Waking up with Jessica
It was a dark, rainy, muggy morning.
I had just finished loading the rest of my belongings into my car. I had always thought that if something was meant for you then the path would be made for you to get there. And paths were certainly made for me to live my dream …to pursue my career in the entertainment industry … in Hollywood! People often fear big decisions and change, but I knew in my heart it was meant for me and I was thrilled!
A friend of mine was supposed to drive with me to LA. However, I decided that it might be best to make the trip by myself. I wanted to make this a spiritual journey, to take my time, and to see the country. I saw this change of plans as a blessing in disguise, and punched my new Hollywood address into my GPS.
Only 2,027 miles.
I was so happy to have left Chicago. I was born and raised there and it was home to a very important change in my life. A drastic change.
I transitioned from male to female .
Now, Chicago is a big city, but it still holds the conservatism of the Midwest. To this day, I really don’t know why I stayed there as long as I did. I guess, choosing not to move offered a false sense of security. Also, my transition was a process that took YEARS and several procedures to complete. So much of my time in Chicago was filled with deep loneliness. I was in locked in a grey cocoon. I felt alone, I felt misunderstood and I felt judged. I just wasn’t happy.
On top of that, we had about three to four months of nice weather and the rest was dark, gloomy, cold, rainy or snowy. By then, I was just over it! I was over the weather, over certain people, over everything. It’s odd to me that so many of my friends who knew me prior to my transition thought that they KNEW everything about me, and that they had the right to still call me by my old name. I had a new name and a new identity. A name that I had created and loved. And I really don’t think they knew me at all, as my journey was such an intense experience that I did not share with many.
Now was the beginning of a new life. When my transition was complete, I was ready to tear through my cocoon. I felt like the caterpillar who finally became a beautiful butterfly…and I was ready to fly…To fly far, far away and beyond anything I could have ever dreamed.
This was my time to shine. I had been through HELL. With everything that I had gone through during my transition, I began to view the world differently. It was a sad time. I saw how so many could be downright evil to me, simply because I was different … and because I was changing. Many just could not handle the change, even if it had nothing to do with them.
But I had always seen my transition as something that I HAD to do … I remember thinking at one stage during my darkest times, “Jessica either transition into who you really are or DIE…or continue to live a lie.”
These thoughts of the past wracked my mind. Even though I was a new woman, I needed time to heal the past. I finally had the face and body that I had always wanted and now I would make sure I had the home and community and life that I yearned for.
With every border I crossed, it became more real to me that I was actually doing this…
From the mid-west to the west coast, I knew exactly where I wanted to be. Hollywood was on my mind like a call for freedom.
One night, I had spent the night somewhere in Nebraska, close to the Colorado Border. I got up early the following morning and headed out. I am truly a breakfast person and I NEED my breakfast in the mornings to be able to function. I drove about 50 miles out and found Lucy’s Cafe.
Lucy’s Cafe was somewhere in rural Colorado (way out in the middle of no?where). It looked like a small, local trucker’s stop. I prayed that they were still serving breakfast as it was just past 11am. I remember feeling a little afraid to enter. Judging by the place and the people I saw standing outside…I seemed … well … different.
First of all I’m tall. I stand at 6ft 4 and I don’t seem to blend in anywhere anyway…
But because I HAD to have my breakfast, I bravely walked in.
Everyone seemed a bit shocked by someone like me entering the establishment.
”How many Ma’am?”
“Just me,” I said.
I was seated and immediately asked if they were serving breakfast?
“No ma’am breakfast is over at 10:30.”
I said “Oh no, can you please ask the cook if he would make an exception?”
“Where are you from young lady?”
I replied ”Chicago, I’m on my way to Hollywood!”
My waitress seemed so excited for me. She returned with a Yes! They would make breakfast especially for me!
I smiled and put my order in and started chatting with the locals. It amazed me how different we are while still all walking the same planet together. My waitress shared my story with a few employees there. They knew I was moving to Hollywood and came up to me to wish me well, warmly advising me to be careful on the rest of my journey while saying how wonderful it was for me to be living my dreams.
I enjoyed breakfast and the great conversation I had with these individuals whom I will probably never see again. But their well wishes stayed with me and Lucy’s Café will not be forgotten.
Driving through the endless road, I found myself in deep thought for several hours, almost meditating in the process. Then, much to my dismay I realized I was being pulled over. Yes, I was getting a speeding ticket. I usually could get out of situations like this, but in Lincoln, Nebraska, things are a bit different. I decided to put the ticket away in the glove compartment and accept what had happened. I would not allow this ticket to upset me or ruin my journey. Neither would I take it as a bad omen. Instead, I saw it as a sign to be careful and didn’t think anything further about it.
It’s amazing how everything started to look more beautiful the further west I drove. I was now entering Colorado. I was so excited to see the steep mountains covered in snow. I was so high up, that I was in the clouds (literally!). I wanted to play in the snow. So I did!
I pulled off to the side of the road and very joyfully ran up onto the snow-covered mountain, picking up the snow and appreciating all of its beauty. I felt so joyous and free. Any thought that I had about being alone began to dissipate. I was not alone at all, for so much grandeur surrounded me. I was not afraid of being alone at night anymore, for the mountains were hugging me.
The calmness that I experienced while driving through Utah, Arizona and Nevada brought me such peace of mind. The mountains were beautiful, very different from anything I’ve ever seen before. I could feel divine energy and guidance. I knew that everything would work out well. I knew that all my needs would be met and my intuition told me that I was doing the right thing.
Once I finally arrived in California’s state lines, I was elated with joy. I was still hours away from Los Angeles, but the excitement was enormous. I was also completely exhausted. I could not wait to go to sleep and be lulled into deep slumber.
When I woke up the next morning, I could not wait to get out that very same day and explore my new home. The Spirit guided me to Santa Monica beach, where I walked along the beach thanking God for creating ways and paths for me to be here and for getting me here safely.
I was so filled with gratitude.
Soon after my move, I started pursuing the acting career that was my goal. I signed up for a very intense acting boot camp, where I attended classes six days a week. It was a wonderful, busy time and I met so many beautiful people from all over the world who had moved here to pursue their dreams. Hearing all their stories was inspiring. It seemed that we all had very different backgrounds but could easily connect because of our similar goals and our burning passion. We did not just talk about our dreams, we actually made them happen.
It’s been an amazing experience in Los Angeles, but I have had my share of disappointments that came with the fulfillment of this dream. I’ve auditioned for so many transgender roles where I was rejected for being ’too passable’ as a female. Unfortunately the producers wanted to place actors who are clearly and stereotypically transgender. I felt like there was not really a place for me, as I looked so feminine. Honestly, I got tired of a lot of the bullshit that came with Hollywood. So, I made a strong decision one day that I wasn’t going to waste any time with lower consciousness.
I started my own web-talk show ‘Waking up with Jessica’ where I interview guests who are making a difference on the planet. The guests who come on my show uplift humanity with their gifts and talents. The show has nothing to do with gender identity, race or sexual orientation, instead it reveals to people who they really are. Amazing, spiritual beings.
I was also cast in my first full-length independent film, ‘ The End of our Lives’ with a gifted director and friend, Bryan Sandlin. This director saw me for my gifts and talents, and not for what was between my legs. That was such a gift. To be recognized as my true self.
There is still a lot of work that needs to be done to represent trans people in a positive way in the media. I feel like I am doing my part and making a difference, inspiring so many in the community to experience exactly what they want to.
You see, being born and raised in Chicago, having lived there my whole life, and then moving to Los Angeles, had really opened my eyes. This moment in time was a new beginning for me. I left behind a lot of negativity and bad energy. I knew I didn’t want to be stuck in the same place my entire life. I was clear. Yet the people around me thought I was crazy for leaving. And I thought THEY were crazy for not wanting to explore the planet and get more out of life.
Besides, my days of living most of the year without the sun and in the cold were OVER. So many people who yearn for more won’t even consider moving because they have too much fear. But if you take the risk and listen to your heart, answers and solutions will come to you.
Take risks, because once they turn into regrets, it’s too late.
Being here has exposed me to new people, places and situations, making me grow exponentially. By disallowing risk and exploration, you will significantly slow down your growth. You will never get the wisdom that the new and unexplored will offer you. Don’t let fear hold you back and prevent you from having many wonderful experiences, from meeting the fascinating people who may change your life.
Looking back, I had to make the firm decision not to let my ego or people convince me that a sense of security was more important than adventure. By being here and doing what I love, acting and performing in plays, I have achieved success. I don’t need to be famous or turn into a huge star to feel accomplished. I urge you, by following your intuition and doing what is really meant for your unique path, you will find fulfillment.
Over the past three years I have been here, I have found many life changing and enlightening places. I live a walking distance away from the Bodhi Tree bookstore, which has been THE spiritual bookstore for over 40 years. It’s an iconic landmark. I have also recently discovered the beautiful Lake Shrine, which is a part of the Self-Realization Fellowship that introduced the Eastern spiritual teachings to America. Teachings that include yoga and meditation.
I also am a member of the Agape International Spiritual Community. Their services are always fun, uplifting and inspiring and I spend my Sundays in worship and gratitude. Having easy access to spiritual places has really raised my consciousness and allowed me to truly discover myself.
This new chapter of my life has been powerful. I have learned not to fear change, not to dwell on the past, or to worry about the future.
Follow your heart Jessica, says Spirit and don’t ever let fear prevent you from fulfilling your destiny.
About the author: Jessica Savano is an American actress, model, advocate and inspirational speaker. In 2004, she appeared on MTV’s ”I Want a Famous Face”. It was a historical appearance, as it made her the first transgender individual person casted on MTV. Being one who has successfully overcome challenges, creating the life of her dreams, she continues to break boundaries while educating and inspiring many. Jessica was born and raised a native of Chicago. In 2009, she committed to following her desire to live a bigger life by moving to Los Angeles to pursue a career in film and television.
Jessica’s mission lies in helping people love themselves and break free from dogma and mediocrity. She has empowered many through her remarkable journey by demonstrating how to truly live a life of fulfillment and joy. Visit Her Website Her Youtube Channel