Have you ever wondered what it would feel like to be judged by the entire world?
Not only has Caitlyn Jenner been stalked by heartless, invasive paparazzi — tracking her every move during the toughest time of her life — but she also had to deal with the fact that every person in the world had an opinion he or she was eager to share, whether it was right, wrong or even downright cruel.
Many people live their entire lives completely content with the bodies they were assigned at birth.
Most of us can’t even begin to fathom how it would feel to live in a body that didn’t represent our heart and soul.
Can you even imagine looking in the mirror every single day, only to see a person who simply isn’t you?
For some, it is a reality that is simply too hard to face, as sadly, many transgender people take their own lives as a last resort.
Caitlyn Jenner, formerly known as Bruce Jenner, has not only had to face this inconceivable struggle on her own, but she has had to deal with this in the public eye, with judgment from the entire world.
She has had to hide her true self in the confinements of her own home, and she hasn’t even been able to go and get a simple coffee without the heartless bullying of the Hollywood press.
In her first interview with Diane Sawyer (at the time, as Bruce Jenner), Caitlyn revealed how the paparazzi harassed her following a recent surgery.
She said that the thought of ending her life crossed her mind, as she implied it would be the easiest way out of this difficult situation.
But, like the true hero Caitlyn Jenner is, she added, “I want to see how this story ends.”
I was a blubbering mess because of her inspiration, and I know most of us were in awe of the strength this amazing woman demonstrated.
Formerly, we all knew Caitlyn as a manly, athletic, laid-back father among a sea of glamorous Kardashian family members.
We all admired her miraculous athletic achievements, as she (then-he) won the gold medal for the decathlon in the 1976 Olympic games and was notably named the best athlete of her (then-his) generation.
This achievement alone is something all athletes dream of and work their entire lives to accomplish, but most of them never get there.
Not only was Caitlyn Jenner proclaimed a national hero for her athletic achievements in her previous identity, but she also overcame her own personal struggle in order to achieve her lifelong dream of winning gold.
Yes, I think we can all agree it is simply miraculous to watch people stand on that Olympic podium, in a sea of cheering people, with their hands in the air and shiny gold medals around their necks.
It is the moment they have dreamed of since they were little kids; it is the moment they have spent hours, days and even years of their lives working for. To see someone’s dream become a reality is nothing short of spine-tingling magic.
But, would any of us have imagined the athlete we once knew would embark on an even bigger victory in her life?
You see, there are thousands of athletes out in this big world that have achieved amazing milestones in their careers.
Many have put in the blood, sweat and tears into achieving their dreams, and they have accomplished them.
We refer to these athletes as our “heroes,” and we speak of their achievements as if they were completely legendary.
But, what if accomplishing a real victory in life doesn't have a podium for anyone to stand on?
What if there is no gold-colored medal to place around his or her neck?
What if there is no hall of fame or American flag to hold into the air?
As Caitlyn Jenner graces the cover of Vanity Fair magazine, revealing her true self for the first time in 65 years, the real victory in her life is her ability to be herself.
Jenner's victory is her ability to give the transgender community hope, when it once thought the world was too cruel to accept it for who it was.
It is her ability to show the world it is okay to be yourself, no matter what gender, race or sexual orientation you are.
It is her ability to demonstrate to everyone that no matter how tough a battle you are facing, quitting is not an option.
Because one day you will live your truth, and there will be absolutely no better feeling in the world.
Caitlyn has had the courage to be her true self in a world that is full of judgment, ridicule and mockery.
This in itself is nothing short of a heroic act. It is the first step toward a movement of change and, hopefully, acceptance.
It takes a talented, determined and hard-working person to win an Olympic gold medal.
But, it takes a true hero to be brave enough to change the world.