Sterling, VA (1984)
Childhood was a great time and a rough time for me. My parents allowed me to be who I was. But the world wasn't always so great with the concept.
I don't think of my story as all that special, but it floors most people who hear it for the first time.
If Disney made a movie about me, it may be closest to "Pinocchio" - but without the weird kids-taking-that-donkey-acid-trip scene.
Simply put (and here's the big reveal), I dreamed every night of waking up as a real boy.
But I was not born a wooden puppet.
I was born a little girl.
I was a very loved child, but I was also wildly misunderstood by many, myself included. It took about 23 years for me to figure it all out.
I had unbelievable support from my family and the friends I kept close. And especially from my spouse, sister, mom and dad. But I kept a lot of people at a distance along the way. I still struggle with finding the right way to tell people.
Being who I am means being a Dad, a husband, a brother and a son. But it's tough to figure out why or how to divulge this layer of my past without it consuming perceptions and shifting realities.
But the truth is, kids out there are going through the same things I went through. And they - or their friends and family - are reading this blog.
So for those young ones going through the things I went through, know this:
Your night-time wish can be your future, too. And your mom and dad may one day call you their son with the same pride they had back then. Maybe even more now, since you've given them grandkids.
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