It’s already been seven years since the last day I walked out of the house that we all called home back on Greene street. As I lean more into my role as a not-so-young adult and speak to younger folks or when they need an ear to listen to them or a person to sit with, not a time goes by where I don’t mention my year at JSC. I will always claim Queens, New York, as home even though I had the privilege to travel and live in a few different states, with North Carolina being the only one I say I’d move back to if I had to leave New York. One thing in common that I’ve noticed, especially with folks who have lived in NYC for their entire lives, is that they genuinely don’t often venture out of this city. They never explore the discomfort and maturing that getting out of your comfort zone can bring to you. A comfort zone was not a thing that existed while I was in the program. I don’t present this as something negative; instead, it was a time when I was constantly on my toes and consistently growing. The Jean that woke up in the morning was not the same Jean that was laying his head down to rest. Every day was a new adventure because of the culture; the environment created by the seven other humans who decided to take the ride JSC offered was one where we were all vulnerable to each other. It was a space where we got to know each other in a way that forced us to be authentic in almost every instance.
I can say confidently that JSC provided me with the threshing room floor to cultivate the characteristics that fully make me Jean. It was a special time because it felt like my old ways were dying. I don’t want to make my experience sound overly spiritual, but it did feel like a rebirth. I was leaving behind things I knew and adding to my soul qualities from my housemates that made me better. Dinner times together were sacred. Times of quiet and solitude were more greatly appreciated. Intention was the name of the game, and I learned it well because of JSC and because of the housemates, who I still call friends. These are the reasons why I always push the folks I speak with not to be afraid to jump into the unknown. To welcome the nebulousness that leaving your routine brings. Coming out of the other end will be a person renewed and ready to take on the world with a new vision, even when the world around you seems to be trying to fit you into a box. JSC was that journey for me.