From Michael Cunningham's essay "Going Back In":

Like so many gay kids, I had a secret childhood.

There was the conventional outward childhood: school and birthday parties, family trips, all that. And there was the darker inner childhood that started before I can remember. The sense that there was something deeply wrong about me. That I was impersonating someone. That I had to keep my strangeness to myself, or it would all come toppling down.

It was a little like having an unwholesome imaginary friend. A friend who hung around even though I detested his company.

Michael Cunningham is one of the many writers and activists who contributed an original essay to It Gets Better: Coming Out, Overcoming Bullying, and Creating a Life Worth Living, which will be released on March 22. You can pre-order a copy at Amazon, through ItGetsBetter.org, or at your favorite local bookstore.