Call Me Observant. And Confused. And Distracted. And Supportive.

Standard

I came home Tuesday afternoon to my kids asking me if I’d heard about Caitlin.

“Caitlin who?” I asked them.

“Caitlin Jenner,” one son said.

“Caitlin… Caitlin Jenner… You mean Kaitlin Jenner? One of the Kardashians?” I asked.

I’ve only recently become interested in the Kardashians as Laundry Support Entertainment, so I have no opinion of them other than they are hugely successful at getting people to talk about them.

They’re not on the forefront of my consciousness. I know they aren’t thinking about me.

So it took a little bit, honestly, to figure it out.

“It’s all over the internet…” the other son said.

“I don’t think there is a Kaitlin… there’s only the two Jenner girls, the one with the fake lips and the one with the supermodel eyebrows…” I said, drifting off, slipping into old age.

“The sex change one… ” the first son said.

“AAAAOOOOOMAAAAIIIIGAAAAADDDD!!!” I shouted. “BRUCE?! You mean BRUCE JENNER???” It was clicking in now.

I raced to my phone.

Not to call Caitlin, nor anyone, but to go online.

“Yikes!” I honestly said, when I first saw the now-famous Vanity Fair cover photo; that was Bruce Jenner. “That’s insane. That’s a complete change… ” I didn’t have any expectation, frankly, but I didn’t think a Vanity Fair cover would be it; nor did I consider this new visage in, essentially, a merry widow.

Egads, I guess I did have an expectation.

Vanity Fair has always had amazing covers. Annie Leibowitz is … I don’t need to even say anything; she is synonymous with renown photographs, regardless of the subject. It seems rather fitting, now in retrospect, that Annie do the shoot and Vanity Fair host the unveiling. It’s very 21st Century.

I have no opinion on the situation, really, OTHER than to say that we have other things going on, too, in the world.

I’m not going to say this isn’t news, nor that it’s not historic, because it is. It’s huge, frankly.

Back to watching the Kardashians.

I watched, since Tuesday, the second part of the Kardashian/Jenner girls’ interviews / meetings with then-Bruce, about his situation, his decision to come out as a transgender male and his interest in surgery to become a woman.

The girls are all quite bright, despite what the media say about them. I don’t really think much about them other than to say that if you think poorly on them, it’s a waste of your energy. They ask intelligent questions, and have the same types of concerns any child or step-child of a person in Bruce Jenner’s situation would have.

Bruce Jenner is father to six of his own biological children and step-father to four? Kardashian kids. He was married to Kris Kardashian for almost 23 years. That’s a big, long time: My husband and I have been an item for almost 25 years and will be married for 21 years (woot!) in a couple weeks. So that’s a long time.

The youngest of the kids, the Jenner girls, were (in the televised interviews) pretty disturbed. I’m sure they put on their brave faces and kept it together, but they have a lot to process. Kris Kardashian, the ex-wife and mother to the youngest two, was the final person Bruce spoke to in the series of chats he had with everyone.

Their conversation, the one which was televised, was the most raw and real marriage conversation, without a lot of selfishness and digs and jabs, I’ve ever seen.

Yes, it’s a train wreck, all those people… they put themselves out there; they reap what they sew; they made their bed, they sleep in it; blah blah blah… it still doesn’t take away from the fact that in the universal scheme of things:

1) There are people hurting out there,

and

2) Fear and deceit destroy people.

The exchanges between Bruce and Kris were stunning and she was firm yet supple. A body language / eye roll expert would nail the contempt in Bruce for Kris’ questioning. He pouted, his voice went high and little, he avoided, he looked at the floor, he deflected. He did everything he could — fear driven (so don’t tell me I’m being bitchy, I know what fear does to people, I get it) — to avoid her reasonable, clear, insistent and detailed line of questioning. She was sincerely grieving.

These two had a marriage.

She married an Olympian. A freakin’ decathlete. Gold medalist. Cereal boxes an’ shit. They had kids together.

He was weak. He deceived her. I can’t help this opinion; it’s how I feel. He chose the easy route which was really the hard route. He didn’t want to disappoint her. He had to live up to a standard. He had to be something he’s not.

He said he was honest with her, that she knew he had a thing for women’s clothing. He said in other interviews that he knew since he was 10 that he was a woman trapped inside a man’s body. But she said she never knew it would come to this level; that “Bruce” would be gone.

It’s a clear case of sins of omission and not asking enough of the right questions. It’s also a matter of people simply not owning their truths.

And yet, he said “I’m not going anywhere…” and “I love you…” and “I’m still in here…” and I’m thinking, “Ok…  but who the hell is that? You don’t really know yet do you, Caitlin? It’s all new territory. Because who you were to them is not who you are to yourself…  How can it be?

There are MANY paths this can go; I’m not going to go on most of them.

All I know is that when we lie to ourselves, we lie to the world. We lash out. We act flip and glib and say things without thinking about them.

When an addict comes out of rehab, everything has to change. The lifestyle the addict experienced before, has to change. Bruce was sort of addicted to a lie. Shame kept the lie going.

All the while, he was afraid.

When we are afraid, we lash out. We are like wounded bears. We withhold. We go within. We build walls. We put on façades. We perform for others. We are unpredictable and moody and sensitive. We do what we can to keep going though. And so does everyone else.

Kendall Jenner, the oldest of the Kardashian / Jenner girls said in the interviews that she encountered him cross-dressed at 4am when she went downstairs to get a drink of water. She cried as she sympathetically recounted it (I’m paraphrasing), “If your only way to safely be the person you feel yourself to be is to do it at 4am when no one else is awake, and to be like that for almost 65 years… That’s so sad. That’s so awful…” She said she, too, snuck around the room to escape his discovery of her discovery.

The people whom it most affects, his kids, get it. The rest of the world should too.

There were lots of questions about the woman version of Bruce… will she still be interested in women? “YES!” He sort of said. Then recanted, but no one picked up on it… If so, does that make Caitin gay? He didn’t comment on that, “I’m not going to go into that…” Bruce said. The daughters praised him as the best dad…. “Will we still have a dad?” Kylie asked. “I’ll always be your father…” he said, his voice full of sportscaster confidence and certainty, but his face, had a sort of wince, because … well … it’s just going to be really different now.

The nice thing, for the Jenner girls, is that it’s out in the open and they don’t have to explain anything. Bruce took care of that with the VF cover. Caitlin can field those questions now, or the daughters can have them referred to Caitlin’s publicist. But it sure does create a new dynamic, doesn’t it?

So what this entire thing does, for me anyhow, is create a new level of awareness and a discussion about labels and brands and identification with standards and how we speak to and about each other. And the use of pronouns and gender possessive tense: “her purse” and “his jockstrap.” Maybe it’s “her jockstrap” now… . And “mother” and “father” and birth certificates… what I am feeling is that it’s none of my business. And while it’s none of my business, that makes sympathy hard.

I’m not trying to pick a fight; it’s in my nature to question things when they don’t make sense to me — but what is “sensical” to me? It’s all based on a set of standards which are based on expectations which are based on biases. And then there are people who really like their HIS or HER status. Bruce Jenner wanted the pronouns. He wanted the gender possessives: HER and SHE and … hmm… I guess that’s all there is to it. No… because there are transgendered people who don’t want any gender identifiers. I got hissed at about a year ago for saying “goodnight ladies!” to people when I wasn’t aware of the context for my invitation to lead a meditation for them. Can’t win for losing.

I was watching, remotely, with interest and anxiety, the media storm over this situation. Lots of people are pissed this is considered news. But it is news. It’s just not super depressing, racist, ISIS-related, political, FIFA, scandalous, nor horrifying. The best and most succinct approach to this news is:

“It’s really heartening to see that everyone is willing to not only accept Caitlyn Jenner as a woman, but to waste no time in treating her like a woman.” — Jon Stewart

Everyone talked about Caitlin’s appearance. Then her comparability to her ex-wife and Kim Kardashian. And then, her age. And then, what she looks like without the make-up. I’m floored and yet not.

There is no justice.

I heard someone say “I’m jealous of her legs! They’re awesome!” and I’m sitting there, SILENT, thinking, “that’s because they are the legs of a world-class decathlete you moron….” There is a part of me who doesn’t ever want to forget about Cereal Box Bruce, not because I’m a _____phobe (you pick the type), but because Bruce accomplished some seriously awesome feats and it was amazing. His decision to become Caitlin does not at all take away from 1976. Sorry. That doesn’t get wiped out. Nor do his kids, or his tax returns or his speeding tickets or his authenticity; well… I guess it takes away from his authenticity. That, he has to rebuild.

When we live without fear, we live fully.

In the final analysis, Caitlin’s not talking about me, so I’m going to stop talking about her.

Thank you.

About Grass Oil by Molly Field

follow me on twitter @mollyfieldtweet. i'm working on a memoir and i've written two books thus unpublished because i'm a scaredy cat. i hail from a Eugene O'Neill play and an Augusten Burroughs novel but i'm a married, sober straight mom. i write about parenting, mindfulness, irony, personal growth and other mysteries vividly with a bit of humor. "Grass Oil" comes from my son's description of dinner i made one night. the content of the blog is random, simple, funny and clever. stop by, it would be nice to get to know you. :)

7 responses »

  1. oh! Molly, how glad I am you write and your timing or should I say synchronicity is impeccable. Why do I say those things? Because after a day like today (I won’t go into detail) suffice it to say that looking for a job is a job and it is getting tight. I quit TV about two years ago, part of my cleansing from any distractions from what is going on inside. So, the only way I have to find out about the stuff you’re writing today, is when I check my email and when I log out, Yahoo throws everything I’m not interested in at my face, so of course, like your kids said “its all over the internet” and so I read that VF headline. One of the first things that came to mind (I swear to God) was:”I wonder if Molly is going to write about this shit? and if she doesn’t I need to send her an email, cause I can’t wait to hear what she has to say and here you are ..voila, never disappointing and always refreshing. The biggest mistake I made was starting to read about his interview with Diane Sawyer and then look at the VF pictures. All of a sudden I got engulfed with this all encompassing sense of SADNESS, deep, deep SADNESS! and truthfully I’m not sure why and I’m not gonna go into it, but suffice it to say that: if it is a real story of gender whatever, it is very, very sad to have felt you had to live most of your life being something you’re not (Bruce that is) and if it is a publicity stunt, it is very, very sad to go to that length to achieve whatever publicity stunts achieve or whatever kind of money these things bring. I’m not even entertaining the idea to start to try understand any of it, my plate is plenty full with my own shit, but it is hard for me not to think, that the main reason the Kardashian’s came into the scene is because Kim had a video sucking a D.
    And did poor Bruce just got sucked into it (no pun intended) or was he a part of this million making circus machine? I don’t know, but I hope he finds happiness in caytlin’s skin. And in the words of Whitney Houston, “I hope life treats him kind”.

    xo
    T

    • I too hope life treats this person kind.

      One of the things I didn’t go into, because everyone has something to say, and I might share these thoughts more assertively with a new post, is that Caitlin is the media image. Caitlin is not helping the rest of us 5’5″ and below women who don’t have “great legs” and don’t wear Merry Widows and who feel insecure. SHe is this medically altered enhanced and strained and forced and production-level version of what the MEDIA says a woman should look like. And that people could wait to tear down this person / creation … Down to wondering and comparing and Photoshop-inquiring and jabbing. AND WOMEN DID THIS TOO! Those people on camera DON’T represent me, but we let them. That’s the part, that’s the angle that chafes me.

      I wonder about the publicity aspect of this too. He could’ve just faded out and lived in Malibu in privacy, dressing in what he needed to dress in and playing a role; no one would’ve really cared… I guess. But he had to do The Cover. I think this poor soul has been a product of other people’s imaginations all his/her life. I do think there is some insanity there. Just a bit. Because to me: he is NOT a woman. He is a man who has been made to look like a 65-year-old, age-denying female American. He will never have a uterus. He will never have a period. He will will never know what it’s like to feel threatened by a man, as a woman. He’s a transformation of BRUCE FREAKING JENNER (and that’s me eating up the version of himself he put out there, absolutely) but “a woman” he is not. “A female” he is not. He is simply, “transgender” which to me, is a gender into itself. Nothing more, nothing less.

      Thanks for indulging me. Xo

      • I am here for your venting pleasure and you know it. I have to disagree with you when you write ” SHe is this medically altered enhanced and strained and forced and production-level version of what the MEDIA says a woman should look like” I don’t even think that even the media thinks that image is of what a woman should look like! to my eyes , before knowing the story, I thought it was a drag queen in the cover, you know? a la Rue Paul
        it is clearly a man in drags and on top of that,even with photoshop the skin on the arms look saggy and old. THIS IS JUST S-A-D period.
        xo

      • I agree with your wording more than mine. When I first saw the photo, Cloris Leachman a lá Frau Brücher (“Young Frankenstein”) immediately came to mind.

        I care about those kids. I really hope the younger two are ok. I can’t imagine how jarring this might be for them and how much pressure they might have to conform and ignore any resident sadnesses or grief.

        I keep thinking about something which I haven’t covered yet, because I’m still sad for the girls: Bruce never once told them he was having surgery to radically alter his image. He continued to lie.

        I don’t know what that means.

        It still speaks “fear” to me; and yes, it has created a SAD time.

        We all know, the path is not on the outside. It’s inside.

  2. A 65 year old man now thinks he is a woman. Actually goes through sex change. He is disgusting and everyone thinks so, they just are affraid not politically correct. So sick of mentality of people today. I wouldn’t even look the freak show in the face. It’s just sad what this world coming to.

    • Thanks for you comments and for honestly speaking your mind, despite your dubious moniker.

      I don’t know if it’s so much political correctness as it is a sense of tolerance combined with the fact that everyone has free will topped with a measure of emotional economy: “it’s not my life, it doesn’t affect me personally in the least, so why do i need to get my undies in a bunch over it?”

      I don’t think the world is going to hell in a hand basket, but I do wonder (and doubt) that any of Jenner’s issues will be solved with a deft switch of a blade. That stuff goes deeper than Botox.

      Thanks again.

    • Beaford, I like the little interchange that Molly has created here, it allows me to distract myself form my own shit, and I get to be judgmental about other people,which also distracts me from my own shit. Plus it gives us (aspiring writers, well a chance to write). I need to clarify a few points for you, I’m assuming you know Bruce Jenner as well as I do, which is to say I don’t know this human being at all; however we do have our commonalities and one of our biggest common denominators among us homo sapiens is that, deep within the recess of our DNA we are scare shit less about what we don’t know. Bruce Jenner has not have a sex change, he still have a penis , he got some fake boobs, like tons of women and some men and he had some cheek implants to feminize his manly feature, the rest is wigs, make up and photo shop. But, you write :”He is disgusting and everyone thinks so, they just are affraid not politically correct.” I hate to burst your bubble, not everyone thinks he is disgusting, I don’t. Usually people that come through as judgmental as you and oh so, so harsh, are the ones that I’m really scared of, trust me when I tell you your big, strong reaction is saying more about you, than about Bruce…how do I know that? Because it takes one to know one. Been there done that. Start looking at yourself and perhaps you will grow an inch in compassion, I know I’m trying hard as I can to get out of the mind set you exhibit. Good luck to all of us

      T.

Whatcha Think, Smahtypants?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s