My mother gave this name to me back in 1985. As a child, I was annoyed that I could never find a pencil or cup with 'Caitlyn' sketched on it; it was always 'Kaitlin' or 'Caitlin.' But as I got older, I learned to love and embrace the name (and the spelling) that uniquely defined me. Ironically, my mom was convinced I was going to be Jenna until I was born and emerged so clearly a Caitlyn.
And that is exactly what I am: unequivocally, totally and truly 100% a C-A-I-T-L-Y-N. My name was yelled by my parents when I was in trouble; bellowed when I was called to the principal's office; announced at my college graduation; uttered over the phone when I was offered a new job and an integral part of my wedding ceremony when I took a husband. My name has had a whole life cycle of it's own in my 30 years on this earth. I don't know how to articulate it, but if you know me, you know I could never be anyone other than Caitlyn.
To Caitlyn Jenner, who's been waiting for this moment longer than I have been alive, I am so happy to welcome you to the Caitlyn Club.
Jenner is just starting her Caitlyn life cycle. She will get the pleasure of hearing someone shout out her name with good news, when they need her shoulder to cry on and when they call on her for advice. She will know what it's like to wake up and get to be the person she was born to be: Caitlyn.
'Caitlyn' is feminine, beautiful and strong. It means pure. What a perfect meaning, right? My name reminds me that at my core, beneath it all, my soul and my self are pure. Caitlyn Jenner is starting a new chapter in her life. One as pure as her choice of name, no longer marred by the secrets she had to keep or the judgments of the closed-minded.
Sometimes it's not fun to be Caitlyn. When I hurt someone I love, get hate on social media or embarrass myself, I want to be someone with a different name. But, like Caitlyn Jenner already knows, you can't relish in the amazing parts of being who you are without powering through the crappy ones.
I don't know how or why Caitlyn Jenner found her way to the name we now share, but I am proud as hell to share it with her. For me, my name has always given me strength and pride, but now it can do that for so many others thanks to Jenner.
My mother once spent hours writing out every spelling of Caitlyn until she found the one that looked the most beautiful. There is beauty in a name. When Bruce Jenner's interview with Diane Sawyer aired, my wise mother, who spends her days loving this Caitlyn, said something profound: "The body is the package the present is put in, it can be wrapped in pink or blue but what's inside is still the same!"
My present was packaged a long time ago as Caitlyn and the ride, so far, has been wonderful. I hope Jenner enjoys being Caitlyn as much as I do.