Once upon a time, there was a teenage girl in the South who joined the Young Republicans, wore pleated skirts and blazers to school by choice many days, and had an affinity for dating uptight white boys with thin lips and weak chins. She went to a church where wearing t-shirts proclaiming teen intentions to remain sexually pure until marriage was the norm, anti-abortion propaganda with graphic photographs were distributed to teens, and women were not allowed any leadership positions. It was taught that homosexuality was a choice and a sin and she often met with other like-minded teens to pray hand-in-hand around the flagpole at her high school that all of the sinning masses would see the errors of their ways.

Note the snow in the background. It was everywhere. And I once again remembered why I will never live in the mountains.

Years went by and the girl started loosening up. She met different types of people and realized that they were just that: people. She traveled and lived in different places, and realized that her God is a big and loving God. Though the church in which she grew up did some positive things for her and her family, it was also a place that required conformity and rode an underlying wave of hatred for those who weren’t like them. It was a relief for her to discover as an adult that not all churches hold those ideas as truth.

These two … loud and louder. They take turns being both.

That’s KP, being herself in her heels. In the snow.

This weekend, that girl who is now double the age she was when she regularly clutched her pearls attended what is billed as a “Gay Ski Weekend” where she and her friends were known as the “straight girls who hogged the dance floor.”

Pam and Greg cutting a rug in a rare moment when the other straight girls weren’t dominating the space or harassing the DJ.

It was a blast. It was a great way to learn some makeup tips from a drag queen. It was ridiculous and silly and fun. Spending time with people who are allowed to be themselves always is.