This picture was taken at the peak of me being called a tomboy. People often asked why I don't play with girls or dolls more often, and I'd tell them that they bore me. I also quickly informed people that I hated Barbie and much preferred He-Man, Ninja Turtles, and Nintendo. I recall wondering why it even mattered.
My first cognizant crush on a girl was about when I was in 8th grade; she was a pretty blond named Nichole. As a practicing Roman Catholic, I faced a lot of inner turmoil when I realized I was attracted to women.
My friends and family, however, were nothing short of phenomenal in accepting me when I came out at age 18.
I was a lot harsher on myself than anyone else, except maybe my fundamentalist Christian brother. We went 3 years without speaking after I came out, but we are now civil to one another.
Staying in the closet for so long was one of the most detrimental things I've done to my self-esteem. I encourage all young, closeted LGBT's to be bold and come out as soon as it's safe. It may very well go a lot better than you expect.
And anyone who rejects you doesn't deserve to have you in your life.