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FamilieDear Readers,

In case any of you missed my last blog post (hint, hint!), it was about a wonderful new book, The Confidence Code for Girls, by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman, that I wish I had been able to read growing up as a gay teenager and young man.

Yes, that’s right. As I noted in last post (right below this one, hint, hint!) I love being a man, but growing up in my generation at the edge of Appalachia and knowing that I was probably gay, I wish I had had a guide and inspiration in the form of true stories from other young gay men who like me were navigating the daily minefields of harassment — verbal and physical — and coming out the other end stronger and full of self-confidence.

Literally 21 marathons and decades later, and being blessed with patient, supportive, loving friends, I did cross over to the side of embracing all sides of me, and having enough self-esteem and courage that I no longer expected perfection from myself every day with every person, that it wasn’t the end of the world to fail sometimes, especially if I learned from the experience and had given it my best.

As a teenager and young man who read voraciously, I looked for all kinds of heroes. I usually found them in the poets whose writing I loved. Guess what? In my spare time, I still write a lot of poetry!

But now, as a father of a young daughter (an extremely bright, beautiful young girl born with an extra chromosome) who also loves to read, I will give her The Confidence Code for Girls for her birthday next month.

Nothing would mean more to me than for my daughter to find and keep that inner confidence a lot sooner than I did — although I’m grateful I finally was able to!