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I was asked to present a 5 minute segment about a personal childhood Christmas tradition at my church last night for Christmas Eve Candlelight Service. Of course I said yes.
The question would be; would I dress as Lauren (Lorie), or not? Who would I be?
There was no doubt in my mind from that moment on, but what happened at the service surprised me.
I’ve been “out” at my church since August of this year. I posted a Gender Reveal Party (you can find it in my archives) and shared it privately with 85 of my closest friends, including those in my church. I’ve been dressing as Lauren (Lorie) there since then. It’s one of the only in-person things I do in this time of Covid (to put you at ease, the room holds 500 with a 60 foot ceiling and we maintain social distancing and required masks).
So along with ruminating on the presentation I would deliver, I was mentally going through my closet to find the Perfect outfit. I settled on a black floor length skirt with red flowers, a red button down shirt, and a black duster sweater. My beginner pierced earring posts under my white hair, makeup, and teal nail polish finished the look. Classy.
I always get nervous when I present, and this time was no exception. But it wasn’t about my concerns with presenting femme.
When I walked up on the platform and behind the podium, I was confident in my choice, yet knowing there might be someone in the audience who is uncomfortable. That’s their problem.
As I addressed them, I said, “My name is Lauren ____.”
Then I added, “the artist formerly know as Larry.” A few light laughs, which was the intention. Then someone clapped. And more. Soon the entire room was clapping. When it finally died down, I quipped, “You’re going to make my mascara run.” Which was good for a laugh.
I was totally pleased with my presentation, and all the comments afterwards. It was about my take on the significance of Christmas lights from my perspective as a 7 year old. People talked about the content, not the clothing. They talked about the emotional connection, and my heartfelt delivery, not my makeup.
As I walked to the car, the arctic blast cooled my face but not my heart.
Awesome enough, right? Well, I wasn’t done. I decided to stop in my local liquor store for a bottle of wine to celebrate Christmas. After striding to the Merlot section, I came to the counter and set the bottle down, and the ladies there began to chat as if everything was normal, with a special smile for me, and a “sweetie” to send me out the door.
This morning I woke without an alarm, looked in the mirror, and saw Lauren blossoming and feeling totally centered in my femme authenticity. Tears welled up, and a delicate smile rose from my lips.
I hope you find a way to celebrate your true self today and every day! Merry Christmas!
Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love, Lauren
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