“Brave” has another Meaning

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  Caitlyn Jenner has caused quite a stir over the past couple of days. Some negative comments and a lot of positive comments have been made on Miss Jenner’s behalf. For all of you who have been living under a rock over the past month or so, Bruce Jenner, better known as the US Olympic Medalist, oh and the father on that Kardashian show, has begun his journey in transitioning over to a woman. Everyone has their own opinions and they are entitled to them, however, one of the things I have learned the most is that you only have one life to live, and you HAVE to do what makes you happy. Bruce has lived the past 65 years as a man. Looking at his long sheet of credentials, how many people can say that they have lived the life that he has lived in that amount of time? He’s basically live a full lifetime, having 3 marriages, 10 kids, an Olympic career, motivational speaking, and even a stint on a world famous reality series. I think that is just awesome. Even after all the thing that he has accomplished in his life, he still feels like he would be mad at himself if he didn’t explore and embrace the part of him that is a woman. So, publicly, he decided to document his journey, and “come out” (I hope I used that term correctly) as a woman, in efforts to help other transgender people who are struggling with the same identity crisis.  I think that you cannot get any braver than that.

I can almost hear the collective groans saying “why does everyone think that he’s so brave just because he came out as a woman?” Most of you probably think that this whole thing is no big deal and probably just another way for the Kardashian-Jenner family to bank on some extra cash and get even more exposure than they have already been getting. But honestly, I think that it’s a bit deeper than that. Imagine for a second how it must feel to not be able to identify with the person that you see in the mirror. You were born as one sex, but in your eyes, in your heart, you see yourself as the complete opposite of who you are. Imagine the struggle. How do you tell your friends? What kind of conversation do you have with your parents? Your siblings? The rest of your family? Think of how many teens have been beaten, taunted, bullied, murdered and committed suicide because that they decided that they couldn’t hide their true selves any longer but also feel like no one understands because no one they identify with is going through the same thing. What if that was your kid? Your sibling? Or yes, even your parent? Would you subject them to the same bullying that the transgender community deal with every single day? You may not see any of that as a “big deal” but for the transgender individuals, it is a VERY big deal. It’s their life that’s at stake.

I have a friend of mine that has gone through the same life change. **Even though me and this person weren’t best friends, over the time that we had gotten to know each other, we were able to talk about anything. We became close during that time, and I was able to share things with them that I was not able to share with other people, even those I had known most of my life. It was because of this connection that when they decided that they wanted to make this life change, they talked to me about it. They even told me that if I decided that I didn’t want to be friends with them anymore, they would understand. At that moment I thought “wow, that’s brave.” To be able to come to someone and say “Hey, this is a life changing decision that I am making for myself. I understand that you may not be comfortable with this change, and don’t want to be a part of it. I respect you as a friend and as a person if you decide that you want to part ways with me.” I felt like I had a decision to make. I could either abandon my friend, walk away and end a friendship because the situation was uncomfortable, or I could be there for them, like the friend that they might need. I knew that this wasn’t something that they decided on a whim. It wasn’t a fad that they were partaking of because it was “cool” or because it was the next “Hot thing to do.” In conversations, they had shared with me their personal story about how they came to this decision, the talks with family, and now friends. I felt a sense of honor that they counted me in that close circle of friends they told of their transition.
**This person’s identity and gender has been kept private to protect them for personal reasons. I chose to respect their wishes in doing so

It takes someone brave to open up like that to other people. To be vulnerable to scrutiny, ridicule and judgement just for being themselves. When you share your story with other people, you are giving someone else hope that they can get through their similar situation because you made it. Caitlyn Jenner has that same opportunity now, but on a much bigger platform. She can tell the world her story and help others in the transgender community by giving them the courage to get through their own situation, and fight the adversity. All of her specials, documentaries, interviews and photoshoots will be held in history, thanks to social media, ready and available to help the next generation of people who will be dealing with the same thing. I look at people like Lavern Cox and Caitlyn Jenner as people who are strong. Just like it takes someone strong to “come out” to their family as Gay or Bi, it takes someone equally strong to come out as the opposite sex, maybe even stronger in some cases. Those of us who are mostly comfortable in our skin are sometimes so quick to judge, or point fingers at things that we don’t understand. That’s human nature I guess. We don’t understand why you would want to be the opposite sex, so the first thing we think to do it ask “why?” One comment that I have seen over and over is that God made us in his image. I am still a believer in this scripture and will not sway away from that belief that God made me the exact way that he wanted me to be. But who am I to look at someone and judge them for not being able to identify with the person that God created. It’s not my life. I don’t have to spend the money it takes, or see the therapist or tell my family and friends that I want to be different. Someone, somewhere is struggling. Crying themselves to sleep asking God why they were created this way, when they feel like they should have been created in a totally different way. I may not be able to relate to what they are going through, but like I had the chance to be there for my friend, I would like to think that, given the same opportunity again, I would be able to be there for someone else.

Brave has taken on an additional meaning in my eyes. Some of you may not agree and that’s fine. This is a blog and written completely in my own opinion, so no you don’t have to agree. However, I would like to think that by the time you reach the end of this post, you will at least take a different look and think twice about the judgement passed on the individuals like Caitlyn, Lavern and other transgender people, whether they be famous or in your own neighborhood, and see a journey behind those eyes, and consider the same addition to the definition of brave.

One thought on ““Brave” has another Meaning

  1. georgiakevin says:

    Your post is soo beautiful! When you wrote “Crying themselves to sleep asking God why they were created this way, when they feel like they should have been created in a totally different way” you expressed what soo many of us asked God countless times. Thank you for your compassion in writing such a well written kind caring post.

    Like

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