My thoughts on Caitlyn Jenner and Courage
Today, I wanted to share some thoughts on courage.
You may have heard that recently, Olympic legend Bruce Jenner came out as a transgender woman. Her name is now Caitlyn Jenner.
Caitlyn Jenner was recently honored with the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the 2015 ESPY’s. It’s not limited to sports-related people (although it has often been awarded to those who were at the top of their sport), but most importantly, it is presented annually to someone whose contributions transcend sports.
Caitlyn Jenner was this year’s recipient.
Apparently, in some circles, this caused great controversy. People saw it as a publicity stunt. What courage has Caitlyn exhibited? they asked. There are others–war heroes, even–who would have been more suitable recipients for such an esteemed award.
I found this interesting, because it stems from a certain view of what it means to be courageous.
We live in a society where we praise comic book superheroes and exalt them as gods. We enjoy seeing characters like Superman, Batman, Iron Man, X-Men, Thor, and others overcome seemingly insurmountable odds and defeat their opponents.
We say, “wow, they are so brave.” We think that to be brave, you have to rush into burning buildings, lose your limbs on a war-torn battlefield, or travel through lands as enchanted as the ones in a Lord of the Ring book.
And make no mistake: these things are all certainly very brave! I truly have nothing but respect and love for the brave men and women who put their lives at risk every day that they might save another.
But there’s another type of courage, too.
It is a quiet courage. A stirring from deep within us.
It is the resolve to face another morning even under the weight of depression.
It is the determination to follow your dreams even when the odds seem to be against you.
It is the strength to keep moving forward even when you’ve lost hope and want to give up – whether on a project, or even your own life.
It is you, still here, still standing, still showing up in the world even when you don’t have all the answers and you don’t know what your next step is going to look like.
It is choosing to be who you were born to be, unapologetically, unashamedly, because you simply cannot be anyone else anymore.
This type of courage happens every second of every day everywhere in our beautiful world.
Every day, ordinary people just like you choose to face the journey before them and put one foot in front of the other, no matter the deafening noise of their insecurities, doubts, and fears.
You may not see this type of courage in the next blockbuster action movie. You may not read about it in a comic book. You may not even see it honored on national television.
But none of that makes this type of courage any less than.
So no, Caitlyn Jenner may not be a war hero. She may not be a Nobel Prize laureate. She may not have rushed into burning buildings, or pulled a drowning person to land, or successfully landed a plane on the Hudson River.
But I will tell you what she has done. She has found the otherworldly strength to stand before the entire world and finally be the person she has always wanted to be.
She has looked in the face of her greatest fears and has found them lacking in comparison to the good she can bring into the world.
She has made the choice to dedicate her life to telling her story and using her platform to spread hope, encouragement, and inspiration to any who might receive it.
That, in my opinion, is pretty incredibly courageous.
I hope that you, too, can begin to see the courage in your own choices, or, as the case may be, I hope that you will be inspired to be the courageous hero you’ve always hoped to be.
Someone out there needs to hear your story. They need to be inspired by it, encouraged by it, moved by it. In Caitlyn’s own closing words in her acceptance speech: “We’re all different. That’s not a bad thing. That’s a good thing. And while it may not be easy to get past the things you always don’t understand, I want to prove that it is absolutely possible. If we only do it together.”
Let’s be courageous, Friend. Together.