Through my own investigating & intermittent professional support there are clues that point to Early Developmental Trauma: attunement & attachment, that I am well aware affect how I trust the world, put myself out into the world and limit myself. That work is ongoing & adolescents was lonely, quiet and lacked mentoring that mirrored & validated my "lost-ness". And likely why I'm good at what I do when I am working directly with youth. Given the content of this training- "rigorous reflection on our own adolescent development and how that has shaped our destiny." To put it bluntly, I really wanna figure that shit out- so not to hold me back or sabotage. Since participating in the STC Intergenerational Program, I have taken that experience and have applied the tools to my life. Thanks to Movement Mass & the intentionality of it all ++ the work I was doing to heal trauma experienced, I am grateful to report I do NOT experience the chronic pain I was living with 3 years ago.It was with Melissa & the STC Intergenerational Program in 2015 that I first identified as they/them. Part wanting that voice in the room because no one else had, part acknowledging something else that I have been exploring since.
I feel a sense of completion and a readying to step out of the liminal space and direct myself towards concrete markers as I recognize the desire to devote and partner with others who resonate with me. I believe the combination of the Restoring Youth Rites of Passage: Two-Week Leadership Intensive with Rite of Passage Journeys, Guided by Cameron & Darcy in June + participating in the Youth on Fire Training in August will be the alchemy I am seeking to bridge what I love – dancing, being in nature & supporting youth ++
The containers, with two folks (Darcy & Melissa) I respect, admire and desire to collaborate with & step into the next - dedicating myself to soulfully mentor youth through initiatory experiences feels really special to me. In community, with the support and witnessing of my peers, I have no doubt that this experience will catalyze my unique gifts and satisfy my ancestors' wildest dreams in a deep, joyful and liberating way. I’m excited (& scared!) to begin building my niche in this work OUT loud.
WHY THIS PROGRAM? :You see the dancefloor is Church to me. It has been my refuge & sanctuary. It has been where I felt like I belonged to something greater. The rhythm, the beats, the lyrics inspire me & uplift me in times of trouble & celebration.
A big memory of myself as a youth growing up was me, in my room, walkman on, listening to music. This was my time that I enjoyed and it was also a time when I escaped- a coping skill when things got messy- for better or for worse. I don’t remember dreams much, but I do remember I used to dream in musicals sometimes. Folks expressing themselves; breaking out into song and dance to solve a problem, to declare their love. I watched old musicals with my Grandma. I was raised on MTV. I came of age on the dancefloor- a space in the 80's & 90's where my community felt safe to freely express their authentic self, to love and mix sweat with tears of those we have lost.
I have evolved from making a mixtape for a friend; decorating the cassette to creating journeys through spotify for a larger listening. These impressions created in a young person, impactful after all these years, provide some information that I’m listening to intently and curious how this can be incorporated into meaningful work for social justice & my devotion to uplifting marginalized & oppressed voices, as well as, provide a tether to youth through the sounds that move them- The movement is the rhythm in us. Seeking creative ways to keep the faith- sounds like a whole lot of fun & a life lived thru a Queer Calling.
I recently participated in a offering through Queer Theology, called Queer Calling. The prompt: “WHAT DOES YOUR QUEERNESS OR TRANSNESS CALL YOU TO DO AND BE IN THE WORLD?” MUCH LIKE ENCOUNTERING CHRIST CAN BE CAUSE FOR “RETURNING A DIFFERENT WAY” SO TOO CAN BEING QUEER. HOW HAS YOUR QUEERNESS AFFECTED HOW YOU GO THROUGH LIFE, HOW YOU NAVIGATE YOUR FAITH, AND WHAT YOU ARE CALLED TO DO AND BE?
So this is what I offered: Queer Calling: Returning A Different Way (http://www.queerodyssey.org/lovenotes/2018/2/6/queer-calling-returning-a-different-way-k8k63) & find making these playlists with a intention, for me, is a healing and powerful modality.
A favorite thing to do is make playlists. I share with friends and find them to tell a story about marking a particular passage in my life. Sometimes I even feel that the songs automatically generated for me through my Spotify account magically play rhythms and lyrics I need in that moment for inspiration and healing. Not to mention, I know for a fact my sister beams “Don’t Stop Believin’” down from the heavens just when I need it.
And this, occurring in the months after participating in the STC Intergenerational Program: While still working on the Big Island with Pacific Quest, where I met Darcy Ottey, I experimented with my students age 18-24 with ‘Sunday Dance Parties” AKA Movement Therapy. They LOVED it as a tool to process emotions. I would show them this video We Came To Dance – inspired by what Tasha Blank is bringing to the world too, akin to some thoughts I have for myself – it helped ground our hour together, as opposed to them thinking they just got to goof off & dance for an hour. They loved sharing songs that elicit an experience in their life, that takes them back. Or a song that they like to listen to focus or one that brings about an emotion of love or what they listen to when they are angry. A way to reclaim that part of themselves in a way that doesn’t involve “talk therapy”. I pretty much would like nothing more than to do this all the time & develop through Youth on Fire!
Melissa has known me as Jenn Oestreich and I have for awhile now been signing my name simply, J. I also have been wanting to take my real last name, Cazeaux. So, just a couple days ago I officially (as far as social media world goes) changed my name to JO Jett Cazeaux. A friend last summer was calling me Jett, and I like it. JO or J works too. Desiring something 'gender neutral and still keeping my initials as my name. I like Jett cause it sounds cool- I need more "Jett" in my life. ;-) Call me what you like & as they say, just don't call me late for dinner.
+ THIS AHA RECENTLY WITH REGARDS TO 'JETT'
I wrote this recently to a group of Theatre students that I was inviting to apprentice with us at the Caravan. Feels important with regards to identity and the journey I am on and what I hope to explore with the YOUTH ON FIRE TRAINING.
"Many hands make light work" and you are talented, eager, multi tasking, young humans who I LOVE working with! I can tell you all about my work with youth over the years some time if your interested. I'm really excited about this! Even though, most of the time I look like I'm playin' it cool. ;-) My dad used to tell me to "cool my jets" when I'd be super excited about something, it pretty much squashed my vibrancy because he thought I was being ridiculous- so then I thought I was ridiculous and toned it down. blek. It's why I've started using the nickname Jett, a bit of reclamation, something that hadn't really donned on me till now. So THANK YOU.