Alex, age 4
Ames, IA (1976)
I've always loved this photo, and I refer to it as "mom's first clue".
I have a very clear memory of being a young child and telling someone:
"God made a mistake.
I should have been born a girl."
What makes a child say something like that?
I guess it's that I've always known there was something different about me,
and those were the only words I had to express it at the time.
I was a bit of a troublemaker as a teen, always getting into trouble. I once read a quote from a gay writer (I can't remember his name, sadly) that perfectly summed up my teen years.
He said that until he accepted his difference on the inside, he wore it on the outside. And that was me to a T. I fought that difference, literally, always running from the truth in the mirror.
And then - I found the theatre. Acting. Directing. Writing plays. The ways that it saved me can't begin to be counted. It gave me a space to be me, without fear. Rather ironic, given that I was constantly being anyone BUT myself on stage.
I had a single mom that figured me out early in my teens, and fished around for it until I told her when I was 21. It wasn't until I saw how hard others had it, that
I TRULY appreciated how valuable that unconditional love really was.
I only wish I hadn't spent so much time afraid to admit to myself who I was.
I certainly had no reason to be afraid. At least not with my mom.
For those of you with perhaps less supportive parents or family? Hang on!
There's a whole world out there ready to love you. And YOU get the power one day to define who and what your family is, and who belongs in it.
It's pretty awesome. Honest.
Today, I'm legally married to my husband and we're looking into adoption.
I could never have pictured this future, as that confused teenager.
So please hang on to see where your story goes. I bet it will be amazing.