I remember being a 12-year-old girl in middle school, who was absolutely terrified to tell anyone that I liked girls. I didn't want to tell my friends. I didn't want my family to ever find out. It was my big secret. It was something that I was so afraid to be judged for, because you're not supposed to be that way, right?

You're not supposed to even think about the same gender in a sexual way. You're not supposed to think of soft skin, and ruby lips, and I was. I was thinking about girls...all the time. I was thinking about the smiles, and the last minute sleepovers, and the intellectual conversations, and the laughs.

My god, the laughs. It just didn't make sense to me. And as I grew older, I couldn't really keep it a secret anymore. I couldn't keep my smile from forming when certain girls walked into the room. I couldn't stop staring when girls would walk away. Even though boys were on my mind as well, in the Forefront of my brain, I couldn't help but imagine myself in a house, with a wife and children, and it was so scary because I couldn't figure out what was "wrong" with me.

Why did I have to be so different? No matter how hard I tried to make the feelings go away, whether it was with mental or physical pain, nothing seemed to work.

I remember being a 12-year-old girl when gay marriage was legalized in New York State.

I remember being a 17-year-old girl in high school when a fellow student called me, and my best friend ' dikes.' I remember being absolutely stunned, and embarrassed. Not only was the statement true, but it had been yelled across the bus as if she was just shouting for my name. This is the moment I had been waiting for. I had been waiting for my entire school career to be judged, and this was it? This is what I was afraid of?

I remember being a 21-year-old woman, when I ran into some people from school, in the gay bar. I remember being a 21-year-old woman when I went to NYC pride and saw a tremendous amount of support. I remember being a 21-year-old woman when I fell in love with another beautiful woman. I remember being a 21-year-old woman when I wasn't afraid anymore.