Caitlyn Jenner opens up about finally being happy, after struggling with gender dysphoria since she was 9-years-old, in a powerful new essay for Women’s Health as part of their 2020 Pride Month coverage.

Jenner, 70, formerly known as Bruce Jenner, writes: “By the time I was 9-years-old, I was struggling with my gender identity. I would sneak into my mother and sister’s closets when nobody was around to try on their clothes, or go play with their makeup. I had no idea why I was doing it; it just felt right.”

“I also struggled with dyslexia, which was kind of a double-whammy. I was scared to go to school and be asked to read in front of the class; I would sit there with sweaty palms,” she continues.

“Then, in fifth grade, we had a running race out in the parking lot and they timed every kid in the school—and I had the fastest time of anybody. I was shocked, and realized this was something at which I could actually excel.”

She explains how she worked “a little harder” at sports than she would have if she hadn’t been struggling.

Jenner also says during her 1976 Olympic training she “was so far away from Caitlyn,” going on to share how “when you suffer from gender dysphoria, it’s not something you can take two aspirin for, get plenty of sleep, wake up the next morning, and everything’s fine. You’re just kind of stuck with it.”

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Mentioning athletes using hormones, as well as transgender athletes, Jenner says: “In the future, I think more sports organizations are going to have to find a way to accept trans athletes, too. We have certainly come a long way in the past 20 to 30 years, but we still have a ways to go.”

The star, who recently celebrated her five-year anniversary since transitioning, says she’s “fortunate” to have six genetic children and four stepchildren, concluding her piece: “I never thought that someday I would be able to live my life authentically, I thought I’d just have to deal with my identity my whole life.”

“It wasn’t until I was 63-years-old looking back and realizing I was dealing with the same issues I had when I was 9 that I wondered, ‘What am I going to do with my life?’ I finally got the guts to tell my story. It wasn’t an easy decision, and it took a long time.”

“No matter your situation, there’s no right or wrong way to come out. But now, I wake up in the morning, and I look in the mirror, and everything finally feels like it’s in the right place. I’m not struggling anymore. I’m happy.”

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