204: Eleven – Transitioning to Non-Binary
“It’s been quite the hero’s journey, y’all.” – Eleven
Welcome back to ONKEN RADIO (previously NION Radio) the podcast where we explore the body, mind, and soul of the creative entrepreneur. It’s my goal to help you take your creativity, business, and life to the next level. I’m so glad you’re joining me on this journey!
Today, I’m excited to bring to you a dear friend of mine, Eleven. We met about eight years ago on set shooting for Tori Kelly, who’s actually a previous podcast guest from 2014. Eleven was doing makeup for the shoot and after meeting we became friends — we even went out on a couple of dates way back in the day!
I’m excited to have Eleven here today to teach us about what it means to transition into non-binary. Let me just give you a little preview here:
“Vulnerability is your superpower. Sharing with people the process and what’s coming up in real time goes back to that same thing — authenticity. I think when we can be vulnerable and show up and be like, ‘Hey guys, I don’t have all the answers. I’m just showing up and that resonates with people.’” – Eleven
It’s so true. Too many of us wait to reveal ourselves when we feel we have it all figured out, when the truth is nobody ever does and it’s how we show up with love and compassion for ourselves and each other that creates the space for our true expression to flow through us.
And you guys, that’s just a little taste of the wisdom Eleven has to offer. We talk a lot about Identity Alchemy, a topic of interest for me as of late. It’s a signature process that I’ve been developing for my personal brand. It’s about creating congruence between who you are as a person, your vision, your message, your service to the world, and how that translates into visual imagery and the visual brand that you’re putting out into the internet and into the world.
Identity Alchemy is a process that can be used for life in general — it’s personal development, and it’s constantly creating our new identity in every moment.
I wanted to interview Eleven here and talk about their transition into non-binary, whichrequired deep inner alchemy, and it’s something that’s really at the forefront of our culture and society today. I know you’re not going to want to miss that, so let’s get started.
Who Is Eleven?
Growing up as Lynette Cenee, they grew up in a world blended between religion and magic with parents who were both involved in the church and practicing magicians. This provided a pathway to growing up as a performer and developing a keen understanding of hair and makeup to create all the glitz and glamor needed on stage.
“I found myself living in LA and getting cast to be the hair and makeup [person] for some really incredible projects. I felt very conflicted because I grew up on stage as the talent and then found myself behind the scenes thinking, ‘Okay, this is great, [but] I really want to be the one that people are preparing to be on screen.’ I just needed to believe I’m worthy of it and decided to start seeking outside of being the hair and makeup [person] and seeking casting calls to be the talent.” – Eleven
Choosing to focus on being in front of the camera again led to an opportunity to cast for a new TV show that required hair and makeup professionals on camera as experts. In fact, this was to launch a YouTube channel with a whole production company behind them and a team of 13 people to launch and manage all the social media components. That’s what launched Lynette Cenee, the name given at birth, for the next 10 years.
The show focused on creating different beauty videos while also telling their story transparently online, which included a marriage in 2015. It was a challenging relationship, requiring a lot of Identity Alchemy to work through. It was after deciding to leave the marriage though that they were invited to visit Peru.
“I had been feeling the call towards doing deeper plant medicine work with ayahuasca. This whole evolution began in 2018, and it’s been this wild journey into this space of psychedelic Renaissance and deeper work and a whole new transition. A new avatar kind of made its way through the process, and now I am identifying as Eleven — a non-binary cosmic being, and it feels more [like] myself. I’ve never felt this authentic and true, and it feels great.” – Eleven
Each step along Eleven’s journey to becoming Eleven has built upon the lessons learned at each stage. I’m truly grateful to hear how each of those impacted them to arrive at where they are today.
The Process of Identity Alchemy
Identity Alchemy is a step-by-step process, with the first step being all about deconstruction — a very challenging step to go through as you take a deep look into who you were and who you show up as now. I was interested to hear what that deconstruction process was like for Eleven and how plant medicine helped them work through it.
“The deconstruction for me, because I was married to a Christian worship leader, began by remembering I had been in the LGBT community before I got married. I felt a lot of false shame and guilt and ended up marrying a man because I was trying to mask deeper wounds from my parents. The deconstruction for me has really stemmed from inner child work, and I started asking myself, ‘Is this what I want? Or is this what my parents want? What am I, who am I actually living for right now?’” – Eleven
Asking probing questions like this took Eleven down a path of self study and deep inquiry where the deconstruction began with examining the belief structures they had been raised in. Once they started the process, the golden thread began to unravel — although it’s a beautiful process, it can also be quite scary.
“Everything that I have been programmed to believe is now crumbling, and [the spiritual awakening process] is not for the faint of heart.” – Eleven
The journey uncovered a realization that a running narrative of “I don’t fit” had been the story that kept running through their head. While learning to let go of that particular story, Eleven accepted that sometimes we don’t fit into certain communities and that’s okay. Knowing it was time to leave the church, and ultimately their marriage, freed Eleven to explore their inner being and express that authentically into the world.
The Start of Understanding Non-Binary and Birth of Eleven
Eleven remembers having her first girl crush from the age of five, and while she has dated both men and women — had a season in their life where shame and fear held them captive.
“After my marriage, I was introduced to one of the most incredible, extraordinary feminine archetypes, my beloved Emmy Bush. I had gone from a Christian marriage to this same-sex relationship, and I realized after meditating on it, ‘Wow, I am learning more about divinity or what God is through Emmy than I have through my Christian marriage.” – Eleven
This profound realization helped Eleven understand that divinity doesn’t need to explain itself — it just is. We’re spiritual beings living in a human experience, not the other way around. With this deep connection to divinity and appreciating how it has no need to announce itself, began the transition to start being called Eleven — a name that has special significance for them.
“I’m an Aquarius, [and I was born] with 11 toes. Ever since I was little, my dad told me I was an angel and part hybrid. It wasn’t until later in my spiritual pursuits in my meditations and where the medicine helped [me fully realize that] ‘I’m an angel and angels are non-binary fully androgynous beings.’ I feel very balanced in my masculine energy, and I’m still in deep inquiry around what I’m moving through. I don’t know how to fully explain myself all the time — and I don’t have to. It just is.” – Eleven
What a beautiful understanding of spirituality to draw down deep into their own being to live by — that divinity just is. Our experiences of divinity are deeply personal, and therefore we don’t need to feel obligated to always articulate it to others.
Transitioning is no simple endeavor and becoming Eleven was a huge process. On August 2nd, 2020, they had a vivid dream about their ceremony to step into a new vibration of truth.
“I called on some of my dear tribe to help support this vision, and I knew I was going to be changing wardrobe. That was in my dream, it was very Jedi [like]. I was changing from white into black and taking ownership of a new name. I had a dream, I mapped it out — I had it all written down using this app Capture. I gathered 20 of my closest tribe, and we had a whole flower Mandala kind of circling me, and I sat in the middle and had my dear soul sister facilitate the sacred ritual, and each person cut off a lock of my hair, and we did prayer and meditation. Then I shaved my head and went in the ocean and baptized and ushered in Eleven.” – Eleven
I love the intentionality behind each detail and that the ritual came from a dream too! Have you ever had a detailed dream that inspired a change in your life’s direction?
The Formula for Identity Alchemy
Eleven has so much wisdom to share, and I think that they gave us a perfect formula for Identity Alchemy as we dived into the deeper spaces of life and spirituality.
Alchemy is defined as the process of taking something ordinary and turning it into something extraordinary, sometimes in a way that cannot be explained.
With that being said, I define Identity Alchemy as the process of deconstructing who you don’t want to be in order to realize who you want to become.
Through it, you’ll be able to identify your shadows or the things you don’t want to be true about you and shed them slowly. I believe that the deconstruction process of life and your inner world is such a huge piece of understanding who you are so that you can curate who you want to become. In general, I noticed for myself that the more inner work that I do — the deeper shadow work that I do to understand myself — the better life becomes towards the path of wholeness.
Thank you so much for joining me today, guys! I loved this episode so much — I’m proud to call Eleven a good friend, and I’m grateful for every opportunity to talk to them and learn from them.
If you loved this episode, make sure to connect with Eleven on social media. They’re on Instagram, and you can see a ton of great posts there! And, of course, you can find Eleven and their work on the website here.
And by the way, don’t forget to check out my website too. There, you can find a quick ten-question quiz designed to help you unlock your Creative Alchemist and get some of my best free content to help you out on your creative journey.
Thank you so much for joining me today, guys. I hope you enjoyed this episode — if you did, please screenshot it and post it to Instagram and tag me, @nickonken, and Eleven, @iamelevenxx. And if you’ve got time, leave me a review on Apple podcasts. I’d love to hear your feedback.
I’ll catch you guys next time — now go live the creative lives you were meant for.
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“Smoke machines and mirrors feel like home.” – E11even
Some things we learn in this podcast:
- What is the process of deconstruction like [9:20]
- Which plant medicines can help with personal growth [9:30]
- What does toxic masculinity look like coming from a woman [15:00]
- How do you know if you are nonbinary [30:00]
- How to determine your gender identity [31:00]
- What does it mean to flirt with creativity [48:00]
Connect with Eleven on Instagram