Suspend your cynicism for one moment, because here's your wholesome content for the day. Kaitlynn Carter has just penned a beautifully moving essay for Elle, in which she describes her relationship with Miley Cryus. The two dated this summer, and while there was speculation that Cyrus and Carter's high-profile relationship was a publicity stunt, Carter put that to rest — explaining that she loved Cyrus and learned a lot from that relationship. Grab your box of tissues.
Carter begins by explaining the way she's loved other people.
In her essay, Carter writes about her relationships with an older man when she was 22 and getting married to her now ex-husband Brody Jenner. "He was quite possibly the most beautiful man on the planet, with a heart of gold and a tireless sense of adventure. I was drawn to his spirit," she wrote of Jenner.
Next, Carter recalls how she realized she was falling in love with Cyrus.
And it happened — you guessed it — while they were on vacation when the Cyrus and Carter kissing photos seen 'round the world hit the wires. But there was budding love, writes Carter. "I fell just as hard for [Cyrus] as I had the older man so many years before. It was that same familiar force of nature; I didn’t have to think about a thing or overanalyze." For Carter, she realized she was falling in love with Cyrus that way all of us do. You just know.
Carter says her relationship with Cyrus was a "journey" that changed her life.
Here's where it gets really sappy. Carter explains how dating Cyrus changed her world view and made her rethink her identity. "I still don’t feel like I’m in a place to label my sexuality one way or another, but I’m OK with that." But for Carter, opening herself up romantically to Cyrus was a "profound journey of self-discovery" and she's "eternally grateful to my most recent relationship for opening my eyes to this unexplored part of myself, and for inspiring a new level of self-discovery and wonder at all the possibilities of life." Here's me, ugly crying all over my laptop!
Many queer people can relate to those words. What does love look like, and how do we express it to one another, and how does gender influence that love? These are questions that Carter is still asking. "It’s something I’m still exploring and figuring out," she writes.
Carter doesn't define her sexuality — and we shouldn't either.
Ultimately, Carter also explains that she can't define her sexuality, but is happy with who she is. "Even I don’t entirely understand what my experience this summer means for me going forward—and it’s my experience." She's happy living her "authentic" self, and that's that.
And to all the haters: Carter has some words.
Carter does not care about what anyone thinks of her relationship with Cyrus. "Although the relationship with my friend was often referenced in the media as merely a 'summer fling' or a 'same-sex affair,' it was so much more than that," she writes. Carter explains that the relationship was an opportunity for self-discovery, and that's the most precious and beautiful gift that love can bring. Seriously swooning.
Carter also has words of advice for everyone, not just those struggling with their sexuality. "Remain curious. Know that there are many layers within you — and they just might be the most invaluable ones."