by MaryAnn Wilhelm

I think that you can still be a fantastic woman, a whole woman without media's perception of what boob size you should be, or how big your lips and butt is, or how long your hair is. Being a woman is owning oneself, just as it is a man to own himself. Our identities shouldn't be shaped by media or religion but it is and it's up to each of us to push back.

It would have been more empowering I think if Caitlyn Jenner went for less. Perhaps that's part of the question- what makes one feel like a woman? Is transitioning like being a young girl growing into womanhood and we try to discover ourselves, our identity? We look outside ourselves to shape ourselves because we don't know what's inside? Or is it that we know what's inside but we don't know how to define it, shape it?

Growing up is hard - maybe transitioning is the same process, a form of learning one's identity, shaping, shifting, trying different outfits in order to try and find the right fit. I wasn't much different. I looked outwards to see how I fit in the world or how I was supposed to fit. I studied tv shows, tried copying my mother and flipped through magazines, all for the purpose of trying to fit. I thought the ideal was Brady Bunch's matriarch - only when I became a parent did I know that Brady Brunch was a big fat white picket fence lie. I stole my mother's shoes and danced as she did. I wore her high heels to school once. I thought that it made me instantly older looking. I had pulled my younger brother out of school, thinking that I was fooling the world - the reality was that I was just a kid wearing my Mamma's clothes who just robbed Mamma's bingo bag so she could take her little brother to the arcade. I wore her make up when she'd go out socializing. I'd stick her picky rollers in my hair only to be ripping out strands because they'd get tangled. I would try on her bra and stuff them with her pantyhose because without it - I was nothing more than a flat bicycle tire. I learned bigger words so I would sound smarter -instead, my words were mispronounced and often I was clueless with cliches. I read magazines which would only remind me that I didn't fit the ideal. Still, I was determined to fit the ideal, even went as far as putting a clothes pin on my nose so I was more European looking and to elongate my neck, I'd do fifty head neck ups - instead, I just ended up with a sore nose and a constant feeling of whiplash. How I wanted to look like my mother, with a finer nose, blue eyed, and petite.

After all these years of growing up and growing in, I learned that we come in different shapes and sizes and it's so okay. It's better to march to one's own drum than it is to ride a canoe with holes one can't plug.

The reality of the woman: High heels wrecks feet and under wire bras pinch, corsets are uncomfortable, girdles make you miserable, and hoses make you itch, periods can turn us into volcanoes, babies make us stretch in ways we never thought could happen. We want to be paid attention too but we don't want to patronized. We want to be cuddled, but we don't want to be smothered. We want independence but we want to be needed. It ain't easy being woman.

It's not all fun, but I am finally okay with me and I hope that ‪#‎CaitlynJenner‬ will be able to get to that point with herself too.

Being a woman doesn't just happen with a change of clothes. It's a life's process.

All the best to #CaitlynJenner