The past year of my life has been about rediscovering who I am after struggling through a series of hardships during my first few years of college. I am lucky to have wonderful people in my life supporting me, and feel my self-confidence and mental health flourishing more and more every day.
I used to look at people around me and feel envious that they seem to have it all together, and don’t have internal anxieties and conflict that can feel incredibly lonely and isolating. Then one day someone close to me said, “Don’t compare your life to others, and don’t judge others. You have no idea what their journey is all about”.
Last night I watched Bruce Jenner’s interview, and that piece of advice resonated with me in a whole new way.
I will admit that I was skeptical Bruce was transgender. I thought it was nothing but a media spectacle; after all, I have watched Bruce on television for almost ten years and never saw any indication that he struggled with gender identity. I didn’t even think anything of the many jokes and public mockery aimed at Bruce’s seemingly odd behavior.
Then last night, I heard Bruce describe living a lie for 65 years. I heard Bruce describe looking at women and thinking how lucky they are that they can wake up and be themselves. I heard Bruce plead for acceptance.
This is about so much more than Bruce Jenner. You truly never know what anyone’s journey is about. We are all navigating through life the best we can, and the moment you stop masking your feelings and reach out for support is the moment your life will change. I know it did for me.
We need to stop judging and start empathizing. We need to stop making assumptions. We need to rally together because we are all in this together. We all deserve to live an authentic life and find inner peace.
“Have an open mind and an open heart. I’m not this ‘bad person.’ I’m just doing what I have to do.”