Miley Cyrus is doing quite well, thank you very much.
Yesterday, Cyrus posted a long series of Tweets, in which she detailed some of her most scandalous behavior throughout the years.
This list of confessions was intended to clarify one point: She did not cheat on Liam Hemsworth, her (soon-to-be ex) husband of seven months.
While this outpouring of honesty might seem like a cry for attention (or an attempt to promote her new single), if you look closely, Miley actually seems to be doing...great.
Or at least, she's doing just about as well as you'd expect from a woman who just got divorced, and who grew up in the public eye, and who was thrown into stardom at a young age, and who was expected to represent an entire young, impressionable generation.
Miley Cyrus - Slide Away (Audio) www.youtube.com
She's doing very well for someone who lived out her teenage traumas and first love on the covers of tabloids. Granted, our expectations are low for celebrities; but also, it takes a lot of guts to come this clean.
Actually, Miley's reaction to this breakup may be the best kind of reaction we can hope for, as millennials and young people live in a culture that glorifies rage and discounts personal and collective growth. The bar might be low, but instead of glorifying a turn to drugs or drowning her sorrows, Cyrus has come clean about her feelings and past, and that's more than many people can say.
With the Internet's culture of hyper-documentation, though, it's extremely hard to hide the mistakes of your past, and Cyrus's tweets imply that she's acknowledging her own truth.
She Says F*ck Being Perfect
If you read her posts, they don't ask for sympathy or leverage blame at others. By refusing to feel ashamed of her past and by defending her own story without unnecessarily lashing out, Miley is taking control of her own narrative. She's refusing to change herself to fit in with the public's expectations of her. Instead, she's growing on her own terms.
Notice that in her Tweets, she didn't say that when she married Liam Hemsworth, she stopped partying or being her vulgar, inappropriate, true self. Instead, she owned her past and her present idiosyncrasies, while also telling us how much she's grown. In this, she's making it clear that her growth trajectory is a sustainable one. That's more than can be said of many celebrities on social media, who engage in bitter feuds with each other for clout or propagate lies about themselves and others.
For most people, growth is not a linear process. Real, lasting self-compassion doesn't happen without accepting parts of yourself that might not be palatable to others. Growth doesn't happen without discomfort.
While her ramblings might seem a bit off-kilter (it's extremely unlikely that she has most nudes of any woman on the Internet), Miley is clearly okay. She's in a healthy state of mind. She's not obsessed with control, or "good" and "bad" press. She's connected to the Earth.
She's Proudly Queer
Despite her erratic career path, she's always been kind, coming out before it was in style and starting her foundation for homeless LGBTQ+ youth. In a world where queer youth compose 40% of the homeless population, this kind of work is vitally important. She's learned to own her broken heart, her queerness, and her big personality. She's been open about being gender non-conforming and not feeling "like a boy or a girl."
She Prioritizes Mental Health
Cyrus has also always been honest about her own mental health, especially about the effects that fame had on her as a kid. "I think people loved Hannah Montana because it was real, and that's because I was under there," she said in an interview. "But what was hard for me was balancing everything. When I started touring as both – I toured as Hannah Montana and as myself – I think that's probably why a little bit is wrong with me now. I mark that up as doing some damage to my psyche," she said.
It seems that she's always found solace in transformation. "I think I have more of an open mind where I'm like, "OK, I can be a bunch of different things every day, I don't have to be so locked into myself because then I'm putting those walls and borders around myself that I tell everyone else not to give in to," she continued. There have been bumps in the road, but what's most important is that she's kept evolving.
In a way, social media can promote the same kind of double life or performative dishonesty that Cyrus was forced to embody as Hannah Montana and as herself, so Cyrus's revelations could come in handy for anyone having trouble bridging the gap between the Internet's simulated world and the real one.
To be fair, Miley is not your average person, not exactly a model of attainability. She's been a culture vulture. She's currently gallivanting around Italy with Kaitlynn Carter, which is all being covered rabidly by the media, and the only things we know about her are the bits and pieces she's chosen to project into the world.
But by promoting a growth mindset and refusing to let the media sl*t-shame her, instead of bitterly accusing her husband or denying her truth, she's letting her pain transform into fuel for her ongoing metamorphosis. As young people in a world that's growing more and more chaotic by the day, when our leaders blatantly lie and ignore the reality of the issues facing our world, seeing someone acknowledge the reality of themselves—and treating themselves and their journey with respect and openness—may be the best we can ask for.