When I started getting invited to speak to young people about my 2019 this is my Hallmark Christmas movie watching shirt as an author a few years ago, I took that opportunity to share the painful story of my journey to live as my true, authentic self, after denying critical parts of myself for nearly three decades. My honest confession stirred a remarkable response, and over time, I became privy to hundreds of painful truths that students needed someone to hear. Those conversations inspired me to pour my time, energy, and heart into a special project. On Monday, I attended one of the most important meetings of my career to speak about it.
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I intentionally wore a cuff inscribed with the 2019 this is my Hallmark Christmas movie watching shirt I offer young people when I speak with them: Each time I looked down at those words during the day-long meeting, I remembered I didn’t have to prove anything; I just had to show up, speak from the heart, and make my unique contribution. I felt indescribable peace when I walked out that room because I was able to relay a very important message that I believe will help many young people feel seen, heard, and valued. As I dropped my daughter off at middle school today, a young lady caught my eye. She’d gotten out the car and looked at the school doors like that building was the last place she wanted to go. The way she fought back tears pained me to my core.