Kaitlynn Carter's whirlwind relationship with Miley Cyrus was one the biggest entertainment news stories of the summer. The two women got together shortly after Cyrus announced her separation from Liam Hemsworth. Cyrus is now dating Australian singer Cody Simpson, but not before she and Carter spent a few months in new-relationship bliss.
Now Carter is opening up about this experience in an essay for elle.com. In it, she reveals how and why she ended up falling in love with Cyrus.
Their romance kicked off during an August vacation in Italy, following Cyrus's breakup from Hemsworth and Carter's separation with husband Brody Jenner.
"Until that trip, it had never crossed my mind that I was even capable of loving a woman the way I loved her," Carter writes in her piece. "But after reflecting on my romantic history, I realized that I’ve never really had a 'type.'"
She later writes, "I fell just as hard for her as I had the older man so many years before. [Carter was linked to actor David Spade back in 2012.] 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."
She blames this partially on our culture's obsession with putting people's sexuality in boxes. "I guess technically I could label myself a number of ways. Or on second thought, not at all," she writes. "Why are we so hell-bent on defining each variation of sexuality, anyway? We’ve become a society of labels, even as we claim to be more open-minded than ever."
Carter's relationship with Cyrus strengthened her belief in rebuking labels. "While it was short-lived, I’ll remain 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," she writes. "I’ve been forced to get to know myself in a far deeper way than ever before, and not just in terms of my sexual preferences. I’ve also been forced to reckon with who I am as a person."
She adds that her experience with Cyrus was "so much more" than a "summer fling" or "same-sex affair" or any of the other unfair labels people put on it. "This was a profound journey of self-discovery," she says. "For the first time, I listened to myself, forgot about the 'norm' and lived. 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."
Read more of Carter's Elle essay here.
Originally Appeared on Glamour