who blend as cis are not more valuable or legitimate. We must recognize, discuss, and dismantle this hierarchy that polices bodies and values certain ones over others. We must recognize that we all have different experiences of oppression and privilege, and I recognize that my ability to blend as cis is one conditional privilege that does not negate the fact that I experience the world as a trans woman (with my own fears, insecurities, and body-image issues) no matter how attractive people may think I am.”

“This pervasive idea that trans women deserve violence needs to be abolished. It’s a socially sanctioned practice of blaming the victim. We must begin blaming our culture, which stigmatizes, demeans, and strips trans women of their humanity.”

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*Images not my own but are a direct link to purchase*