I have known since I was probably about 7 that I was different then other people. When I was younger, I didn't know what was different about me, I just knew that I was. As I grew older, I knew....but I didn't want to admit it even to myself. I was raised in a super conservative household and I knew....if anyone ever knew...I would lose everything. I know for a fact my family would never accept my real self. If they knew...I would lose them...I can't tell them...or anyone else...the cost is too high...there is a huge cost that I pay every day for my silence...but the cost to say the truth would be much higher. It's not a price that I can pay. As I get older (I will be 36 next week) it is harder and harder to keep my real self a secret. There is a huge hole in my heart. My friends mean more to me then I do them because there is a void in my life that others can't fill. I know it is not fair to myself to put my family's happiness and views before my own. But I just can't. I don't know how to live authentically. I am so afraid that I will never find the freedom to live authentically. And that I will always be lonely because I can't have the kind of partner that I desperately want. No one knows the truth about who I really am. My family, my colleagues, my friends, no one knows the real me. The only person in the whole world who knows the truth is my therapist. I've known her for 11 years and it took me 10 years to tell her the truth. She helped me find this group. She thought it would help for me to talk to other people who would understand my struggle. I like girls. But more than anything I wish I didn't. If I were the way people wanted me to be then maybe I'd have a chance at real happiness. I care too much what other people think. I'd rather live a lie then risk losing the people I love the most. The pain of rejection is just too great. I don't know what to do.