Nate, age 11
Greenfield, OH (1995)

This is me in my school picture for Greenfield Middle School. What I can remember of this time of my life, is that I would not leave the house without a perfect combover. If my hair wasn't strictly lying across my brow at just the right angle, I couldn't leave the mirror - let alone the house.

"Early emotional eater"
I was also fond of sweatsuits because, as you can see in the photo, I was a bit of a chubby tweener. It was around this time that I discovered that all of my pairs of jeans were labeled "H" - as in husky...

I didn't do well with guys my age, and girls my age were starting to turn on me. Because, despite my best attempts at masking it, I was in fact a gay boy. It doesn't help either that I had such a cherubic face, or that at this age I was already tweezing my eyebrows. 

Back then, there were many times I was found stealing Barbies from girl cousins. When I finally convinced my parents to get me one, all I got was a He-Man action figure (which eventually worked for me in a far less-dressed context). 

What's crazy is that once I realized for certain that I was gay at 17, I had a flood of memories, including a moment on the playground in 2nd grade. I was pushed by a boy, because I was caught batting my eyelashes at him - something I thought was sure to win his affections.

Looking at this picture now, despite the beaming smile, I remember the sadness.

I remember the hurt that I felt daily, because something was wrong with me. And I had no way of knowing what it was, nor how to fix it.

I remember loneliness at a very early age, and knowing that all I could do was hope that someday things would get better, which they have. I've lost the weight and let my hair grow out.

And no more chubby combover for me.

Jay's first, famous-person same sex crush: