Compassion and Understanding

For some reason, I feel that I need to comment on this issue.

When something resonates with a person, there is usually a reason why.  Either they are going through or have gone through the same exact thing or they know someone, whether it be a friend or family member, who is going through or have gone through the same exact thing.  To me, those reasons are a very simple way to say…I understand what you’re going through.  Because you can relate…you understand.

There is also being empathetic / sympathetic to a person’s situation.  Which, to me, means that person may not really understand or get it because they’ve never been in that situation.  However, because the person is (hopefully) kind and compassionate their heart can go out to another and say…I can only imagine what you must be going through.

This is how we interact with one another on a daily basis – through our hearts, minds, bodies and souls.  Whether it be at work, at home, in the street, on line at the bank or via phone, text or social media – with friends, family or strangers.  No matter your race, religion, ethnicity, gender or sexual preference…at the end of the day we are human.

Being human has its advantages and disadvantages.  The crux of being human is that we all have problems.  This is our lot in life.  We all have them.  No matter your station in life.  And, as stated above, those around you either understand or they don’t.  If you are very lucky, you have surrounded yourself with people that fall into one of the two categories above, those people being your inner circle, your safety net, your support system.

And then there are…the others.  People who don’t know you from a hole in the wall yet they judge you anyway.  People who hate solely based on one’s race, religion, ethnicity, gender or sexual preference.  They don’t, they can’t and/or they won’t understand another person’s differences and so the only way they know is to spew hateful vicious words or even worse, physically harm someone because of these differences.

For those of you that might fall into the “other” category, I don’t know who you are but I hope you will continue to read this to the end just to see what other people are thinking.

Here is where we come to the heart of this post.

Of course, I can only speak for myself when it comes to this.  I’m not sure if my opinions on the matter are formed from being a woman, a mother or from being involved in a violent marriage for the better part of my life – a part of my life that had to be hidden away.  A part of me that I kept secret from everyone I knew, for as long as possible – until it was just too much for me to hold in anymore.

As is the same for Caitlyn Jenner.

I waited for the Diane Sawyer interview to see if the gossip was true.  Prior to that I thought, could this be true?  Yes, we all saw the tabloids and pictures plastered all over the internet of his ever changing appearance.  Still, I thought, it had to be a stunt.  I thought for sure Bruce Jenner was pulling a Joaquin Phoenix and leading the paparazzi on so that he could have the last laugh.  After all, prior to the Kardashians, for all of us “older folk” we knew him in his heyday.  His greatest accomplishment was winning the Decathlon in the 1976 Olympics.  This was who he was.  Infamy that carried him through four decades without ever losing the respect and admiration of anyone who recognized him or knew his name.  I thought, Bruce Jenner holds this title with such esteem, no way he’d disappoint his adoring fans with such news of becoming a woman.  Can’t be.

And then he spoke.

My heart broke.  I didn’t equate it initially to my story.  I don’t know anyone else in my own personal life who is transgender.  I was just an empathetic human being listening to this story.  I could only imagine how hard his life must have been coping with what he was feeling inside and how hard it had to be to hide this secret from family, friends and the public.  By the end of the interview with Diane Sawyer my heart felt such a relief for Bruce Jenner because I know exactly how he felt getting such a huge secret off of his chest and letting go of that burden.  I was just a human being…sitting there being proud of someone that was able to use their voice and tell their story.

Now, I know people have a serious hate for the Kardashians.  The way they rose to fame and the fact that they have a insane legion of followers who have kept the entire family in the public eye since the beginning.  I personally love the show.  Why?  I happen to be a fan of Reality TV.  Not all of it but a decent amount and a wide variety.  When I started watching this show, I didn’t really know much about any of them.  But I knew Bruce Jenner.  When you watch Reality TV, you feel like you know these people.  And to me, fame and fortune aside, the shenanigans that go on can be part of almost any family, which is why I think they have remained relevant for so long.  No matter how much money is in anyone’s bank account, we all have ups and downs.  Watching someone else’s family issues can help you to see everyone deals with the same crap.

Unfortunately, being part of this show heaped a load of negativity onto Bruce Jenner, so that when he told his story, the others, figured this was more about publicity and ratings than anything else – aside from now hating him solely for coming out as transgender.

In addition to the interview with Dianne Sawyer, there was a two part special that aired as part of KUWTK called…About Bruce.  That too, was thought to be only about the ratings for the Kardashians.  However, if you took the time to watch it, it was not at all.  It was all about Bruce (and filmed before the DS interview) discussing with his children how he felt his entire life, making sure they understood what he was doing and why he was doing it.  Most of them didn’t know this was a transgender issue.  They thought he just had a fetish for wearing women’s clothes.  It was sad to watch the kids try to grasp the reality that their dad in the physical male sense that they’ve known their entire lives would cease to exist.  They were all pretty much in mourning.  At the same time, hearing him go further into how this secret was eating away at him and how he would be so upset with himself if he died before getting to live the life that was inside of him – in his heart, in his mind or in his soul, wherever those feelings may come from.

Then the light went on.  I realized why I could not only imagine what he must have been going through his whole life but now I understood where he was coming from.  I got it.  Not the transgender part of it.  The need to let go of the secrets.  To stop hiding the truth.  To stop pretending everything is alright on the outside when there is a war going on inside of you.  The need to tell your story and speak your truth in order for you to be happy and thrive far outweighs what others might think, do or say.

That’s my story.

It’s everyone’s story who is holding in a secret.  Who is afraid or ashamed to speak the truth.  I don’t know how any of the other Domestic Violence victims/survivors who have come forward and shared their stories feel about this topic.  I can only speak for what I see, hear and feel.

I do not think Caitlyn Jenner is the greatest American hero of our time.  But she is for the transgender community.  She is a voice for those that can’t yet speak.  She has this platform because she was already famous.  She didn’t become famous because she told the world she is transgender.  With fame there is a certain level of responsibility and there is also a huge burden.  Your privacy is gone.  This is why the Caitlin Jenner story is on the news, and in magazines and on award shows.  You have to live out loud.

You will never read about my story of Domestic Violence in People Magazine but you will read about and see pictures of Rhianna’s bruises because she is famous.  She is in the public eye.  These are the people we need to step forward and tell their story.  We need to know we are not alone in this battle.  The Ray Rice incident brought some other famous woman out of the shadows and they too told of their history with Domestic Violence.  This is the way we as human beings know we are not in this thing alone.  You don’t have to understand why I made the decisions I made in my life but you shouldn’t hate me for them.  You shouldn’t judge me for them.  I found my voice.  I’m using it to the best of my ability.

There are so many other human beings stepping forward telling their stories.  Finding their strength and their courage to come forward and inspire someone else dealing with the same issues to do the same.  We are all different but we are also all human.  For those of us that are not in the same battle as another human being, the answer is simple…

Compassion and understanding.

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