I say this as a 100% straight man. Caitlyn Jenner has my utmost respect.
People preach a lot about being yourself. A lot of folks claim that they are truly being themselves only to show at every step that they are anything but. Even I have spent a lot of my childhood and teen years learning just what it means to “be yourself” and I still struggled with it at times. As I will be 36 years old next month, I completely get it now.
…and if you’ve been paying attention, you should start to get it also.
The problem with those who preach often about being yourself is that many of them are okay with it…as long as it’s not something unusual or uncommon. Then it’s an issue. It’s either that, or the notion to “be yourselves” only applies to the person saying it; i.e., “I’m going to be myself and everyone needs to accept it.” Yet, anyone else, and that opens the door to be judged by those very same individuals who want everyone to accept them as THEY are.
I’m not the least bit concerned about catching flak about this. Along with being married to a white woman, being criticized by my own community (the black community) because I don’t fit the black stereotypes and follow all the “codes of blackness” that exist and even being teased because I speak with intelligence and am a very smart individual, there’s not too much anyone can say about this that will mean a whole lot.
Caitlyn is a TRUE lesson on what it means to be yourself. Here’s why.
I have honestly not followed Bruce Jenner very much growing up. I know little things here and there, but that’s about it. When this story broke is when I (as many other people) began to hear his name more.
In some ways, I thought I should look him up to see find out more about him when this story was first mentioned. Then again, I haven’t done so and I feel like I don’t really need to, because it won’t change my opinion of what he decided to do.
It’s no surprise that a lot of people will have very harsh opinions and won’t hesitate to share them. That’s fine. That’s the beauty of living in this country. Now I will continue to share mine as well.
As with so many things in life, we’re all okay with things as long as we understand them. These days, the minute we don’t understand, rather than taking any time to attempt to understand, we just make halfhearted judgments. It’s like the saying, “People make fun of what they don’t understand.” Those are the same types to put down and bully the smart kids growing up. People will simply laugh and make jokes about this, rather than taking a second to try and understand a perspective different from their own.
Then again, not everything in life is meant to be understood. You don’t have to understand this. Even I don’t have to understand it. In many ways, I don’t. This is not something I have ever felt, so as much as I may support this decision, I can never truly say that I understand, because I never will.
If you’ve been alive for any period of time, you will encounter things that do not make sense to you and that you will not agree with. As for Caitlyn and everyone else out there who was born one gender, but felt more comfortable as the other, just because we don’t and have never personally felt these ways ourselves, that doesn’t mean something is wrong with those who do. We really should not just dismiss them as being “crazy” or “sick” just because it’s not something we would do. Remember, society has all kinds of “unwritten rules” that we’re supposed to follow. Who exactly makes these rules and why should we have to follow them all?
Women were once not allowed to vote. Blacks were once not allowed to do a lot of things, including intermingling with whites. Interracial relationships were (and still are) frowned upon. Homosexuality is largely unaccepted. Gay marriage was unheard of. Now, these are all a reality.
I’ve learned at a very young age that as much as I may know, I really don’t know anything, because nothing is absolute. I think I lost a lot of you in saying that, but here is what I mean.
I am FAR from the only person to know this, to believe that, to do this, to feel that, to…anything. So I’ve learned a long time ago that there will be a LOT of things that I will see in my lifetime that will not fit into my view of how I’ve learned or have been taught that things “should” be. Once I truly understood this, it became easier to accept that there will be a lot of instances where people will do things that I would never do myself.
That doesn’t make me more right than them just because society may say so. That just makes us different. And that’s okay.
When people preach that we should all “be ourselves,” one thing a lot of people fail to understand is that to TRULY be yourself means that you will do some things people will agree with and you will do some things people do not. If you’re a firm believer of being yourself, this should be easy to accept.
Especially since this is not affecting any of your lives in any way.
Oh, right…then there’s that. There are many of those who believe that everything someone else does that we don’t agree with will have direct impacts on our lives. This is what many of us hide behind when it comes to things like this. Yes, you have the right to express displeasure with this, but to me, it just doesn’t make sense. This doesn’t affect my life in any way. Her decision to do this is HER business.
No…that’s NOT a typo.
I know…”but he gave interviews and he’s a celebrity, so he made it our business.” This being his business means it’s up to her, not you. That’s what “her business” is referring to. I know many of us like to be neck deep in a celebrity’s business and criticize their every move just to feel better about ourselves, but the truth is that she didn’t need anyone’s permission to do this.
Caitlyn is a very brave person to have done this. Again, many people will not understand that, so let me break it down for you. What makes this brave are the reactions. For example, when it comes to a celebrity coming out as gay, the first thing people do is get upset and say things to the effect of, “Why is this news? Well I’m straight; am I brave for saying that?!”
Number one, shut up. Number two, no, you aren’t. We as straight people are not put down for being straight. Homosexuals ARE put down for being gay. Hate crimes still happen because of this. So yes, it is VERY brave, whether you think so or not. Society largely does not accept homosexuals, not to mention that a lot of gays spend their whole lives in many cases keeping this a secret because of all those who will not accept themselves for…wait for it…being themselves.
This is a brave move because most people still do not accept this. This does not happen very often. That alone is why she has my respect. Society makes the rules and simply put, there are way too many people out there who don’t have the guts to NOT mindlessly follow those “rules.” Caitlyn is one of those people who does. I have much more respect for a person who takes the road less traveled than the one who simply follows everyone in front of them, having NO idea where they’re going.
Don’t come back with what the Bible says. Been there and done that. Start with following the Ten Commandments yourselves before you want to use that. Don’t come with the “ewwwww…disgusting!” mindset unless you’re still in the fifth grade. Most of all, don’t call this a “choice.” In essence, yes, this was a choice to proceed with this, but the mindset was not. This had been there for her entire life.
This is certainly not to try and change anyone’s minds, because I’m pretty sure that a lot of you have your minds made up already. It wouldn’t surprise me if many of you assume I’m gay or that something is wrong with me because of this as well. That just proves what I stated above concerning how people make fun of what they don’t understand. Of course, it would never be possible that a lot of straight people would support Caitlyn’s decision, even though it’s not something any of us would do. It’s personally not that hard for me to support this. After all, we’ve been taught for our entire lives that we should always “be ourselves.”
Here is another person who decided to do so. If any of you believe people should accept you as you are, flaws and all, and that it is important to “be yourself,” then SHE (again, not a typo) should have YOUR support as well.
If you’re a firm believer that we should all be ourselves, remember that Caitlyn being herself or anyone else being themselves will not always match what you would do as you are being yourselves. Society has their “rules” on how everyone should behave. It doesn’t take a lot of bravery to be a sheep and follow those rules, even at the expense of not truly being who you are.
Caitlyn has finally decided to ignore those “rules” and be herself. As much as many people may not agree, at the end of the day, my respect will always be stronger for people like her than most others. Because as a person who has struggled in the past with being myself, this is a reminder that it is truly never too late.
Whether society says so or not.
Thanks for reading.