I grew up in California in a typical Mormon home. I knew very well what was expected of me and that my life was pretty much planned out until I turned 21. I don't remember ever not wanting to go to church in my childhood. I never got into trouble. Everyone loved me. I was that kid who was an example to all the other boys.
I was also a perfectionist. So while all these adults were telling me how wonderful I was, and as I listened to them discuss what a bright future I'd have, what they thought was building me up was really just the beginning of the destruction of my soul. I know, dramatic right? In early elementary school I didn't know why I was different, so the struggle over homosexuality wasn't an issue. However, I did know that I wasn't was great as everyone seemed to think I was. But they loved me, and I needed that. So I'd try my hardest to please them, to meet their expectations which I never seemed to do because they would raise the bar higher and higher out of my reach. I was so afraid to fail.
In elementary school I don't really remember much honestly. I do remember that during recess you'd most-likely find me on the bars with the girls doing flips and hanging upside down and spinning around and around. I wasn't on the field with the boys. I didn't find this odd at the time, it was just what I liked to do. I didn't draw any connection that bars = a girl thing and sports = a boy thing.
Eventually though, well before the age of 12, I began to recognize my interest in boys. Even then, I remember being sexually attracted to the same sex (even though, at the time, I didn't know what those words meant or how to interpret my feelings). I had also made a habit of having female friends and stayed far away from most boys. I knew I was different from them. They sensed it. I was teased. I was chosen last for the team. I remember the fear and embarrassment that would come over me when I heard the teacher say "captains, choose your teams." The only thing that saved me was the annoying kid that no one liked. I was likable and kind enough. Just not ideal for sports.
By the time puberty began, I started to get a grasp on what these feelings meant for me. I knew that if I felt those things, there was something wrong with me. I also began to understand what "gay" meant and that it was never a good thing. Abomination, unnatural, like murder, disgusting, perverted. People hated gays. But people loved me. I was not one of "those." So I pushed it away. I convinced myself it was nothing and that it would just go away. I wanted to belong and be liked and I knew this wouldn't do. I didn't know then that I was locking a part of me away that was connected to my sense of worth, my self-confidence, my spirit, and my emotions. After the age of 12 (a year in which I cried a lot... almost nightly for several months) I could no longer cry. It didn't matter how much I wanted to. I physically could not manage it.