You’ve asked yourself the same questions at some point in your life. Doesn’t it make sense that sometimes we’ll have different answers?
Like… why am I here? Who is my true love? Can I be famous? Am I gay? What is my purpose? Do I like me? What am I supposed to *do* with my life? What do I believe? Is there a God? Am I good for anything? If so, what is the character of God? What is MY character? Who do I want to be? What am I now?
These are questions that help us identify ourselves. Not only TO ourselves, or FOR ourselves, but TO others and FOR others. Our identity isn’t set, albeit I believe we have a spiritual identity. We should serve God and each other. Outside of that, if your identity calls for red hair, or to change your identity because you must, or to start wearing a burkah, it doesn’t matter what I think. Go out and get it and explore it. Live it. Embrace it.
So I’m not going to pretend it matters what I think. Because it doesn’t, and it shouldn’t. I’ve had my battles, and everyone has their own too. We might be similar, but thankfully we’re diverse enough to not all share each other’s same miseries.
So it’s not surprising to me, anyway, that sometimes, people go a step further than steps I ever took. I know you’re thinking, “But Anth, you really get out there, man. Your mind has pondered some serious stuff!”. And you’d be right. Some people believe that they are a certain way, and have unique reasons why they’ve identified themselves as a specific identity. Others just decided that they want a smiley face tattooed on their leg. Whatever extreme, it’s inconsequential.
For the purpose of respect, Caitlyn Jenner is her name. Caitlyn – female name … “her” pronoun for “Caitlyn”. If I say “Call me Anth”, I expect you to not make a dumbass walkabout around the topic. Just call me “Anth”. That’s that, and I have a preference. Out of respect, you either oblige, or you choose to be disrespectful, and even more so if you act like it’s cute. There’s not really much room in-between. Enlighten me if you disagree.
Let me tell you who I am, and why I’m not much different from Caitlyn Jenner:
I like women. With pretty eyes and curves and boobs. All sizes are nice, really. I like tools, and replacing floors and fixing computers and checking the chemicals in my pool. I like guns, and shooting random stuff, and then smelling like WD-40 after lubricating the automatic garage door opener. I can smoke and drink and hold my own on a motorcycle, though I rarely do any of those these days as I’m usually unclogging sinks, or painting or dorking around with the Weber grill. I step up to people who are rude to women, and my wife walks on the inside of the sidewalk. I insist. These are some pretty manly traits.
I also like holding my wife’s hand, spending time with her, cuddling and sleeping in, crying with her when she’s down, and holding her when she’s uncertain and being deep in raw, disturbing, porous emotion. I don’t care about sports. I have long hair. I like cats, and animals and I release outside lizards and moths rather than squash them. Sort of pansyish stuff to some guys. I joke and say I do it to get laid, but the fact is, I embrace my sensitive side as much as I do my manly side because I’m not afraid that it makes me less of a man to not live an existence of beer, bike exhaust and tools. And I don’t care if you know that, because being in touch with people that close is rare and beautiful. If you don’t know, you’re missing out. It’s awesome.
So what am I? Let’s see. My mind, emotions and identity ALL MATCH my physical makeup – and so I don’t have Caitlyn’s struggle. Well, lucky for me, huh? Cause that’d be embarrassing if there was a conflict somewhere in there. But if I did, wouldn’t that be a legitimate thing to ponder? And you should be okay with even the above sensitive stuff that I’m pretty secure in my manhood that I don’t lose anything by being sympathetic to your struggle if you have one. It’s okay to appreciate that someone has a struggle that is uncommon, uncomfortable or challenges your view. But it’s not okay to dismiss it as crazy. That’s someone’s real struggle.
That’s the only real difference between you, and me and Caitlin.
Conventional wisdom says that we are defined by how we look, and it’s usually pretty true, isn’t it? We don’t look far in other places to see how such “simple definitions” often has a catastrophic or debilitating effect in some people. As people suffer from anorexia, implant addictions and cosmetic surgery lifestyles, we see people who are trying desperately to “fix” what they believe others inherently see wrong in them. But what about the person who inherently sees something wrong *about themselves”? If you “feel” like something you’re not, you have to either adjust your mind, or adjust your surroundings. In this case, Caitlyn Jenner chose her path. She struggled no doubt for years on her path of self-discovery, and while I’m glad I don’t have that struggle myself, I am happy that she found a decision and a solution that works for her. Why in the world would I judge that?
When I initially approached the whole “okay, where *DO* I stand on this” topic of Caitlyn Jenner, I immediately thought of intersexual people – commonly known as hermaphrodites – with both ovarian and testicular organs, despite that not really being the issue at all, and I don’t know why. But we’re taught to believe that gender confusion is all a simple confusing and easily misunderstood condition, and we “just have to make it right”, sort of like chopping off the penis and saying, “Tahdah!” Fixed! You’re a girl! And then believe the brain follows suit.
But in reality, it’s like slapping duct tape on a steam leak. It’s unrealistic to expect it to hold, and just as unrealistic to blame the hose (the individual) when it doesn’t. In hermaphrodite situations, often times, the parents are asked to choose “for the sake of society”, and when parents choose “What isn’t”, the child suffers the loss of ability to define themselves. While the rest of us define ourselves, their definition has been assigned to them and for some reason, we expect them to accept that huge life challenge without qustion. But what do you do when your body is opposite what your mind is? It’s no longer a series of penis-chopping deduction, it’s a process of defining… and defining… and defining.
It’s fighting the overwhelming adherence to the belief that you aren’t what society tells you that you are. I can’t imagine a more difficult human struggle than to wrestle with your own existence.
Gender confusion isn’t something to be scared of. It’s something to be sensitive of. Because you have to choose between who you believe you are, versus how society finds it easiest to assign you, regardless of your opinion. What a dismissal if someone was to assign you the exact opposite of what you believe you are.
I posted a meme about Bruce Jenner and Bill Clinton that I thought was funny because it was lampooning the Ex-President’s loose behavior, but then I realized how wrong it was for the other party. Because it paints gender confusion as “ugly” people, sort of like the “Pat” SNL character. And these people are just as beautiful because they’re as introspective as most of us (or more), and searching themselves just as much as we do – and sometimes they are just as racked up as the rest of us – and look at yourself. Maybe, in some ways, they are more secure with their identity than we ever will be with ours, because not only do they know that something is inherently requiring a change that they MUST make, they have chosen and didn’t let anyone else tell them otherwise. If nothing else, even if you reject gender reassigning, you should admire the tenacity of an individual who takes that plunge to be absolutely true to what they believe.
I was going to post the picture, but I’d rather just be embarrassed that I used it and move on. Because I’m a little smarter today than yesterday when I thought it was funny. I’m not apologizing because you’re offended or not. I’m apologizing because it was inappropriate, and it doesn’t bear repeating. I’m sure you’ll find it on Facebook if you have a wide range of friends like I do. Or maybe your friends are all vegans and post the same thing all day, in which case, you just miss out on that pic.
But I do want to address a meme I did see, and didn’t like that sort of inspired this.
I’ve seen several memes saying “Here’s a war hero (World War 2 soldier with gun), and THIS is what bravery looks like – not Caitlyn Jenner”. Or diminishing points of unequal comparison. Here’s a great example:
I’ll bet $10. that someone who struggles with their own self worth and asks the same questions I posted at the top of my article (without the answers mind you) stated just this question.
They make a valid point on the surface – there are heroic professions. Nobody argues that. But which of those jobs is opposite what that person was supposed to be? The answer: None of them.
But aren’t you a hero to yourself, and your friends and family, for doing what you believe is absolutely right, even if it’s unpopular? Is that not worth merit?
Here’s what I say.
There’s room for heroes on both sides. After all, some people’s fight is a fight that other people don’t believe in. But that doesn’t mean that courage is absent. Not in the least.
And if you don’t like Caitlyn…. then I have a very sound opinion that will make your life happy again: don’t marry her. Problem solved. I’m sure she’ll level with you, if you accidentally unknowingly date her, prior to your engagement. There’s room for all of us to be heroes and to be what we’re supposed to be. Most of those casting stones, I would imagine, are not willing to take the risks that Caitlyn did. Otherwise, they’d be winning their own battles too.
Caitlyn, don’t you apologize for a damn thing.