Here I am age 2, in the yellow rusted wagon in my Grandma's three-level backyard. The view was amazing, and looked out unto the ocean and the mountains. I remember hanging out in the backyard with my hand-me-down denim, bell-bottomed overalls, and Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders t-shirt (thanks Dad), pretending that this backyard was my neighborhood. Everyone was nice, and I had my own bike, so I was completely independent.
When we played house, I never had a "husband" like the rest of my neighbors, and I would live alone or with my best friend. We didn't have any kids, but we had the nicest house in the town. Looking back, I realize that this may have been different than most little girls under the age of 10.
I had dolls, but they usually ended up with hair cut into a short, spiky hairdo, and would often 'kiss' other dolls.
My Barbies took lots of camping trips with their friends in the Barbie Camper, and there was never a Ken doll involved. I realized then that Barbies were supposed to have Kens, but I didn't want one.
I never felt different, though. My parents never, ever, showed disapproval of me. My friends went along with my Barbie antics, no questions asked. I wonder if they realize now that I'm out, that these things were in fact, different?
Back then, I adored Lauren Tewes (Julie on "The Love Boat") and something about her eyes and her smile captivated me. I also loved Joan Jett. Her power as a musician and her raw sex appeal awakened something in me that made me feel strong. I knew I was unique, but it fueled me to remain so, and I did.
My message for gay kids today is:
Don't ever give up your uniqueness.
Embrace what you have. Monotony is boring.