In a state in church

Five days ago: definitely catching up!

The last place i have not been out publicly was church. It is hard to explain. So many people get this back to front. i don’t mind people looking strangely at me. i can even accept that over time i will meet people who cannot stand me for what i am.

OK. i’m a wimp. or maybe, as i see it, i just get on with life and have enough difficulties being myself – without obsessing about other people.

Therefore for me, the issue about church was, in part, that i might upset others. it is…it was…the single most scariest place i have come out yet – because i had no idea how those i had met but not really got to speak to would react.

They were wonderful.

i arrived for sunday school with the boy, beskirted and wearing minimal make-up. i sat down with the other mums and looked round the table. Any questions. Nope. They had all read about me in the paper in one form or another. No surprise. No problems.

Then the offertory: the bit where we drag the kids down the aisle to offer up their scribblings and colourings-in for general approval. That was the scary bit.

i couldn’t look…couldn’t connect at all. every step of the way was utterly mind-numbingly terrifying: the sense that a couple of hundred people were watching, judging and making up their mind about me at that moment. Of course the vast majority were doing nothing of the sort. i knew that rationally.

It just didn’t quite work with the panic.

Again, the mum’s were wonderful: one or other stopping at different points to say something encouraging; touch hands and… at the end…to hug.

thank you, especially, to fiona.

At the very end of the mass, after being good throughout, i cried. Honest. It was happiness. That and the fact that the final hymn was a favourite: “Shine, Jesus, Shine”. Ultra-kitsch as hymns go…but just right for my mood then.

How strange. i got home and read the day’s hand-out for the first time. The message for the day was headed….transformation.



4 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    spirifer said,

    jane, I just wanted to say how wonderful. It’s strange that church can be one of the most warming, wonderfully peaceful places to be, but at the same time alien and scary if you are in a situation where you fear judgment, criticism or even rejection.

    I’m so happy that your fellow parishioners acted as they did. Our prayers are with all of you.

    s x

  2. 2

    jamtartfairy said,

    “Shine, Jesus, Shine… Fill this land with the Father’s glory….”

    This hymn makes me cry in a way no other song has ever managed. Apparently it was sung at my Grandad’s funeral some 13 years ago. (I didn’t attend, I wasn’t allowed.) So glad things are settling down a little 🙂

    Hugs and kisses, xxx

  3. 3

    […] noticed that again today. I had just been re-reading my post about the very first time I’d gone into church “en femme”: how scary it had been and…to my joy, how the mum’s rallied round: didn’t judge; just […]

  4. 4

    Poppy Ann said,

    church is the one place i have not come out, i stoped attending when i left this area to go sailing nand only went to church on odd times when home but now i am back for a while i keep thinking i should start going again but the thoughts of telling everyone who i am is scary, i am the same as you in that i am not scared of what i will feel like but what others will feel like i do not want to upset everyone else there, i think a letter to our parish priest first may be the best to get his thoughts on it and i know i will have to go in alone as i do not know anyone who will be there as i have been away for 11 years now, and as i have only just come out i have not seven started hormones yet so i still look like a man in a dress as the saying goes. i know i could not go back to wearing pants and pretending i am male any longer so i am not sure what to do, do i wait until i look better or just bite the bullet and go straight in and not bother what others think
    regards Poppy Ann

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