I was born in the 1950’s when Fishkill was a very quiet village of no more than a few hundred people. It was a beautiful place to grow up and I often wandered into the woods around our home taking in all of the beauty that nature had to offer.
I particularly remember my first awareness that I was “different.” I was probably only 5 or 6 years old and was at a summer day camp being held at Fishkill Elementary School. One of the camp “counselors,” a high-school aged boy, had been very kind to me throughout the time I was at camp. He encouraged me and tried to draw me out of my shell – I was very shy. One day he was helping me with one of my art projects, when I turned and looked at him for a moment and silently said to myself, “Someday, I want to marry someone just like him.” It made me happy to think this, but I was also scared. I knew that I could never speak those words out loud. Even in those very innocent days I knew that I had to keep my feelings a secret.
Today, I reflect on all of the years I wasted – hating myself, and running from love. I did not come out until I was nearly 30 years old. How sad.
Do not be afraid of the love you feel inside – honor it. And remember, try to be worthy of being loved in return…think about my first “love” – be kind, patient, and encouraging to those around you and you will find your own true love.