Identity is something that we all struggle with at some point in our lives. ‘That’s what our teenage years are for’, they say. But I don’t think we ever stop trying to find ourselves – or find a way to portray what we believe to be our true selves.
I did not recognize her.
I remember scrolling through my Instagram feed, as I do every morning. My dazed morning state acknowledged the all-famous ‘Jenner’ surname, but against the backdrop of a Jessica Lange look-a-like, the name ‘Caitlyn Jenner’ triggered no familiarity. It was only until later that night when I was asked ‘who is Caitlyn Jenner?’ that I was prompted to type The Name into my search bar. And it clicked. She had done it and she looked beautiful.
From a young age, we’re told ‘be yourself’, yet many of us are still shackled by the constraints of society. There is nothing worse than enduring the words ‘why are you doing that?’, accompanied with a face of bafflement and/or disgust. Sometimes, it makes you angry for having to explain yourself, sometimes it makes you doubt yourself, your identity.
Yes, the teenage years are full of identity experimentation, fashion fads and punk rock phases – a time when experimentation can be an extension of your identity. But to those trying to hide their true identities, experimentation must seem like a privilege. I relish in the embrace of uniqueness and am nothing if not a devoted believer of self-expression. So when I saw Caitlyn Jenner cladded up in old Hollywood glam, beautifully decked in coral lipstick and effortlessly elegant on the cover of Vanity Fair, I knew a new generation of self-expression was born – and she looked beautiful.
Bruce Jenner was a great athlete, he was an inspiration, and from the perspective of an on-looker, he was a great father. Bruce Jenner is a legacy to the world. Caitlyn Jenner is, and will be, a legacy to the generations ahead.
* Caitlyn Jenner’s cover for Vanity Fair hits stands June 9th, 2015