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ELIXHER | December 21, 2014

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Live Your Best Life: Finding the Faith and Courage to Start Over

Live Your Best Life: Finding the Faith and Courage to Start Over
ELIXHER

Need a pick-me-up or some spiritual nourishment? Written by transgender advocate and warrior woman Ja’briel Walthour, “Live Your Best Life” is ELIXHER’s new inspirational column.

For many women of color within the LGBTQ community, the entire process of self-discovery, disclosure, and destiny, can seem a bit scary and present challenges most of us aren’t prepared to face.  As a trans woman, I don’t recall having a manual or guidebook to refer when “coming out” to family and friends.  All I could do was have faith, close my eyes, and take a blind leap into the unknown.  Fortunately, I landed with both feet on the ground but not before taking a few stumbles here and there.

I remember all the persistent and pervasive thoughts of fear and isolation, as I sought unconditional love and acceptance from anyone willing to share it.  The reality is that there are many risks associated with turning over new leaves in your life.  Women and LGBTQ people of color, in general, are expected to adhere to certain societal and cultural standards.  Those who deter from this path may experience a backlash of rejection and discrimination from both family and friends, alike.

The thought of disconnection from loved ones often frighten us from finding peace and solitude in our lives.  Coming to terms with your identity often requires sacrifices from both you and those with whom you are close.  Once you decide to start over, you will be forced to take personal inventory of your life, and weigh the pros and cons of moving forward to embrace your true identity.  For many in the LGBTQ community, the cost is simply too high.  Instead of facing the wrath of disapproving parents, neighbors, churches and schools, there are those who choose to abandon their truth, to the detriment of their own souls.

While contemplating my new beginning, I had lots of time to be alone with my thoughts.  I began to search my soul for clarity and direction.  During this time, I found the courage to take a step in the journey of a thousand miles.  I quickly realized that faith is a powerful weapon when used as a tool to confront the mountains of adversity.

I fully recall the courage it took to move forward, placing one foot in front of the other and standing firm in my own truth.  I made a conscious decision to commit to my own happiness, and to promote peace and understanding.  In addition, I chose to love those who would hate me, and to speak words of life, inspiring all to a greater purpose.

As you begin to “live your best life,” there will always be circumstances and situations, which may warrant “starting over.”  In these moments, remember that it’s not your responsibility to perform any miracles, rather to have faith and only believe.

- Ja’briel Walthour

Ja’briel Walthour is a transgender advocate residing in Hinesville, Georgia—a small, military community located outside Savannah. She currently works with special needs children and has authored a children’s book series loosely based on her experience growing up transgender in the South.

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