Following a much-talked-about romance with Miley Cyrus, Kaitlynn Carter is opening up about the relationship, which “a profound journey of self-discovery.” In an essay for ELLE, Carter writes that falling in love with Cyrus led her to reflect on her sexuality. Though she doesn’t name Cyrus in the piece, the timeline Carter describes in her essay matches up with paparazzi and social media photos of the pair.
“This past July, I went on vacation with a female friend; the next thing I knew, I was in love with her,” Carter begins. “It wasn’t quite that simple, of course. But it also wasn’t very complicated, either.”
Carter writes that this was the first time she’d fallen in love with a woman. “Until that trip, it had never crossed my mind that I was even capable of loving a woman the way I loved her,” she writes. “But after reflecting on my romantic history, I realized that I’ve never really had a ‘type.’”
When Carter began her romance with Cyrus, she continues, “I fell just as hard for her as I had the older man [I'd dated] so many years before. It was that same familiar force of nature; I didn’t have to think about a thing or overanalyze. It just happened and it felt exactly right. Reflecting back on our three-year friendship, I realized I’d always been drawn to her in a way I wasn’t with other friends, but until that trip it had never crossed my mind to think of her in a romantic sense.”
Now that the romance has ended, Carter reflects, “Recently I’ve found myself wondering why and how my brain had been programmed to ignore an attraction that in retrospect seems so evident to me. I believe it was all just a matter of chemistry that had nothing to do with gender.”
Though she feels pressure to define her sexuality after having a relationship with a woman, Carter says that she isn’t ready to do that just yet. “I still don’t feel like I’m in a place to label my sexuality one way or another, but I’m okay with that. It’s something I’m still exploring and figuring out,” she writes. “It’s been interesting to watch friends and strangers alike assume I’ll automatically revert to being attracted to men, as if they’re more familiar with my sexuality than I am. Even I don’t entirely understand what my experience this summer means for me going forward — and it’s my experience.”
She's still reflecting on what it means for her identity, Carter writes, but she knows that her feelings were real — even though media coverage often trivialized her relationship. “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. This was a profound journey of self-discovery,” she writes.
“For the first time, I listened to myself, forgot about the ‘norm,’ and lived," she adds. "I hope that everyone, when given the chance, takes the time to understand who exactly their most authentic selves are, untethered from what we may have been taught to believe. Remain curious. Know that there are many layers within you — and they just might be the most invaluable ones.”