The news is now replete with the coverage, complete with photos, of our once beloved male Olympic athlete–Bruce Jenner. He was a hero to many, whether you were a girl or a boy when he became a superstar and adorned cereal boxes. America loved this guy. Clean cut, innocent, dedicated and accomplished. This was what we saw and what we came to know and rely upon.
His facial changes over the years, his immersion into a new family through a marriage, and his presence on reality television have shifted national perceptions of this person. There were so many questions about whether he was the same person we once saw.
I’ve watched in wonderment as he came forward to speak about being unhappy. I tuned into interviews as well as the show he appears on. I find myself not believing this gender change is going to bring this person peace and happiness. No doubt, I will come under fire for this perspective by many. And some will be relieved that I am expressing this openly. I am also expressing this compassionately.
In watching the episodes with his former wife and their children, there are tears and so much pain. I can only imagine how confusing this is up close and personal. I pray that their hearts and their minds find healthy ways to deal with the loss of a man. I heard him state that he is not going anywhere, but indeed he is. I wonder if he has been able to truly grasp that he will be with himself for all of time–forever.
The self never leaves the psyche or the soma. The spirit is embedded. What prompts us to rejoice or agonize must be addressed and managed. Our culture is in a massive shift for us to remove gender identity as we have known it for all of time and accept a new reality that anything is okay, acceptable, and healthy. I call this into question.
To explore that what we believe will bring us joy is important but some of that which we enter into brings pain and agony as part of the collateral outcomes, the results of the actions we take. In my lifetime, I have certainly felt the lure of what was intriguing and also then had to face the consequences of my choices. I feel regrets and deal with them in my heart and in my behaviors as I move through my life working to discover the best version of who I am and how to be a healthy human being.
I feel concern for what happens to Bruce, now Caitlin, as time moves on. Will s/he automatically discover happiness upon awakening from this radical gender change surgery? Will that joy be long lived or will the same challenges that haunted this lovely human being travel into the new medically altered being?
A strong component of my thoughts and feelings about this topic and this particular case emerge out a larger concern that I have for men overall. Men, especially in America, are under so much criticism and dark scrutiny. They are held to blame for every single thing that is wrong in our country and in the world–whether they are in positions of prominence or otherwise. The pressure is on. It must be really tough to be a man. I’m so glad to be a woman, a girl, a lady. Life is tough for all of us here but for men, it seems far too many are asking for their gender to be erased and for the changes they make to become women by attire, mate selection, or surgery to be accepted and embraced as healthy.
Something is wrong.
It is time to ask what it is that we, as a culture do, to place one segment of our population into a position of such intense distress and discomfort.
My work is all about building upon our inner strength, finding peace in who we are, reaching deep into our own self to tap the part of what we have been created to be. Before his surgery, I found myself envisioning a long conversation minus any cameras or recordings, sitting and talking to Bruce Jenner to help him find the part of who he is. I wonder what we would have found. Perhaps this will emerge over time. I pray. I pray for his peace and contentment and for the wellbeing and genuine wellness of those in his midst…but cannot resolve the challenge in my mind that indeed something is wrong.
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