Dawn, age 3
Marshalltown, IA (1976)
It's weird how you can remember some things and not others as a small child.
I remember being dressed up like this by my teen-aged aunts, and I remember the dress was itchy. I didn't want it on, except for the beads. This is only one of 3 photos of me in a dress throughout my years, because it always felt like dress up.
I fell for a 19-year old college student at my church. And she was kind enough to hang out with me. She'd take me to grown-up places like auctions and furniture shopping, it was just about being included.
I didn't have other kids in the neighborhood where I lived near my age, so college students become my best friends, and she was my first crush.
It wasn't until age 16, and with a friend of mine, that I realized why I was having the crushes on girls.
We were walking around the mall and my friend pointed out a couple. She mentioned that the guy looked cute, but I was thinking to myself the whole time: 'Forget the guy, I’ll take the girl!' Then the skies parted and everything I felt since the time I was age 9, came flooding back. And like puzzle pieces, it all fit together.
It was then that I realized I had to hide this information from my family, as they were and still are, fundamental Christians. Sadly, this hiding set me back a few years concerning my own self worth. But thankfully, though my family didn’t accept my orientation, I eventually realized that God still did.
If there is one message I could have told myself when I was 18, before an attempted suicide, it would be that there are people out there that will love you for who you are. And God will ALWAYS love you, because God created you.
Eventually, you'll also find there are some family members that will love ALL of you, unconditionally!
Today, I still hold a torch for women older than me, and I've been in a 14-year relationship with a wonderful partner who is 25 years my senior. We learn quite a lot from each other, and I look forward to the next 14 years and beyond!
Dawn's first, famous-person same sex crushes:
Joanna Kearns ("Growing Pains")
Lisa Bonet ("The Cosby Show")
Dana Delaney ("China Beach")
Dana looked like the woman I had the crush on at age 9!____________________________________________________