I Am Cait Recap: Caitlyn Jenner Ends Silence with Kris; Says, 'Honestly, I Don't Think I've Been Ready'
Jenner also began the legal process for changing her name
Sunday’s seventh episode of I Am Cait was titled after a seemingly simple question (What’s in a name?) that holds lots of answers.
The hour followed Caitlyn Jenner as she navigated two fundamental parts of life since her transition: Her identity in the eyes of the law and her relationship with her family in the eyes of ex-wife Kris Jenner.
Jenner also had to prepare for her historic ESPYs acceptance speech, the thought of which left her extremely nervous – at the expectations, at the pressure and at the possibility of failure.
But the episode opened with something relatively minor compared to all this … or so it seemed. Friend Ronda Kamihira wanted Jenner’s help in completing paperwork for Jenner’s new golf course membership, which she would temporarily join while her longtime course was undergoing construction.
What Kamihira didn’t understand, though, is why Jenner, 65, thought it would be easiest to sign all of the forms with “Bruce.”
“I don’t have to worry about locker rooms and all that crap right now, which I don’t want to worry about. I’ll worry about the locker rooms later on down the line,” Jenner responded. “We’ll deal with all those issues down the way.”
But the issue wasn’t settled. Jenner sought Candis Cayne‘s advice. And Cayne was firm: “It’s not about what they think, it’s about how you feel because you’re living your life. They’ll get over it.”
“Sign your name [Caitlyn] and move on,” she said.
Jenner had a little more learning to do there. She and Cayne attended a support group for gender non-conforming kids at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, led by Chandi Moore, where trans youth shared stories of the hardships they faced when their legal identity didn’t match their personal identity.
Jenner also met with Drian Juarez, who provided expert info on the process by which a transgender person receives legal recognition for their new identity.
All of it added up to another eye-opening moment for Jenner. Leaflet of forms in hand, she vowed to be more “aggressive” about this process going forward.
All the while, the ESPYs drew near, where Jenner was slated to receive the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage.
The preparation was a juggle of logistics: Figuring out her styling, figuring out her speech, figuring out how to introduce her family, including 89-year-old mom Esther, to her new friends in the transgender community.
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For all of the moving pieces, there were no collisions, and, leading up to the awards show, Jenner was able to draw support from her sisters Lisa and Pam, niece Samantha and mom, all of whom came to visit.
For dinner, Jenner invited them out with her friends, including Moore, Cayne and others. Esther was particularly inquisitive and in one moment revealed to Cayne that the hardest thing for her to master would be pronouns.
“I have so much to learn,” Esther said at one point, sounding excited, not dismayed.
The ESPY award speech itself? A smashing success.
“What an enormous amount of weight off my shoulders,” Jenner said later to the camera. But she said her work was never limited by the spotlight of one award on one stage.
“This is bigger than just me. This is about the community and the fight that we constantly have to have, with the media, with the public, for understanding,” Jenner said. “Family support is everything. You have to have that structure below you to get to the next level.”
Missing from the ESPYs audience? Kris.
Jenner revealed that the two have had a frosty relationship for several months and that the family dynamic had been plagued by miscommunication.
“Honestly, I don’t think I’ve been ready for the big ‘Kris meeting’ and talk,” she admitted in a video diary entry.
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Jenner turned to friend Jenny Boylan and to Jenny’s wife, Deedie, for advice since they stayed together through Boylan’s transition nearly 15 years ago.
Deedie explained that, for some family members, coping with a transition involves an element of mourning for a relationship that is suddenly redefined (unintentionally echoing earlier comments Kris made following Jenner’s coming out).
Boylan advised Jenner that she let Kris have her own reaction, that that would be enough. Jenner thought their meeting could allow the possibility of resolution, as they talked through their years-long (and at times contentious) marriage – and the children they share. (Some of Jenner’s former stepchildren have already appeared on I Am Cait and have expressed their own feelings about the transition.)
And so the episode ended with a beginning that felt like closure: Kris arriving at Jenner’s Malibu home, bearing cookies, each arranged on opposite couches.
Previously released footage from the conversation shows some tense moments. “You’re sensitive and amazing to all these new people in your life, you’re just not so sensitive and amazing to the family that you left behind,” Kris said at one point.
Right before the “To Be Continued” card, Jenner began: “So ,” trailing off a sentence that next week’s finale will have to finish.
I Am Cait airs Sundays (8 p.m. ET) on E!
The Caitlyn Jenner Story , out now